[UPDATE – June 2019] The magic of STEM education, how not-for-profit leaders are creating impact, and new book – blockchain for global social change

STEM education with a dash of magic

If you’re looking to rekindle some of the magic from the long lazy days of your childhood summer holidays, then you’ll love to hear what Meghan Gardner’s (#1 The Introducer) up to with Guard Up! Inc, her STEM adventure company.  Guard Up! Inc delivers story-based summer camps with children and young people playing a character of their own design: expect to meet wizards, warriors, and zombies!

Underpinned by education

Yet, the magic doesn’t stop there.  Founded on the concept of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, each of the characters that the kids interact with are out of real-world mythology, literature, and history. At least half of all the stories are from non-European sources and half of their staff characters are women.  Buried within the adventures is the real treasure: Education. For example, the entire magic system is based on Physics – 7-year-olds can recite and explain Newton’s Laws of Physics because this is necessary for their first level of spells.

Mission to Mars!

Guard Up! Inc has even been on a Mission to Mars!  This is part of their ongoing relationship with ST Unitas (the parent company of The Princeton Review and largest tech-ed company in Asia).  They wrote the curriculum for a story-based STEM camp in Seoul, Korea last year called “Mission to Mars” and it was hugely successful.  Since then, they have sent Guard Up! Inc numerous kids from Korea to a special Winter Camp that was held for them in the USA.

Meghan comments:

“It was a wonderful experience to have children from Seoul, South Korea attend special STEM summer and winter camps that we designed around the concept of a Mission to Mars.  The students, who are all bilingual, had to complete a variety of STEM projects in order for their space ship to arrive safely on Mars.  Then, they had to design building structures that could withstand high winds (which they discovered through experimentation would be geodesic shelters).  They had to navigate remote-controlled robots across the Mars terrain, and plan how to farm the soil for food production. 

Partnering with Harvard Graduate School of Education professors and ST Unitas has increased our global presence as a live, story-based educational adventure company where adults, teens, and kids “unplug” from computers and play the role of a hero. Our 2019 camps are already in the design phase and our team is once again ready to take kids on an exciting trip to Mars and beyond!”

You can read more about Mission to Mars here.


Superkid: Marley Dozier, Frontrunners Youth League Member

Great news from Mary Kurek about Marley Dozier, member of Frontrunners Youth League (Marley is also Mary’s mentee so is doubly pleased):

“So proud of Marley Dozier (Frontrunners Youth League) accepting a check for being named SuperKid from Camp Happy Kids in Carteret County.  Marley is adding this check to her funds to go to The Johns Hopkins University to explore a career in healthcare.”

This is the link to Mary’s original post on LinkedIn.  Marley was also featured in #12 The Introducer – The Real Value of Health Tech



#13 The Introducer – The Real Measure of Impact

Edition #13 of The Introducer stepped into the not-for-profit world and reported on some of the game changers who’re at the forefront of creating social impact.



Jake Harriman, Founder & CEO of Nuru International

Jake Harriman, Founder and CEO of Nuru International is one of the inspiring impact leaders featured.  Jake Harriman and Nuru International addresses challenges in violence-prone areas with solutions to extreme poverty.

In 2003, while serving as a Platoon Commander in the US Marine Corps Jake had a critically defining moment in his life…the kind of shock that changes you forever.

This was a pivotal moment which sewed the seeds of him wanting to get into development work.  A mentor informed him that he needed to acquire some credible experience doing development in more stable places before he jumped into conflict areas.  He created Nuru International, moved to Southwest Kenya on the border of Tanzania and started a pilot program with the help of a team of 3 others who shared the idea that if they could remove the desperation of extreme poverty then the opportunity for violence would dwindle.   The overwhelming task involved ending hunger, economic shock, maternal and child deaths, and improving literacy.

This was just the start and much more has been done since these early days.  Nuru’s solution is not a handout; it’s a partnership that includes the development of the partner’s own NGO so that Nuru can step onto the next project.  Having a model that can be adapted anywhere is key to creating sustainability and that’s priority one.

You can read the full article about Jake here.

Networking Opportunities 

The Introducer is the primary place for networking and Edition #13 was no exception.  There are so many opportunities just waiting to happen between Frontrunners League members – new and long-standing alike.  Take Jake, for example, featured above.

These are just a few of Mary’s networking suggestions:

Jake Harriman and Sonia Sachs – (both from the 13th edition) should connect as both are working on sustainable solutions in poor areas of Africa. They are operating differently and not necessarily under the same mission, but, they are both trying to improve conditions for people in these “fragile” areas. They might collaborate on meshing Sonia’s basic health systems approach into Jake’s multi-pronged solution.

Also, Jake and Anthony Jackson (1st edition) might connect as Jake mentions he is desirous of contacts in the UHNW space. Anthony has those connections….”

Take a look at Mary’s Edition #13 Networking post.

Head over to The Introducer website to discover more about how not-for-profits are helping to change the world for the better.


Funding Opportunity for Essential Open Source Software for Science

Robert Branch, League Advisory Board Member (#2 The Introducer) wanted to share this with fellow League members:

Open source software is a key ingredient of modern science. Hundreds of software packages, libraries, and applications have become essential tools. Despite its importance, the majority of open source software is undervalued and lacks funding for maintenance, growth, development, and community engagement — especially after its initial phase.  Until now that is…

First round of funding from The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative opens Jun 18, 2019.

Read the article here. | Apply here.


3D Printing – The Extra Dimension

We’d like to congratulate Chance Glenn (#3 The Introducer) on launching his eForge Electronic Alchemy website.  Their mission is to bring Electronics 3D printing capabilities to institutional, industrial, and end consumers.  The future really is here and heralded by Chance.   You can explore the website here.

Blockchain Corner…

[Blockchain Event] Convege2Xcelerate (#ConV2X 2019) Conference – call for entries

Tory Cenaj (#11 The Introducer – Women Leaders in Blockchain) would like to share the following with you:

Convege2Xcelerate (#ConV2X 2019) conference, invites you to participate in its 1st Annual Public Information Forum.  They have a call for entries open for:  Abstracts, Posters, and Workshops.

For more information, please check out this link.

[Book] Blockchain Technology for Global Social Change

We’re very excited to announce that Dr Jane Thomason‘s (#11 The Introducer – Women Leaders in Blockchain) new book ‘Blockchain Technology for Global Social Change’ will be published shortly. We’re looking forward to Jane drawing on her deep expertise to share insights into how blockchain can be harnessed as a positive force for global social change.

To pre-order your copy, please click here.

Jeanensis Update

We invited League Member, Ken Goodwin (#3 The Introducer) to do a guest post to share news about Jeanensis.  Over to you, Ken…

Kenneth A. Goodwin Jr., President of Jeanensis Capital Markets (“Jeanensis’) and noted trailblazer within Blockchain, FinTech and AI industries had an impactful month in May.  Jeanensis sponsored with respected host, Sullivan LLP the most diverse, value-added Blockchain , FinTech and AI symposium with the top industry leaders, venture capitalist, and financial institutions.

The Symposium addressed opportunities in mentoring for Women Leaders, trading strategies with digital assets, developments in AI and regulatory updates from prominent attorneys discussing issues within the Blockchain and FinTech space.

[images 2 and 3] Jeanensis was also a Strategic and Knowledge Partner at a very successful and well attended Smart Cities New York 3-Day symposium.

Three years ago, Ken and Dr. Jerry Hutlin, Founder of Smart Cities NYC met to plan and execute on getting more firms from Japan to participate at the Smart Cities, NYC event. Today, Smart Cities, NYC has a vibrant Japan Center that includes firms such as Shimizu Corporation, Daikin, Hitachi, and others. Through Smart Cities, NYC, Ken met global leaders in Finance, Business, Innovation and Technology, Federal, State, Local and Urban planners and engaged in comprehensive discussions on using data and technology applications across the globe.

 Ken, was invited to speak on TV on July 2nd, at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the Templum Digital Asset Report with hosts Patricia Wu and Vince Molinari. Ken will be announcing the timetable in launching the 144 B Fund, a hybrid digital asset allocation fund targeting mature and mid-market firms with opportunities for value appreciation.


And to end on an inspirational note…

Watch Wendy Steele’s speech (#6 The Introducer – Women’s Empowerment) as she shares her story and an address that is hopeful, encouraging, and uplifting.  The introduction begins at 13.12 mins and her remarks begin at 16.56 mins.  This is the link.

Keep on sending us your updates and networking interests.  You can contact Mary (mary@marykurek.com) and Annie (annie@frontrunnersleague.com).  Also, feel free to share any comments on the blog in the space below.