2018 SEERS Fellows - Full Bios

From left to right, the 2018 SEERS Fellows: Denise Dunning, Christa Gannon, Laura Powers


Denise Raquel Dunning 

Dr.  Denise  Raquel  Dunning is the Founder and Executive Director of Rise Up, which advances health, education, and equity globally. Since the organization’s founding in 2009, Rise Up’s global network of 500+ leaders has improved health, education, and rights for 7 million girls, youth, and women, and advocated for over 100 laws and policies impacting 115 million people. Dr. Dunning teaches in the UCSF’s Masters of Global Health program, and is a Board Member of the Public Health Institute and Engender Health. She previously worked for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the  Rockefeller  Foundation and served as a  Fulbright Scholar with the Inter-American Development Bank in Honduras. Dr. Dunning has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the  UC Berkeley, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton  University, and graduated Summa  Cum Laude from Duke  University.  She has lived in Guatemala, Honduras, India, and South Africa, and speaks four languages. Dr. Dunning’s recent awards include selection by the Gates Institute’s 120 Under Forty Global Leaders and winner of the Powerful Women of the Bay Area Award.



Christa Gannon 

Christa Gannon is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence, crime, and incarceration of teens. FLY serves youth in three Bay Area counties with legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring, and engages in local system reform efforts to help youth get off probation, engaged in school, and back on track with their lives. Christa has received numerous awards for her work at FLY, including the James Irvine Leadership Award, Human Rights Award for the City of San Jose, Stanford Law School’s Inaugural Alumni Public Service Award, the Law Foundation’s, Youth Advocate of the Year Award, a Bay Area Women of Influence Award, and an induction as an Ashoka Fellow (one of the first in the field of Juvenile Justice in the United States). Christa has B.S. both in sociology and law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, she graduated with honors from Stanford Law School, and is a member of the California Bar.



Laura Weidman Powers

Laura Weidman Powers is the co-founder and CEO of Code2040, a nonprofit organization that creates pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities with a specific focus on Blacks and Latinxs. Code2040 aims to ensure that by the year 2040 -the start of the decade when the US will be majority people of color -we are proportionally represented in America's innovation economy as technologists, investors, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs. In summer 2016, Laura joined the Obama Administration for a six-month term as a senior advisor to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. Most recently before co-founding Code2040, Laura served as head of product at a consumer web startup. Prior to that, she co-founded two organizations in the education space, one nonprofit arts education organization in West Philadelphia that is currently celebrating its 12th year, and one for-profit tutoring company that gave rise to a book. Laura has a BA cum laude from Harvard College and a JD and an MBA from Stanford University.








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