Roe Stamps, founder of an investment firm called Summit Partners and his wife, Penny, had apparently decided they had everything they ever wanted in life, and decided to donate the rest of their net worth to helping kids from all across the country with diverse skills and talents go to college. The only thing they ask in return is to know what we're up to. And so, earlier on in the program, which was founded at Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan, Roe's and Penny's alma maters, respectively, one of the students came up with the idea that every two years, scholars from all across the country should meet for and national conference to network, build the Stamps image, and solve the problems of our generation.
So, it was with this in mind that we gathered at Georgia Tech last weekend. At the last conference I went to two years ago, there were something like 200 scholars, this time, there were over 500! The program has since expanded to 44 schools, I believe, instead of the original three.
It was a fun-packed weekend with specific interest activities, a business case study, fun outings in Atlanta, tours of some of the most famous landmarks, wonderful keynote speakers including former Georgia Tech coach Bill Curry, who was such a gentleman and told me that he didn't want to miss the chance to shake my hand, and a lot of fun with some awesome people, too! I got to meet Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Eric Sturgis, have a special access behind the scenes tour of CNN world headquarters with national correspondent Tom Foreman, and I got to see the Civil and Human Rights Museum.
I was definitely nervous going into a room of 700 people that I don't know and knowing that I would never have time to interact with everyone, but actually, this time was a lot of fun and I think the scholars got to work together a lot and get to know each other better. I'm sad that I won't be around for the next one, but I'm hoping that we can use the network to keep expanding on what we find when we all meet each other.
My thanks to the SSNC 15 planning committee at Georgia Tech, as I can't imagine how hard it was to plan for and feed 700 people. Congratulations, you did it! Thank you!
My CNN face! (Image: Me looking excited. I am white with chin length brown hair. I am wearing a blue scarf. The CNN headquarters and a bunch of world flags are visible in the background.)
Oh yeah, baby! (Image: a delicious plate of chicken and waffles with a side of mac and cheese. Two containers of butter are on top of the plate)
Resistance is power! (Image: me in front of a mural at the Civil Rights museum. The mural features a yellow outstretched hand with black stripes and many colorful messages forming wedges of a circle. I am sitting to the viewer's left, smiling and signing RESISTANCE/PROTEST.)