WELCOME to Global Seminar Series #1:

Pandemic: A Call to Action

“The world is facing an unprecedented test. And this is the moment of truth…. It is a call to action….We must see countries not only united to beat the virus but also to tackle its profound consequences.”

António Guterres, 9th Secretary-General of the United Nations, who took office on 1st January 2017

What is this Event?

Do you want to learn about the Coronavirus pandemic and the effect it is having on girls’ lives globally? Would you like to feel empowered to make a change and connect with teenage girls from around the world to work collaboratively towards developing solutions? Do you want to discuss the current status of the pandemic in your country and talk to others about the realities in their countries?

You are invited to participate in the Miss Porter’s School Global Seminar Series “Pandemic: Call to Action”, where we will explore the intersection of Health, Medicine, Government, Global Citizenship and Technology through the lens of the Pandemic. The Porter’s Global Seminar will meet one time per week for four weeks and includes 1-2 hours of asynchronous work between sessions. Each live session will be interactive and include at least one expert in the field. The last session will provide students an opportunity to participate in a virtual hackathon in which students will work in groups to generate ideas and find solutions to some of the problems that they have identified during the four week Seminar. At the end of the session, each student group will pitch their ideas to a group of panelists and receive feedback on how to make their ideas a reality!

Session 1: Healthcare and Medicine

Essential Questions:

  • How is this pandemic affecting public health systems globally?
  • What is the role of science and medicine in stopping the spread of the Coronavirus?
  • How is this pandemic affecting the lives of girls/our lives?
  • How is the Coronavirus changing our communities?

Speakers & Bios:

  • Dr. Krista Dong (Faculty, MGH/Harvard Medical School) — Dr. Dong completed her Infectious Disease Training at Harvard Medical School. As an infectious disease specialist, she has worked in International Health focusing on HIV/AIDS and TB since 1991, from Gambia and South Africa to Indonesia and is currently the director of iTeach (Integration of TB in Education and Care for HIV/AIDS) and the program leader of the FRESH (Females Rising through Education, Support and Health) Program, both based in South Africa.
  • Dr. Ken Angle (IT Pharmacist, Hartford Medicine) — Ken is an information technology pharmacist at Hartford HealthCare. He leads a team of pharmacists and technicians who are responsible for maintaining the pharmacy related electronic healthcare record for HHC’s 10 acute care/behavioral health hospitals and over 200 ambulatory clinics. Previously Ken practiced as a critical care hospital pharmacist for several years. He graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy (2006) & Master of Public Health (2011).
  • Dr. Kim Caprio (Director of Breast Surgery, Northwest Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute) — Kim is a breast surgeon and co-director of the Hoffman Breast Health Center at Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center. She has also served as assistant professor of breast surgery at UConn. Her research has been widely published and she has been a featured speaker at clinical care, oncology and women’s health conferences and meetings across the country. For almost 10 years before her retirement in 2013, she served as Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, working out of OHSU – Portsmouth
  • Dr. Tessa Scripps (Pediatrician, NY Presbyterian Hospital & Columbia University Medical Center) — Dr. Scripps is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center and provides comprehensive care for newborns in the Well Baby Nursery at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s. Her research focuses primarily on topics related to maternal-child health with a focus on breastfeeding and infant bonding. She is also interested in medical education and curriculum development.


Session 2: Politics, Government, and Global Citizenship

Essential Questions:

  • How is this pandemic being managed and how is the efficacy being measured in different countries?
  • What systems of inequity are highlighted by this pandemic and what is our responsibility as global citizens to take action?
  • How do we navigate the tensions between freedom, equality, and the common good/general welfare of people?
  • How do nationally shared values, beliefs and traditions, which form a nation’s identity, impact the response to this pandemic?

Speakers & Bios: 

  • Paloma Escudero (Director of Communications, UNICEF) — Bringing her extensive experience and expertise in the areas of communications, fundraising, advocacy and brand management, she oversees UNICEF’s global public outreach and communications as its senior communication official. Prior to the appointment, Ms. Escudero had already been well known among the UNICEF family as Executive Director of the Spanish National Committee.
  • Rania Dagash (Chief of Policy & Best Practices, United Nations) — Rania’s office supports knowledge sharing and guidance development across UN peace missions. She has mostly worked in conflict and post-conflict settings in humanitarian emergencies and peace missions in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Her work included supporting communities and governments during conflict, natural disasters and political transitions. She is involved in several exercises that look into the future of peacekeeping operations.

Session 3:  Technology,  Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Essential Questions:

  • How has technology played a key role in dealing with COVID19?
  • What are the role of Artificial Intelligence and data sharing? What are the implications in the protection of privacy?
  • How will businesses survive being shut down? How can they adapt and pivot?
  • What does post-COVID19 look like in technology and business?
  • What can we do or create to tackle some challenges caused by COVID19?

Speakers & Bios:

  • Kyle Keogh (US Auto Industry Director, Google) — With over 20 years experience working in and around the Tech and Media industry, Kyle is a seasoned veteran. He currently leads Google’s Media Sales relationships with the Automotive Industry, working with clients to drive sales, improve their Brand, and maximize product launches. Prior to joining the Auto Team, Kyle led Google Fiber’s Real Estate Partnership teams. He has also led Google’s Media Sales to the Telecom Industry, helping develop marketing solutions.
  • Caroline Amaba (Software Engineer, Buzzfeed) — Caroline Amaba is a Staff Software Engineer at BuzzFeed. She has been a web developer and software engineer for almost 10 years. Currently, Caroline works on the AdTech team and has been focused on advertising for the past 8 years (previously at an advertising agency). Aside from developing new products and tech strategies for the media company, Caroline also helps develop team culture and advocates for women of color in Tech.
  • Jessica Roberti (VP of PD & Supply Chain, Alo Yoga) — Jessica has 25 years of experience in Sourcing & Product Development, Operations and Organizational Process. She has held roles roles in Sourcing and Product Development at The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger and The Children’s Place. She spent over 4 years working in the Product Development & Sourcing practice at Kurt Salmon Associates, a global retail consulting firm. At KSA, her clients included JCPenney, Kohl’s, PVH and Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Jessie Jin (Managing Partner, V Star Capital) — Jesse is currently a Founding Managing Partner of V Star Capital. In 2008, she joined Silicon Valley’s well known VC fund GGV Capital as a Managing Partner, a role she held for 8 years. Mrs Jin has been engaged in investing in innovative technologies, especially in the field of healthcare since 2002. She has been recognized as a TOP100 Chinese Tech Investor and a TOP25 Best Female Investor in China in 2018 and 2019 by Forbes.


Session 4: Hackathon

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event where innovative minds come together to design and create a prototype that would be beneficial to the human experience. Several teams compete to find the best solution to a real problem that the world faces today.

In our case, we will have teams explore ways to benefit lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. A hackathon is a perfect way to engage global communities in solving challenges that emerge alongside a crisis. Since this is a global meet-up, teams will be mixed with women’s perspectives from all over the world.

We encourage addressing or solving problems through technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship regardless of experience level.

We are lucky to have this opportunity and are excited to see students’ amazing ideas in light of this pandemic.

Video Highlight of GSS Pandemic