Morning Presenters


Taborri Bruhl – Here’s How We Fix It! Solving the World’s Sustainability Problems.

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The world faces a huge number of environmental problems—climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, and pollution, just to name a few. The good news is that the technology already exists, today, for many of these problems to be solved. Join Taborri as he outlines what future systems and lifestyles might look like and how they might function, and how we will be able to transition from where we are today to where we will need to be tomorrow. His presentation will include discussion of how basic economic principles inform our understanding of future economic systems, as well as video clips of places where some of these technologies and ideas have already been put into practice.

Taborri Bruhl lives in rural New Haven, Vermont, with his wife, three children, and two dogs in a net-zero house powered by solar and wind. Taborri is a former Marine Corps officer, and holds a bachelor’s degree in history and journalism from Texas A&M University and a masters degree in history from California State University. He teaches history, economics, and government at the high school level, and is on the board of directors for the Acorn Renewable Energy Co-op in Addison County, VT.

Ann Brandnen – Finding Common Ground on the Issue of Guns

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The topic of guns can be polarizing, but with enough listening it’s possible to find areas where the vast majority of Vermonters agree. During this session participants will discuss how to navigate tough conversations in order to find that common ground. They will  also discuss the potential for progress that exists once you get there, both at a person-to-person level and in the state legislature.

Carolyn Crowley Meub – Clean Water is Medicine

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The consequences of the global water crisis are brutal. One child dies every minute due to  consuming unsafe water. These deaths need not occur as the technology exists to provide everyone with clean, safe drinking water and good hygiene education.  This presentation will discuss some of the solutions available to eliminate waterborne diseases in rural communities in developing countries.

Carolyn has made a successful career in public relations as well as in events and organizational management. Her work has also included special events planning,  managing political campaigns and fundraising. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Pure Water for the World, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, started by the Brattleboro, Vermont Rotary Club in 1999. Under her leadership, Pure Water for the World has grown from a Rotary Club project to an effective non-governmental organization working in Haiti and in Central America. It is no surprise that Carolyn was recognized by the White House in 2012 as one of ten Rotary Champions of Change as a result of her contributions.

Todd Kowalczyk – Today’s Energy Revolution

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Energy is fundamental to our lives and to the modern day world. The seeds of an energy revolution have been planted.  Developed and emerging nations are starting to replace carbon-intensive fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming and air pollution, with energy that is harvested from renewable energy sources like solar and wind. But can this revolution truly take hold and will it grow? What is the role of the United States in this important transition? What are the challenges to move to clean, renewable energy sources that have positive and enduring impacts? This presentation will explore today’s energy landscape, emerging technologies and trends and will offer examples of how each of us can contribute in meaningful ways to the energy revolution.

Green Mountain Power, Rutland, VT

Todd is a skier, runner, a senior project manager at Green Mountain Power in Rutland, VT and the chair of Killington’s Energy Committee who is committed to creating a cleaner, greener energy landscape.

Preston P. Garcia – The Human Microbiome and the Hygiene Hypothesis: Learn to respect your microbes

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Have we created a world where our ability to control global infectious diseases and human health has actually been impaired by our need to be “clean?”

Most people have a negative association with microbes, even though compared to all of the bacteria present on the earth, very few are actually harmful to humans. The National Institutes of Health funded the Human Microbiome Project with the goal of identifying and characterizing all of the microorganisms that are found on humans. We now know that our own cells are outnumbered by bacterial cells by a factor of 10 to 1, composed of more than 10,000 different species of bacteria. In addition, there has long been a theory called the “hygiene hypothesis” that explains a lack of early exposure to infectious agents and symbiotic bacteria can lead to increased allergies and to weakened immune system. In this session we will discuss why our microbes have been called the “forgotten organ” and how global health and the spread of diseases are better understood because of research into our microbiome. Many of our problems with global health lie not in eradication, but rather in how to live in balance with microorganisms.


Ray Dube – What does your Recycling turn into? ( From recycling to your North Face jacket)

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This session will highlight the materials that the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England recycles on a day-to-day basis and will explore how local businesses use those recycled commodities by showing examples of products made from them.  A discussion of recycled household products will reveal what they can turn into as well.

Ray has spent the last 25 years working for a franchise bottler of Coca-Cola doing everything from loading and driving trucks to working in sales and in the financial department.  Most recently he has served as the company’s Sustainability Manager, overseeing commodity sales, recycling and education to schools and to the general  public.  Ray graduated from NH College in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Finance and Economics as well as a certificate in Sustainability for the University of NH in 2014.

James Ehlers – Sewage, Algae, Dead Fish – Something Stinks in Lake Champlain

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Challenges to fisheries and to a clean, safe water supply are not only present in the developing world. We have to continuously advocate for our water sources here in Vermont too. What happens when storm water overflows our streets and fields? Do you think it affects your drinking water? Have you heard about the fish kills and about people getting sick on Vermont lakes?  Are you aware that there have been breaches to the safe water in Rutland? It’s your water, your town, your health, your future.  Citizens can get involved as stewards for clean water resources. Join this session to learn about the issues affecting Vermont’s water, fish, and beaches – and what you and your friends can do about it.

Since 1999 James has served as the executive director of Lake Champlain International, a highly visible organization engaged in a region-wide effort to assert that clean water supports vibrant, sustainable economies and benefits people of all backgrounds.  He has also served as a freelance columnist, a middle school science teacher, and has provided instruction for ecology and outdoor programs for the State of Vermont, local colleges, schools and parks. James has been invited to the White House to consult with advisers on public policy, and earned the prestigious EPA Environmental Merit Award.

Cathy Archer – Theater as an agent of Change

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Can theatre change the opinions of an audience about a particular issue and inspire them to take action?

This “Theatre of the Oppressed” session will use games to engage the audience and to create “scenes” about subjects which the audience chooses. These scenes are generally about an issue that the audience wants to understand better or influence.. In addition to any topics proposed by the audience, this session will address the topic of bullying. In Theatre of the Oppressed the audience becomes involved and may even become actors changing the scene as they understand/see the problem. We will play some games which will lead us to develop a scene which will-in turn—be shaped by other participants.

As a 30 year veteran teacher of theatre in Vermont Cathy has presented workshops at festivals in CT, Maine, Nebraska and Vermont. She is convinced and committed to the idea that theatre can affect positive change through productions of plays which address issues concerning the human experience and the world.

Laura MacLachlan & Cara Robecheck

– Smart Tech and your Carbon Footprint


How can new technologies in electrical metering reduce electrical usage and subsequently reduce CO2 emission? This is the question that students are guided to explore in Smart Technology and Climate Change, VEEP’s new in-class workshop/presentation designed specifically for high school students.

Participants will measure power and calculate electrical energy usage of a variety of small appliances and create connections between electrical usage, electrical generation, and related carbon dioxide emissions. They will be  introduced to the newest technology in electrical metering and will be given the opportunity to examine the applications and implications of this new technology.

Laura MacLachlan is an Outreach Educator for the Vermont Energy Education Program. VEEP is a non profit organization committed to supporting teachers who want to incorporate energy-related curricula into their teaching through in-class workshops, trainings and curriculum kits. Engaging students and communities in our Hands-On Minds-On approach, VEEP works to help create an energy literate society.

Kiran Waqar, Ali Barritt, Dina Alsaffar, Lena Ginawi – The Next Generation Today: What Youth Can Do Today to Affect Tomorrow.

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As we learn about the world we draw conclusions. We learn about crises but are rarely told how to make a change. This session will look at the statewide Syrian Winter Clothing and Blanket Drive run by four South Burlington High School students. They will share their failures and successes and explain the steps they took. Participants will learn about the importance of advertisement, accessibility, teamwork and more! Students should leave inspired and feeling confident that they, too, can make a difference.

Kiran coordinates donations for the Children’s Hospital and was the leader of the team that ran the statewide Syrian Winter Clothing and Blanket Drive. She also participates in the Coalition for Community Service and ISVT Youth Group. She was recognized as a State Honoree for the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award and will also be recognized in Washington DC. Kiran is a chapter officer for DECA, and has received 3rd overall in Business Law and Ethics and 1st in Hospitality in state competitions with her teammates.

Ali is a member of Coalition for Community Service, Key Club, and the school’s new club Student Diversity Union.  She has participated in Parents & Adults Celebrating Teens (PACT), and created a club called Podcast Club where members discuss current events and record the sessions for rebroadcast.

Lena was a partner in the successful blanket drive for Syrians, which represents her interest in solving complex global issues. She strives for a sense of purpose in her work and finds fulfillment in offering support and relief to those who are most affected by these challenging global issues.

Dina has been involved in the Weekend Islamic School that takes place every Sunday and where she teaches students about Islam and the Arabic language.  She enjoys sharing her knowledge in order to make connections and to alleviate misunderstandings across cultures./:)


Laura McLachlan

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Orland Campbel

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What can we learn from WWII internment camps to inform today’s policies?

Molly Engels

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Autism: Integration, Education & Seeing in Pictures

Zara Mecier

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Abortion: The Who, What, When, Where, and Why’s

Nova Wang

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Grading Different Grading Systems

Jordan Brothers

Animal Cruelty on Factory Farms

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Jesse Kunkowski

They took our jobs


Ben Howard

The Environmental and Social Impacts of Foreign Military Bases

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Lily Schillinger

We aren’t so different: a brief overview of  the Syrian refugee crisis

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Brianna Arduca

Criminal Justice through the lens of race

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Beth Notte

The Future of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation


Alisha Arshad

Changing the Medical World with 3D Printing

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Lauren Cozzens

Conquering Disease with Gene Therapy

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Patrick Dundas

Renewing Electronics for a Better Earth

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White 17 STEM Lab

Participants will make bird feeders, planters or something of their own design out of repurposed plastic (one or two liter) beverage bottles. Bottles and tools will be supplied. Participants should bring their own embellishments.

Cynthia Gabriel and Kit O’Conor

Welcome to Amnesty International

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Traci Moore, Scott Tucker and Brad Goodhale

Rutland’s Project Vision

Smashing gender bias

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Soup bowls for Hunger


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