Uncharted Territory

April 27, 2017

University Theater

5:00pm – 8:30pm


A day that follows our theme of “Uncharted Territory,”
where we speak upon exploring new discoveries, taking risks, and breaking ground,
we hope our speakers will fuse their journeys with their own interpretation of
“Uncharted Territory.” 
The theme of this year’s event seeks to inspire profound thought on substantial topics
and create stimulating conversations within the academic and global community.
Technological feats, business ventures, and creative social and artistic perspectives
will be on display at this year’s event: Uncharted Territory.

Uncharted Territory Videos

Speaker Line Up

Deborah Castleman 

The Power of Yes

Deborah Castleman served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control and Communications in the first Clinton Administration. Earlier, she was part of the issues staff (in Little Rock, Arkansas) of the Clinton/Gore campaign, focusing on space, science and technology, and national security issues. Before that, she was a space and defense policy analyst at RAND, and a satellite systems engineer at the Hughes Space and Communications Group. She later served as vice president of Rosen Motors, a 70-person startup company developing a hybrid-electric powertrain for automobiles. Ms. Castleman holds a B.S. in electrical and electronic engineering from Cal Poly Pomona, an M.S. in electrical engineering from Caltech, and an M.A. in international studies from Claremont Graduate School (now University). From 1974-1977, she served in the U.S. Air Force as an avionics technician for the F-111 aircraft. She is particularly interested in following scientific research in the areas of energy, geology, biology, astronomy, cosmology and neuroscience. Additionally, she also traveled solo sixteen times to the Karoo in South Africa, to look at the stars.


Melissa & Lavanya Jawaharlal

Getting to the Roots of STEM Education

Melissa and Lavanya Jawaharlal are sisters, mechanical engineers, and co-founders of STEM Center USA. The “Jawa sisters” founded STEM Center USA in 2011 to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. Since then, they have launched two successful Kickstarter campaigns, brought several products to market including a robot kit and children’s book and expanded their curriculum to reach K-12 students. The Jawa sisters have been recognized by former Vice President Biden for their work in STEM education, were featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and most recently received a business grant from LendingTree to jumpstart a second STEM Center USA location. Melissa began her career at the USC Information Sciences Institute, where she worked as a research assistant. Her projects included two currently orbiting satellites. She later contracted for the USAF and worked at Raytheon.Melissa is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she received a full academic scholarship. Lavanya is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley. As a student and female engineer, Lavanya focused her efforts on addressing the gender disparity within the engineering fields. Lavanya also served as the Executive Vice President of the student body, representing over 36,000 students, alongside the first all-women executive team in Cal history. The Jawa sisters live and work in Southern California.


Mark Peel

How to Put the Fine in Fast Casual

Mark Peel has worked at some of the great California restaurants and is hailed as the “Father of California cuisine” while leaving his mark on places such as Ma Maison, Michael’s, Chez Panisse, Spago, Chinois and, finally, for more than two decades, Campanile, his own place in Los Angeles. In 2015, Chef Peel opened Bombo, his first casual eatery located at the historic Grand Central Market, in the heart in downtown Los Angeles. Featuring pristine seafood, California’s freshest ingredients, and local fare, Chef Peel leverages the unique technology of steel-jacketed steam kettles to create fine-fast dishes steeped in rich, complex broths. Peel’s frequent television appearances have included: Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen, Knife Fight, Top Chef, Top Chef: Masters, and Top Chef: Just Desserts. He co-authored two cookbooks with Nancy Silverton: Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton At Home: Two Chefs Cook for Family and Friends, and The Food of Campanile.


Ash Sobhe

What Death Can Teach Us About Happiness

Ash is the CEO of R6S (sounded out “Our Success”), a creative media agency serving mid-to-large sized luxury brands. He is a pioneer in the tech and marketing industry utilizing artificial intelligence. He has a deep passion for inspiring humanity, technology and developing marketing growth through AI. A sought-after speaker, he also conducts coaching sessions with business owners and startup entrepreneurs. Ash Sobhe grew up in the middle of one of the most devastating conflicts in recent history, and became a famed entrepreneur and self-made millionaire in his mid 20s. Instilled in Ash Sobhe is the drive to chase dreams and create one’s own brand of happiness. And he wants you to unleash your potential to achieve your ultimate happiness, too. 


Mich Hamlin

Homeless to Hopeful: Chasing Down a Dream

Montclair native Mich Hamlin grew up under extraordinary circumstance. Growing up homeless with his family until the age of 12, Mich describes his journey as one that was filled with amazing people who sought to show him a better way. After he was placed in the foster care system at 12, a coach took him under her wing and showed him that he did not need to be defined by his past. Running not only became a blessing, but it opened up the possibility of future very different from one he had grown up in. He began to focus on his education and soon his dreams started to become a reality. After he was accepted into Cal Poly Pomona in the fall of 2011, he quickly joined the track team and started his educational journey. With sobering statistics that only 3% of foster youth students will graduate from a university, Mich did indeed graduate Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in spring 2016. Mich credits this to the many people and programs that were critically important to him succeeding. He recently applied to several Doctorate of Physical Therapy programs only to receive numerous rejection letters and emails. These closed doors opened him up to his dream school, University of Southern California (USC). He was accepted into the USC class of 2020 and began this fall. Mich expresses nothing but gratitude for the guidance, knowledge and assistance he received throughout his life. 


Andrea Bonisoli Alquati

Exploring Contaminated Landscapes: How Radiation Change a Territory

Andrea Bonisoli Alquati was born in Cremona, Italy. He has a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Milan, Italy, and is currently Assistant Professor of Environmental Toxicology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Cal Poly Pomona. His research focuses on the environmental consequences of the nuclear disasters of Chernobyl and Fukushima, and of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He has published more than 30 scientific articles, and has led several research expeditions to Chernobyl, Fukushima and other areas over three continents.


Mike Woelk

A Hot Approach: Making the Atmosphere a Carbon Source for Industries

Co-Founder & CEO of Corigin Solutions, LLC., a start-up that aims to shift the origin of carbon from fossil fuels to sustainable sources for agriculture and industry. Mike previously served six years as President and Chief Executive Officer at Picarro, a science and managed services company backed by Benchmark Capital, Focus Ventures, DAG Ventures and Greylock Partners. Under Mike’s leadership Picarro became the world’s leading producer of technology that profoundly improved atmospheric greenhouse gas measurements, environmental research and industrial emissions monitoring. He later repositioned the company around a cloud-based business intelligence platform for instantaneous mobile mapping of previously undetectable natural gas leaks, enabling utilities like PG&E to improve pipeline safety and restructure asset integrity management processes for the first time in decades. Before taking the helm at Picarro, Mike was VP Worldwide Marketing & Business Development for Varian, Inc., a $1B scientific instruments company. He was a co-founder of MetaChem Technologies, a maker of devices and consumables for drug research which was acquired by Varian. He has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as Technology Pioneer in 2012, IHS Cera Energy Innovation Pioneer in 2012. Mike has a B.S. in microbiology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.


Alvaro Huerta

From Tijuana to East L.A. to Academia: Life Lessons from a Scholar

Dr. Alvaro Huerta is an Assistant Professor in Urban & Region Planning and Ethnic & Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He holds a Ph.D. (city & regional planning) from UC Berkeley. He also holds an M.A. (urban planning) and a B.A. (history) from UCLA. As an interdisciplinary scholar, his research focuses on the intersecting domains of urban planning, Chicana/o-Latina/o studies, immigration, social movements, social networks and the informal economy. As a prolific scholar, he has published books, journal articles, edited volumes and social commentaries. This includes a book, Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate (2013) from San Diego State University Press, and an edited volume, People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration (2016) from ABC-CLIO/Greenwood. As a nationally recognized speaker and public policy expert, he’s a strong advocate for los de abajo/those on the bottom. While born in California, Dr. Huerta spent his first 4 years in a slum (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) and youth in a violent barrio (East Los Angeles’ Ramona Gardens housing project). He’s happily married to Antonia Montes. 


Kamal Andrawis 

Misconceptions of Greek Life and Leveraging your College Network

Kamal Andrawis, 23 years old, is a recent alumnus of Cal Poly Pomona, class of 2016. He graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering and began his career with Northrop Grumman immediately following graduation. During his undergraduate studies, he was very involved in Greek life, becoming a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in Fall 2011. He served on their executive board for three years, serving as the chapter President in his Senior year. Kamal’s involvement on campus and in SAE is what led to the motivation for establishing CollegePrints in his last year of college. Kamal is still involved with the fraternity, serving on the Province Council of the Southern California region. He insists on motivating young individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams early on in their lives.


Pauline Tasci

Why We need to Become an Interplanetary Species

Pauline Tasci is a 3rd year Aerospace Engineering major at Cal Poly Pomona who is passionate about engineering, innovation, and STEM education. Pauline has participated in engineering competitions for the last 8 years and has interned at Applied Medical Resources, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and currently is working on Dragon Propulsion at SpaceX. Pauline spends her free time mentoring elementary to high school aged robotics teams and participates in several rocket-building clubs. Pauline believes in the importance of being an interplanetary species and hopes to die on Mars one day, just not on impact. 

What is TEDx?

The TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences. At TEDx events, a screening of TED Talks videos — or a combination of live presenters and TED Talks videos — sparks deep conversation and connections at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, under a free license granted by TED.

Meet Our Team

Directions & Address 

University Theatre 
Cal Poly Pomona
3801 W Temple Ave
Pomona, CA 91768