MEET THE TEAM
Daniel (Dan) Hack is a Senior in the Science and Humanities Scholar Program at Carnegie Mellon University. He is double majoring in Technology and Public Policy, and Policy and Management. Dan is passionate about improving discourse online. Dan believes that some of the world's most complicated issues can be solved by synthesizing the best aspects of differing perspectives on a matter.
Growth and Strategic Partnership Lead
Richard Skeen has led top media brands, a number of technology start-ups and consulted with a number of the largest non-profits in the country. Skeen currently leads strategy and revenue growth for Hytch Rewards, a private equity funded smart mobility platform reducing carbon emissions in a public/private partnership. Skeen is also the co-founder of Beehive Media Strategies, a boutique consultancy that has worked with some of the best-known nonprofits including UJA-Federation of NY, the US Golf Association and Birthright Israel.
Ambassador Program Manager
Ariella is a Senior at University of Missouri studying Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis in Child Life. She is from Houston, Texas and is passionate about working with children and providing them with the language to engage in respectful conversations with peers. Ariella is looking forward to working as a Child Life Specialist in a pediatric hospital in the future.
THE ADVISORY BOARD
Jessica is an educator in Rockland County, NY with over 15 years of classroom experience. She believes that teaching students how to effectively communicate with others, especially those who hold contrasting opinions, is a necessary and invaluable skill. Being part of the Convertsation development process has allowed her to draw upon her professional and personal passions: meaningful classroom discussion, educational technology, and social psychology. The opportunity to work with a few of her former students is an added bonus.
As a lifelong educator, Steve operates a consulting practice devoted to transforming and enhancing learning experiences for students and teachers. Since leaving the classroom, he has consulted with NGOs, schools, districts, and state education agencies in an effort to create more meaningful learning experiences for next generation students. He has experience in designing and delivering professional development, strategic planning, and organizational coaching. He has applied his expertise in literacy, reading development, and assessment to build and enhance educational technology products and projects.
Cynthia is an independent school English and Creative Writing teacher. She has served as a teaching mentor, a curriculum advisor, and a professional development facilitator. A fellow with the Academy for Teachers, she is also a longtime consultant for the National Writing Project and a recipient of an NEH educator’s grant. She was also a recent participant in The Moth Teacher Institute. Cynthia believes Convertsation is a powerful tool for transforming student thinking in the classroom and beyond.
Erik Dykema is an attorney practicing in areas of technology, startup ventures, and intellectual property issues. Erik is acts as general in-house counsel to tech startups, and litigates as outside counsel on behalf of inventors, artists, and entrepreneurs generally. Erik is an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University (ECE ’00) and Brooklyn Law School (J.D. cum laude ‘10), and teaches Media Law at New York University. Erik also serves on the Board of Directors of Tech Kids Unlimited, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching technology to kids who learn differently, and the Essex Fells Foundation for Educational Excellence.
William Alba is a professor and administrator at Carnegie Mellon University. For more than a quarter century, he has developed and directed distinctive academic programs at colleges and high schools, both public and private, across the United States. He has a particular interest in cross-disciplinary thinking, including the art of asking questions about difficult topics. He sees great value in the ability of Convertsation to enhance critical thinking, deep communication, and cultural understanding.
Terry Smith is the founder of M-PowerHouse of Greater Pittsburgh. M-PowerHouse is a STEAM and drone technology nonprofit for grades K-12. Terry is an officially trained and certified Warm Data Labs Host by the International Bateson Institute, a social benefit think group based in Sweden, which enables him to run Warm Data Labs anywhere in the world.
Terry is also on board in UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion Junior Healthcare Explorers Advisory Board, Community College of Allegheny County School of Social Work Advisory Board, Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus K-12 Advisory Board, UPMC Community Health Partnership Council Member, Remake Learning Pittsburgh STEM Ecosystem Outreach Committee, and former board member of M&F Bank in North Carolina.
Joshua is a junior at Saint Louis University. He is majoring in Sports Business in the Chaifetz School of Business. From New York State, Joshua plans to graduate and attend Law School where he hopes to pursue a career in Intellectual Property Law.
Harrison is a junior in the Foote Fellows Honors Program at the University of Miami. He is majoring in Microbiology and Immunology with minors in Chemistry and Health Management Policy. From New York State, Harrison plans to graduate and work in the healthcare industry for a few years, after which he plans to attend medical school.
Skye is a senior at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York majoring in Cellular Neuroscience. From New York, she is passionate about mental health awareness and treatment and is an incoming clinical research intern at The Depression and Anxiety Center at Mount Sinai in NYC. She enjoys pottery, working with children, and hopes to pursue a career in healthcare.
Sandra is a junior at Binghamton University. She is majoring in Business Administration, concentrating in Business Analytics and Management Information Systems. From New York, Sandra hopes to graduate and eagerly work for a company with a meaningful impact. She enjoys embroidery, swimming, and skincare.
Erica is a senior at Stony Brook University, New York. She is accomplishing a B.A. degree in Biology with a minor in Anthropology. From New York State, Erica aspires to graduate and attend medical school. Once a week, Erica volunteers at her local hospital in the emergency department, ensuring the comfort and enhancing the communication of all patients.
Drew is a senior at Colgate University from Wooster, Ohio majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics. He is passionate about using data and research to facilitate more efficient and effective communication, civic engagement, and resource distribution.
Zach is a Senior at Suffern High School, New York. Hoping to pursue a career in politics, he aims to become an influential figure in spreading the idea of Open Mindedness. In his free time, he enjoys drawing, acting, making music, and rowing.
Hannah is pursuing a Masters in Civil Engineering at Cornell University, where she completed her undergraduate studies majoring in Environmental Engineering and minoring in English. She is passionate about sustainability and ocean conservation, and hopes to work in regenerative coastal development. In her free time, she works as a scuba instructor for Cornell's Physical Education program, and enjoys snowboarding, surfing, and crocheting.