American Two-Time Paralympian & Former U.S. Army Officer
After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2002, Melissa Stockwell was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army’s transportation corps. One month after being deployed to Iraq, in April 2004, she became the first female American soldier in history to lose a limb in active combat after her vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. She was later honored with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for her service. Four years later, she became the first Iraq War veteran to qualify for the Paralympic Games, competing in swimming at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics. She was selected to be the flag bearer for Team USA at the Beijing closing ceremonies.
After Beijing, Stockwell shifted her focus to triathlon because she enjoyed the variety that it gave her. She made her elite ITU debut in 2009 and went on to earn three consecutive world titles from 2010-2012. In 2016, she earned a spot on the inaugural U.S. paratriathlon team for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, which featured the sport as a medal event for the first time. She earned a bronze medal in the PTS2 category, sharing the podium as part of a U.S. sweep with silver medalist Hailey Danz and gold medalist Allysa Seely.
Stockwell is a co-founder of the Chicago-based Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club with Keri Serota and Dan Tun. She is a USA Triathlon Level I certified coach and serves as a mentor and friend to her fellow Dare2tri athletes as they train and compete. She also serves on the board of directors for the Wounded Warriors Project, USA Triathlon Foundation, and the USA Triathlon Women’s Committee. She is a licensed prosthetist but is currently training for triathlon full-time at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One of her pre-race rituals is that she always has to eat gummy worms the night before a race. She is married to Brian Tolsma and has two children, Dallas and Millie.
Adam J. Fowler
UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecast and Development
Adam J. Fowler is Director of Research at the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. Mr. Fowler leads the Center’s work in sustainable growth and development, and in housing, land use, and real estate. His projects focus on economic and workforce development strategies, environmental economics and domestic energy, housing and population trends, the creative economy and its workforce, public opinion and attitudes, public policy analysis, and regional economics. In addition to his role at the Center, he is also Director of Research at Beacon Economics.
His recent work portfolio includes leading a high-profile analysis illustrating the economic benefits of professionalizing the early childcare and education workforce in Los Angeles County for UNITE-LA. He also co-authored an analysis of the film and digital media industry in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Division, highlighting technological disruption and the competitive value of diversity. Other recent, high-profile work includes an analysis and critique of California’s regional housing goals for the public policy group Next 10, and the Otis Report on the Creative Economy 2021 for the Otis College of Art and Design. Mr. Fowler also oversees the Center’s research staff. His academic interests include the intersection of behavioral economics and public policy.
He formerly served as Research Manager and prior to joining the Center, was a member of the Fox Uncertainty Lab and the Consortium of Behavioral Scientists. He served as a teaching assistant in American Government, Public Opinion, and Introductory Game Theory at UCLA. Mr. Fowler also worked as a producer on a documentary film that was acquired by HBO. He has been interviewed by the New York Times and has appeared in statewide publications including the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times. He is a member of the American Political Science Association, the American Association for Public Opinion Research, and the International Documentary Association.
Mr. Fowler holds an M.A. degree in Political Science from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and pursued a Ph.D. in Political Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.