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.

Nina Bilimoria Angelo

Nina Bilimoria Angelo

Vice President Product Marketing

Top Hat

Nina Bilimoria Angelo is Top Hat’s VP of product marketing, responsible for the company’s overall message and value proposition.

With over ten years of senior leadership experience in both the publishing and technology sectors, Angelo joined Top Hat from Pearson, where she led product strategy teams that focused on personalized learning and analytics.

A seasoned “intrapreneur,” Angelo specializes in leading cross-functional teams in strategy creation and execution, market research, product positioning and change management. She holds a BA in International Relations & Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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