Keynote Speakers

Nichole D. Pinkard, PhD NicholePinkard

Education Finals Keynote Speaker

Associate Professor and Chair of the School of Design, College of Computing and Digital Media, DePaul University
Founder, Digital Youth Network
Co-founder of Inquirium LLC and Remix Learning LLC

Nichole Pinkard is an Associate Professor and Chair of the School of Design in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University in Chicago. She is the founder of Digital Youth Network, co-founder of Inquirium LLC and Remix Learning LLC, home of iRemix, a social learning platform that connects youth's learning opportunities in school, home, and beyond. Dr. Pinkard is the recipient of a 2014 Northwestern Alumni Award, a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, and the 2004 the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, an NSF Early CAREER Fellowship. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, an M.S. in Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.


Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., MPHDr. El-Sayed

Public Health Finals Keynote Speaker

Former Executive Director & Health Officer, Detroit Health Department

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed was born and raised in Michigan. Dr. El-Sayed was most recently the Executive Director of the Detroit Health Department.

Dr. El-Sayed is a Rhodes Scholar, earning a doctorate from Oxford University and a medical degree from Columbia University. As a public health professor, Abdul became an internationally recognized expert in health policy and health inequalities and the author of over 100 scholarly articles, abstracts, and book chapters on public health policy, social epidemiology, and health disparities. His essays on public health policy have also been published in the New York Times, CNN, the Hill, The Huffington Post, the Detroit News, and the Detroit Free Press At 30 years old, Dr. El-Sayed became the youngest health official of a major American city when he was brought home by Mayor Mike Duggan to rebuild Detroit's Health Department after it was privatized during the city's bankruptcy. As Health Director, he was responsible for the health and safety of over 670,000 Detroiters, working tirelessly to ensure government accountability and transparency, promote health, and reduce cross-generational poverty. After witnessing the systematic failures of government only a few miles away in Flint, Dr. El-Sayed worked hard to ensure that children attending Detroit schools and daycares were drinking lead-free water. He has also served expectant mothers and women by creating programs aimed at reducing infant mortality and unplanned pregnancy. He built a program to give schoolchildren across the city glasses if they needed them. Dr. El-Sayed also stood up for children with asthma by taking on corporations that wanted to pump more harmful pollutants into our air, working with them to reduce emissions and invest in parks.

Under Dr. El-Sayed's leadership, the Detroit Health Department has become a state and national leader in public health innovation and environmental justice, in one of the fastest municipal public health turnarounds in American history.

Dr. El-Sayed lives in Detroit with his wife, Sarah, a mental health doctor. He loves water sports, working out, good biographies, coffee, and Michigan sports.