Keynotes

Author James Patterson

James Patterson

Bestselling Author and Literacy Activist

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, and I Funny. Among his notable literary collaborations are The President Is Missing, with President Bill Clinton, and the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate.

Patterson’s writing career is characterized by a single mission: to prove that there is no such thing as a person who “doesn’t like to read,” only people who haven’t found the right book. He’s given over three million books to schoolkids and the military, donated more than seventy million dollars to support education, and endowed over five thousand college scholarships for teachers. The National Book Foundation recently presented Patterson with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and he is also the recipient of an Edgar Award and six Emmy Awards.

James Patterson’s JIMMY Patterson book imprint provides resources, strategies, and programs to serve teachers, parents, and librarians — and proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books are invested in pro-reading initiatives. Patterson also founded ReadKiddoRead.com, a website designed to help ignite a new generation’s excitement for reading.

Astrophysicist Jedidah Isler, Ph.D.

Jedidah Isler, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth University and Advocate for Equity in STEM

As the first black woman to earn her PhD in astrophysics from Yale University, Dr. Isler is dedicated to using STEM education as a pathway for social justice. An engaging and passionate speaker, Dr. Isler’s TED talks have been seen more than 3 million times — focusing both on far-flung galaxies and the vast equity gaps here on Earth.

Dr. Isler studies hyperactive, supermassive black holes. Her scientific research explores the physics of blazars – supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies that create particle jets moving at nearly the speed of light. Her innovative and award-winning research has been supported by fellowships from the NSF, NASA, and the Ford Foundation and she has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including NPR’s All Things Considered and TED Radio Hour, the Science Channel’s How the Universe Works, and the 2016 National Geographic feature miniseries MARS.

Dr. Isler is an outspoken advocate of inclusion and empowerment in STEM fields and is the creator and host of Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM. Her non-profit organization, The STEM en Route to Change (SeRCH) Foundation, Inc., is dedicated to using STEM as a pathway for social justice and has developed a variety of initiatives including the #VanguardSTEM online platform and web series.