About

ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival

Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History presented the first annual ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival on April 5—7, 2019. The festival, programmed by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the Museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, is a three-day celebration of creative exploration and research at the nexus of science, engineering, arts, and design (SEAD). Visitors to the festival will interact with innovators and experience new interdisciplinary technologies developed to address global challenges. The event is free and open to the public.

The ACCelerate festival is an opportunity for all ACC schools in partnership with the Lemelson Center to showcase their work to the public, each other, students, alumni, companies, legislators, and invited guests from the nation’s capital.

Festival Format
The festival takes over the west wing of the National Museum of American History, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th Streets NW.

The festival will feature 38 interactive installations from across the 15 ACC schools grouped in three thematic areas:

  • Exploring Place and Environment
  • Exploring Health, Body, and Mind
  • Exploring Culture and the Arts

ACCelerate Planning Team

Virginia Tech


R. Benjamin Knapp

R. Benjamin Knapp

R. Benjamin Knapp is the festival co-chair and the Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. ICAT seeks to promote research and education at the boundaries between art, design, engineering, and science. For more than 20 years, Dr. Knapp has been working to create meaningful links between human-computer interaction, universal design, and various forms of creativity.

Donna Raines

Donna Raines

Donna Raines is the Project Manager for Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech. In 2016, Donna retired from Virginia Tech with 32 years of experience in program management in Continuing and Professional Education (CPE). During her tenure in CPE, Donna managed some of the most high profile and logistically complex programs for the university and external clients such as the Virginia Department of Education.

Melissa Wyers

Melissa Wyers

Melissa Wyers is the Administrative Coordinator for the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech. Melissa manages administrative services for the institute and has a rich background in accounting and fiscal coordination. In previous roles, she has managed payroll, accounts receivable, and taxes.

Holly Williams

Holly Williams

Holly Williams is the Program and Business Operations Manager for the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech. In this role, she is responsible for the daily oversight of the institute’s daily activities and operations. She has 12 years of experience at Virginia Tech, previously as an Assistant Director for Continuing and Professional Education, where she led a dynamic team that managed a complex portfolio of outreach programs including large conferences, workshops, and training courses for the adult professional audience.

Smithsonian Institution


Jeffrey L. Brodie, Ph.D.

Jeffrey L. Brodie

Jeffrey L. Brodie, Ph.D. is the festival co-chair and Deputy Director for the Lemelson Center. Jeff is responsible for operations, programming, and strategic planning. Since coming to the Smithsonian in 1989, Jeff has helped develop many exhibition projects including America’s Smithsonian: An Exhibition of American History and Culture, presented in Tokyo, Japan; Benjamin Franklin: A Revolutionary Role; and Science in American Life. Jeff has especially enjoyed curating and managing exhibition and capital projects requiring the successful integration of many individuals with discrete skills and knowledge including the Star-Spangled Banner: The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem.

Laura Havel

Laura Havel

Laura Havel is the Public Affairs Specialist for the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. She is responsible for leading communications content strategies and promotional efforts for the Center, including producing and reviewing information for the Center's social media, website, publications, and other outreach channels.
William Reynolds

William Reynolds

William Reynolds is the Finance & Administration Officer for the Lemelson Center. His primary role is to manage the Lemelson Center’s financial and administrative needs. His responsibilities include preparing and monitoring the annual operating budget, processing the Center’s procurement needs, processing invitational travel, reconciliation of all Lemelson Center funds, and a host of other duties. William has worked in non-profit administration and financial management his entire career.
Emma Grahn

Emma Grahn

Emma Grahn is the Museum Program Specialist for the Lemelson Center. She specializes in inquiry-based learning and museum education. In her role, she manages Spark!Lab, the museum’s hands-on invention space. She also develops public programs that advance new perspectives on invention and innovation and foster interactions between the public and inventors. Emma strives to spark conversation, build relationships with museum visitors, and empower all visitors to see themselves as inventors.

Dan Holm

Dan Holm

Dan Holm is the Program Manager for the Office of Audience Engagement at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In this role he works on strategic planning, office management, budget, and support for a department whose work encompass all aspects of the Museum’s outreach to its myriad audiences. Dan develops signature museum programs, including the ACCelerate Festival and the “What It Means to Be American" project.
ACCelerate Steering Committee

Andrea EllisAndrea Ellis

Andrea is the Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Summer Programs where she participates in university-wide strategic, innovation projects and is a member of the Board of Trustees Innovation Committee. The majority of Andrea’s time is spent on mission driven projects that help maximize University resources, create more efficiency for the campus, and generate revenue. Additionally, Andrea has been charged with overseeing the Reynolda Summer Programs to maximize profitability and strategic contributions.

Prior to this role, Andrea spent seven years creating and leading the Professional Development Center, as well as managing the recruitment and organizational development teams. Before that she spent two years in Campus Life and six years in Information Systems. Andrea received a BA in Communication and Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters in Counseling from Wake Forest University; she completed her PhD in Higher Education Administration with a focus on emotional intelligence and conflict management at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ken BaldaufKen Baldauf

Ken Baldauf joined the Florida State University Computer Science faculty in 1998 to coordinate a campus-wide computer literacy effort. Since then Ken has developed courses in computer fluency, management information systems, digital media, object-oriented programming, web design and web development, with enrollments in his classes growing to over 2,500 students per semester. He developed one of the first online courses at FSU in 1998, and has been devoted to developing effective online teaching systems and methods ever since. In 2008 Ken assumed the position of Director for FSU’s new Program in Interdisciplinary Computing where he worked with colleges and departments across campus to determine what computer and information technology skills and knowledge are needed in their disciplines, and provided courses to meet those needs. During this time, Ken expanded his interests to digital fabrication (3D Printing), Virtual Reality, and Design Thinking. Ken directs FSU’s new Innovation Hub which is designed to support students from all disciplines, working together, utilizing the latest technologies and Design Thinking to confront the demanding and complex problems of our day. Ken has authored several textbooks, produced a weekly tech news podcast for tech teachers, and has worked with Cengage Learning to design an online learning framework for Intro Computer courses titled Emerge with Computers.

Michelle BolasMichelle Bolas

Michelle Bolas works with faculty, students and staff across campus to implement Carolina’s innovation strategy. She leads communications and outreach and connects Carolina with external partners. Michelle is the associate director for Innovate Carolina and brings to that role 20 years of experience working with education, business and government leaders to create and implement successful programs. Michelle has a diverse background, from leading museum board development, fundraising and publications departments at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill, to working with public policy and statewide leadership on the a nonpartisan think-tank as assistant director for the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University. Michelle has successfully collaborated on the creation of entrepreneurial programs that build organizations and advance their mission, while raising millions in foundation grants to support their growth.

Jeffrey L. BrodieJeffrey L. Brodie

Jeffrey L. Brodie, Ph.D. is the festival co-chair and Deputy Director for the Lemelson Center. Jeff is responsible for operations, programming, and strategic planning. Since coming to the Smithsonian in 1989, Jeff has helped develop many exhibition projects including America’s Smithsonian: An Exhibition of American History and Culture, presented in Tokyo, Japan; Benjamin Franklin: A Revolutionary Role; and Science in American Life. Jeff has especially enjoyed curating and managing exhibition and capital projects requiring the successful integration of many individuals with discrete skills and knowledge including the Star-Spangled Banner: The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem.

David G. BrownDavid G. Brown

David G. Brown is the founder and coordinator of the ACC Academic Consortium. An economist, over 40 years he’s served in 3 presidencies and 3 provostships (including Wake Forest), chaired the American Association for Higher Education and the Higher Education Colloquium, and authored 10 books including University Presidents as Moral Leaders.

Meghan Culpepper

Elisa DekaneyElisa Dekaney

Dr. Elisa Macedo Dekaney is the Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Studies, and Internationalization in the College of Visual Performing Arts at Syracuse University. She is dually appointed by the School of Education and the Setnor School of Music to teach graduate and undergraduate courses in the areas of choral music, music education, music research, and world music. Additionally, in 2014 she joined the prestigious core faculty for the Renée Crown Honors Program.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dekaney earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Universidade Federal Fluminense. She continued her studies in the United States, earning a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Ph.D. in choral music education from the Florida State University.

Along husband Joshua Dekaney, Elisa has been the founder and director of Samba Laranja: the Syracuse University Brazilian Ensemble and under their direction, they perform regularly for k-12 schools across Central New York and Massachusetts and in the community and on campus. The group has also performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City four times since 2010
and has been awarded two Syracuse Area Music Awards for in 2011 (Native Orange) and 2015 (Pathways).

An active researcher, clinician, and choral conductor in the United States and abroad, Elisa’s scholarly research focuses on aesthetic response to Brazilian music, choral repertoire from the global community, International Phonetic Alphabet, clinical simulation, and thin-slice methodology. Her studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Research in Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, The Choral Journal, International Education, Music Educators Journal, Contributions to music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, and Update. Carl Fischer and BriLee have published her choral arrangements of Brazilian folksongs and her book, Travel On and On: Interdisciplinary Lessons on the Music of World Cultures, is published by Rowman and Littlefiled Education and the
National Association for Music Education.

In 2011, Elisa was a Curt Silberman Seminar Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. where she engaged in advanced Holocaust studies. She is the recipient of several awards including Outstanding Faculty Award in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. During the 2018-2019 academic year Elisa is one of the members of the inaugural ACC Academic Leaders Network.

Christina Leigh DocteurChristina Leigh Docteur

As Director of Proposal Support Services, Christina is responsible for supporting Syracuse University’s proposal, research and faculty development efforts. This includes facilitating team-based collaboration around strategic funding opportunities, managing the University’s internal funding competitions for both seed grant programs and externally funded limited submissions, promoting faculty nominations for external award programs, enhancing research communications in collaboration with other University leadership, and providing training in grant searching and proposal development in conjunction with other institutional offices. Prior to her appointment in the Office of Research in 2018, Christina served for fourteen years as the Grant Development Administrator for Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where she is also an instructor in the Public Affairs program. Christina received a Doctorate in Information Management and Masters of Library Science, both from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool).

Es FamojureEs Famojure

Es Famojure works closely with faculty and students on arts-related projects, coordinates arts engagement events related to Arts@Tech season artists and resident artists, serves as staff coordinator for the Council for the Arts; and serves as an advisor to the Arts@Tech Ambassadors. She previously worked in the field of music artist management and also for Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts as Marketing Coordinator for the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative and Africa-Atlanta 2014. She is a graduate of Georgia State University.

John D. GriffinJohn D. Griffin

As the Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Clemson University, Griffin oversee all academic support services, including the Academic Success Center, Athletic Academic Services, Student Accessibility Services, the Office of Teaching Excellence and Innovation, as well as Internship and Career Services. He also directs the Office of Undergraduate Studies, which is responsible for managing all aspects of the curriculum, academic integrity issues, summer session and academic outreach, and first year programming. In addition, he is responsible for aligning all programming and initiatives with the Clemson Forward Strategic plan, which is focused on raising retention and graduation rates toachieve the goal of being a top public university in student success. Prior to his appointment to Clemson in the fall of 2016, Griffin was the Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the College of William & Mary, where he spent most of his academic career as a Neurobiologist, with a research program focused on studying the central neural mechanisms of thermoregulatory control. During that time, more than 40 undergraduate and a dozen graduate students worked as part of his research team and were co-authors on many of his scholarly publications. Griffin received tenure and promotion to full professor while at William & Mary, was named the Class of 2012 Professor of Biology, received the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, and served as the Director of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program for nine years. Before arriving at William & Mary, Griffin completed a postdoctoral fellowship and a teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Harvard College, followed by three years as an Assistant Professor at Sacred Heart University. He received his B.S. in Biology from UNC-Wilmington and M.S. & Ph.D. in Physiology from the Ohio State University.

Monika Hirschbichler

Benjamin KnappBenjamin Knapp

R. Benjamin Knapp is the festival co-chair and the Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. ICAT seeks to promote research and education at the boundaries between art, design, engineering, and science. For more than 20 years, Dr. Knapp has been working to create meaningful links between human-computer interaction, universal design, and various forms of creativity.

Charles Leonard

Joe McCarthy

Yvonne Mikuljan

Barry OlsenBarry Olson

Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Administration, NC State Dr. Olson is responsible for the oversight and management of areas including Finance, Facilities Planning and Management, Technology Services, Human Resources, University Housing, and Living and Learning. The Division of Academic and Student Affairs is responsible for approximately $120 million of funds, roughly 575 full-time employees, and approximately 3.5 million square feet of space. He also serves as a member of the faculty in the College of Education's Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development program, teaching master's level courses in student affairs.

Tim PyattTim Pyatt

As Dean, Tim leads a Library that serves students and faculty in the Undergraduate College, the Wake Forest School of Business, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Wake Forest Divinity School. He manage a $12 million annual budget with over 60 faculty and staff and 200 student employees. Prior to being appointed Dean, Tim was the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and Head of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State. Tim has also held leadership positions at Duke University and at UNC-CH, where he served as Director of the Southern Historical Collection. Tim also taught archival administration at the UNC School of Information and Library Science from 1998 to 2007. From 2013-2015, Tim was a Leadership Fellow for the Association of Research Libraries and is also a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists for outstanding contributions to the field.

Akua SarrAkua Sarr

Akua Sarr is Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. In this role, she oversees the Office of International Programs, the Academic Advising Center, The Connors Family Learning Center, the Learning to Learn Office, the Undergraduate Fellowships Office, and Learning Resources for Student Athletes. She also works with the undergraduate academic deans in all of the schools and colleges on academic policy and procedures. Dr. Sarr has been at Boston College since 2006, serving as Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and also as Director of the University’s Academic Advising Center. Prior to Boston College, she served as Assistant Dean in Letters & Science Student Academic Affairs and Director of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Sarr earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in African Languages & Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Bill Sherman

Will Silverman

Sheryl WaddellSheryl Waddell

Sheryl Waddell leads the Innovate Carolina Global Network an initiative aimed to engage community members, alumni, faculty, staff and students to strengthen the University’s innovation ecosystem and help Carolina innovators as they translate their ideas into practical benefit. The relationships developed, the knowledge transferred, and the conduit to additional connections facilitates a cohesive network that will have a long-term impact on innovation and economic benefits from both within the region and to major markets outside the region, connecting it to capital sources and go-to-market partners. Prior to joining the Innovate Carolina team, Sheryl was the national program director for the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, a program developed at UNC-Chapel Hill and deployed in conjunction with Duke University, NC State University and North Carolina Central University. The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network unlocks the economic potential of select regions by identifying and networking the area’s successful serial entrepreneurs so they can advise and coach the region’s next generation high-growth companies.

Kimi Yingling

ACCelerate Impact 2019

Virginia Tech’s Center for Research in SEAD Education (CRSE) has taken the lead to evaluate the impact of ACCelerate! The leadership team from Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian is working in collaboration with Boston College, Duke, Florida State, the University of Miami, and the University of Virginia to assess the event’s value and efficacy. With the help of 50 volunteers, information will be gathered from festival attendees, exhibitors, volunteers, and the steering and planning committees using surveys, talk-back boards, and business cards to assess the potential for downstream partnership development. The CRSE will analyze the information and publish a report for stakeholders at all ACC institutions and the Smithsonian. The evaluation team members include:

  • Joe Burns, Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Boston College
  • Randi Clayton, Center for Research in SEAD Education, Virginia Tech
  • Molly Goldwasser, Office for Academic Affairs, Duke University
  • Sue Magliaro, Center for Research in SEAD Education, Virginia Tech
  • Laurel Miller, Smithsonian Museum of American History
  • Phyllis Newbill, Center for Research in SEAD Education, Virginia Tech
  • Andrea Pinto, Office of Assessment and Accreditation, University of Miami
  • Greg Taylor, School of Teacher Education, Florida State University
  • Matthew Wheelock, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

View the 2017 Evaluation Report