Emily Vaughn

Lual Mayen, a video game developer based in Washington, D.C., remembers the first time he saw a computer. He was just a kid at the time. It was 2007, and his family was registering for benefits at a refugee camp in Uganda, where they'd settled after fleeing civil war in South Sudan.

Out of all the Thanksgiving dishes Kim Yates has helped prepare for her large family over the years, one batch of mashed potatoes stands out clearly in her memory.

About 30 guests were gathered that year, at her sister's home in Palo Alto, Calif., and Yates had made a point of taking on responsibility for the mashed potatoes so that her young daughter Tessa (who was dealing with extreme food allergies to eggs, dairy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish) would have at least one safe side dish to eat.

When Rose McAdoo got back to New York after spending several months working as a sous chef in Antarctica, her friends had questions. Are there penguins? How do you get supplies? Are you, like, on an iceberg?

McAdoo set about answering their questions the best way she knows how: with cake.

"Cake is my canvas," she says. "It's my way of making big ideas literally digestible."

Dr. Kimberly Sue is the medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, a national advocacy group that works to change U.S. policies and attitudes about the treatment of drug users. She's also a Harvard-trained anthropologist and a physician at the Rikers Island jail system in New York.

Sue thinks it's a huge mistake to put people with drug use disorder behind bars.