Lindsey Bleem Speaker
Speech Focus: The force of gravity
Does the accelerating expansion of the universe require a modification to our theories of gravity or does there exist some new form of energy, so-called ‘Dark Energy?’ Dr. Bleem seeks to answer such questions by studying clusters of galaxies—the largest gravitationally-bound systems in the universe. Their abundance is a powerful cosmological probe as it depends upon both the expansion history of the universe and the growth of density fluctuations. A member of the South Pole Telescope collaboration, her research interests also include large-scale structure, the cosmic microwave background, and the development of bolometric detectors for measurements of the millimeter-wave sky. Lindsey Bleem received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2013 and BA from Kenyon College in 2005.
Cheyenna Clearbrook Speaker
Speech Focus: The experiences of the deaf community
Cheyenna Clearbrook is a college student who attends Gallaudet University, a school primarily for deaf and hard-of-hearing students located in Washington DC. She has a popular YouTube channel that she uses to change people’s perspectives on the deaf community. “I want to do something where I can expose the deaf community to the world,” Cheyenna says of her YouTube videos. “I felt that YouTube is such a great opportunity for the deaf community and I decided to do this for them. I have been doing YouTube about three years now and it inspires me more by doing this because it helps many people.”
Christopher Freiler Speaker
Speech Focus: “Coming Down to Earth”
Christopher Freiler is a social studies teacher at Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, IL. He has taught Advanced Placement European History since 1993. Additionally, he has taught Philosophy Honors since 2003, a course he proposed and developed. Chris earned his B.A. in History at Northwestern University, M.A. in History at University of Virginia, and M.A. in Philosophy at Northern Illinois University.
Austin Kim Speaker
Speech Focus: “The Voices of Underrepresented Artists”
Austin is a 17-year-old practicing fine artist, born and raised in Southern California, where he attends Orange County School of the Arts, Visual Arts Conservatory. Growing up gay with Korean immigrant parents, much of his work encompasses his experiences struggling to identify with American “suburbia” culture, his Korean heritage, and his sexual orientation. Having been brought up in an art-intensive family, he is traditionally trained in fine arts, fashion design, theatre technology, and experimental arts. Based in the cultural hub of Santa Ana, he also draws inspiration from the rich diversity and ethnic heritage vibrantly buzzing in the city. He mainly engages in concepts of cultural identity, ethnic gentrification, and queer theory, where he hopes to spread awareness towards issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights, cultural/ethnic oppression, and art literacy/appropriation. His work has been in art galleries and shows throughout Southern California, where it has been exhibited and awarded in places such as Chapman University’s Hilbert Museum and the Arts Colony. Austin strives to be a fine arts professor in art theory and practice where he aspires to empower the next generation of artists by sharing the transformative power art has in our lives.
Anu Mahajan Speaker
Speech Focus: “The ‘F’ Word” (Helping children achieve success)
Dr. Anu Mahajan is the co-founder and CEO of TinkRworks, an organization focused on providing exceptional and enriching STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) programs for our children that allow them to reinforce and augment foundational concepts taught by our wonderful and dedicated school teachers. Academically, Dr. Mahajan has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and an M.B.A. Prior to TinkRworks, Dr. Mahajan led Innovation Teams at Owens Corning and served in senior executive roles in a couple different healthcare companies. Dr. Mahajan also spent several years in the world of management consulting, including time with McKinsey & Company where he focused on serving high-tech clients and also clients who used “big data analytics” to make decisions. Outside of work, Dr. Mahajan LOVES (triple underlined) to spend time with his wife and two kids, most notably on Sunday mornings watching Formula 1 grand-prix races and cheering on Ferrari.
Brian McManus Speaker
Speech Focus: Piloting planes
Brian McManus is a rising senior at Hinsdale Central. He is interested in studying math in college, as well as possibly computer science. He swims and plays water polo for Hinsdale Central, and he is also interested in computer programming and gaming outside of school. Because his parents are both pilots, it was natural for him to pick up flying as a hobby. He is training to eventually get his private pilot’s license, which he hopes to have by the end of the summer.
Paige Rawl Speaker
Speech Focus: The struggle with being HIV positive
Paige Rawl is an author, HIV/AIDS activist, advocate against bullying, and international speaker. She was born HIV positive and bullied severely in middle school because of her HIV status. After leaving her middle school, she decided to take a stand and speak out, sharing her story. At the age of fourteen, she became the youngest person to ever be certified through the American Red Cross as an HIV/AIDS Educator. In her memoir Positive, she tells her story in the hope of inspiring others. Paige is currently a college student who is working towards getting a degree in entrepreneurship and business. She is also working towards starting her own organization for HIV education and anti-bullying advocacy. She plans to continue to travel and speak to reduce the stigma towards HIV/AIDS and be an advocate against bullying.
Anasthasia Shilov Speaker
Speech Focus: Defying “gravity” though art-making and creative processes
Anasthasia Shilov is an honors student at Hinsdale Central. She is interested in pursuing medicine. She likes to read, listen to music, watch movies, and create art. Her initial interest was supported by her dad, an amateur photographer, and her mom, who tried her best to raise her kids immersed in culture and a creative environment. Through her work, Anasthasia explores familial relationships, specifically within her own family and herself. Using her collection of family photos, graphite, marker, ink and pen, she creates drawn images that come together to convey a broader message. Her latest pieces reflect the artist’s power of selection and emphasis within their work. Anasthasia’s favorite colors are red, green, and yellow.
Ashley Singh Speaker
Speech Focus: The universal language of music
Ashley Singh is currently a student at Waubonsie Valley High School. In addition to being an honor-roll student involved in 6 different extracurricular clubs, she has begun her own nonprofit organization by the name of AMF Chicago. This charity implements choir programs in the Chicago Public Schools and has been covered by the Chicago Tribune and other influential newspapers. Music has always played a prominent life in Ashley’s life, from taking vocal lessons in both American and Indian styles of music, being in the varsity musical groups at her school, and performing at numerous events. She hopes to create a more connected and joined world through the grand power of music.
Joanne C. Smith Speaker
Speech Focus: Advances in scientific research on the brain
Joanne C. Smith, MD, is a visionary leader and the driving force behind transforming the delivery of care in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago or RIC) for the past decade, Dr. Smith has led the organization in its mission to provide the highest-quality patient care with the best outcomes through integrated research, discovery and education.