Student Innovators Driven by Personal Grit – Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group Event Honors Students

Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group Announces 2020 Dreammakers and Risktakers Award Recipients in January 2020.

Celebrating the 2020 Dreammakers and Risktakers Awards means joining top regional business leaders to honor Tri-Valley students who are innovating the future.

Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, a business-led organization that showcases student risktakers as essential contributors to the regional innovation ecosystem, has announced the 12 student award recipients for the January 23, 2020, Dreammakers and Risktakers Awards event at The Palm Event Center in Pleasanton.

“Our community is inspired by these students from all across the region who lead with grit, technical competence, and the heartfelt desire to make the world a better place” said Lynn Naylor, CEO of Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group. “This heartwarming event shines a spotlight on the next generation of incredible young leaders and their commitment to empathy, equity and boundless innovation.”

2020 Dreammaker and Risktaker Award Recipients:

Inspired by an ocular challenge he experienced as a young child, Dublin High School student inventor Jeffrey Tan designed an Electrotactile Braille Display that allows braille readers to more easily read computer screens with a braille display that is refreshable and uniquely affordable.

First generation college student Alexander Vasquez, was not daunted even by some of the most challenging course work Las Positas College has to offer in chemical engineering. Vasquez, excelled on a challenging project to stabilize DNA and RNA without refrigeration, so medical samples can be stored at room temperature with less risk during power outages expected even more often in the future due to climate change.

Seven Granada High School students turned their frustration into action as they faced the rapidly spreading vaping epidemic in their community, and moved beyond health and wellness education into effective political advocacy. The student lead team that effectively channeled their collective and powerful voice includes Livermore students Alessandra Beltran, Ahalya Rajesh, Ariella Stewart, Dario Stewart, Will Taggert, Meadow Walton and Mason Wolf.


Described as wise beyond her years, Megan Sloan of Amador Valley High School was involved in the creation of a cell phone app called the PRIDE button that recognizes students for positive behavior on campus. An active leader serving on many student committees, Megan excels in creating inclusive, empathetic projects that help all students to feel connected in a warm, kind and accepting school environment.

Maodan Tohouri is so dedicated to being a force for change that she was recently invited to speak at an International Teen Conference in Nepal, where she inspired other young leaders with ideas about how they can make a difference in their own communities. A Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program student, Maodan is the president of Students for Social Change, Communication Coordinator at Student Voice, and she also serves on the planning committee for the Tri-Valley Climate Summit.

Foothill High School student Myles Molnar will be honored for spreading optimism, determination and positivity with his fellow high school students, all while managing his personal challenge of paralysis from a wrestling injury. Myles is an inspiration to everyone around him, never complaining and continuing to work hard to do everything he always planned to accomplish – all by innovating new ways to achieve success in his new world.

About the 2020 Dreammakers and Risktakers Awards Event

Join NBC Bay Area news anchor, Jessica Aguirre, Master of Ceremonies for this annual lunch event presented by Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group.

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 
Palm Event Center, 1184 Vineyard Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 
event tickets: $55 for ITVLG members, $65 for non-members