A year after the tragic events that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th, 2012, we are still heartbroken.
In the spirit of coming together to find technology solutions to gun violence, we invite you to participate in the Highground Hackers Symposium for Sandy Hook: Gun Violence Reduction & Mental Health on December 14th at the Twilio Headquarters in SF, and with the support of the California Institute of Integral Studies.
This is a unique opportunity to see demonstrations of technologies developed by the Highground Hackers, and to meet and listen to experts in the field of Mental Health, Big Data (predictive analytics), Neuroscience, Government, Mobile, Gaming, Education, NGO’s, Business, Technology, and Investment who are all working together to find solutions to the gun violence epidemic sweeping this nation.
Mayor Ed Lee
We are honored to have Ron Conway opening the event with his thoughts on what tech can do for this space. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will be sharing his thoughts on how cities can best help. The California Institute of Integral Studies, and an amazing group of other experts, will offer its expertise in the field of mental health, education, neuroscience, big data analytics, government, and more.
Some of the topics that will be presented:
Can mass shooters be stopped?
The neuroscience of human behavior
Hacking for mental wellness
Predicting crime through mathematical modeling
The mind of a perpetrator
Joseph Subbiondo, “Higher Education’s Role in Beloved Community”
Joseph L. Subbiondo, president of CIIS since June 1999, has an accomplished background in both administration and academics. He brings a 30-year history of achievement in higher education, including appointments on several international academic committees; and he has been active on many accreditation teams for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Subbiondo’s publications include extensive writings on the history of linguistics. Among his publications are studies of the history of philosophical language, 17th Century British educational reform, and the relation between language and the evolution of consciousness. Prior to coming to CIIS, he served as dean of the School of Liberal Arts at St. Mary’s College of California; vice president for academic affairs at the University of the Pacific; dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University; and as a professor of English and linguistics at four universities.
George Gascón, District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco
George Gascón is the District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. He has earned a national reputation as a criminal justice visionary and as a leader who uses evidence based practices to make communities safer by lowering crime. He is the first Latino to hold the office in San Francisco and is the nation’s first police chief to become District Attorney.
District Attorney Gascón was elected on an agenda to transform the criminal justice system and make San Francisco the safest large city in America. His approach to public safety and reform is based on the need to hold people accountable without breaking the wallets of California taxpayers. Throughout his thirty year career in law enforcement, he has successfully lowered crime in all his positions by taking a surgical approach to crime and offenders, seeking the right amount of intervention to change behavior and improve public safety.
Dr. Craig Chalquist, “From Violence to Peace: The Inside Story”
Craig Chalquist, PhD is department chair of East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where he teaches ecopsychology, and at John F. Kennedy University, where he launched the world’s first Certificate in Ecotherapy. He also worked as a therapist for six years specializing in the treatment of violent men. He is the author of several books, including those of the Animate California Series and Terrapsychology: Reengaging the Soul of Place, editor of Rebearths: Conversations with a World Ensouled, and co-editor of Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. His areas of professional interest include depth psychology, ecopsychology, mythology, history, ecoresilient communities, theoretical and qualitative research, phenomenology, and complexity science. He manages the Deep Educator Network at LinkedIn, and his website is Chalquist.com.
Dr. Meg Jordan, “Human Flourishing”
Department Chair of Integrative Health Studies and Somatic Psychology at CIIS. A clinical medical anthropologist, an award-winning international health journalist, behavioral medicine specialist, RN, author, and President of Global Medicine Enterprises, Inc.
Meg explores the latest findings from neuroscience and coaching psychology in a fully-embodied, conscious way in order to achieve essential well-being and happiness. She is an information portal for new research on social belonging, connection and relationships as the cornerstones of mental and physical health.
She can share new findings on emotional resiliency and agility to restore brain-mind-heart-spirit integrity in our relationships.
Dr. George Mohler, “Open Gun Crime Data and Predictive Policing”
George Mohler is Chief Scientist at PredPol, Inc and Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Santa Clara University. Prior to joining the faculty at Santa Clara University he was CAM Assistant Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at UCLA from 2008 to 2010. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Indiana University and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California Santa Barbara. His research on crime modeling and predictive policing has been featured in the New York Times, the Economist, TIME, Popular Science, and other international news outlets.
Dr. Adam Gazzaley, “Video Games as Behavioral Modifiers
Dr. Adam Gazzaley obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He is the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the UC San Francisco, an Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, and Principal Investigator of a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention and memory, with an emphasis on the impact of distraction and multitasking on these abilities. His unique research approach utilizes a powerful combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial stimulation (tCS).
Chris Cheng, “Gun Violence, A People Problem”
After working at Google in Mountain View, California for five years as a Program Manager in Google Enterprise and Google.org, Chris competed in, and won the History Channel’s Top Shot marksmanship competition. Having no prior military, law enforcement, or firearms training, Chris trained himself through YouTube, the web, and books, to beat seventeen competitors which included military veterans, law enforcement officer, olympic shooters, and hunters.
In addition to the title of “Top Shot,” Chris won $100,000 and a professional marksmanship contract with Bass Pro Shops. He quit Google in 2012 to pursue a brand new career. He has an upcoming book on leadership, personal and professional development, and marksmanship, which is titled “Shoot to Win,” and also has a TV show in development. Chris attended UCLA and the Monterey Institute of International Studies where he studied Political Science and International Policy, respectively. He also holds an Advanced Project Management Certification from Stanford University. Chris is a Lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and works closely with them on both the national and state levels to promote Second Amendment rights.
Dr. Richard Buggs, “Can Mass Shooters Really be Stopped?”
Dr. Bruggs will be speaking about neurology, consciousness, and creativity.
In 1996 he earned his PhD in Clinical Psychology from CIIS and has a BA from San Diego State University. He is a licensed psychologist and maintains a private practice in psychotherapy. Buggs previously served on the board of directors for Haight-Ashbury Psychological Services and on the board of the California Psychology Internship Council.
Ashok Narasimhan, ”Connecting the dots: Leveraging the City, CIIS, and the Technology Community to Serve the Public Good”
Ashok is an entrepreneur, investor, and businessman who has founded, created and run several successful billion dollar global corporations. He is now concentrating on philanthropy and following his non-business interests and is on the Board of Trustees of CIIS.
He was co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Runa, Inc, acquired by Staples in Sep 2013. Earlier, he founded Prio Inc. and served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from early 1996 until Prio’s merger with InfoSpace, and was subsequently as Chief Operating Officer and Board member of InfoSpace. Prior to this, he was part of the founding team and served as the Head of Worldwide Marketing, Business Development, Engineering and other functions at VeriFone and took it through its IPO (NYSE, $3B). Mr. Narasimhan was earlier the the Founding CEO of Wipro Infotech (NYSE, $ 28B) . He has been a Director on the Board of several companies in the US and India, primarily in the high tech and investment banking areas. He is an angel investor and an LP in leading VC firms in Silicon Valley. He is on the Board of Trustees for CIIS, the Board of the India Community Center (ICC) and other non-profit organizations. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management and a Bachelors Degree in Physics from Madras Christian College.
John Weiss, “Indirect Therapy – Hacking for Mental Health”
John Weiss is Director of the Bayview BOOM, a non-profit technology youth mentoring organization in a disadvantaged, violence-prone community in San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point. John’s tech mentoring work integrates his formal education in Child Development, Psychology, Behavioral Biology, and Public Mental Health at the University of Massachusetts and Hampshire College, and personal encounters with mental illness. John grew up with a screwdriver in one hand, and a drumstick in the other. As a teen, he disassembled alarm clocks to find out how they work, and taught himself computer programming. His mentoring work is based on the idea that emotional wellness is created by healthy social relationships, and that violence can be prevented by cultivating problem-solving behaviors.
Dr. Denise Boston, “University and Community-based Collaboration: Partners in Community Healing”
Dr. Denise Boston uses evidence-based art therapy to help children overcome trauma and socioeconomic disadvantage. EXA therapy supports social and emotional learning by enabling children to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive and cooperative relationships, make responsible decisions, and constructively handle challenging situations. Considerable research suggests that children’s participation in expressive arts therapy activities including dance, music, drama, writing, and artistic play positively correlates with higher academic performance and self-esteem, lessened incidence of dangerous and inappropriate behaviors, and more effective posttraumatic recovery.
Dr. Francis Kong MD, “The Journey Outside the Classroom”
Francis will talk about “The Journey Outside the Classroom”, covering the importance of one’s own life, the legacy you hope to leave behind, and three key values – Pride in your work, knowing your passion, and giving back and helping others.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, earning his MS at the University of San Francisco, and moonlighting as a video game reviewer and designer, Francis attended the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland.
Francis served as a lead healthcare technology and business consultant to operations such as Christus Health’s Strategic Planning Sector and Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation Center. In 2012, he founded the talent recruiting company, Edge Interns, which recruits motivated, focused, and team-oriented students in the areas of healthcare, business, and technology. Partnering with companies such as Salesforce and Health 2.0, he furthers the mission of helping students take pride in their work, find their passions, and help others along their life journey.
Dr. Frank Echenhofer, “Speculation about Future Self-Regulation Technologies”
Frank Echenhofer received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Temple University in 1985. He has been a clinical research associate at Temple University and has been in private practice since 1985. His specializations, which bridge east-west psychology, are in the general areas of eastern and western comparative psychology, philosophy, and psychophysiology.
He has done research in exceptional and deficit attention (ADHD, mild brain injury, single-pointed concentration and visualization meditation), EEG biofeedback for normalizing the EEG associated with attention and arousal level problems, and EEG assisted self-regulation methods for creativity, meditation facilitation, imagery self-regulation, and experimental transpersonal psychology.
Frank has conducted research with Tibetan Buddhist meditators in India and meditators from the United States. He has lectured and written articles on the physiology and phenomenology of meditation, the integration of developmental and transpersonal psychologies, comparative biological psychology, and Eastern psychology.
Dr. Stephen Racunas, “Compassion Technology”
Dr. Stephen Racunas was elected to the American Academy of Achievement for computational support of research that won the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Racunas has multiple bio-medical apps & kb’s deployed in production, and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation. Stephen has been a Fortune.com “Startup Idol” Finalist and completed “Design Garage” as the tech advisor for the entry profiled by “60 Minutes.” None of this matters as much as exercising kindness daily.
Stephen does not claim to have a solution for gun violence, but is willing to work with folks who have good ideas on Open Source code that could help.
Kakul Srivastava is CEO and co-founder of Tomfoolery, a mobile-first startup dedicated to building beautiful, useful apps for people who work. Over her 15 year career, Kakul has helped build some of the most loved consumer products — Adobe’s Photoshop line, Flickr, Yahoo! Messenger, and Yahoo! Mail. Kakul’s career at Yahoo! led her to become one of the top female executives in the company. As the VP, Product for the Communities & Communications Division that included Y!Mail, Y!Messenger, and Flickr products, she looked after a global monthly user base of over 500M people.
Kakul also believes passionately that Violence can not only be reduced, it can be eliminated, and as such as a very proud Co-Chair of the International Board for Cure Violence. Kakul has two children and also serves on the Board of her children’s preschool, Little School, as well as helps their elementary school, MCDS, develop excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Kakul is a graduate of MIT with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and also holds an MBA from the UC, Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Rebecca Elliot, “Conquering Conflict”
A San Francisco native, Rebecca spent 15 years with 3M Company, Electronic Products Division, known for its technology innovation. During her tenure, she focused primarily on product development and new business development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and a master’s degree in Consciousness Studies combining strong business acumen with an understanding of human psychological constructs. She provides executive coaching and consulting services through Elliott Coaching. In her time off, she loves the outdoors, and can be found hiking around the bay area hills, or near the ocean, and has an affinity for farmers’ markets.
She is interested in the intersection of technology with psychology, ecology, and consciousness, in service of uncovering solutions to today’s social and economic challenges. Rebecca is the founder of Earth Beauty Consciousness, a framework, a way of being, and a way of relating to the Earth through the dimension of Beauty, developed in response to the degradation of the natural world. She has presented her work to universities, and public and private organizations. She is published as a contributing author to the books Rebearths: Conversations with a World Ensouled; Storied Lives: Discovering and Deepening Your Personal Myth; and quoted as a subject-matter expert in Spit That Out: The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt. She has also served as a documentary film story consultant, contributed blog articles, and given radio interviews on environmental awareness topics. Rebecca is the current Board Chair for the non-profit Earth Medicine Alliance. She provides executive coaching and consulting services through Elliott Coaching for both business development, and personal growth and development.
Jessica Berlinski, “If…” Social & Emotional Learning App
Jessica Berlinski is Chief Learning Officer and Co-founder of If You Can, a San Francisco and London based company dedicated to building Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills in youth via a game platform. She joins Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins in creating the first scalable, entertaining digital tool to build emotional intelligence, address bullying and to promote the safe, supportive climates where skills like empathy, perseverance and responsible decision-making can thrive.
Berlinski last served as Managing Director of GameDesk, a national non-profit focused on educational transformation through play and making. She led business development, strategic partnerships, fundraising, and marketing, and was a key force behind GameDesk’s award of AT&T’s largest programmatic educational grant in history. Through her work at GameDesk, and as an invited member of the White House’s Academic Consortium on Games for Impact, she worked to promote social change through serious games.
Berlinski currently serves on the Sandy Hook Promise’s Tech Committee, dedicated to identifying and supporting new technologies to promote safe school climate, advances in mental health, and gun control. Prior to her non-profit work, she spent seven years as a Talent and Literary Manager in Los Angeles, CA.
Kristen Berman, “Behavioral Economics Approach to Pushing Through Policy Changes”
Kristen founded Irrational Labs (irrationallabs.org) with Dan Ariely to help companies understand and leverage behavioral economics – how and why people make the decisions they do. She works with clients such as Google, Intuit, Netflix, Lyft as well as disruptive startups to design and implement behavioral economics solutions to their urgent problems.
She personally experienced the need for behavior sciences in product development and marketing while designing household-name products at Intuit and Lytro and had huge success applying academic insights on human behavior to her own work. She’s built product management and marketing systems for small businesses and consumers, in domestic and international markets, for mobile and web, working on front and back end systems.
The core thread throughout this all is a deep passion for understanding why people behave the way they do and then building solutions that make their lives better.
Want to get more involved in this event? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for volunteers, sponsors, and industry experts.
Who we are
Highground Hackers is a group of civic minded developers, technology executives, entrepreneurs and investors working to connect engineering talent with non-technical experts in different fields of public concern. Read our Mission Statement.
Lastly we believe strongly that our collective sum is much stronger than our individual parts, so please spread the word about this event far and wide! Thank you for helping us protect our communities & more importantly our children from gun violence!