Kickoff Speakers (Friday)


Kirk Kolenbrander, Vice President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kirk Kolenbrander is responsible for MIT's internal communication and the coordination of policy issues with the senior administration.  He works closely with senior academic leadership to implement MIT's emerging initiatives and is a champion in the implementation of practices that make MIT an inclusive community.

Phil Thompson

Phil Thompson, author of Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Struggle for Deep Democracy

Phil Thompson worked as Deputy General Manager of the New York Housing Authority, and as Director of the Mayor's Office of Housing Coordination. His book Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Struggle for Deep Democracy provides an in-depth look at how the Black mayors of major U.S cities achieve social change.  His important intellectual contributions on the themes of social capital, health and racial ideology was recognized with a 2004 MLK Leadership Award.

Shannon Al-Wakeel

Shannon Al-Wakeel, Executive Director, Muslim Justice League

Shannon Al-Wakeel is an attorney and one of four Muslim women who foudned the Muslim Justice League (MJL) in 2014, following federal law enforcement announcements of a "countering violent extremism" program in Boston.  MJL engages in community education and organizing legal and policy advocacy to protect human and civil rights that are threatened under national security pretexts.

Keynote Speaker (Saturday)

Randal Pinkett

Dr. Randal Pinkett, Founder, Chairman & CEO, BCT Partners

Dr. Pinkett is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, scholar, and a leading voice for his generation in business and technology. His company, BCT Partners, is a multimillion-dollar management consulting, research and evaluation, information technology, and data analytics firm.  Dr. Pinkett has been featured on national television programs, including The Today Show, MSNBC, CNN, and ABC's Nightlight.  He is the author of Campus CEO and No-Money Down CEO, and co-author of Black Faces in White Places. He holds five degrees, including a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, where he competed as a championship track and field athlete; a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Oxford in England as a Rhodes Scholar; and a S.M. in Electrical Engineering, MBA, and Ph.D. from MIT.  He was the winner of NBC’s hit reality television show, “The Apprentice,” and is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and First Baptist Church in Somerset, NJ.


Kaitlin Pang

Kaitlin Pang,Youth Leadership Recruitment Coordinator (

Kaitlin joined YW Boston in June 2016 as the Recruitment Coordinator for InIt, YW Boston’s social justice leadership program for high school students. Kaitlin coordinates school and organization partnerships, as well as recruitment of student delegates and volunteers. Prior to YW Boston, Kaitlin coordinated high school youth programs in Boston’s Chinatown at the Chinese Progressive Association and Asian Community Development Corporation. Kaitlin was a national fellow at Seeding Change – A Center for Asian American Movement Building and currently coaches a high school slam team through Allies Working with Asian Youth (A-WAY) for the statewide poetry slam and festival, Louder Than A Bomb! Massachusetts. Kaitlin has a B.A. in American Studies with a focus on Race and Ethnic Studies from Tufts University.

Nadia Muhammed

Nadia Mohammad, Youth/Police Dialogues Coordinator (

Nadia joined YW Boston in 2016 as the Youth/Police Dialogues Coordinator. In her role she provides support in managing the Dialogue series through community outreach, partnership building, liaising with stakeholders, as well as providing data and evaluation support. Prior to joining YW Boston she was an editor at Her work has been published in The Huffington Post, Common Ground News, and Washington Post: On Faith. Nadia holds a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and is a certified mediator currently pursuing a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

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Mu-Chieh Yun, LeadBoston Program Coordinator (

Mu-Chieh joined YW Boston in August 2016 to support LeadBoston, an 11-month executive leadership program which provides participants with contextual knowledge through experiential learning to become more socially responsible leaders. As the Program Coordinator, Mu-Chieh implements high-quality, informational activities that support the organization’s program outcomes. Prior to transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Mu-Chieh worked briefly in companies such as Jimmy Choo and Sotheby’s where she developed skills in quantitative strategic planning and client-relations. In May 2015, Mu-Chieh co-founded We, Ceremony – a visual platform that advocates for social equity for women of color through storytelling. Mu-Chieh is an alumna of New York University. She holds a B.A. in Art History and Social & Cultural Analysis.

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Emilie Reiser, MIT Media Lab, Special Projects Leat (

As Special Projects Lead for MIT's Center for Civic Media, Emilie teaches new approaches to technology for social change and leads participatory design work in the US and Brazil. Her work focuses on engaging traditionally marginalized communities in the development of new tools to strengthen civic engagement, transparency and social organizing. Passionate about bridging the gap between technologists, governments, non-profit organizations and local communities, Emilie has designed and managed programs domestically and internationally with the United Nations Refugee Agency, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and Digital Democracy.

Nancy Zhang

Nancy Zhang, Computational Biologist, Mathematician (

Nancy is a computational biology graduate student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a recent graduate in mathematics from Wellesley College. She is passionate about leveraging mathematics and data science for social good, especially in healthcare and health service access. She actively works on creating supportive communities for women in STEM, and teaches data analysis workshops with an emphasis on responsible and ethical practices. She enjoys hiking, reading, and writing about science for the public. 

Maimuna (Maia) Majumder, Engineer, Biostatistician, Epidemiologist (

Maia is an Engineering Systems PhD candidate at MIT and computational epidemiology research fellow at HealthMap. Before coming to MIT, she earned a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Science and a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Tufts University. Her research interests involve probabilistic modeling, data mining, and “systems epidemiology” in the context of public health. She also enjoys exploring novel techniques for data procurement, writing about data for the general public, and creating meaningful data visualizations. As a freelance data journalist, she has recently conducted analyses on fatal police shootings and hate crimes in the US.

Kishonna Gray

Kishonna Gray, Gaming, Comparative Media Studies (

Kishonna L. Gray is currently the MLK Scholar and Visiting Professor in Comparative Media Studies and Women & Gender Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also serving as a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and as a Faculty visitor at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.  Her 2014 book, Race, Gender & Deviance in Xbox Live: Theoretical Perspectives from Virtual Margins, has been referred to as a groundbreaking text by gaming and internet scholars. She has published in a variety of outlets and her work has been featured in public outlets such as NYTimes, LATimes, and BET.  Follow her on twitter @KishonnaGray. 

Trishan Panch

Trishan Panch, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Wellframe (

Dr. Panch works at the intersection of medicine, computer science and design creating products and services that re-engineer care processes, empower patients and create more efficient and responsive health systems. He is an MIT lecturer in Health Sciences and Technology and is the inaugural recipient of Harvard’s Public Health Innovator of the Year award. He was clinical director of Sana Mobile at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and currently supervises masters students from the Harvard School of Public Health and teaches on graduate courses at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School as well as a PhD course at MIT. He is an active speaker, published researcher and peer reviewer in the fields of clinical informatics, quality improvement, primary care development and technology innovation.

He has set up and run primary care organizations in the US, UK, India and Sri Lanka providing comprehensive adult, pediatric, obstetric and mental health care for complex populations in a mixture of urban and rural settings. He has advised the Gates Foundation, The Commonwealth Care Alliance and served on the expert panel of the health systems program of WHO Euro. He currently serves on the board of Wellframe and the Innovation Advisory Board of Boston Childrens Hospital.

Robbin Chapman

Robbin ChapmanHigher Education Strategist, Educator, and Speaker (

Robbin Chapman has been Associate Provost has been at Wellesley College since 2011, where she provides strategic leadership and vision for the College’s diversity and inclusion, and academic and faculty excellence initiatives.  Robbin is a member of the Partnerships for Diversity & Inclusion team, which advances equity efforts across the campus.

Professor Chapman teaches a design-based course, Learning And Teaching in a Digital World, merging Education and Computer Science theory.  

Dr. Chapman earned her S.M and her Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the MIT Media Laboratory. 


Andre Alfred, Technologist, Integrated Thinker (

Andre Alfred is a 15+ year technology professional that focuses on Cloud Networking & Cybersecurity at Microsoft. He has managed international initiatives and engineering functions with multi-billion dollar impact throughout his career.  Andre is an Executive MBA Candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management graduating in June 2017.  During his spare time, he enjoys applying engineering and systems approaches to societal issues such as increasing diverse talent in tech and other important topics such as fake news.  Andre also authors pieces regarding these issues on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Medium.  

Ali Mohammad

Ali Mohammad, Engineer, Entrepreneur (

Ali Mohammad is VP of AI at Authess, a Boston-based education technology startup that creates scalable, authentic, open-ended, job-related assessments. He is also co-founder of Nuli Coffee, Inc., a startup developing a novel type of espresso machine. He has worked at Google and edX and co-founded the maker startup danger!awesome.

Dr. Mohammad earned his S.M. and Sc.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in Natural Language Processing and Statistical Artificial Intelligence.