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Cynthia McFadden is senior legal and investigative correspondent at NBC News. McFadden has been on the front lines for 30 years covering a vast array of news events from the trial of O.J. Simpson to 9/11 as well as the national security issues around the 2020 election and the COVID pandemic. Her work has been recognized with many of journalism’s most coveted awards including 15 Emmy nominations and 3 Emmy wins; two Overseas Press Club Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Peabody, and Loeb award. She received the Matrix Award as an exceptional woman in broadcasting in 2014.
She is particularly proud of the work she has done covering humanitarian and mental health issues with a particular focus on human rights abuses against women and children.
She has reported extensively over more than a dozen years about abuse in psychiatric hospitals in Mexico for which she won an Overseas Press Club award. She also broadcast numerous reports over the same period about a shock treatment, deemed to be torture by the U.N, and still in use at a school for children and adults with disabilities in Massachusetts. She has filed numerous investigative reports on the trafficking of girls and women both in the U.S. and elsewhere and has investigated the nation’s broken foster care system several times over the years. Known for her interviewing skills, she questioned a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan as he prepared for a cross burning in an Emmy nominated report; interviewed a confessed murderer in El Salvador as he held his AK-47 on his lap; challenged an irate Judge using a crystal ball in his courtroom. She has also interviewed numerous policymakers, presidents, celebrities, and criminals (she's not saying which are more difficult).
Her reporting has taken her to hot spots around the world including Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cuba, China, Israel, South Africa, Liberia, India, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Prior to working at NBC, she spent two decades at ABC news anchoring both Primetime, and for the final ten years of her tenure, Nightline. McFadden earned a BA summa cum laude from Bowdoin College and a JD from Columbia University. Bowdoin recognized her with an honorary degree in 2013.
Saniya Sonia is a mental health advocate based in California. She graduated from Drexel University with a degree in psychology and criminal justice, where she conducted research on BIPOC mental health and implemented suicide prevention strategies. She has spoken publicly about the importance of representation in mental healthcare with The JED Foundation, the Epic Foundation, Morgan Stanley, MTV, and CNN. She co-hosts a podcast called Loudmouth Ladkis, which focuses on the intersection of South Asian and Western identities with an emphasis on mental health. Her early career has been at the intersection of mental health and tech, where she hopes to improve access to mental health services.
Hannah Lucas After developing POTS, a condition that causes her to faint, then 15-year-old Hannah Lucas, was terrified of being alone. What would happen to her if she fainted and no one was around? Hannah’s fears quickly spiraled into anxiety and deep depression, which led to selfharm. By the end of her freshman year of high school, she missed 196 classes due to her condition. It was during one of Hannah’s lowest moments, alone in her room and contemplating self-harm, when the idea for the notOK App® was born. What if there was a button she could press and someone would immediately know she was not okay? When her condition stabilized, Hannah was able to take coding and entrepreneurship classes at local colleges, which empowered her to see her vision through. notOK® is Hannah’s first app and Bug and Bee, LLC is Hannah’s first company.
Alexandra Shiva is an award-winning filmmaker, known for crafting intimate character-driven cinema verité documentaries for both theatrical release and broadcast. Her latest project, EACH AND EVERY DAY, a film about youth mental health and suicide, premiered on MTV in 2021.
Her previous work includes, THIS IS HOME, a portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in Baltimore, Maryland and struggling to find their footing. The film premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 2018, where it won the Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary. The film also won a Columbia-duPont award and was broadcast on EPIX. She also directed and produced, HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO, which follows a group of teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum preparing for an iconic American rite of passage — a Spring Formal. The Peabody Award winning film premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and aired on HBO to great critical acclaim. It is currently being adapted into a musical. Alexandra’s second documentary STAGEDOOR follows five kids through a musical theater summer camp program in the Catskills. STAGEDOOR premiered at SXSW in 2005, had its theatrical debut at Film Forum in New York in 2006 and aired on Sundance Channel.
After spending extensive time in India, Alexandra launched her documentary career producing and directing BOMBAY EUNUCH, a feature-length documentary that follows a makeshift family of eunuchs as they struggle to survive in modern Bombay. In 2001, the film was awarded Best Documentary at New York’s New Festival and the Special Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival and was released theatrically. Alexandra graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Art History. She is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.