Presentation: Inspiration, mission and story behind the creation and evolution of Cafe Momentum, a non-profit restaurant in Dallas that provides a paid post-release internship program for young men and women coming out of juvenile detention.
Always one to add a little levity to the conversation, Chad often describes Café Momentum as “taking kids out of jail and teaching them to play with knives and fire.” But levity aside, it’s this charisma and passion to teach life, social and employment skills to Dallas’ most at-risk youth that makes Houser a hit with everyone from philanthropists and dinner-goers to the young men participating in the program. After 17 years as a chef, Chad sold his partnership of Parigi Restaurant to devote his full attention to the role of Executive Director of Café Momentum in 2012.
In the community, Chad has previously served as President of the board of directors for Dallas Farmers Market Friends and as Vice Chair of the El Centro Exes Association (Houser received his culinary training at El Centro) where is also a member of the El Centro College Food and Hospitality Institute “Hall of Fame.”
Chad has received multiple nominations from D Magazine for “Best Up-And-Coming Chef” (2010) and “Best Chef” (2011 and 2012). In 2011, he received the Edible Dallas/Fort Worth “Local Hero – Chef” award.
Most recently, Chad was selected as Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” and as one of the United States Junior Chamber’s (Jaycee) 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Americans. He has been named to the “Top 50 Under 40” by the Social Enterprise Alliance, an “Urban Innovator to Watch” by the New Cities Foundation, as one of “30 Most Interesting People in the Metro Area” by the Dallas Observer, and one of Good Magazine’s “Good 100,” individuals at the cutting edge of creative impact across the globe.
Dr. Samira Izadi Page
Presentation: Grace for Refugees - This presentation summarizes the ethos and work of Gateway of Grace Ministries among refugees in DFW.
Rev. Dr. Samira Page is the founder and Executive Director of Gateway of Grace Ministries. She was born and raised in Iran. She earned her Master of Divinity and doctorate in Missional Church Studies from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Samira has committed her life to bringing the hope and love to those whose hope, dignity, and humanity have been taken away by oppressive circumstances. She frequently speaks nationally and locally at conferences, churches and other venues on issues of interfaith relations, and refugee outreach. Samira works crossdenominationally with pastors and mission leaders and moves local congregations into new ways of outreach.
Dr. Samir Iqbal
Presentation: Nanotechnology for Cancer Detection - Cancer-related mortality has not decreased over many decades. Nanotechnology promises approaches for early cancer detection that can significantly change the therapy landscape.
Dr. Samir Iqbal is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington (UT-Arlington). His research is focused on the applications of nanotechnology in solid-state sensors, developing novel nano-bio interfaces and cancer screening devices with high sensitivity and selectivity.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was a recipient of NSF CAREER award in 2009. In 2013, UT-Arlington selected him for Honorable Mention for Best Academic Advisor Award. He was awarded Sigma Xi Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in 2014. In November 2014, he was inducted into National Academy of Innovators by UT-Arlington. In 2015, he was given the Best Research Mentor Award. In 2016, he was awarded Research Excellence Award.
Aabiya Noman Baqai
Presentation: Feminism in Islam- Why Islam is a feminist religion and gives examples of exemplary Muslim women in history who have made great contributions to the world.
Passionate about scuba
diving and shawarmas, Aabiya is currently a graduate student at UTA in Public
Policy. She is originally from Pakistan, grew up in Saudi Arabia and has
surprisingly only ridden a camel twice. She hopes to utilize the knowledge
she's gaining as a student in the United States by applying it back home and
providing tangible solutions to major social welfare issues in her country. She
also hopes that people around the globe experience the magical taste of a
shawarma just like she has.
Presentation: The Different Paths of Grief - Grief is a difficult, and long process but it is not the same for everyone. It's a unique path that is different for each and every person.
Aarti Patil is a Nursing
and Public Health major at the University of Texas at Arlington. As the
daughter and the sister of UTA alumni, Aarti has immersed herself in her
Maverick pride through her involvement in the MavElite Tour Guides, Freshmen
Leaders on Campus, Maverick Mentors, and the UTA Ambassadors. Aarti is
eternally grateful to her father, Uday, and her sister, Devika, for their
immense support and love. A part from being a full-time student, Aarti
continues to pursue her part-time air guitar career.