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The Speakers




The Honorable County Executive, Howard County, MD


Dr. Calvin Ball 

Transformational Leadership - Creating the Future

The Honorable Dr. Calvin Ball is a Maryland native and resident of Columbia for over 20 years.

He made history in 2006 when he was elected as the youngest Council Chairperson in Howard County history. He made history again in 2018 by becoming the first African American to be elected as Howard County Executive.  

Re-elected in 2022, Dr. Ball remains dedicated to ensuring our communities are safe, strong, and accessible for all. Howard County continues to be a regional and national leader, as County Executive Ball continues to champion education, environmental conservation, the health and well-being of our residents, investments in public safety and fiscal responsibility.

Transformational vision builds the best communities, and his team has implemented innovative programs and policy solutions that are data-informed and people driven.


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Delegate Natalie Ziegler

Legislating for the Future

Del. Natalie Ziegler represents district 9A in the Maryland House of Delegates. She sits on the Environment and Transportation Committee, which considers legislation on a wide range of topics including housing, agriculture, conservation, transit, and renewable energy.

Delegate Ziegler earned her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.A. from Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies. Her first career was in broadcast journalism, primarily at CNN, where she worked as a segment producer, booking and interviewing guests, writing interviews for anchors, and putting together talk shows. She served with Voices for Children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in the foster care system, and she has volunteered as a reading tutor for adults at South Baltimore Learning Center. As a farmer, she helps to fight food insecurity by growing food for local food pantries. Delegate Ziegler lives in Howard County with her husband John. Together they own and operate Carroll Mill Farm, growing feed grains and rye for the distillery market.  They have been married 34 years and raised two children.



Member Maryland House of Delegates for District 9A


Student Member of the Board (SMOB), HCPSS. Senior @ Wilde Lake High School


Abisola Ayoola

Student Leadership and Advocacy

Abisola Ayoola has been hard at work since she became the Student Member of the Board (SMOB) last year. Her term, after all, lasts only a year and she knows there is so much to accomplish. “My term as student member only lasts a year, and it is very important to me that I use that time purposefully.”

So far, she has made great strides in her efforts to inform and engage students to encourage them to have a voice in the decisions of the Board of Education. One example of this is her continuing advocacy for students to testify before the Board of Education. “It is important for students to testify at the Board because it is the most effective and efficient way to give input on the topics that matter most,” she explains.

Dr. Richa Agarwala

Pathogen identification for food safety

Richa Agarwala is a senior scientist at NCBI. She leads a team that does research and development on methods for analyzing sequence data. Some projects her team has contributed to are sequence assembly (including human and mouse genomes), BLAST sequence alignment software, genome annotation, contamination screening, and Pathogen Detection Pipeline. Richa is active in her community as a volunteer for three organizations with mission of communicating Hindu philosophy (Chinmaya Mission), working on climate solutions (MC-FACS), and advising the Montgomery county executive on the needs and concerns of faith communities (FCAG).



Senior Scientist, NCBI


Howard County Office of Community Sustainability


Natalie Buscemi

LED Light Bulb Exchanges

Natalie is working with the Howard County Office of Sustainability to develop new ideas, programs, and strategies to advance climate action and energy conservation.  Natalie enjoys working with communities to improve environmental impacts and influence behavioral change. She is also keen on biodiversity and how its loss impacts our ecosystem. Natalie holds a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries from Frostburg State University.

Through the Youth Climate Institute, she has had the opportunity to be the Mentor for the Energy Action Team. She has worked with the high school students on her team to spread awareness on energy efficiency. Most importantly, how we can implement LED Light Bulb Exchanges throughout Howard County.

Sienna R Gowda

Teaching Machines - AI and Its Implications on Society

Sienna Rader-Gowda is a Junior at River Hill High School. She became interested in AI after finishing AP Computer Science Principles in her Freshman Year. Diving deeper into AI the summer of her Junior year, she was accepted into Veritas AI’s AI boot camp, where Harvard graduates trained 12 students on Machine Learning and coding. She currently operates Smartphone Q&A, a nonprofit, where she coaches residents of assisted living facilities. She is excited to be able to share her knowledge of AI at the TEDx event on March 19th!



Junior @ River Hill High School

Aadvik Vashist

Breaking Barriers with AI: Creating a More Inclusive Education System

Aadvik Vashist is a full-time high school student, entrepreneur, researcher, and space enthusiast with a passion for making a positive impact on the world. Aadvik founded Noduro, a nonprofit dedicated to developing AI-powered interactive learning technology for individuals with Autism. He aims to be able to allow individuals diagnosed with Autism the opportunity to utilize his interactive learning tools from anywhere in the world. He also researches the seasonal atmospheric changes of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. In his free time, Aadvik enjoys watching Formula One, traveling, and tinkering. Through his work and hobbies, he strives to learn and contribute as much as possible to the world around him.



Junior @ River Hill High School


Sophomore @ River Hill High School


Daniel Ohadi

Global Debt: Is it slowing us down or paving a way for bright future?

Daniel Ohadi is passionate about sports, technology, and making a positive impact on the world. With a keen interest in soccer and an avid follower of the latest trends in the automotive and smart tech industries, Daniel is always eager to learn and stay up-to-date on the latest innovations.

His research interests are diverse, but his latest interests have been focused around the impact of video games on adolescents. He is fascinated by the effects of video games on mental, physical, and emotional states, as well as academic performance and overall productivity.

Hailey Park

Flaws: A Gateway to Happiness?

My name is Hailey Park, and I am a freshman in RHHS. Some things I love to do are playing volleyball, creating art, dancing, and singing! My topic is how the butterfly effect impacts our lives as high schoolers specifically. If we do not know what leads to what, how can we make the right choice?



Freshman @ River Hill High School


Freshman @ River Hill High School


Vivian Raj

 Animal Experimentation: Effectiveness, Morality, Expenses and Alternatives

Hello! I am Vivian Raj, a freshman at River Hill High School. Outside of school, I enjoy playing my violin, playing volleyball and studying for Science Olympiad with my friends. Since a very young age, I’ve been passionate about the protection of animals and wildlife. I am excited to share more about animal experimentation and the steps that are being taken to end it at the TEDxRiverHillHS event on March 19th!


The Venue

River Hill High School

12101 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, MD 21029

River Hill High School is a public high school in Clarksville, Maryland, United States. It is part of the Howard County public schools system. 

The Venue




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