After a weeks-long process involving application reviews, pitch sessions, and lengthy deliberations, we’re proud to announce who will be gracing our “red dot” with their idea worth spreading:
Randy is a creator at heart. After retiring from a corporate career, he found a new passion that combined his engineering skills with his love of the outdoors by helping people with disabilities create their own unique, user-constructed mobility solutions.
Talk topic: Community-sourced mobility solutions
Byung Kim, a physics professor at Boise State University (BSU), is a leading expert in atomic force microscopy (AFM), which he has focused on for more than 25 years. He recently developed a unique technique called COIFM, which makes it possible to grab and manipulate water molecules in order to understand their mechanical behaviors at the nanoscale level. COIFM overcomes the “snap-to-contact” problem associated with conventional AFM force measurements by using a technique called “force feedback” he learned at Sandia National Laboratories before joining BSU.
Talk topic: Chain-like water
A TV journalist turned marketer, Monique is enthusiastic about recovering the vanishing story of the language of flowers and reclaiming their use as a powerful communication device and life-enhancer. As a Cuban-American child, she fondly recalls being spritzed daily with a soft, violet fragrance from the island’s most iconic perfumery. Decades later, she carries on this same sensory tradition with her own daughter. Since going “on assignment” to unearth the true significance of flowers, she now hands them out with a deeper intentionality, crafting expressive arrangements that shout “go get ‘em,” or “cheer up,” or “I (heart) you.”
Talk topic: The long-lost language of flowers
Gurtej was born in London, grew up in India, finished college in North Carolina, and ended up in Boise, Idaho. A quiet but introspective kid, he remembers asking all kinds of adult questions about the origin of the universe and the meaning of life and death. After a career developing modern memory chips and innovating out of sheer necessity to solve complex technology problems, he has developed a unique perspective on what’s to come. Despite our species’ progress over thousands of years, we are perhaps still unable to match the simplest functioning machines created by nature, and we are far from understanding the immense scale and complexity of our universe.
Gurtej is Senior Fellow and Vice President at Micron Technology. In his current role, he is responsible for Micron’s end-to-end (Si-to-Package) R&D technology roadmaps.
Talk topic: What the role and pace of innovation mean for our world
Liyah is a dedicated social entrepreneur with a passion for giving back to her adoptive community and country. After surviving the anti-Armenian ethnic killings in Azerbaijan, Liyah and her family were resettled in Twin Falls, Idaho through the CSI Refugee Program. She became an entrepreneur at age 22, served on the Twin Falls School Board and was the first refugee to run for Twin Falls City Council election. Liyah has been recognized as one of Idaho's Women of the Year, and featured in The New York Times.
Talk topic: What we can learn from refugees’ endurance, gratitude, and hunger
Jesse grew up in wild spaces—from Alaska to Wyoming—before moving to the eastern U.S. to complete his doctoral degree where he found a developed landscape, inundated with light and noise. As a researcher, Jesse wants to experience the world through other animals’ eyes and ears. Today, Jesse continues to pursue answers to vital questions at the interface of biodiversity, evolution, and conservation.
Talk topic: How sensory pollutants are altering ecosystems.
Elisabeth is a poet, biographer, teacher, and a parent of two who lives with her family in 275 sq. ft. With a PhD on the intersections between fairy tales and autobiography, experience teaching writing for Harvard Extension School, and a six-year streak of writing weekly poems for strangers, she offers a unique perspective for how to edit our lives into their most energizing, loveliest forms.
Talk topic: Editing our lives like a poem
Jordan is a fierce lover of the world of data and analytics, calling himself a “data nerd.” Besides his love of all things math- and data-related, Jordan is an avid trail runner and ultramarathoner, often exploring the mountain ranges of Utah. He is the proud father of five, married to his best friend from college, and even named his Golden Retriever, Wrigley, after the field where his beloved Chicago Cubs play.
Talk topic: Becoming “data literate”
Tai is a leader, laugher, warrior, and storyteller working in anti-racism education, community organizing, and online education. She is a direct descendant of Chief Redheart of the Nez Perce tribe. Tai studied political philosophy & sociology at Boise State University; she enjoys wine, books, and dogs.
Talk topic: Indigenous oral storytelling to change political narratives
Melanie studies the intersection between humans and the technologies and systems they interact with at work. For 15 years, she has listened to and observed health care professionals in order to design and evaluate training, technology, and process solutions to make it easier for them to care for patients and keep them safe. She earned a PhD in Industrial Engineering and an MS in Psychology from North Carolina State University. Melanie is a mom, partner, daughter, sister, and patient.
Talk topic: Creating a collaborative healthcare environment to survive life-threatening illnesses
As a 42-year veteran of higher education (on both sides of the classroom), John has dedicated his professional life to advancing the understanding of important issues for his engineering students and the general public. John enjoys hiking, fly-fishing, and riding his bikes (both as a commuter and on the trails). He hopes his grandchildren won’t grow up to resent what his generation left them.
Talk topic: Imagining a civilization without the benefit of fossil fuels
As a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boise State University, Elisa has worked to apply image processing and machine learning (a more accurate word for that overused term “Artificial Intelligence”) to many problems in many fields. She loves working with students in and outside the classroom, and is very involved with the electrical engineering and computer science professional society, IEEE (which bears the tagline “Advancing Technology for Humanity”).
Talk topic: How computers can be used to help further our knowledge in history, literature and art
Be sure your calendar is marked for April 20th for our FIFTH ANNUAL event. Tickets will be on sale soon. We look forward to sharing ideas with you in a just a few months!
Photo Credit: Fiona Montagne