TEDxACU 2018 SPEAKER PROFILES

Our 2018 TEDxACU talks might only have 6 word titles, but you won't want to miss these speakers' discussions on topics ranging from justice to science, art to human motivation, and more. Take a few minutes to get to know our speakers below and save the date for TEDxACU on March 23rd to hear what comes after each speaker's 6 word story...


READY TO REGISTER?

TEDxACU 2018 will be held on Friday, March 23, 2018 in Fulks Theatre on Abilene Christian University's campus, and tickets are now on sale!

Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/tedxacu) and Twitter (@tedxacu) for updates as we continue to announce this year's speakers.


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THE CHILD WHO BELIEVED HE COULD

Dieter Cantu
Founder
Cantu's Books

dietercantu.com

After a childhood spent in a home where abuse and drugs were a part of daily life, Dieter cycled through foster care and eventually spent three years in the juvenille justice system. But rather than falling victim to his environment, he has become an entrepreneur and advocate.

In his TEDxACU talk, Dieter will discuss the difficulties facing teens in juvenile facilites, from lengthy sentences to tough living conditions, and explain how his Books to Incarcerated Youth Project is working to instill a passion for learning and reduce recidivism.


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INFLAMMATORY BREAST CANCER: RARE, NOT IMPOSSIBLE

Tatiana Cordts
Biology Major
Abilene Christian University

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is incredibly rare. So rare that, until her mom was diagnosed with IBC in 2016, Tatiana had never heard of it before. But instead of giving into the fear of facing a future without her mother, she chose to become an advocate for awareness in an effort to carry on her mother’s legacy.

In her TEDxACU talk, Tatiana will educate the audience about Inflammatory Breast Cancer, share her mother’s journey, and help us understand why we should never give up on advocating for our health.


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HOW OPTIMIZATION CAN SAVE THE WORLD

Jeff Giddens
President
NextAfter

nextafter.COM
@jagiddens

In his work at NextAfter with organizations such as Feed the Children, Dallas Theological Seminary, Prison Fellowship International, and CaringBridge, Jeff helps nonprofits optimize their networking and fundraising efforts through rigorous testing and innovation.

Jeff’s TEDxACU talk will reveal how you experience optimization every day without even realizing it and explain how nonprofits can learn from retailers to optimize their fundraising by convincing people to do more good rather than buy more stuff.


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THE DANCE BETWEEN CERTAINTY AND UNCERTAINTY

Bella Glanville
CEO
Lovekidz Foundation

As an international model and speaker, Bella has worked with major brands such as Vogue, Nike, and Topshop. But her story began with a personal journey through bullying and self-doubt -- experiences she drew on in creating the Lovekidz Foundataion, an organization that teaches kids and teens how to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and motivation.

Bella’s TEDxACU talk will highlight the problems that can result from insisting on certainty, remind the audience that what we call “fears” are sometimes just excuses, and encourage all of us to embrace uncertainty.


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GIRLS AND BOYS NEED STEM EDUCATION

Giewee Hammond
Founder
Wahjay-STEM

wahjaystem.org
@msdatascience

As the Lead Data Scientist for Aramco Services with graduate degrees in both Actuarial Science and Predictive Data Analytics, Giewee Hammond understands the importance of STEM education first-hand. So after settling into her career, she founded the Liberia-based NGO Wahjay-STEM to bring science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum to 4th-7th graders.

In her TEDxACU talk, Giewee will explain the downside of the push to increase STEM education for girls - the lack of STEM funding for co-ed programs, and remind us of the importance of gender diversity in education.


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DIFFERENCES DO NOT MAKE US ENEMIES

Wayne Jacobsen
President
BridgeBuilders

bridge-builders.org
@lifestreamwayne

As an author, speaker, and specialist in mediating cultural conflicts, particularly those at the intersection of church and state, Wayne Jacobsen has spoken to groups across the country - from school districts to the United States Commission on Civil Rights - about ways to find common ground in the midst of divisive conflict.

In his TEDxACU talk, Wayne will present strategies for approaching our increasingly polarized culture by valuing consensus, building coalitions, and avoiding the pressure to place self-interest above all else.


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REPETITIVE FORWARD MOTION KEEPS YOU MOVING

Nathan MacDonald
Senior PR Specialist
Seattle City Light

theffkid.com
@nathan_albert

In 2010, Nathan MacDonald embarked on a journey to lose weight. At 357 pounds, he decided to wield his passion for social media and his graduate degree in integrated marketing communications to establish a community of digital cheerleaders through his blog, The Fotographing Fat Kid.

In his TEDxACU talk, Nathan will share his weight loss journey (more than 100 pounds and counting!) and explain how it led him to discover that support comes in unique places - from graduate school friends to strangers on a running trail - and how support helps to keep you moving.


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ARTIST: THE NEW EXAMPLE OF EXCELLENCE

Michael McIntosh
Multimedia Designer
Spectrum Reach

mcintosharts.tv

Michael John McIntosh is a fine artist, motion designer, and director with a focus in watercolor painting who describes his style as “pop-surrealism.” But in addition to creating art, he’s also an advocate for the importance and value of the arts.

Michael’s TEDxACU talk will examine the relationship between creator and society to explain how we could address society’s lack of appreciation for and investment in the arts by seeing art as a method for solving global problems and interacting with diverse perspectives.


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AND THE TALL TREES WERE SILENT

Steven Moore
Associate Professor of English
Abilene Christian University

ACU's own three-time Teacher of the Year award winning professor Steven Moore loves teaching, traveling, and speaking to groups about life, writing, poetry, and social issues facing our world. He is also a bestselling children’s author who just finished the sequel to his book Theodore Thumbs, a story about a shy boy whose lucky thumb saves him in a world of bullying and unkindness.

Steven’s TEDxACU talk will highlight the epidemic of bullying we face today and explain how stories can teach us powerful ways to help those around us who are hurting.


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BOUGHT AND SOLD: TRAFFICKING IN AMERICA

Kaylen Runyan
Community Education Specialist
United Against Human Trafficking

uaht.org

Kaylen has been involved in the anti-trafficking non-profit sector since 2013, gaining experience working directly with victims of human trafficking at both Redeemed Ministries and The Landing before joining United Against Human Trafficking, Houston where she educates frontline professionals on how to identify and respond to human trafficking cases.

In her TEDxACU talk, Kaylen will share the realities of domestic human trafficking in Texas and answer the most common question people ask after learning about the reality of trafficking around them: “now what can I do?”


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KNOCK, KNOCK. WHO'S THERE? LIFE LESSONS.

Taylor Spencer
Business Management and Marketing Major
Abilene Christian University

From his first day on campus, Taylor has made it his goal to get involved, make an impact, and discover what he’s passionate about. In addition to working with a variety of student organizations, Taylor is set to graduate a year early with a double major in business management and marketing - a degree plan that led him to discover his love for sales and fundraising.

In his TEDxACU talk, Taylor will share the experience he gained from a summer of door-to-door sales that taught him a variety of life lessons we can all use - even if knocking on doors isn’t part of your career path.


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HEROIC JOURNEYS BEGIN WITH BOLD MENTORS

Jeremy Walker
Director of Education, Recreation, and Spiritual Development
Texas Boys Ranch

@jeremyawalker

Like many children, Jeremy grew up dreaming about epic battles of good versus evil, but it was the intervention of mentors in his life that helped him overcome tragic mistakes and reengage his passion for helping others. Now, as an educator and mentor himself, Jeremy invests in the lives of foster children through his work at Texas Boys Ranch.

In his TEDxACU talk, Jeremy will explain how bold mentors can engage anyone - from children to adults - by helping them see themselves as the heroes of their own stories, capable of battling injustices in the world around them.