We shouldn’t need hot-button issues like the deeply flawed college admissions race, DREAM Act and emerging landscape of K-12 digital learning to remind us that educational opportunities matters — to all of us. Luckily, it’s self-evident to the women and men who earned a spot on the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education.
Their spirit of innovating in education is deeply original. They range from edtech entrepreneurs such as literacy champions Matthew Ramirez, cofounder of WriteLab, and Quill’s cofounder Peter Gault, and Rebecca Liebman, whose LearnLux focuses on financial literacy. Zaption’s Charlie Stigler has trained his focus on video learning as a dynamic teaching tool. Cassandra Tognoni of BookReport uses data to help districts figure out best practices for spending and saving, and Christopher Pedregal has $7.5 million in funding to crowdsource learning to Socratic’s 8.5 million customers.
Increased access to learning for all startups are prominent in this year’s list. Heejae Lim, founder of Talking Points, built an app that bridges the language barrier between teachers and non-English speaking parents, while Sarahi Espinoza Salamonca’s app helps undocumented students find money to go to college. Chelsey Roebuck, cofounder of Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE), left the consulting fast track to increase job opportunities minorities underrepresented in STEM fields.
We need funders and independent thinkers to remind us that more innovation and problem solving is still to come. Kate Machtiger, senior analyst at Luminary Labs, launched a series of student competitions with the U.S. Dept. of Education, and Constance Iloh is a postdoctoral fellow who explores “narratives of underserved students” in postsecondary education. Esther Tricoche is a VC at the non-profit NewSchools Venture Fund, and EdSurge Senior Editor Mary Jo Madda is a relentlessly thoughtful chronicler of the entire sector.
Finally, this year’s 30 Under 30 in eucation is a true transgenerational effort. Many thanks for the insight and expertise to our panel of judges: Stacey Childress, CEO, NewSchools Venture Fund; Laurene Powell Jobs, founder, Emerson Collective; Wendy Kopp, CEO, Teach for All; and Sarah Kunst, an alumni from the 2015 list.
Video: Maggie Dunne speaks at Colgate University about the need to invest in human capital, here, in the U.S.. Videography: Christopher Grosso
The full list of 30 Under 30 in Education for 2016:
(note: women entrepreneurs are highlighted in bold)
Milagros Barsallo, 28, cofounder, RISE Colorado
Logan Cohen, 25, & Trevor Wilkins, 27, cofounders, Kudzoo
Andrew Colchagoff, 29, cofounder, GingkoTree
David Comisford, 29, founder, EduSourced
Connor Diemand-Yauman, 27, corporate partnerships lead, Coursera
Eric Duffy, 27, cofounder, Pathgather
Maggie Dunne, 25, founder, Lakota Children’s Enrichment
Sarah Filman, 29, VP, Curriculum, Code.org
Libby Fischer, 27, CEO, Whetstone Education
Peter Gault, 27, founder, Quill
Constance Iloh, 28, chancellor’s postdoctoral fellow, University of California, Irvine School of Education
Zach Latta, 18 & Jonathan Leung, 25, cofounder, Hack Club
Eric Lavin, 28, founding manager, Aspen Ventures
Heejae Lim, 29, founder, TalkingPoints
Amy Lin, 29, founder, BlendSpace
Mary Jo Madda, 29, senior editor, EdSurge
Gabriel Nakashima, 28, founder, Charter Substitute Teacher Network
Marcus Noel, 29, founder, Heart of Man
Christopher Pedregal, 29, cofounder, Socratic
Matthew Ramirez, 26,cofounder, WriteLab
Jerelyn Rodriguez, 26, cofounder, The Knowledge House
Chelsey Roebuck, 27, cofounder, Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering
Carissa Romero, 29, cofounder, Project for Education Research That Scales
Sarahi Consuelo Espinoza Salamanca, 26, founder, DREAMers RoadMap
Aneesh Sohoni, 27, project director, The New Teachers Project
Aza Steel, 25 & Advait Shinde, 25, cofounders, GoGuardian
Cassandra Tognoni, 28, cofounder, BookReport
Esther Tricoche, 29, associate partner, NewSchools Venture Fund