Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition and Conference

Panelists, Speakers, & Judges

Angela O’Sullivan

Navitas Ventures
Finalist Judge

Based in New York, Angela leads marketing and communications for Navitas Ventures, the venturing arm of Navitas, a global education provider with 120 education businesses in 26 countries around the world. Navitas Ventures pushes the boundaries of conventional thinking on learning and imagines new possibilities by investing and partnering in innovation that will reimagine education in a global future.

In this role, Angela is responsible for the global positioning of Navitas Ventures distinctive brand and directing all strategic marketing and communications initiatives. With more than 15 years’ experience working at the forefront of international student education in the US, China, Taiwan, the UK, and Australia, Angela brings her extensive industry knowledge and expertise in global education markets to her role in Navitas Ventures.

Angela holds a BA in Modern Asian Studies majoring in Chinese, a Postgraduate Certificate in Business, and is currently studying a Master of Business Administration.
Twitter: @OSullivanAC

Beth LaGuardia Cooper

Beth LaGuardia Cooper

American Public University System
Finalist Judge

Beth LaGuardia Cooper leads branding, marketing strategy and communications, and public relations for APUS. She joined APUS in 2003 and has helped to establish and grow the American Military University and American Public University brands, based on a low-cost model with an emphasis on customer intimacy and emerging growth strategies. In her role, she is responsible for strengthening the AMU and APU brands vis-a-vis a strategy that is consistent with APUS’s commitment to integrity, transparency, and innovation in the online higher education space. She invests most of her time motivating talented team members through the establishment of high standards, encouragement of new ideas and team collaboration; and by leveraging data to evolve strategy, solve challenges, and achieve goals and objectives.

Prior to APUS, Beth managed product and segment marketing initiatives for NICE Systems, a leading technology provider in call center quality management, where she established a new offering for NICE products in the healthcare segment. Beth has also held product marketing positions at KeyBridge Corporation, a technology services start-up; LifeMinders, the largest e-mail direct marketing company on the web in 2001; Locus Direct Marketing Group, a full-service marketing agency; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. LaGuardia Cooper holds an A.B. degree in Economics from Duke University and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Maryland’s Smith School.

Bobbi Kurshan

Innovation @ Penn GSE

Dr. Barbara (Bobbi) Kurshan is a leader, researcher and expert in the fields of education technology, entrepreneurship and investment in education. She currently serves as a Senior Fellow and innovation Advisor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (GSE). She previously was the Executive Director of Academic Innovation and a Senior Fellow at GSE where she managed the Milken-Penn GSE Business Plan Competition and developed and oversaw the Maters in Education Entrepreneurship program. In the past, she served as the President of Educorp Consultants Corporation, where she provided strategic consulting in the areas of education, technology and innovation; and as the Executive Vice President of WorldSage, a consortium of for-profit higher education institutions in the EU to address education for the 21st century. As the past Executive Director of Curriki, she helped build a robust global open source education community and conducted primary research on the use of OER. Dr. Kurshan served as the Co-CEO of Core Learning, an education investment fund, and the Chief Academic Officer of bigchalk. Numerous publishing credits and research articles include topics that explore women in technology, how kids learn using computers, OER, entrepreneurial mindsets, and innovation education ecosystems.

Twitter: @bkurshan

Jason Young

Jason Young

MindBlown Labs & Milken Scholar
Finalist Judge

Jason is Co-Founder and CEO of MindBlown Labs, a Silicon Valley-based financial wellness innovation lab. MindBlown Labs specializes in the gamification of personal finance and creates solutions that engage, educate and motive Millennials and members of Gen Z to save and invest for the future.  In 2014, Jason was appointed by President Obama to a special advisory council on financial capability for young Americans. In 2017, Jason became the youngest member of the board of the National Endowment for Financial Education.  He is currently working with several senior executives throughout the retirement industry to bring groundbreaking new solutions to market. Jason is also Co-Founder and Board Chair of The Hidden Genius Project, a non-profit that trains and mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership.  The goal of Hidden Genius is to expand economic opportunity by creating career pathways into the tech industry for those who would not normally have access. Prior to founding these organizations, he was part of the founding team of He also worked at Merrill Lynch as a senior specialist. Jason received an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College.

Mallory Dyer


After watching tight budgets threaten bright futures in her classroom, college Math Professor Mallory Dyer created GraphLock, a ground-breaking calculator app with a lockdown function.

Growing up on a cattle ranch in Arizona, Mallory quickly learned the value of hard work. When she wasn’t helping out on the family farm or at her parents’ livestock auction, Mallory could be found on the basketball court. She fell in love with the sport as a toddler and even met her future husband, Josh, at a summer basketball camp when she was just 4 years old.

After being told she was too short to play college basketball, Mallory received a scholarship to Central Arizona College, became captain of the team and in 2005, won the NJCAA National Championship. As a student-athlete, Mallory also earned the honors of Outstanding First Year Student and Math Student of the Year.

In college, she noticed how big of a problem math was for many of the fellow students, so she started tutoring in the dorms, and her passion for math education began. She then traded in her team jersey and became an Assistant Coach for CAC, while completing her Mathematics degree at Arizona State University. Not sure what profession to pursue, Mallory turned to her advisor and was told she could never become an actuary because she would never pass the exams. That day, Mallory signed up to take Exam P of the Society of Actuaries, passed it on her first attempt, and landed a job before graduating summa cum laude.

After a brief stint as an actuary, Mallory soon realized her true passion was in education, so she completed her master’s degree and returned to her alma mater as a Professor of Mathematics. She remained a coach while teaching and in 2009, won the NJCAA National Championship - making her one of the few to win a National Championship both as a player and a coach.

Mallory paved the way for innovation in the Math Department by trying out new technologies, training other professors, and becoming the MyMathLab Administrator for her school. This all led to her winning the 2015 National NISOD Award for Teaching Excellence. Mallory’s goal in the classroom was to try to make math more accessible to all students, so that it was not such a road block in achieving their degrees. However, she soon noticed that no matter what she did in her teaching, there was inequality in her classroom due to the expensive calculators that the students were required to have for STEM courses. So, she set out to solve this problem and GraphLock was born. GraphLock is an affordable scientific and graphing calculator app with a lockdown mode that helps students avoid high-cost and outdated calculators, while protecting academic and testing integrity.

Mallory is now devoting her career to GraphLock and is on a mission to help level the playing field in STEM education.

Mark Claypool

ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy, & Education
Finalist Judge

Mark Claypool is a social entrepreneur who obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Sociology from Middle Tennessee State University. He has held various positions in both state government and the private sector in mental health, juvenile corrections and education, and has more than two decades of experience in K-12 education, special and alternative education, behavioral health and residential treatment programs.

In 1999, Mark founded Educational Services of America (ESA), a leading provider of behavior therapy and alternative and special education programs for children and young adults. In 2015, ESA became ChanceLight, which works with more than 20,000 clients and students on the autism spectrum or who have related disorders and with students who have not been successful in a traditional school setting. He currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of ChanceLight.

He serves on the board of directors of Book’Em, a Nashville nonprofit that seeks to inspire a love of books and reading in all children, and that collects and distributes books to children and teens in lower-income families who might not otherwise have books of their own. Through Book’Em, Mr. Claypool also serves as a volunteer reader at an urban elementary school.

In 2016, Mark was named Ernst &Young’s Southeast Social Entrepreneur of the Year. He has co-authored two books:

  • We’re In This Together: Public Private Partnerships in Special and At-Risk Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015)
  • How Autism is Changing Special Education: The Unbundling of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017 – January)
Twitter: @markclaypool

Michael Cosack

Michael Cosack

Finalist Judge

Michael Cosack is a principal at ImpactWise and brings more than twenty years of business leadership experience, including the qualitative and quantitative analytical skills needed to implement programs and people in a meaningful, measurable and impactful way. His role at ImpactWise is to help institutional money managers, consultants and trustees explore, create and implement innovative impact investment strategies and solutions.

Michael has spent most of his professional career advising the trustees on the investment and fiduciary responsibilities regarding their institutional funds. As an entrepreneur, he has built several organizations, including one of the largest independent investment consulting firms in the Greater Philadelphia region, stewarding over $3.5 billion of combined assets. The firm was eventually purchased by our nation’s largest independent financial advisory firm.

Michael is active both in the regional and national impact investment communities. He is a member of a network of angel investors that are dedicated to improving the environment, education, health and community while seeking financial, social and environmental returns on their investments.

Michael Cosack has a deep passion for improving the lives of individuals in our underserved communities. His nonprofit activities range from co-founding a regional college scholarship fund to chairing the board of an innovative blended learning charter school in Newark, New Jersey. He is currently a board member of a national educational non-profit organization whose mission is to turnaround our nation's bottom five percent of K-12 public schools.

Mr. Cosack holds an undergraduate degree in business from The College of New Jersey and has achieved multiple certifications in both the business, environmental and nonprofit industries. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels School, is an active participant in the CFA Society of Philadelphia and is a frequent contributor at industry conferences.

Michael Golden

Catalyst @ Penn GSE
MC & Speaker

L. Michael Golden is a proven education leader committed to education reform. He brings expertise in the convergence of business, technology, and education as an implementer with experience in established, emergent, and public sector environments. Dr. Golden is the Executive Director and Senior Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education establishing and leading a center for innovation in education called Catalyst @ Penn GSE.

Formerly, he was CEO and Co-Founder of Educurious, a seven-year old non-profit corporation dedicated to creating solutions to today’s perplexing education challenges and motivating students to become purposeful, self-confident and successful in their learning.

Prior, he was Corporate Vice President, Education at Microsoft, where he led the development and execution of Microsoft’s global efforts in education across the company. Dr. Golden was Senior Vice President at Pearson where he led the planning and administrative functions for Pearson’s US education division, including strategy, marketing, business development and research.

Prior to that, Dr. Golden was Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he set strategy, policy, programs, and legislation for over two million students and developed systems and directed funding to make schools more effective and efficient. Dr. Golden's accomplishments include formulating and implementing statewide education technology policies and initiatives. He envisioned and rolled out groundbreaking $250 million reform to embed student-centered, inquiry-based, data-driven pedagogy in Pennsylvania's 622 high schools through connected classrooms and one-to-one computing environments.

Dr. Golden has a doctorate in Education Leadership from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Williams College.

Oliver Wendt

SPEAK MODalities

Oliver Wendt, PhD, is co-founder and Chief Science Officer of SPEAK MODalities, LLC, an autism software company that provides evidence-based speech and language learning tools for minimally-verbal students. SPEAK MODalities won the 2017 Milken-Penn GSE Business Plan Competition in addition to a 2017 Edison Award, a 2016 R&D 100 Award, and a 2015 Best in Education Tech Award. Oliver is also Director of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Autism Lab at Purdue University; his research investigates new AAC technologies for enhancing communication and language in individuals with autism or developmental disabilities. Oliver is recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Research Award by the Autism Society of America and Associate Editor for the Journal of Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Pam Grossman

Dean, Penn GSE

Pam Grossman is the Dean of the Graduate School of Education and the George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent work has focused on practice-based teacher education and the role of core practices of teaching in teacher preparation and professional development.

Before coming to Penn, Dr. Grossman was the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford University, where she founded and led the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching and established the Hollyhock Fellowship for early career teachers in underserved schools. Previously, she had been the Boeing Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Washington.

Dr. Grossman is a member of the National Academy of Education and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is Chair of the Spencer Foundation Board of Directors, and a member of the Board of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Twitter: @PamPennGSE

Siva Rajendran

Totus Power

For the past 5 years, Shiv worked on building Totus Power, a startup that aimed to reuse old electric vehicle batteries as inexpensive batteries to store solar power in remote schools and other low-income communities in developing countries. An idea in 2013, Shiv worked to prove the concept in practice in partnership with a few EV automakers, and investments/support from Silicon Valley, Chicago, Geneva (Switzerland), and Santiago (Chile). He was obsessed about bringing the idea to life until the startup closed in 2017.

Prior to Totus Power, Shiv was at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. He was part of the team that built a record setting electric race car, later working as a contractor on a battery recycling project for the BMW Mini-E. He and his wife recently moved to New York City from Chile.

Stephen Heppell

Universidad Camilo José Cela, Madrid & Bournemouth University

Stephen's "eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground" approach, coupled with a vast portfolio of effective large-scale projects over three decades, have established him internationally as a widely and fondly recognized leader in the fields of learning, new media, and technology. A school teacher for more than a decade, and a professor since 1989, Stephen has worked and continues to work with learner led projects, governments around the world, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, schools and communities, his PhD students, and many influential trusts and organizations.

Stephen's ICT career (he is widely credited with being the person who put the C into ICT) began with the UK government's Microelectronics Education Programme (MEP) in the early 80s after he had been teaching in secondary schools for some years. Stephen founded and ran Ultralab for almost a quarter of a century, building it into one of the most respected research centers in e-learning in the world before leaving it in 2004 to found his own global and flourishing policy and learning consultancy, which now has an enviable portfolio of international projects all round the world.

An early pioneer of multimedia, heading Apple Computer's Renaissance Project (kickstarting the development and use of CD ROM in education), Stephen went on to pioneer early social networking in learning with seminal projects including: the pre-internet Teletext and email social networking project ESW; the nationwide Schools OnLine for the UK Department of Trade and Industry; Tesco Schoolnet 2000; with Oracle; Talking Heads, linking every English head teacher to an on-line community of practice;, a uniquely effective project to re-engage children excluded from school by behavior or circumstances; and an on-line, work placed, research based, undergraduate degree Ultraversity, variants of which are running in a number of universities today.

Stephen's long track record of supporting children in making, creating, and programming with their computers has led to a string of constructivist projects, including the EU funded éTui robotic project for 4-year-olds and with Syrian refugee children in Jordan. Stephen has a broad portfolio of new learning spaces ranging from new school and universities, to sports coaching facilities and corporate spaces. Current school projects include whole school, Science, and STEM spaces in Australia, South America, Europe, Taiwan, India, and more.

Complementing the work designing on-line communities and computing in learning, Stephen is at the heart of a global revolution in physical learning space design, with a string of major new projects worldwide including 0-21+ academies and a complete makeover of a national education system in the Caribbean. His research project exploring for CABE and RIBA in the UK on the impact of new pedagogies on the design of learning spaces began a new rhetoric of third millennium school design in the UK and beyond. Stephen pioneered learning designs in the UK "Classrooms of the Future" project, completed work in the UK Building Schools for the Future initiative, led pivotal research for CABE and RIBA on schools design, is partnering with JISC in an exploration of physical environmental data, and more. Together these experiences and projects have led to Stephen being in considerable demand to transform physical learning spaces worldwide. Recent projects included the Lindfield transformation of UTS in NSW from a university into a cluster of schools within school, and school transformation locations from the Caribbean to Scandinavia to Australia and beyond. Along with his daughters Juliette and Melissa and others, Stephen is also designing a signature suite of affordable third millennium school furniture.

Stephen held the chair on New Media Environments at the Centre for Excellence for Media Practice at Bournemouth University, where all his PhD students are currently based and where he is now an emeritus professor. Stephen's eclectic activities there range from support for new pedagogic approaches for air traffic control education through helping to develop a manifesto for media education. Today, Stephen is proud to hold the fairly recently-created (2014) Felipe Segovia Chair of Learning Innovation at Universidad Camilo José Cela, Madrid.

Vicki Phillips


Vicki Phillips serves as an Education Executive and Strategist for national and international organizations and ed-tech companies devoted to the engagement and professional learning of leaders and teachers and the design of enabling conditions and systems in which teaching and learning can thrive. Currently, she is the CEO in Residence for Educurious, a founding partner of TeachingPartners, and on the board of School by Design.

Dr. Phillips has a strong record of reform at all levels of education – from neighborhood schools to the federal government. She has served as a teacher, leader of a nonprofit education foundation, superintendent of schools, state chief of basic and higher education, and for nearly a decade as the director of K-12 education for the world’s largest foundation.

Phillips most recently served as Director of Education, College Ready, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she led the work to ensure students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college, career, and community and to improve the effectiveness and support of teachers. Phillips and her team sought to advance education innovations, including new school designs focused on personalized learning and high quality tech-enabled curriculum and instructional tools.

Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she was superintendent of Portland Public Schools in Portland, Oregon. Earlier, Phillips served as Pennsylvania’s State Secretary of Education and as superintendent in the School District of Lancaster, PA. She previously served at the state level in her home state of Kentucky, helping to implement the sweeping changes demanded by the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990.

Born in Kentucky and raised on a small farm, Phillips was the first in her family to go to college. She holds a doctorate in international leadership and management from the University of Lincoln in England as well as three honorary doctorates. Dr. Phillips has served as a founding member of the governing council for England’s National College for School Leadership, an advisor to the Harvard Urban Superintendent’s Program and is currently a senior advisor to the Holdsworth Center.