Session 3: Wide Open
Jim Shelton (@JIMSEDU) spoke about opportunities for innovation in Education. In one striking example, an experimental program used unconventional methods to train unskilled people to be IT support staff for the US military, and found that the new trainees vastly outperformed colleagues with years of experience.
Antrim Caskey presented a series of her photographs documenting the damage caused by mountaintop removal coal mining. It is a process that radically changes the landscape of the Appalachian region, and poisons its residents with coal dust and sludge.
Jack Andraka (@jackandraka) is a 15-year-old Maryland student who invented a nearly 100% accurate test for pancreatic cancer that is far cheaper, faster, and more accurate than existing tests. He had a hunch that carbon nanotubes combined with an antibody could be used to capture and identify marker proteins in a patient’s bloodstream. After appealing to 200 scientists, he convinced one researcher at Johns Hopkins University to let him use his laboratory, and after much trial and error, successfully proved his invention.
Jordan Evans gave us an inside glimpse of the Curiosity Mars Rover program; the dedicated team and the intense amount of testing and preparation that made the landing possible.
Loretta Claiborne delivered an inspiring recollection of her life growing up with an intellectual disability with her mother’s stubborn support, her discovery of the Special Olympics program, and her intense appreciation and respect for Eunice Kennedy Shriver, its creator.
Exoneree is a rock band composed of people who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison, and later exonerated by new evidence with the support of the Innocence Project. Interspersed with their performances which closed the session, each member of the band had a story to tell about enduring years in prison for a crime they did not commit.