2014 recap

Peter Agelasto

Music industry and media platform innovator

Yiqi Cao

Jefferson Scholar at UVa, explorer of food culture and its ties to family history, healthcare quality advocate


West African drum and dance organization

Donald Davis

American storyteller, author and minister

John D'Earth

Jazz trumpeter and composer

Andrea Douglas

Executive Director, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

Greg Fairchild

University of Virginia's Darden School of Business Professor, empowering underserved populations

Aaron Fein

Digital Embroidery Artist, Architect

Natalie Foley

VP/COO at Peer Insight, design and business problem solving

Jim Harshaw

Assistant Director Virginia Athletics Foundation, Entrepreneur

Daniel Heifetz

President and Founder of the Heifetz International Music Institute

Dr. John C. Herr

Professor of Cell Biology, Urology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia Medical School

Holistic Life Foundation

Baltimore-based organization committed to nurturing wellness in underserved communities through yoga and mindfulness practices

Jim Hubbard

Pulitzer Prize nominee, served with the White House Press Corps during 16 years on staff with United Press International

Dean King

Award-winning author of historical and adventure stories

Joni Lane

LEED Green Associate, Boston Architectural College Graduate, Masters in Sustainable Design Studies

Jack Marcus

Western Albemarle High School Senior

Yael Melamede

Architect and Award Winning Filmmaker

Russell Richards

Artist and filmmaker creating fantastical, futuristic and conceptual work

John Napier Tye

Legal Director and Campaign Director at Avaaz

Judy Watson

Innovative Australian Indigenous artist and professor

Art Wheeler

Diverse, Jazz Keyboardist

Thomas Woltz

Celebrated landscape architect and author, named “Design Innovator of the Year” by the Wall Street Journal

Peter Agelasto has spent over 20 years in the music business. He works nearly everyday with recording and internet media technologies. Originally a Mayan archaeologist, Peter turned his focus to “digital culture” as the internet grew to prominence in the late 1990s.

In 1998, he founded Monkeyclaus, a recording studio and digital music venture located in Nelson County, Virginia. Two years later, in the loft space above the studio, he founded the internet multimedia start-up, BlueWall Media, as a means of helping musicians, artists, and content creators rethink how media is organized and distributed. He has turned this adventure into a media platform called "Starchive" which counts Bob Dylan as its first client.

Peter is in awe of the massive transformations happening to our individual and collective lives and the speed at which cultures are changing and responding to life in this new medium.

Yiqi Cao believes that food is an extraordinary tether for memories and traditions. In 2013, she traveled to China to explore food culture and family history while compiling a photo journal titled “Ginger and Scallion.” As Yiqi learned to make her grandparents’ favorite dishes, the stories that unfolded helped her understand her family’s legacy of creating something from nothing. This history drives her quest to improve healthcare quality and access for those in need. Yiqi is a fourth-year Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia, where she studies biomedical engineering and business and helps lead the student-run organization Engineering Students without Borders.


Chihamba is a non-profit community organization dedicated to providing a better understanding of African Cultures through music and dance.  The drum and dance performances are based on traditional West African pieces.  Timeless rhythms bring to life the spirit of the African culture with pure energy and excitement.  The spirit of Chihamba is catching!  The group delivers a message of peace and love with extraordinary energy.  The smiles on the performer’s faces show a sincerity that is lacking in today’s world.  In Chihamba performances the audience is invited to join in to dance and celebrate the spirit of the African culture.

Donald Davis was born in a Southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories.  "I didn't learn stories, I just absorbed them ," he says as he recounts tales and more tales learned from a family of traditional storytellers who have lived on the same Western North Carolina land since 1781. Davis remembers, "I discovered that in a story I could safely dream any dream, go anywhere I pleased, fight any foe, live or die.  My stories created a safe experimental learning  place.

And that is the way that Donald Davis has approached all of his learning places...as a graduate of Duke University; as a retired Methodist minister;  as featured teller at the Smithsonian Institution; as a guest host for the National Public Radio Program "Good Evening"; and as father of four sons. For Donald Davis storytelling "...is not what I do for a living...it is how I do all that I do while I am living.”


Trumpeter/composer John D’earth has toured with Bruce Hornsby, Lionel Hampton, and Buddy Rich, and recorded with Miles Davis/Quincy Jones, Tito Puente, and many others.   He has written and/or arranged music for Dave Matthews, the Kronos String Quartet, moe (Sony Records,) the Kandinsky Trio, and assorted symphony orchestras. He has performed in Canada, Europe, China, South America, as well as the U.S. and appeared at the Kennedy Center, Radio City Music Hall, Red Rocks, Blues Alley, and many other venues.  He is currently the Director of Jazz Performance at UVA and artist-in-residence at Virginia Commonwealth University. D'earth's career is documented in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, (Oxford Press) by Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler.

Dr. Andrea Douglas, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center executive director.  Dr. Douglas founded adouglasproject an arts consultancy that specializes in exhibition development and strategic planning for start-up and small nonprofits.

Douglas was curator of collections and exhibitions and curator of contemporary art at the University of Virginia Art Museum. Her scholarship considers the cultural and social connections in the biographies of 20th and 21st century artists of the African Diaspora. Douglas serves on the Emily Couric Leadership Forum board, City of Charlottesville PLACE Design Task Force, co-chair of Piedmont Council on the Arts’ cultural plan steering committee, and is a member of the University of Virginia’s Commission on Slavery.


Gregory Fairchild teaches strategic management, entrepreneurship and ethics in Darden’s MBA and Executive Education programs.

His research is likewise renowned, as he was recently the lead investigator studying business models and public policy issues in the field of community development finance. Fairchild was named one of the Top Ten Business School Professors in the World by CNN/Fortune and one of the 50 Best Business School Professors by Poets & Quants. He was featured in the David Guggenheim documentary, “Spent: Looking for Change.”

Fairchild and his wife, Tierney Temple Fairchild (D '94) are the founders of Resilience Education, an organization committed to providing high quality Socratic education to those that might not otherwise afford it. This is the conduit through which the Darden Prison Program is administered, among other initiatives

Part artist and part architect, Aaron Fein strives to create works of art and design that illuminate unforeseen ideas and possibilities. That process is guided by his belief that the slightest manipulations and the simplest contextual shifts inspire the mind’s most dramatic perceptual leaps.

In 2011 Fein completed his decade-long project, “White Flags,” a re-imagining of our global identity by re-creating the world’s 193 national flags rendered entirely in white.  Within a year of its completion, and with his help, two national embassies in London flew white versions of their own national flag for International Peace Day.

With his new work, Fein is pursuing a wholesale re-examination of the medium of mass-produced embroidery. He does this by marrying the digital and mechanical tools of embroidery with a visual language originating from the world of 3D architectural computer modeling. The result is both hyper-technical yet entirely intimate.

Fein has exhibited and earned awards both nationally and internationally.

Natalie Foley is VP & COO at Peer Insight, a consultancy that combines design & business problem-solving techniques to help organizations innovate their services. With a background in strategy, design thinking, and change management, Natalie has led projects for IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers in various countries, functions, and industries. She has worked with clients such as Allstate, DTE Energy, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Kimberly-Clark, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Good Samaritan Society.  Natalie serves on the board of DC Social Innovation Project. She holds an MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business and a BA in Psychology from The College of William and Mary.



Failure, struggle and setbacks are not only an inevitable part of life but a necessary part of the path to success. Jim Harshaw has learned many life lessons on the wrestling mat. Having won three ACC Championships for the University of Virginia, trained at the Olympic Training Center and competed overseas for Team USA he has experienced significant triumph and devastating defeat. He relates those powerful lessons of failure, struggle and setback to empower his audiences to overcome their own challenges and achieve success despite their inevitable failures.


Daniel Heifetz is the President and Founder of the Heifetz International Music Institute. In a career spanning over 30 years, Mr. Heifetz has dedicated himself to the art of communication through performance and education.

Violinist Daniel Heifetz is acclaimed on five continents for his extraordinary virtuosity, profound artistry and charismatic stage presence. His numerous appearances include recitals and solo performances with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Berlin. His concert tours have taken him throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America.

As an educator, Mr. Heifetz has served as professor of violin at three major universities: The Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Maryland College Park. In addition to these positions, Mr. Heifetz has given master classes all over the world.



RefleXion broadens our sensibilities and opens novel unforeseen paths. Dr. John C. Herr, a Professor of Cell Biology, Urology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia Medical School, is fusing knowledge from the fields of reproductive biology and cancer biology to re-imagine the future of cancer diagnosis and therapy. His audacious goal is to end chemotherapy as we now know it. Dr. Herr will explain how basic research on genes activated only in the ovary is leading to paradigm-shifting insights into the fundamental nature of a wide variety of cancers, including some of the most insidious and numerous. The insight that cancers take on characteristics of the egg is opening striking opportunities for novel methods of cancer detection and for path-breaking therapies with limited adverse effects on healthy normal tissues.

Ali Smith learned yoga and meditation from his parents, and by visiting ashrams as a child. He has over 12 years of experience teaching yoga and mindfulness to diverse populations. He has helped develop and pilot yoga and mindfulness programs with at-risk youth at drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, and in many other underserved communities around the world.

Atman Smith is a native of Baltimore, MD who's parents were yogis that taught him contemplative practices as a very young child.  For the past twelve years he has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to a diverse population.

Andres Gonzalez has been practicing and teaching yoga for the past 12 years to diverse populations. For the past three years, he has partnered with the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health and Penn State’s Prevention Research Center on a federally funded yoga and mindfulness based study involving urban youth.



In a distinguished career spanning almost five decades, Jim has been nominated thrice for the Pulitzer Prize. He has covered some of the world’s major stories on five continents including the massacre at Munich Olympics in 1972, Cambodian genocide in 1979, the Wounded Knee Siege in 1973 and the Detroit riots in 1967.

Jim also served with the White House Press Corps during his 16 year staff position with United Press International (UPI) and has photographed five U.S. presidents In 2007, Jim was the first photographer to be given the prestigious Lewis Hine Distinguished Service Award by the National Child Labor Committee for his advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged youth.

Hubbard pioneered the internationally renown ‘Shooting Back’ project, a form of participation photography that later galvanized citizen journalism.

At the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Southern California (USC), Hubbard has been a faculty professor since 2008. His classes are the most  popular at Annenberg.  Jim has authored five book and has four daughters.


Dean King is a best-selling author of nine books, including Skeletons on the Zahara, a Salon Book Award winner, and The Feud, which the Wall Street Journal calls “popular history the way it ought to be written” and USA Today gives four stars (out of four). His biography Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed was serialized in the Daily Telegraph, which named it a book of the year. He has appeared on NPR, the BBC, and as a storyteller on two History Channel documentaries, and his writing has appeared in OutsideGarden & Gun, Granta, National Geographic Adventure, and the New York Times.



Joni Lane, LEED Green Associate, is a recent graduate of Boston Architectural College with a Masters in Sustainable Design Studies. She is passionate about creating valuable, sustainable and regenerative solutions by which humans can continue to live without threatening to render our planet uninhabitable. She believes great design has the power to change the world and has decided to focus her energy on healing our built environment with bio-based materials, specifically Hempcrete. Focusing on addressing indoor contaminants and their effect on our health, She strives to advance education and awareness of this very important public health issue to promote safe and healthy buildings.


Jack Marcus is a senior at Western Albemarle High School. He started entering science fairs two years ago to apply what he learns in the classroom to the real world. His most recent project is “Safe Sip,” a device that is able to detect the presence of  “date-rape drugs" in drinks. After winning an award in Life Sciences from the U.S. Military, he continues to expand on the project. In his free time, Jack performs with his band, being both a guitarist for seven years and an amateur pianist, volunteers as a student co-chair for an elementary school autumn fundraiser, and is currently developing an iPhone app for students at his high school.


Yael Melamede is the co-founder of SALTY Features - whose goal is to create media that is vital, entertaining and enhances the world. Melamede’s recent film INOCENTE, directed by Sean and Andrea Fine, won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.  Her last film DESERT RUNNERS, directed by Jennifer Steinman, won multiple audience awards in the US and around the world.  

Other producing credits include: WHEN I WALK, written and directed by Jason Da Silva and Alice Cook; BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN, written and directed by John Krasinski - based on the book by David Foster Wallace; THE INNER LIFE OF MARTIN FROST, written and directed by Paul Auster; and MY ARCHITECT, directed by Nathaniel Kahn and nominated for an Academy Award in 2004.  Upcoming films include "(DIS)HONESTY - The Truth About Lies,” based on the work of the behavioral economist Dan Ariely. Melamede trained and worked as an architect before becoming a filmmaker.



Russell U. Richards is an artist and filmmaker with a studio at the McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville. His art typically uses elements drawn from life as a jumping-off point into fantastical, futuristic or conceptual territory. Though he jokes his work is too graphical for the fine art world but too fine for the comics, Russell’s art has been exhibited in galleries around the world and published extensively. He is the recipient of a Virginia Commission for the Arts grant, and was honored with a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Taubman Museum of Art in 2009.


John Napier Tye is Legal Director and Campaign Director at Avaaz, the global civic community with over 38 million members worldwide. Until April 2014, John served as Section Chief for Internet Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. State Department, where he held a clearance to receive Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information.  Before leaving, he filed a complaint that overseas intelligence activities by the U.S. National Security Agency violate Americans’ constitutional rights. A Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School graduate, John previously wrote about hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Judy Watson is an Indigenous artist whose matrilineal family is from country in north-west Queensland.  She co-represented Australia in the 1997 Venice Biennale, was awarded the Moët & Chandon Fellowship in 1995, the National Gallery of Victoria’s Clemenger Award in 2006 and, in the same year, the Works on Paper Award at the 23rd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award. In 2011 her exhibition waterline was exhibited at the Embassy of Australia, Washington, DC. Her work is held in major Australian and international collections including: National Gallery of Australia; all Australian State Art Galleries; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; St Louis Art Museum USA; The British Museum, London; Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK; Library of Congress, Washington, USA; Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia, USA; as well as important private collections. She has exhibited widely over the past twenty-five years. 

Art’s primary instrument is keyboard/piano.  He began his career performing on harmonica while singing and dancing; he plays thirteen instruments.  Art teaches privately in the Charlottesville area seven days a week.  He has taught and/or played in more than one-thousand venues over the past thirty-five years.  He has been invited to perform for five presidents and The Supreme Court.

He is about to release The Polyphony Epiphony a unique presentation of 1,107 ways to modulate from C to A Minor.

He now indefatigably seeks the meaning of life and feels that he has answered his questions.


Thomas Woltz is the principal and owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW) with offices in New York City, Charlottesville VA, and San Francisco CA.  During the past 19 years of practice, Woltz and his staff have forged a body of work that integrates the beauty and function of built form and craftsmanship with an understanding of complex biological systems and restoration ecology yielding hundreds of acres of reconstructed wetlands, reforested land, native meadows, and flourishing wildlife habitat. Currently NBW is entrusted with the design of 8 major public parks across the US, Canada and New Zealand. The firm’s work has been recognized with over 80 national and international awards and published widely.

In 2011, Thomas Woltz was invested into the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows, among the highest honors achieved in the profession, and in 2013, named Design Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal Magazine.