Our Speakers

Chris Emdin

Dr. Christopher Emdin

Associate Professor

Columbia University

Dr. Emdin is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education.

He is the creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement and Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S., author of the award-winning book Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation and the New York Times Best Seller, For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood...and the Rest of Y’all Too.

Dr. Emdin was named the 2015 Multicultural Educator of the Year by the National Association of Multicultural Educators and has been honored as a STEM Access Champion of Change by the White House under President Obama.

Lauren Herckis

Dr. Lauren Herckis


Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Herckis is an anthropologist at Carnegie Mellon University who specializes in faculty culture and the use of technology in higher education. In her research, she applies anthropological methods and theory to explore the ways people engage with innovative technologies, and how these technologies shape culture.

A former Fulbright fellow, Dr. Herckis is affiliated with Carnegie Mellon's Simon Initiative, Block Center for Technology and Society, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Today, her research informs policy making, shapes the development of learning technologies, and illuminates aspects of organizational culture and policy which affect teaching practice.

Mike Silagadze

Mike Silagadze

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Top Hat

Mike Silagadze is the CEO and founder of Top Hat. Under Silagadze’s leadership, Top Hat has become the market leader in student engagement software, and is used by millions of students at three-quarters of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America.

Named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2018, Silagadze is actively involved with the entrepreneurial and startup community. He has been on the board of Ontario Centres of Excellence since 2014 and is an angel investor in a number of startups.

Silagadze is an active speaker in the higher education, technology and startup communities, having lectured at the Rotman Commerce Entrepreneurship Organization, the ASU GSV Summit, MaRS, Tech Fest Toronto, SAAS North and T­E­Dx­Laurier­University.

Eran Ben Ari

Eran Ben-Ari

Chief Product Officer

Top Hat

Eran Ben-Ari is Top Hat’s CPO, and oversees all product-related functions, including product management, development, design and analytics.

Ben-Ari joined Top Hat from Kik Interactive, where he was the CPO, and led a cross-functional team of more than 50 professionals. Prior to that, he fulfilled product-focused leadership roles in both B2B and B2C companies, as VP of Product at Rounds Entertainment (acquired by Kik), VP of Growth at Hola (acquired by EMK Capital), and VP of Product at Kampyle (acquired by Medallia).

Announcing the Top Hat Efficacy Grant Program Proposal

In 2019–2020, Top Hat will be granting $8,000 to five innovative educators to investigate how various implementations of the Top Hat platform impact teaching effectiveness, engagement and learner outcomes in their class, or in a wider field of study.

While grants will be awarded prior to Engage 2020, grant applicants, if their proposal is selected, are required to present their research proposal in a symposium format during the conference.

Read more and apply for the Top Hat Efficacy Grant Program

Register for Top Hat Engage 2020 now!

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