Dr. LeBlanc, GW Leaders to Discuss Education and Technology at eMerge Americas

Members of the GW faculty will speak about the most pressing technology issues of the day at the annual eMerge Americas Conference in Miami Beach.

April 25, 2019

Thomas LeBlanc Speaks at podium

President Thomas LeBlanc will lead a group of GW faculty and staff participating in the eMerge Americas Conference. (William Atkins/GW Today)

George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc and other members of the GW community will talk about the future of higher education and its intersection with technology and other topics at the eMerge Americas Conference, the premier technology event that links Latin America to the rest of the world.

This will be GW’s first participation in the annual conference— which kicks off next week—since the university launched its partnership with eMerge Americas with a student pitch competition in February. The conference is an opportunity for GW to showcase its strengths in science, technology and engineering on a global stage.

Dr. LeBlanc said he appreciates faculty involvement and wants to “thank the faculty members who have embraced this opportunity to showcase the thought leadership and innovative research underway at the George Washington University.”

“Through presentations, discussions and demonstrations, faculty members will highlight how GW brings together expertise in science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and policy to tackle global challenges,” he said.

On April 29, Dr. LeBlanc will host a “fireside chat” with GW alumnus Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), about the ways higher education and government can promote and support technology and innovation as part of the sixth annual eMerge Americas eGOV SummitFrank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, will moderate the discussion.

Mr. Sesno said that GW’s role at the eMerge Americas Conference demonstrates the university’s commitment to being out front on the technological and social issues of our time.

“GW faculty, researchers and students are collaborating on work that will drive discovery and shape the future,” Mr. Sesno said. “I’m delighted to take part in discussions at eMerge Americas and amplify our mission to an international audience of government, media and industry leaders.”

In addition to the eGov summit with Dr. LeBlanc, Mr. Sesno and Mr. Soto, J.D. ’04,  other participants from the GW community include:

Jim Chung, GW’s associate vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, will give a Launchpad Presentation on April 29 about GW's iCorps program and the success it has had in launching new ventures. The presentation is titled “Global Lessons from the World’s Largest Technology Accelerator.”

GW faculty will host and participate in a panel discussion on April 29 that will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of digital technologies and networks. The panel is titled “The Promise and Peril of Digital Technology” and will feature Mr. Sesno; David Broniatowski, assistant professor in SEAS; Steve Livingston, SMPA professor; and Elvira-Maria Restrepo, associate professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Elaine Lammert, director of GW’s Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management programs and former senior FBI leader, will participate in a panel titled “User Privacy in the Surveillance Economy” on April 29.

Ms. Lammert and Connie Uthoff, associate director of the Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management Program, will also serve as panelists during a provocative cyberattack scenario that simulates an attack on the U.S. electrical grid. Visitors to GW’s exhibit booth at the conference will serve as decision makers in a mock “situation room” during the interactive experience.

Kathy Korman Frey from GW's Hot Mommas Project, the world’s largest women’s case study library, will participate in a panel during the Women, Innovation and Technology (WIT) Summit titled “Disrupting Venture Capital: Funding Women Entrepreneurs” on April 30.

During the two-day conference April 29-30 in Miami Beach, a half dozen faculty members also will share their innovative research on issues such as data privacy and cancer treatment. 

Three GW teams of entrepreneurs were selected to advance to the eMerge Americas Startup Showcase during a pitch competition hosted at the university in February. The judges, which included university trustees and eMerge Americas leadership, sought the best and most innovative digital solutions to problems in industries including health, finance, education and artificial intelligence. The teams are:

  • KnoNap – a cocktail napkin that, upon saturation, is capable of indicating the presence of select date rape drugs.
  • Nanochon – a startup that creates 3D-printed knee cartilage implants.
  • M-Size Me – a ground-breaking digital obesity management tool designed to help doctors visually explain an obesity diagnosis and to help teens achieve their weight-loss goals.

The teams will compete in the global startup showcase with more than 100 other companies. The event will also offer two days of interactive experiences and networking events.