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Thursday, September 22 • 7:00pm - 9:00pm
KEYNOTE: Straight Outta My Parent’s Basement: How to Be a “Differentist” + Rust Belt Resurgent: Creative Placemaking and the Future of the Startup Ecosystem LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

"How to Be a Differentist" with Ann Makosinski

Most 18 year old college sophomores are thinking about final exams, summer vacation, and dorm room shenanigans. But before 18-year-old Ann Makosinski ever stepped into a college classroom, she had won the Google Science Fair, garnered awards at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, was featured in TIME Magazine, and appeared on the Tonight Show — twice. Instead of couching herself in the typical definitions of “entrepreneur” or “inventor,” Ann has coined a term for herself: “differentist.”

In today’s celebrated and well-documented innovation economy championed by Silicon Valley wunderkinds like Mark Zuckerberg, we have a tendency to think that the best new ideas are exclusively coming out of Bay Area, or the offices of Apple, Uber, or other tech giants.

But sometimes, world-changing ideas come out of a home basement in the suburbs. Join Ann as she explains what it’s like to be a differentist in a world that’s constantly redesigning and reimagining itself, and charting new courses.

"Rust Belt Resurgent" with Josh McManus

From Detroit to Pittsburgh, the Rust Belt is making a comeback. What was once the world's most powerful heavy manufacturing corridor has reinvented itself — becoming a hub for technology, medicine, entrepreneurship, education, and much more.

But there still remains a regional stigma within the national consciousness that lags behind the reality on the ground.

Nonetheless, major cities within the American interior are sprinting forward, and redefining themselves, as well as their culture. Old industrial ruins are being transformed for modern purposes. Creatives and entrpreneurs are seeing post-industrial blight as a design template. Neighborhoods are experiencing unprecendented growth, leaving many questions lingering around the term "development."

Join us for the final keynote of Thrival Innovation, and explore why a region once forgetten is now at the forefront of the national discourse.


avatar for Dan Law

Dan Law

Executive Producer, Thrival Innovation + Music Festival, Thrill Mill
Dan currently serves as the Executive Producer of the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival, an annual Pittsburgh-based event featuring multiple days of interactive, innovation-focused programming capped by a two-day outdoor live music experience. He oversees all production, operations... Read More →

avatar for Babs Carryer

Babs Carryer

University of Pittsburgh
At the University of Pittsburgh, Babs works for the Innovation Institute, as Director of Education and Outreach. She teaches the Benchtop to Bedside technology commercialization course to clinicians, researchers and graduate students as well as a similar class for future Coulter Foundation Fellows. In her role at Pitt, Babs is involved in multiple programs to stimulate and support innovation and entrepreneurship, including... Read More →
avatar for Ann Makosinski

Ann Makosinski

While still in high school, Ann created the “Hollow Flashlight,” which was recognized with several award at the 2013 Canade-Wide Science Fair, won the 2013 Google Science Fair, and won several award at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Makosinki appeared... Read More →
avatar for Josh McManus

Josh McManus

COO, Rock Ventures LLC
Inventor. City Nerd. Serial Entrepreneur.


Thursday September 22, 2016 7:00pm - 9:00pm EDT
New Hazlett Theater 6 Allegheny Square E, Pittsburgh, PA