Donnel Baird works to create jobs and reduce energy costs for underserved communities. Through his organization BlocPower, Donnel helps churches and community organizations to use their collective power to bargain for discounts on energy-efficient products ranging from insulation to solar panels, which are then installed for lower electricity bills. A nonprofit arm of BlocPower trains community members to do the construction work for living wages. For Donnel, working with underserved communities in the Bronx and Washington, D.C. offers him an opportunity to bring a sense of community empowerment to communities where such resources are much needed.
Christina Agapakis is a biologist who studies the relationships between humans and bacteria at many scales and through multiple disciplines. Using synthetic biology, genomics, and art, Agapakis explores the evolution and design of microbial communities in the soil, in our bodies and in cheese. She has been listed in Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30: Science and Healthcare and her work has been featured in the Journal of Biological Engineering and Nature Chemical Biology, among others. Her work shows us how art and design can have a valuable impact on the ways we engage with and practice science.
Carmel Majidi studies the next generation of biologically-compatible robots, assistive medical devices and electronics. These “soft-matter technologies” include systems that are elastically deformable and adapt their functionality to the changing demands of their operator and environment. Majidi was a post-doctoral Fellow at both Princeton and Harvard University and has been published in International Journal of Robotics Research, Soft Robotics, and Lab on a Chip, among others. Majidi addresses the emerging challenges of soft robotics through a unique combination of rapid prototyping, soft-lithography microfabrication and theoretical insights from solid mechanics.
Anushka Ratnayake is executive director of myAgro, which uses a network of rural stores and mobile phone technology to make saving for agricultural and farm inputs easy and accessible for small-scale farmers living in remote areas. MyAgro also provides training and incentives for participating farmers, resulting in measurably increased yield and profits. By working through pre-existing, trusted technology, myAgro is helping rural farmers to improve their livelihood by enabling them to manage their money in a more flexible and convenient way.
Alex Hornstein invents, develops and deploys innovative clean technologies that significantly increase global access to electricity and reduce carbon emissions. Hornstein and his partner Shawn Frayne recently teamed up to build the Solar Pocket Factory, a machine that produces small solar panels that could provide primary power for 100 million people worldwide. The Solar Pocket Factory project was supported by over a thousand backers on Kickstarter, making it one of the first crowdfunded advances in clean technology. Alex's latest project is called TinyPipes: building smart, web-enabled solar panels that can be quickly deployed to form a solar electricity grid in rural areas with poor infrastructure.
Prabhjot Singh is the co-chair of the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign, an initiative of the African Union and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network that designs and tests how community health workers can be more effective using mobile tools in the developing world. He has recently brought his experience to Harlem where he focuses on developing community-based health care delivery systems. He is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leader and a Truman National Security Fellow. Singh’s work shows us that communities are the ultimate catalysts of systems change, especially when they are successfully integrated into their own health care and development systems.
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy's pioneering research shows that subtle manipulations in posture can actually change our hormone levels and dramatically alter the way we feel and are perceived by the people around us. Just two minutes in one of Cuddy's power poses boosted testosterone and lowered cortisol levels, and actually changed the performance of research participants in stressful situations. She channeled these findings into empowerment training tips.Read More