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Better Together: Think Big. Think Bold. Think Systems! 

 

Keynote Speakers

 

Opening Keynote, Thursday, Sept. 28: “Systems Thinking: Mission to Mars”

*Summary coming soon. 

 

Ricardo Valerdi, Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona and SpaceX Engineer

Ricardo

Ricardo Valerdi is an Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona and the Director of the Sports Management Program in the Eller College of Management.  His research focuses on cost estimation, test & evaluation, cybersecurity, and sports analytics.  He teaches courses in cost estimation, systems engineering, the science of baseball, and sports analytics.

He is also founder and Chief Scientist of the Science of Sport and a consultant to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, LA Galaxy, and Orlando Magic.  His work has been featured on ESPN, Fox Sports Arizona, and in The LA Times.  In collaboration with faculty in the UA College of Medicine, he developed the first-ever concussion simulator for football for the NCAA [video].

 

Closing Keynote, Friday, Sept. 29: “Empowering Students on Community Issues Through Systems Thinking/ System Dynamics”

 

College students from Saint Louis, MO explain how the spike in racial tension and police brutality in Ferguson sparked student leaders throughout the region to come together to discuss important community and global issues. Hear how they then brought together community stakeholders to listen to student voices on race, gun violence, and youth homelessness at youth summits held at the Social System Design Lab at Washington University in Saint Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

 

Michael Savage, Student, Franklin and Marshall College

MICHAELMichael Savage is a rising college sophomore guitarist and cellist studying at Franklin and Marshall College with a focus on Public Policy and Philosophy. He is considering pursuing Business (MBA) and Social Work (MSW) graduate degrees, hoping to leverage sorts of advocacy for new ideas that address inequities with solutions through business philanthropy or strategies involving models.

He is involved with the LEDA Career Institute, works at the Office of Admissions at his college, and is a recipient of the Princeton University Prize in Race Relations. Beyond this, he emerged from Ritenour’s High School’s Social Justice Club as a founding member to engage in the pilot 2015 Race Summit and 2016 Gun Summit at Washington University in Saint Louis. This opportunity allowed him to return as a mentor intern for the 2017 Summit on Youth Homelessness. This complements his work with Camp Snowball, where he has participated in Portland and Sacramento. He is now moving on to help facilitate F&M’s College Prep 7.0 and is excited to work with national high school juniors.

 

Dianne Lam, Student, Harris-Stowe State University

DIANEDianne Lam is a lifelong learner of systems thinking and system dynamics. As a program assistant at the Social System Design Lab at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis, she receives the opportunity to deeply understand system insights and change her ways of thinking. She works as team to learn about and master systems thinking/system dynamics activities, develop/maintain relationships, plan/coordinate for annual youth summits, and serve as a mentor. Dianne graduated from Ritenour High School, class of 2016, and is currently pursuing a higher education at Harris-Stowe State University; majoring in Secondary Education with an emphasis on Math.

She is also a Camp Snowball facilitator on a core module named, “Find Your Voice, Take the Lead!” She strongly believes that youth should be given the correct skills to empower themselves to find their passion and confidence, as others have helped her do for herself. Dianne is very passionate about studying social justice issues and finding solutions to produce and reform positive social and educational transformation. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, interior designing, working with youth, and spending time with her amazing family and friends.

 

Desiree Chrun, Student, University of Missouri

DESIREEDesiree Chrun is a sophomore at the University of Missouri located in Columbia, MO. She is currently double majoring in International Studies and Spanish with an emphasis in Latin America. Desiree has spent the past two summers interning at Washington University’s Social System Design Lab and is now a College Mentor for the Fellowship. She is also involved in a Systems Thinking week-long “camp” as a facilitator at Camp Snowball.

This work follows her initial roles within her high school’s Social Justice Club and Leadership Program. She was also an Ambassador for a St. Louis high school based program, Gateway2Change, where she attended the National Coalition on School Diversity in Washington D.C. After university, she plans to join the Peace Corps and/or attend graduate school and gain a Master’s degree in Social Work.

 

Trevor Hicks, Student, Harris-Stowe State University

TREVORTrevor Hicks is a student at Harris-Stowe State University located in St. Louis, Missouri. Trevor is studying Secondary Education with a focus on Social Science. After getting his bachelor’s degree, he plans to get a dual Master’s degree in Social Work and Education from Washington University in St. Louis. Trevor’s goal is to shift the educational paradigm and zero in on educating and empowering the whole student. Trevor is also program assistant at the Social System Design Lab in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. At Washington University, Trevor works with a team to help develop students’ professional skills, further their understanding of System Dynamics and Systems Thinking, and coordinate the annual Changing Systems Youth Summit. Trevor was exposed to Systems Thinking and System Dynamics during his Junior year in high school and has continually used these tools ever since. In his free time, Trevor enjoys traveling, giving back to his community, and spending time with friends and family.

 


Workshop Facilitators

 

Tracy Benson, President, Waters Foundation

Tracy-web1As a leader, author and innovator in the fields of systems thinking and organizational learning, Tracy Benson, Ed.D. brings extensive practitioner experience to her organization’s education and corporate work. As an educator, she has taught at elementary and secondary levels and has been a school principal and district level instructional coach and evaluator.  In addition to K-12 experience, Tracy has served as an adjunct professor in both undergraduate and graduate university programs for teachers and administrators.  She has been a contributing author to several books and most recently is co-author of The Habit-forming Guide to Becoming a Systems Thinker.

Tracy leads a national team of exceptional educators who skillfully make systems thinking concepts and tools accessible to real-world, practical applications.  From the classroom to the boardroom, her capacity building and coaching sessions engage, motivate and inspire people wanting to make positive differences in their thinking, learning and leading.

 

DaNel Hogan, Director of The STEMAZing Project, Office of the Pima County School Superintendent in Tucson, AZ

DaNelDaNel Hogan is the Director of The STEMAZing Project for the Office of the Pima County School Superintendent in Tucson, Arizona. Before returning to Tucson, DaNel served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, DC. While in DC, DaNel was involved in national level STEM issues and particularly focused on K-Gray Energy Literacy. Prior to her Einstein Fellowship, DaNel Hogan was a physics teacher for nine years.

In her current role of teaching teachers how to best engage PreK-8th grade students using STEM content, DaNel is constantly seeking out #STEMontheCheap hacks and solutions. These hacks involve turning a cell phone into a low powered microscope for seven cents and building a hologram-like projector from supplies you would normally recycle and some transparent tape.

 

Amber Jones, Early Education Consultant, Waters Foundation

amberjonesAmber Jones has a decade and a half of experience working in education and more than seven years working on integrating systems thinking into early childhood settings.  She began her professional career as an early childhood classroom teacher and has expertise in infant and toddler development, early childhood quality improvement, non-profit management, organizational development, facilitation, and coaching. In 2015, she served as the lead content developer for systems thinking in early childhood with WestEd’s PD2GO Professional Development Project, published by First Five California.  She has served on the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children board, the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children board, and has been a Regional Partnership Council member with First Things First since 2009.  Her dynamic facilitation skills and passion around using systems thinking to improve decision-making have led her to become a well-known local expert and national speaker.

 

Naomi Karp, Senior Director of Early Childhood Professional Development, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

IMG_0077Naomi Karp is Senior Director of Early Childhood Professional Development at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. In that capacity, she leads a First Things First grant— Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, Families, and Communities. The purposes of this grant are to: build an early childhood professional development system in Southern Arizona through 16 Communities of Practice; increase the number of teachers who have degrees in early childhood education; and create a culture that supports education in general.

This work began in August 2009, and July 1, 2017 will mark the ninth year of uninterrupted funding.

Some successes that have been achieved include: doubling Pima Community College’s early childhood professional development degree completion rate between Spring 2009 and Spring 2017; creating a Master’s Degree program at the University of Arizona’s College of Education for early childhood teachers; significantly increasing the number of Pima Community College early childhood education students who are successfully completing required math classes; and enabling 1,500 early childhood teachers to improve their early childhood knowledge and skills by participating in 16 Communities of Practice across Pima County, Cochise County, and two Native American regions.

Prior to working at United Way, Naomi served in the U.S. Department of Education for 20 years. Ten years were spent as director of the Early Childhood Research Office. She funded important studies at the National Academy of Sciences, including Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children and Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers. The latter was important because it was the first national study to indicate that degreed teachers raise early childhood program quality. She has presented at national and international conferences and has written book chapters, professional journal articles, and research reports for educators, families with young children, and Federal officials.

Also, for 11 years she taught children with special needs in Tucson and Fairfax County, VA. Naomi is past president of the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children and served on the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and the 2005 Alumni Achievement Award, both from the University of Arizona.

Naomi was chairperson of Pima Community College’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee for four years and has been a member of the University of Arizona’s College of Education Advisory Board since 2005. She served on the First Things First North Pima Regional Partnership Council for six years.

Most important, she is Melany and Levi Linton’s grandmother.

 

Sheri Marlin, Chief Learning Officer, Waters Foundation

updated sheriSheri Marlin, M.Ed. writes, speaks and collaborates with others to apply systems thinking in real-world contexts. She has taught preschool through graduate school and has worked as a building principal and district curriculum specialist. Sheri finds tremendous satisfaction in facilitating teams of people as they develop shared vision and achieve desired results. By providing resources and sparking curiosity, Sheri keeps learning at the center of everything she does. She believes that when people understand and apply the tools and Habits of systems thinking, they are more likely to engage in meaningful, life-long learning and innovation. Sheri is co-author of The Habit-forming Guide to Becoming a Systems Thinker.

 

Mary Quinnan, Executive Director, Leadership & School Improvement, Waters Foundation

maryquinnan1Mary Quinnan, M.Ed. builds on her experience as former Director of Elementary/K-8 Leadership for Tucson Unified School District to facilitate and coach district and school leaders, including teachers, in the tools and strategies of systems thinking and deeper learning.  Mary has an extensive administrative background working with schools in improvement in high minority, high poverty communities to ensure equity and access to quality, research-based best practices.  She believes that building professional capacity in the application of systems thinking with educational leaders, and addressing the cultural impact of our work, allows the education system to foster an engaging, effective, student-centered learning environment for every child.

 

Ricardo Valerdi, Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona and SpaceX Engineer 

Ricardo Valerdi is an Associate Professor in the Systems & Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona and theRicardo Director of the Sports Management Program in the Eller College of Management.  His research focuses on cost estimation, test & evaluation, cybersecurity, and sports analytics.  He teaches courses in cost estimation, systems engineering, the science of baseball, and sports analytics.

He is also founder and Chief Scientist of the Science of Sport and a consultant to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, LA Galaxy, and Orlando Magic.  His work has been featured on ESPN, Fox Sports Arizona, and in The LA Times.  In collaboration with faculty in the UA College of Medicine, he developed the first-ever concussion simulator for football for the NCAA [video].

 

Joan Yates, Vice President, Waters Foundation

YatesJoan Yates spent the first 15 years of her educational career teaching middle level English and mathematics and serving as a middle school administrator. Since then, Joan has been devoted to bringing the concepts and strategies of systems thinking to young people by building the capacity of the adults who work with them. For 17 years, she did that by serving as Director of the Systems Thinking Project in Tucson, Arizona’s Catalina Foothills School District. Now she facilitates professional development and follow-up coaching sessions nationally and internationally, believing that systems thinking provides powerful Habits and visual tools that can enhance everyone’s critical thinking and questioning skills. Joan also derives great pleasure from working closely with many of the Waters Foundation Associates, assisting them throughout their certification process and continuing as a resource to them once they become facilitators.