Nichole Pinkard is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and Faculty Director of the Office Community Education Partnerships. She is the founder of Digital Youth Network and L3, a social learning platform that connects youth’s learning opportunities across the school, home, community, and beyond. Through collaborations with city agencies (e.g. YOUmedia with the Chicago Public Library, City of Learning with Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and My Chi My Future with Mayor Lightfoot). Dr. Pinkard and DYN’s work has ignited new models for reimagining, visualizing, and documenting learning across spaces through the creation of existence proofs in urban contexts.
Dr. Pinkard is the recipient of a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, 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 from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. Her current scholarly interests include the design and use of pedagogical-based social networks and socio-technical systems to support community-level ecological models of learning.
Dr. Robert Thirsk received degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Medicine and Business Administration from the University of Calgary, MIT and McGill University. Bob has flown on two spaceflights: a mission aboard the shuttle Columbia and an expedition aboard the International Space Station. Bob continues to promote an economy based upon exploration, innovation and lifelong learning.