A lifelong learner and optimist, Parker developed software for Martin Marietta Aerospace and JPMorgan. He then co-founded financial risk technology company, RiskMetrics Group, unique among Wall Street with the mantra: Change the World, Have Fun and Make Money — In That Order. His next move? He is now CEO of a tech startup called NextThought, an education platform built to connect learners with quality content, a social community, and an environment that encourages and enhances collaboration.
Brine Webb wonders what makes life. What makes him alive and what makes him worth keeping alive? His songwriting seems to ask if humanity is a long list of redundancies, what can be done to ensure the nonredundancy of self? Webb wonders where he comes from and he wonders where he is going, but more importantly, he wonders how he lays into the scheme. In his music and his lyrics, one can hear Brine Webb being enthralled by the mystery of life, and as much as he seems to want to solve it and be at ease with it, he seems even more terrified by it.
Beatrice Williamson is a distinguished leader known for her warmth, humor and commitment to learning. She was born in Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. From the age of nine years old until her second year of college, Beatrice received a scholarship for education from Swedish missionary Anna Lanson. Education was what Beatrice needed to rise above her circumstances and realize her potential.
“Aunty Bea” as the Maisha children affectionately call her, came to The United States in 2001. In the meantime, Beatrice’s family, living in the village of Kano, just outside of Kisumu, expressed the need and dire situation of the orphans and widows living in their community. The fruition of Beatrice’s dream began in 2006, when she founded Maisha International Orphanage in response to this call for help. Now, her passion is to reach out to orphaned and destitute children and provide them with the same opportunity Anna Lanson gave her. By making a difference in the lives of the children from her home village, Beatrice strives to create a brighter future for the next generation. Her passion is to reach out to orphaned and destitute children and continue the Legacy of Hope Anna Lanson began.
Austin Hartel is an extraordinary human being. He is internationally acclaimed for choreographing passionate and athletic dances that create perceptual and intuitive environments, naturally engaging to audiences. Hailing from the east coast and current faculty member of the University of Oklahoma School of Dance, Hartel has spent much of his time in numerous prestigious dance festivals and venues across the globe including serving as a cultural ambassador for the US Dept. of State for 11 years.
Jeremy Short has taken his love of writing graphic novels and has developed it into a teaching tool through graphic textbooks. “I’ve yet to encounter a single soul who can recite a line from a textbook.” Instead, he is looking to mix things up by escaping the “snooze-fest” associated with most textbooks. Short was named Researcher of the Year in 2010 for the College of Business at Texas Tech University prior to joining the faculty at OU.
Opposite to the ‘top down’ concept of urban design is BETTER BLOCK, founded in Dallas’ Oak Cliff by Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard. The Better Block project is a demonstration tool that temporarily re-visions an area to show the potential to create a walkable, vibrant, neighborhood center. The idea and the charrettes to realize it have quickly spread to cities like Memphis, St. Louis, New York, and Boston. National media coverage includes NPR, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.