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Session 2:  Brilliant

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Dr. Ashley Huderson

STEM Scientist

Dr. Ashley Huderson is a STEM policy expert, researcher, entrepreneur, author, and professor, with over 15 years’ experience as STEM mentor and advocate. She has published over 12 peer reviewed articles, including two book chapters on Urban STEM education and counter spaces for minority women in STEM. She is the recipient of several awards and honors and has served as a member of several STEM based committees and boards. Currently, Dr. Huderson works in the Office of the US Deputy Secretary of Education as a STEM and CS Equity Policy Fellow. She is working to develop and implement a STEM and CS strategy that advances the Deputy Secretary’s vision for education in America and supports the strategic goals and priorities of the Department. Dr. Huderson holds a BS in Chemistry from Spelman College, a certificate in Health Policy, Ph.D in Biomedical Research from Meharry Medical College, & an MBA from Georgetown University.

LinkedIn: Ashley Huderson  Instagram:  @corrin31 Facebook:  corrin31

Ariael Brooks-Porter


Ariael Brooks Porter, is a Delaware State University Alumna with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology and a Masters of Art from Relay Graduate School of Education. Ariael has always had a passion to serve the community through mentor-ship and empowerment with goals to actively uplift and motivate those who surround her. Ariael has maintained a career in education with a goal to educate and empower students who look like her. Ariael's philosophy in her everyday work is to be the person that she has always needed in all that she does - this rings true as she advocates to ensure that the people she encounters feel loved, safe and heard. Her belief in equity for all influences her desire to be a student of special education and to use this knowledge to inform others and to one day shape how this information can be used to create a society accessible to all.

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Alicia Polak

Poverty Disrupter

In 2003, Alicia founded The Khaya Cookie Company (US) & the Khayelitsha Cookie Co (South Africa) both with innovative business models with a social objective. A former investment banker turned social entrepreneur; the Bronx born entrepreneur created a forward-thinking business model that allowed her to fulfill a personal commitment to better the lives of the residents in her adopted home of South Africa. These jobs provide sustainable opportunities and job skills training for the women and men of the local community. Alicia grew her company and sold it back to local South Africans in the true spirit of empowerment. Alicia and her work have been featured in CNN Headline News “Small & Global” and in publications such as The Financial Times, Glamour (South Africa), O, the Oprah Magazine (South Africa), and Business 2.0. She received the Food Network Award for Edible Entrepreneur recognized for her “passionate pursuit of bright ideas.”

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