Listen and learn : Mainstage
Susan Cain Dr. Rand Hansen Megan McMahon Ahmed Muhammad Leslie Odom Jr. Carmalita Seitz
The need for collaboration in education is greater today than ever before! Join this session to hear how student entrepreneur Ahmed Muhammad, founder of KitCubed, balanced school, sports, and found time to inspire our future scientists; hear what lies ahead for him. Then, Susan Cain, best selling author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” joins us to help us draw and leverage on the strengths of all students' personalities. This is a not-to-miss session! Award-winning vocalist, songwriter, author and actor best known for his roles as Sam Cooke in “One Night in Miami” and Aaron Burr in “Hamilton”, Leslie Odom Jr is a living testimonial of failing up.
Susan Cain is the author of the bestsellers Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into 40 languages, is in its seventh year on the New York Times bestseller list and was named the No. 1 best book of the year by Fast Company magazine. She’s been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and LinkedIn named her the sixth Top Influencer in the World. Cain partnered with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant and Daniel Pink to launch the Next Big Idea Club where the authors handpick life-changing ideas to share, and donate proceeds from sales of their books to children’s literacy programs. Cain’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 30 million times on TED.com and YouTube combined, and was named by Bill Gates one of his all-time favorite talks. She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. Toastmasters named Cain one of Five Inspirational Females in honor of International Women’s Day. She’s an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School.
Rand Hansen, Ed.D., is the acting dean of the School of Arts and Science at the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and president of the ISTE Board of Directors. As acting dean, he supports the planning and execution of all academic and administrative matters pertinent to the successful operation of the School of Arts and Science; collaborates on developing and implementing a strategic plan; champions program quality; and administers academic policies and processes at the school level. He was previously a program director for learning design and technology, lead designer for the instructional design and technology micro-master’s program and acting vice-dean of the Education Department at UMGC. Hansen began his career as an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher and a district technology coordinator for a large urban school district in Maryland. He has also worked at Discovery Education, Johns Hopkins University and National Louis University. He holds a master’s degree in instructional systems design from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a doctorate in educational technology from Pepperdine University. In 2015, he was named to the Center for Digital Education’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers list. In 2016, he earned the ISTE Making IT Happen award.
Megan McMahon is a senior events manager with ISTE, helping shape amazing educator content and events like the Creative Constructor Lab. She also has experience as a teacher resident with IDEO’s The Teachers Guild, spent 10 years as an art educator for San Francisco Unified School District, was a Peace Corps education volunteer in Bolivia, worked as a designer and art director for Anderson & Lembke Advertising, and was a co-founder of Beyond Borders Storytelling. McMahon is also an artist, and is always seeking that elusive San Francisco sun. She believes changes in education will come from inside school communities, from the ground up.
Ahmed Muhammad is a 2021 graduate of Oakland Technical High School in California, the largest public high school in the city. As the son of a now-retired captain of the Oakland Fire Department, Muhammad spent a lot of time in fire stations as a child. On countless ride-alongs with firefighters, Muhammad learned the values of service and community, and the importance of being in a position to help others. He also has an insatiable curiosity for the world around him, which led him to take STEM courses throughout high school. Together with his passion for community involvement, a love for science inspires Muhammad to use science to better communities. He also volunteers as a tutor for underserved youth in Oakland and tutors his varsity basketball team (on which he’s a key leader and starting point guard). Muhammad is the founder and CEO of Kits Cubed, a youth-led nonprofit organization with a mission to “introduce youth to the wonders of science through fun, affordable and accessible means.” Kits Cubed designs, creates and distributes hands-on science kits for elementary school youth with the goal of unlocking every child’s inner scientist. Since founding Kits Cubed, Muhammad and his organization have distributed tens of thousands of science kits in the Bay Area and across all 50 states; have been featured in local, national and international news; and have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars. One hundred percent of the funds raised go toward the Kits Cubed mission of bringing science to our communities. In the classroom, Muhammad enrolled in the most rigorous math and science courses available at his high school, including his school’s engineering academy, and pursued upper-level courses by enrolling in his local community college. During high school, he completed 13 AP courses, 11 college classes and earned National AP Scholar status. His academic pursuits earned him a 4.7+ GPA, the highest in his class. Muhammad was the school’s 2021 valedictorian – the first Black male to receive the honor in Oakland Tech’s 106-year history. He will attend Stanford University in the fall, and is a first-generation college student. He intends to study computer science and engineering, with the ultimate goal of continuing to develop new systems that can improve the lives of those in his community and around the world.
Leslie Odom Jr. is a multifaceted, award-winning vocalist, songwriter, author and actor. With a career that spans all performance genres, he’s earned a Tony, Grammy and an Emmy, as well as two Academy Award nominations. Odom currently stars and performs the songs of legendary singer Sam Cooke in the critically acclaimed Amazon film adaptation of the Olivier Award-nominated play “One Night in Miami,” directed by Regina King. His portrayal of the soul icon has been met with widespread praise and critical acclaim, earning him nominations for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award. King also enlisted Odom to write, compose and perform the film’s original song, “Speak Now,” for which he was nominated for an Oscar and earned a Critics’ Choice Award. Odom has released four highly lauded studio albums, including two holiday records and his chart-topping, self-titled debut. He has performed at the White House, Super Bowl and on hallowed stages such as Lincoln Center, Rockefeller Center and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2018, he published his first book, Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher and Never Stop Learning. Odom can also be heard voicing the character of Owen Tillerman in the Apple TV+ animated musical-comedy series “Central Park,” for which he received a 2020 Emmy nomination, as well as captivating audiences as Aaron Burr in the filmed musical performance of the original Broadway production of “Hamilton,” released in 2020 on Disney+. His upcoming projects include “The Many Saints of Newark,” a prequel to David Chase’s award-winning HBO series “The Sopranos,” set to be released this fall, and “Needle in a Timestack,” written and directed by John Ridley. Additional film and television credits include the limited series “Love in the Time of Corona,” “Harriet,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” “Only,” “Red Tails” and “Smash.”
Carmalita Seitz, director for ISTE Certification, works closely with the ISTE standards team to support and expand ISTE Certification. She has 20 years of experience as a coach and a leader in educational technology. Prior to joining ISTE, Carmalita was an educational technology integration coordinator at the Western NY Regional Information Center and the Professional Learning Director for NYSCATE, ISTE’s New York State affiliate. In 2012, she wrote and facilitated the implementation of the NYS VAP Grant. The purpose of the grant was to develop the capacity of local school districts to provide virtual learning (online and blended) Advanced Placement® (AP®) coursework to eligible students. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the New York State University College at Buffalo and a master’s degree from the University of New England in Maine.
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