Steve Almond is the author of eight books, including the New York Times bestsellers "Candyfreak" and "Against Football." His short stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, and Pushcart anthologies.
His journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and elsewhere. He lives in Arlington, MA, with his wife, his three children, and his debt.
Skylar Bayer is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in marine biology in the University of Maine’s School of Marine Science and is based at the Department’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine. She completed her Bachelors of Science at Brown University, then completed her Masters of Science in Biological Oceanography in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program studying reproduction at deep sea hydrothermal vents and larval behavior. For her Ph.D., she researches the fertilization ecology of the giant sea scallop under the advisement of Dr. Richard Wahle.
Her science writing spans from peer reviewed journal articles, to conference proceedings and technical reports to blog posts. She has turned her blog STRICTLYFISHWRAP (strictlyfishwrap.com) into a radio show and podcast. Bayer is dedicated to science storytelling as a storyteller and producer for The Story Collider (storycollider.org). She appeared on The Colbert Report in 2013 in field report piece, “The Enemy Within – Dr. Skylar Bayer.” Bayer has helped produce and appeared on several episodes of Maine Calling covering the topics of storytelling, the Darling Marine Center and the scallop fishery in Maine.
In 2015 she received an Outstanding Service Award from the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture for her work with undergraduates as a teaching assistant, her involvement in her local community, her science communication and research work. For Bayer’s final two years as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maine she is a recipient of the Janet Waldron Doctoral Research Fellowship. You can follow her on Twitter @strctlyfishwrap.
Maxine Bédat is the co-founder and CEO of Zady, a fashion brand and lifestyle destination creating a transparent and sustainable future for the $1.5 trillion apparel industry.
Her background in international law and diplomacy, including serving as a legal clerk for the U.N., led her to found The Bootstrap Project, a non-profit organization that works with entrepreneurs in the developing world.
For its work in sustainability, Zady was named one of the world’s “Most Innovative Companies” in retail by Fast Company and its creativity was recognized by Mashable, which called the company “the #1 business rocking content marketing.”
Bédat serves on the Council of NationSwell, has spoken at some of the world’s leading conferences, including the WWD Apparel/Retail CEO Summit, and has been regularly featured as an expert by Bloomberg, Forbes, Business of Fashion, CNN and the Huffington Post. Bédat is a graduate of Columbia Law School.
Jennifer Dunn is the Director of Psychometrics, Research, Data and Reporting Services at Measured Progress, a not for profit educational assessment company. Her early interest in research, teaching and learning, combined with an aptitude for mathematics, led her to a Ph.D. in psychometrics. Dr. Dunn joined the National Center for Improvement in Educational Assessment, where she gained practical experience about how psychometric principles could be used to inform educational policy decisions and the subsequent ramifications for students, parents and teachers.
Understanding the potential outcomes of assessments led Dr. Dunn to Measured Progress with the intention of exploring all elements of the assessment process. She has developed a specific interest in the test design, development, analyses and reporting procedures and the implications that decisions during that process can have on the valid use of the assessment results. Dr. Dunn is currently responsible for overseeing the daily operations of all psychometric, data and reporting staff, operational functions, systems development and process improvements. Drawing on over fifteen years of psychometric experience, Dr. Dunn serves as the primary psychometric advisor for Measured Progress, providing strategic psychometric support through the designs and implementation of research initiatives that inform all aspects of educational assessment.
Dr. Dunn maintains active involvement in the psychometric community by presenting at industry conferences and publishing articles so that she can continue to understand the new developments in the industry and what they mean for the educational community.
Dr. Robert Eckstein is a Senior Lecturer at the University of New Hampshire for both the Department of Psychology and the Justice Studies Program, where he also serves as the Internship Coordinator for the undergraduate and graduate programs. He is also a the Curriculum Development Specialist for Prevention Innovations Research Center, a research group at the University of New Hampshire that focuses on the prevention of sexual assault, relationship abuse, and stalking.
Dr. Eckstein was given the University of New Hampshire’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. He is the co-author of Bringing in the Bystander: A Prevention Workshop for Establishing a Community of Responsibility, an evidence-based, educational program aimed at implementing bystander intervention as a means of preventing violence against women. He has presented this workshop, as well as trained others on becoming program facilitators at a variety of universities, victim advocacy groups, and government agencies throughout North America and Europe. Over 150 universities and organizations have adapted Bringing in the Bystander trainings to use as a prevention tool in their communities.
He is also the co-author of a high school adaptation of Bringing in the Bystander that is currently being evaluated through a federal Center for Disease Control grant. Prior to teaching at UNH, Dr. Eckstein received his BS in Forensic Psychology at CUNY - John Jay College of Criminal Justice and his Psy.D. at Loyola University where he was trained as a clinical psychologist. He has worked with clients in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, prisons, and college counseling centers.
Journalist, memoirist, essayist, critic, poet, teacher and geek Ethan Gilsdorf is the author of the award-winning travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. A former Paris-based food and film critic and travel writer, and now based in Providence, Rhode Island, Gilsdorf covers and comments on pop culture, geek culture, the arts, travel, media and technology, and writes essays for The New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Salon, Wired, Art New England, and WBUR, among dozens of other magazines, newspapers, and websites worldwide.
Gilsdorf frequently appears on WGBH, WBUR, The Discovery Channel, NPR, PBS and other media, and lectures and performs at schools, festivals, conventions, and conferences worldwide. He's also a regular presenter, performer, moderator and host for Mortified, Four Stories, PAX East, the Harvard Book Store, and has given hundreds of readings throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Middle-earth.
A prize-winning poet, Gilsdorf is also co-founder of Grub Street's Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP), and teaches creative writing at Grub Street, where he serves on the Board of Directors. Follow Ethan’s adventures at ethangilsdorf.com or Twitter @ethanfreak.
Muskan Kumari is best described as an Exchange student from Pakistan, currently living in New Hampshire, United States on a program called: Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program, funded by the Department of State. She was given this scholarship in January 2015 as a result of her rich credentials and outstanding academic performance in her Pakistani education system. She is currently studying at Goffstown High School in southern New Hampshire.
She has been involved with public speaking for quite a long time. She has hosted many of her school's debating competitions and had also been selected as a finalist for a Spelling Bee Competition in the past at her high school. Lately, she has also been involved with Special Olympics as a official Volunteer and had been learning a bunch of new things about the special needs kids and developing good relations with them.
In addition to this, she is also an official team member of a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) robotics team known as Power Knights. She has been educating her community about Pakistan the entire time she has been here, by giving 31 presentations about her country in the form of various visual work.
Zand Martin is an educator fascinated by the teaching of leadership, and an adventurer passionate about the exploration of the world. His work exists at the intersection of these core interests, and takes many forms. From the experiential teaching of leadership to university students and young professionals, to skiing new routes in Siberia and consulting for educational organizations and the outdoor industry, Zand seeks to share his unique perspective on the leading of teams and self, and the value of developing a deep understanding of the magnificent world – both human and natural – that we inhabit.
The winds of work and play have sent Zand all over the world, from Arctic Canada to the Tien Shan. The grand project of his twenties was a 25,000 kilometer expedition that ran a human-powered line around the world at about 45 degrees North latitude. He deposited the efforts and resources of six years of his life into this endeavor, with a month free from work here and there, and received in return the beginnings of a knowledge of the world and its component parts – the beautiful and very ugly, the incredulity of friends and fishermen, and perhaps some dose of adulthood in the milieu of constant travel and exhaustion on four continents.
Zand is a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club, and was the 2011 Outside Magazine Adventurer of the Year, and the 2013 Polartec Challenge Grantee. He is a Senior Faculty member at the National Outdoor Leadership School. He has not had a permanent mailing address in seven years.
Tina Nadeau is the Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court. She was appointed to the bench in 1996 and began serving as Chief Justice in 2011. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she served as legal counsel to Governor Stephen Merrill.
She began her legal career in 1989 as an assistant attorney general in the homicide division. In 2013, Judge Nadeau received the Caroline Gross Fellowship award to attend the Kennedy School of Government on Executive Leadership; the 2013 Eric Cogswell Achievement award, recognizing commitment to addressing the over-incarceration of offenders with mental illness; and she was the 2013 recipient of the Marilla Ricker award, presented by the NH Bar to women in leadership positions.
In 2015 she received the Advocacy award from New Futures and the Wheelok-Nardi award from Greater Manchester Mental Health for her work advocating for those with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Judge Nadeau is currently a board member of the New England Association of Drug Court Professionals, and New Futures, a nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and collaborates to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug problems in New Hampshire.
By day (give or take), Sam Rosen leads brand strategy and marketing for The Atlantic. Previously, he served as vice president of the Strategy & Content practice for DigitasLBi, which he helped form. He’s worked with lots of Fortune 500 brands, like IBM, CVS Health, Allstate, and Netflix, on everything from thought leadership to branded content to community management.
By night (or early morning), Sam studies and ponders the intersection of science, spirituality, philosophy, and humanity’s ongoing, and sometimes elusive, search for meaning—while catching as much live jazz as he can.
Jeff Sharlet is the nationally bestselling author of The Family, described by Barbara Ehrenreich as “one of the most compelling and brilliantly researched exposés you’ll ever read.” Of his most recent book of essays, Sweet Heaven When I Die, The Washington Post declared “This book belongs in the tradition of long-form, narrative nonfiction best exemplified by Joan Didion, John McPhee [and] Norman Mailer. Sharlet deserves a place alongside such masters.” Excerpts from Sharlet’s 2010 book, C Street received the Molly Ivins Prize and the Outspoken Award, and in 2015 his article for GQ on gay survival in Putin's Russia, “Inside the Iron Closet,” received the National Magazine Award. He is currently working on a book combining prose, photography and social media, tentatively titled “The Darkness Show.”
Sharlet is associate professor of creative writing and English at Dartmouth College, the school's first tenured professor in creative nonfiction. His edited and coauthored books include Radiant Truths, Believer, Beware, and Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible, which Publishers Weekly described as “perhaps the most original and insightful spiritual writing to come out of America since Jack Kerouac first hit the road.” He is a contributing editor to Harper's, Rolling Stone, and Virginia Quarterly Review and a frequent contributor to publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, GQ, and others.
He’s been a frequent guest on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” and has appeared on HBO’s Bill Maher Show, Comedy Central’s Daily Show, NBC Nightly News, CNN, NPR, BBC, and other media venues. He’s been a guest speaker at colleges and universities around the world, including Princeton, Yale, and Columbia, and may be the only person to have given talks at both the Otis College of Art and Design and the Naval War College. His greatest distinction is Ann Coulter’s designation of him as one of the stupidest journalists in America.
Randy Armstrong has been hailed by the Boston Globe as "a sure-fingered, guitar virtuoso" and Downbeat Magazine has called his music “a marvelous kaleidoscope of shifting melodies, rhythms and instrumental colors." He is the Director of the Phillips Exeter Academy West African Drumming Ensemble and North Indian Music Program.
Randy is the co-founder of Do’a World Music Ensemble and Unu Mondo and has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Alaska, Belize, India and West Africa. He has appeared on over 40 albums and film scores and has been the recipient of numerous grants from the National Endowment on the Arts and the New England Foundation for the Arts, among others. As a composer and recording artist, he has released a solo CD: No Regrets: and a double CD soundtrack for the 4 part PBS primetime series, Dinner on the Diner filmed in Spain, South Africa, Scotland and Southeast Asia. In the summer of 2007, he performed concert tours in Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and South Africa.
He has performed concert tours in Cuba with Voices From The Heart and was commissioned to compose and perform an original score for the Phillips Exeter Academy production of India’s epic poem, The Mahabharata in May 2014. He has served as an Arts Councilor for the NH State Council on the Arts appointed by two NH Governors and performed a tour in April 2015 in Puerto Rico.
Randy is celebrating the release of his new CD entitled: BEYOND BORDERS. 5 years in the making featuring 35 musicians from around world, it is a Global Voyage in Music. Beyond Borders was nominated for the 2015 ZMR Music Awards – Best World Album. The soundtrack for his original theater & dance score, The Conference of the Birds will have its debut performance in San Francisco in September 2016. For information, please visit: www.randyarmstrong.com. Listen to the Randy Armstrong Station on PANDORA Internet Radio.
Lissa Curtis w/ dancers from Northeastern Ballet Theatre, Accompanied by Zachary Silk
Lissa has been dancing professionally for eleven years. She received her training from Boston Ballet, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Northeastern Ballet Theatre. Lissa received her BS in Kinesiology: Exercise Science, and her BA in Theatre and Dance from the University of New Hampshire in 2013.
Currently, Lissa is a principal ballerina and teaches for Northeatern Ballet Theatre in Dover and Wolfeboro, NH, as well as for The University of New Hampshire's Ballet Company. Lissa is a rape survivor. In 2014 her ballet coach sexually assaulted her on an international flight and many times at the World Ballet Competition in Romania.
Lissa has launched the "Be BRAVE" campaign in the midst of her own legal battle to encourage other sexual assault victims to be brave with her, break their silence and seek justice. Today she is joined with dancers from Northeastern Ballet Theatre performing her choreography, "Be BRAVE", written by her brother, Zachary Silk.
Zachary Silk is a senior at The University of New Hampshire studying Music Performance with an emphasis in jazz guitar. He teaches students guitar, drums, and beginner piano. Zach grew up for years leading worship in church, performing at large youth conferences, and has played in several bands. He is currently working on a solo album called "Relentless." He was honored to compose and perform "Be Brave" for his sister Lissa.