Twin Cities Startup Week 2021 Twin Cities Startup Week 2021
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Too Many Children Left Behind: Improving Equity in Education through Innovation

Maria Burns Ortiz
7 Generation Games, Co-Founder & CEO

Maria Burns Ortiz is co-founder and CEO of 7 Generation Games, developing educational games and interactive apps aimed at closing the math gap. Taking 7 Generation Games from concept to award-winning company, she oversees all creative aspects of game development. She is a NY Times best-selling author and teaching artist at Minneapolis’ Loft Literary Center. Previous to 7 Generation Games, Maria was a journalist for leading international news outlets and taught as an adjunct professor at Emerson College and visiting lecturer at Tufts University. She is a Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal 40 Under 40 and Forbes Next 1000 Honoree, while 7 Generation Games is the 2021 Minne Inno Blazer Award winner for education.

Shanita Young
Little Earth Residents Association, Wiconí Wasté (Good Life) Youth Program Coordinator

Shanita Young is the Wiconí Wasté (Good Life) youth program coordinator for the Little Earth Residents Association. As part of the organization’s education team, she runs the mentoring program for Little Earth high school students, ensuring students have support they need to succeed in  and outside of the classroom. Previously, Young was the American Indian Multicultural Liaison for St. Louis Park Public Schools and Chairperson of the district’s AIPAC (American Indian Parent Advisory Committee). She has also spent time working with the Summer Learning Program at Central Community Center. Shanita grew up in the Twin Cities area and is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

Dr. Michael Wulf
Minnesota STEM Partnership, Founder & Executive Director

Dr. Michael Wulf is founder of the Minnesota STEM Partnership, n-profit initiative that provides access to high-tech activities in STEM for K-12 students and their families within the Twin Cities and across Minnesota to address the access and opportunity disparities in BIPOC communities. Michael is also Chief Executive Officer of a technical and STEM education consulting business WebDemoZ, focused on enabling small business and non-profits access to the rapidly expanding digital environment. As a product of the inner-city neighborhood, originally from St. Paul’s Rondo-Summit/University area, Wulf credits his community with helping define him as an early entrepreneur and leader and instilling a commitment to giving back. He holds a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D./OL) from Argosy University.  

Tuning in virtually? Watch live on Hopin on the Stage here. 

Minnesota is among the worst in the nation when it comes to the K12 achievement gap. There is no quick fix, but EdTech provides an opportunity to create more diverse and culturally reflective curriculum solutions to improve outcomes. The question is how do we make sure that it's done authentically, accurately and impactfully? From engagement to accessibility, how do we make sure that we are creating inclusive learning tools for all learners? And most importantly, what do those working in the field wish EdTech entrepreneurs working on these solutions knew?

Attend this session in person or participate from the comfort of your home or office through Hopin.


There is a large paid parking lot right next to the T3 building (323 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401).