Sustainability Panel

6pm - 8pm

In the Friday Night Panel we ask non-educators to come and speak about their experience with this year's theme, sustainability.


  • Dr. Michelle Johnson: Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Christine Knapp: Director of the Office of Sustainability of Philadelphia
  • Kevin Werbach: Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School of Business


Michelle Johnson PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania; she holds a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor in Bioengineering. Dr. Johnson completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, with an emphasis in mechatronics, robotics, and design. She completed her post-doctoral NSF-NATO fellowship at the Advanced Robotics Technology and Systems Laboratory at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy. Currently, she is the Director of Rehabilitation Robotics Lab at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania – the lab is affiliated with Penn’s GRASP Lab. Dr. Johnson is also a member of the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics graduate group. Her current research focuses on using robotics to understand upper extremity dysfunction and recovery after brain injury.

Christine Knapp was appointed as the Director of the Office of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia under Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration in January of 2016. Previously, Knapp was the Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Government Affairs for the Philadelphia Water Department, where she served as the main liaison to City Council and engaged numerous external stakeholders, particularly in green stormwater infrastructure implementation.

Over the past dozen years, Christine has been at the heart of Philadelphia’s sustainability efforts, including as Director of Outreach for PennFuture where she founded the Next Great City initiative to enact a common sense, cost effective sustainability policy agenda for Philadelphia. She also worked on local air pollution issues stemming from the South Philadelphia Sunoco refinery and advocated for improvements to Philadelphia’s lagging recycling program while at Clean Water Action.

Knapp has won the Florence Neilson award for her work on the board of the Recycling Alliance of Philadelphia and the Special Recognition Award from PhilaPOSH for her work building alliances between the environmental and labor movements. Knapp serves as the Past President of the Passyunk Square Civic Association, was a 2010 Center for Progressive Leadership Political Fellow and has been recognized by Leadership Philadelphia as one of 101 “emerging connectors”. She serves on the boards of PennFuture and the Citizen’s Planning Institute, and on the editorial board of Flying Kite.

Knapp graduated cum laude from Villanova University in 2001 with bachelor degrees in Political Science and Communications.

Kevin Werbach is a leading expert on the business, policy, and social implications of emerging Internet and communications technologies.

Werbach is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also the founder of the Supernova Group, a technology analysis and consulting firm. He advises companies, writes about emerging trends in communications and information technology, and organizes Supernova, a major annual executive technology conference. He co-led the review of the Federal Communications Commission for the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

Werbach is the former editor of Release 1.0, a renowned industry publication that provided leading-edge analysis of key technology trends for senior executives. Working with technology guru Esther Dyson, he co-organized the annual PC Forum conference. During the Clinton Administration, he served as Counsel for New Technology Policy at the FCC. Called “one of the few policy wonks who really got it” by Wired, he helped develop the United States Government’s e-commerce policy, shaped the FCC's approach to Internet issues, and authored Digital Tornado, the first comprehensive analysis of the implications of the Internet

A sought-after speaker and commentator, Werbach appears frequently in print and broadcast media including CNN, CNBC, NPR, ABC News, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Nightly Business Report, and The Washington Post. His writing has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Wired, The Industry Standard, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Harvard Law Review, Slate, and Business 2.0, among other publications. Werbach is a fellow of the Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM) in Japan, a member of the International Editorial Board of I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, and an advisory board member for Socialtext, Knowledge@Wharton, and Public Knowledge. He served as an expert advisor the the FCC and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) in 2008-09, and still provides occasional consulting services to the FCC.

Werbach is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he served as Publishing Editor of the law review, and a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his family.