Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, adventurer, and author. He has twice been named to Time Magazine's annual list of the “100 Most Influential People." Alan’s adventurous spirit led him to successfully travel to the farthest depths of the ocean to visit the Titanic in the ill-fated Titan sub and launch into space on a suborbital flight through Virgin Galactic. Alan led NASA's New Horizons mission to the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt. As NASA chief for all space and Earth science programs, he directed a $4.4 billion organization with 93 separate flight missions and a program of over 3,000 research grants. During his NASA tenure, a record 10 major new flight projects were started.
Dr. David Gallo is a renowned oceanographer who has explored the depths of all the world's oceans. He has given numerous TED Talks including one of the most viewed talks of all time, has appeared as an expert in multiple documentaries and TV shows, and is a frequent contributor on national news media for ocean-related incidents. David was a co-leader in creating a comprehensive map of the Titanic using new technology consisting of manned submersibles and robots, and he co-led the discovery of the remains of Air France flight 447. David has received many honors for his work including being an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a National Fellow of the Explorers Club, and a recipient of the Lotus Club Distinguished Achievement Award just to name a few.
Maureen “Mo” Beck was born without her left hand, but that didn’t stop her from picking up the sport of climbing at the age of 12. Named National Geographic’s “Adventurer of the Year,” she works closely with the adaptive climbing community as an instructor with Paradox Sports and is the Chair of the USAC Paraclimbing Committee. As a competitive climber, Mo has won 9 national titles and 2 world titles. In 2018, she went on her first alpine expedition to the Northwest Territories in Canada’s Nahanni National Park where she and fellow adaptive climber Jim Ewing attempted the legendary Lotus Flower Tower.
Dr. Niall McCann is a National Geographic Explorer, Adventurer, and Mountain Rescuer, who has been leading multi-disciplinary expeditions to the far-flung parts of the planet for over 20 years. Niall has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, skied across Greenland, cycled over the Himalayas, and been on multiple rock climbing and mountaineering trips around the world. Niall’s talk will take us on a journey to the most inhospitable parts of the earth, leading expeditions across oceans and icecaps, and into jungles and mountain ranges all around the world.
William Holmes, better known as Will Keeps, was born into a traumatic life in Chicago, Illinois. Like many teenage boys on the South Side, Will found a form of love and security when he joined the Blackstones gang at the age of 13. Two years later, Will witnessed a rival gang murder his friend. When the gun was pointed to his own head, it jammed, but he was beaten and tortured nearly to death, leaving him badly scarred inside and out. Though he survived, this was only the beginning of Will’s second act, a life devoted to saving others. Coupling advocacy with music, Will found that his God-given abilities and his story of bravery and perseverance empower others to go down a better path through his Starts Right Here initiative. He is also the author of a recent memoir entitled, WillPower.
Commander Susan Kilrain is a renowned astronaut, a distinguished navy test pilot and aerospace engineer, and a world traveler. She is the youngest person, and one of only three women, to pilot the space shuttle. Susan served twenty years in the navy, helping to pave the way for female fighter pilots. She has flown more than 3,000 flight hours in more than thirty different aircraft, and she was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal. Susan flew as pilot of the STS-83 and STS-94 shuttle missions, spending more than twenty days in space. She is also the author of a children’s book entitled, An Unlikely Astronaut.
Jonathan Frakes is an accomplished actor and director. Following several guest appearances on various television series, Jonathan landed the role of Commander Riker on the long-running TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition to live action, Jonathan has also lent his voice to animated projects, including the cult favorite Disney animated series Gargoyles, Matt Groening’s Futurama, and Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy. He holds a unique distinction among Star Trek actors being the only regular to appear in six different Trek television series. Beyond acting, Jonathan is also a veteran director, having helmed several episodes within six different Star Trek series and other television shows such as The Orville, The Librarians, and NCIS: Los Angeles and feature films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection.
Brent Spiner is an actor and author, best known for his role as the android “Data” in the Star Trek: Next Generation franchise. He won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Data in the motion picture Star Trek: First Contact and was nominated in the same category for portraying Dr. Brackish Okun in the movie Independence Day. Brent has performed in several Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, appeared in several television series including Night Court, Frasier, The Big Bang Theory, and Friends, and in other movies such as Independence Day: Resurgence, The Aviator, Out to Sea, and Phenomenon. Brent is a talented musician and the author of Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True Events.
ciLive! will conclude with a special concert featuring the band, The Grass Roots. You may not recognize the name, but you will definitely know their music. The band has charted 29 singles; 13 of which went gold followed by 2 gold albums and 1 platinum album. In the entire history of Rock n' Roll, only 9 bands (including The Beatles) have charted more hits on Billboard's Hot 100 than The Grass Roots. They have sold over 20 million records worldwide with hits like Temptation Eyes, Let's Live for Today, Midnight Confessions, Two Divided by Love, Sooner or Later, and I'd Wait a Million Years.