Spring 2024 Conference
David Upegui
David Upegui is a Latino immigrant who found his way out of poverty through science. He currently serves as a science teacher at his alma mater, Central Falls High School (RI) and as an adjunct professor of Education at Brown University. His personal journey has taken many interesting and unexpected roads. It was the birth of his oldest son that began a transformative set of events that eventually included earning a PhD and publishing a book on integrating racial justice into biology. He has received several accolades for his professional work, but ultimately, it is the success of his students that he values most professionally.
Haleema Aslam
A native of Pakistan who taught herself English, Haleema brings us a heroic story of strength, determination, and resiliency in her quest to put an end to a life of gender discrimination. As a RUE (Resumed Undergraduate Education) student at Brown, Haleema is studying Psychology & Entrepreneurship. She hopes to have the opportunity to travel the world as an advocate for young women who are denied access to education and to bring awareness to the impact that the mistreatment of girls can have on their mental health. Her ultimate goal is to work with the U.N., serving as a pillar for girls around the world so as to let them know they are worthy, capable and that their life is theirs to live.
David Chu
David Chu is currently a senior at Brown University studying Computer Science - Economics. David is the Co-Founder of Sift, an AI-enabled platform enhancing accessibility to secondhand products as an alternative to fast-fashion. Sift and David have been spotlighted in the Boston Globe, Rhode Island Business Journals, Hult Prize Global Accelerator, and he was named to RI Inno's 5 under 25. David is interested in the circular economy and amazed by how technology can help accelerate its growth in the coming years. Beyond entrepreneurship, David is interested in global politics, having served as a Visiting Student at the University of Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
Chicha Nimitpornsuko
Chompoonek (Chicha) Nimitpornsuko is an advocate of space exploration, an astronomer and an aerospace pretengineer. She was the President of Marlborough College’s Radcliffe Astrophysics society, working closely with a Royal Astronomical Society fellow and astrophotographers to curate the best atmosphere for eager students, regardless of their major. She is currently a freshman at Brown University, studying Astronomy and Business Economics and passionately believes in the interdisciplinary nature of astrophysics and that space should be made accessible for more than just a select few. She focuses on integrating seemingly different fields of study and combining them under one harmonious goal: commercial space tourism. After college, Chicha would like to pursue a career in the commercial space business, whether it be as a physicist or an economist, and turn her vision into a reality. Although she spent a large part of her teenage years in the UK, she’s a proud Thai citizen and misses windsurfing in the Gulf of Thailand.
Paja Faudree
Paja Faudree is an award-winning scholar, literary author, and activist. She currently chairs the Department of Anthropology at Brown University, where she is a professor of linguistic anthropology; she is also a founding member of the leadership team for Brown’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative. Her book Magic Mint: A Biography of One of the World’s Newest “Drugs” will be published next year by Duke University Press. Her work has appeared in leading scholarly and literary journals, and she has been has been interviewed about her work by such media outlets as National Public Radio, The Atlantic, and Al Jazeera.
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