MEET OUR FINALIST JUDGES!
Eric S. Rollman
Eric S. Rollman is the CEO of Rollman Entertainment, where this former Saban, Fox Family and Marvel exec, and Emmy winner, uses his unique strategic expertise to transform world-class brands into multi-faceted entertainment companies through the creation of content produced to engage and delight kids and families. Since 2010, Rollman has brought over 500 episodes to air, across 7 series and four films.
Rollman is currently the Supervising Producer on Skylanders Academy (Activision Studios/Netflix), Co-Creator/EP of the 2016 Emmy-winner for Outstanding Children's Series Sea Rescue for ABC; and Co-Creator/EP of the multiple Emmy-nominated The Wildlife Docs also for ABC. Other recent projects include the Emmy-nominated NFL: Rush Zone for Nicktoons; the animated feature Madea’s Tough Love; Iesodo, a #1 ranked faith-based kids series; LBX: Little Battlers Experience for Nicktoons, and International Emmy-winner The Jungle Bunch. Clients and partners include The NFL, Activision Blizzard Studios, SeaWorld, Dentsu, Capcom, Lionsgate, Mattel, Alcon, and Legendary. An enviable slate of high profile projects are in development, giving a colorful portfolio to the burgeoning organization.
Eric Rollman serves as the chief strategy officer for the Private Redemption Foundation and as President, Generation Genius, an educational platform uniquely positioned to deliver curriculum aligned content to educators.
Grace Ellis is a writer best known for co-creating and co-writing Lumberjanes, a New York Times bestseller and Eisner Award winning comic book about monster-fighting girl scouts. Her new book, Moonstruck, is about lesbian werewolf baristas and is available now from Image Comics. Grace lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she co-parents a preternaturally smart cat, even though she's usually more of a dog person.
James Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota. His research in Condensed Matter Experimental Physics concerns the synthesis and characterization of amorphous and nanostructured semiconductors. He has also been active in public outreach and engagement, through talks, videos and popular science books THE PHYSICS OF SUPERHEROES, THE AMAZING STORY OF QUANTUM MECHANICS and THE PHYSICS OF EVERYDAY THINGS. He has been reading comic books longer than he has been studying physics.
Jeffrey Vinokur, 27, holds a PhD in "Biochemistry, Molecular, and Structural Biology" from UCLA, has performed wild science experiments on the NBC Today Show, ABC's The View, and has over 25 million YouTube views as a hip hop dancer. Vinokur has a contagious passion for science and specializes in getting audiences of all ages excited about it through live shows and educational videos. His stage show has toured 7 times with presentations at the World Science Festival, Smithsonian Institution, and over 300 schools from San Francisco to Boston. To share his passion with as many people as possible. Jeff has invented hit science toys found in Toys-R-Us, consults on science shows for Netflix and Fox, and conducts cutting-edge research on biofuels. His science credits include a full scholarship at UCLA, prestigious fellowships from the National Science Foundation, and an impressive track record of scientific publications. Vinokur is the founder of Generation Genius, a digital library of entertaining videos that follow the Next Generation Science Standards and include supplementary materials.
Jim Olds is University Professor of Neuroscience and Public Policy at George Mason University. He served for the last three years as head of the Biological Sciences Directorate at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), responsible for an annual budget of $750M. Olds’ former directorate funds the majority of non-biomedical research at America’s research institutions. While there, he was also NSF lead for President Obama’s White House BRAIN project, deputy lead for NSF on Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot and co-chaired the White House Life Sciences Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council.
Prior to his time at NSF, Olds was the Director of George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, Chair of the Molecular Neuroscience Department and the Shelley Krasnow University Professor of Molecular Neuroscience.
Olds received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Michigan and his BA in chemistry from Amherst College.
Director of P-12 Practice. As the Director of P-12 Practice, Keith works to ensure that lessons from classrooms, schools, and districts inform Ed Trust advocacy and its policy development process. Prior to joining The Education Trust, Keith worked for 13 years in various academic roles throughout the Baltimore City Public Schools district, most recently as the special assistant for the chief academic officer. He began his career in Baltimore as an elementary mathematics teacher, a position he held after coming to the district as a Teach for America corps member.
Dr. Leah Hanes brings a unique set of professional and personal experiences to her role as Executive Director at Two Bit Circus Foundation. Beginning her career in Toronto, Leah produced and hosted an award-winning television series profiling woman in non-traditional roles. This lead her to Los Angeles, where she appeared on-camera conducting interviews and hosting a variety of programs covering environmental issues, business and politics.
She eventually segued into other areas of the entertainment industry, notably as the President of a boutique talent agency representing Academy Award-winning cinematographers, editors and production designers. She also spent several years owning and running an acting school for children and teens, during a period she describes as her “empty nest” adjustment.
Her early life on a farm in Canada nurtured a strong sense of environmental stewardship while her first college experience was in Early Childhood Education, illuminating a solid direction to follow in her recent academic endeavors. Dr. Hanes holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management as well as a PhD. From Antioch University’s Graduate School for Leadership and Change.
All of these variables lead to a confluence of skills and knowledge that fit perfectly into the Two Bit Circus Foundation ecosystem. When she’s not spreading the STEAM word across California, she loves spending time with her grandchildren.
Gia Mora, Taryn O’Neill and Tamara Krinsky are the Scirens—the screen sirens for science. As science enthusiastic actresses and writers, their quest is to champion science literacy through entertainment. They believe that creativity isn’t the exclusive domain of the arts and that critical thinking doesn’t just belong in the lab. They believe that understanding the scientific method helps us find ways to approach the important questions in our lives. And they believe that if young women can see female scientists on the big screen, they can see themselves in those roles in real life.
Zach Weinersmith is the creator of the popular webcomic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, as well as the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses, and the New York Times bestselling popular science book, Soonish.
Generation Nano Competition
National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Ave
Alexandria, VA 22314
Follow the competition #GenNano
Who: 6-12 grade -- individuals or teams of 2-3
What: A short comic OR video to tell a story and describe how your hero uses science on their mission or quest
When: Enter between Sept. 18, 2017-Jan. 10, 2018, 11:59 p.m. EST