TEDxACU 2017 SPEAKER PROFILES

Our TEDxACU 2017 speaker lineup represents a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives, disciplines, and industries. Read on to get a taste of their talks. We can't wait for you to hear and see what comes next...

Ready to register?

TEDxACU 2017 will be held on Friday, March 24, 2017 in Fulks Theatre on Abilene Christian University's campus, and tickets are now on sale at tedxacu.org/attend.

Please note that while the listing below identifies the speakers who will present in each session, it does not represent a final order/schedule of the day. Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/tedxacu) and Twitter (@tedxacu) for updates as we continue to develop our full schedule for the day.


SESSION I - THE POWER OF CONNECTION

From advocacy, to medicine, and dance, THIS first session speaks to the power we can discover and build through understanding and connecting with others.


SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTING DOWN SYNDROME: CONFESSIONS OF A ROCKIN MOM

Dr. Cara Jacocks
Communication Professor
Southern Methodist University

MAMABILITY.COM
@cwjacocks

As a communication scholar, Cara has always known that words are powerful. But her scholarship took a personal turn in 2013 when her son, Everett, was born and diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

In her TEDxACU talk, Cara will discuss common Down Syndrome myths and explain how a community of “rockin moms” (moms of kids who “rock” an extra copy of the 21st chromosome) are working to socially construct society’s “next” conversations about DS through critically examining the impact of our language choices.


THE SINGLE MOST VALUABLE LEGACY WE CAN PASS ON

Dr. Bonnie Feldman
Chief Collaboration Officer
DrBonnie360

DRBONNIE360.COM

Bonnie and her team consult with entrepreneurs to develop products and services aimed at improving all aspects of autoimmune care, empowering patient communities, and advancing toward individualized autoimmune diagnosis and treatment. She is also a regular speaker at major events from Stanford Medicine X to SXSW.

In her TEDxACU talk, Bonnie will highlight the invisible epidemic of autoimmune disease - conditions that over 50 million people have been diagnosed with, but medicine still has much to learn about - and discuss the steps we can take to help the next generation of autoimmune patients.


NEXT STEPS: PRESENCE IN TRANSITION

Jackie Beth Shilcutt
Adjunct Professor of Dance
Abilene Christian University

Jackie Beth has studied, performed, collaborated, and choreographed dance works from Texas to New York, and Brazil to Africa. And even a brief talk with her ACU students leaves no doubt that her dance classes make a lasting impression about the power of dance and movement.

Her TEDxACU talk will both discuss and illustrate the choreographic process. Through a combination of speech, live choreographic scoring of an original dance work, and finally performance, Jackie Beth and a talented group of dancers will challenge the audience to take a second look at what dance can teach us about the “nexts” of life.


SESSION II - LET ME TELL YOU A STORY

This session’s speakers celebrate the power of narrative by considering the importance of accessing and understanding stories, both past and present.


LITERACY IS THE ANSWER

John Trischitti
Director
Midland County Public Libraries

@MrTLibrarian

As the Texas Library Association’s 2014 Librarian of the Year, a former member of the Texas Bluebonnet Award Selection Committee, current Texas State Library and Archives Commission Library Systems Act Board Member, and especially as a father of five, John Trischitti, “Mr. T,” understands the power of literacy.

In his TEDxACU talk, John will share the staggering magnitude of our global illiteracy problem and the potential an international focus on increasing literacy has for creating greater social and economic equality for the world’s next generation.


WHAT DO MILLENNIAL FEMINISTS OWE THEIR GREAT-GRANDMOTHERS

Madeline Dayton
Global Studies Major
Abilene Christian University

 

Madeline is passionate about justice and international law. She has worked in Washington D.C., is preparing to apply for law school, and hopes to one day work for the United Nations. But she also loves studying history and understanding how the generations who came before us have shaped what we believe today.

In her TEDxACU talk, Madeline will discuss the assumptions millennials often make about what feminism means, challenge our knowledge of history, and consider where her generation might take feminism next.


CLEAR EYES ON THE FULL HEART OF POP CULTURE

Knox McCoy & Jamie Golden
Pop Culture Podcasters
The Popcast

KNOXANDJAMIE.COM

Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden have been co-hosting The Popcast since 2013. Their show is a nationally ranked weekly podcast that they self-describe as “part deep dive, but mostly shallow end.” On a personal level, Knox enjoys chips and queso, zombie movies, and spending time with his wife and kids, while Jamie enjoys depressing documentaries, Cheezits, and serving as an advocate for foster and adopted children.

In their TEDxACU talk, Knox and Jamie will deconstruct and discuss the simple and unexpected power of pop culture by considering how it challenges and connects us with one another.


SESSION III - WHEN SCIENCE MEETS CREATIVITY

Creativity is a powerful force in even the most technical of spaces, and this session's speakers seek to uncover the beauty and imagination in maps, technology, and molecules.


BROADENING OUR BORDERS TO BUILD BETTER SCHOOLS

Paul Munshower
Physics Teacher
Abilene Wylie High School

Global collaborations probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you consider public high school education. But after moving around the world every few years during his father’s military career, Paul developed a passion for global awareness and education.

Paul’s TEDxACU talk will share examples from global projects he has organized in which his students worked with schools in Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, India, and the Dominican Republic to illustrate how we can equip the next generation with skills for success in a global world.


LESSONS FROM A WORLD-CLASS STREET PEDDLER

Daniel Rangel
Founder
Creativum

CREATIVUM.NET

Daniel is the founder of Creativum, a socially conscious brand that he started with $2 while stranded in another country. Eventually, this project took him on a nearly four year long backpacking trip from the United States to Argentina.

In his TEDxACU talk, Daniel will share lessons about communicating with and persuading people that he learned while gaining the support of close to 10,000 people on the streets of over a dozen countries. Ultimately, he will argue that humility, respect, honesty, and curiosity can help you go far, no matter how little you have.


HOW SCIENCE CAN HELP YOU BREW A BETTER CUP OF COFFEE

Chandler Graf
Biochemistry Major
Abilene Christian University

 

As a biochemistry major and barista at Beltway Coffee in Abilene, Chandler has a deep passion and appreciation for the integration of science in the art of brewing coffee.

Chandler’s TEDxACU talk, filmed at Beltway Coffee and delivered via TED’s new live-to-camera video format, will share the science behind choosing the best bag of coffee at the grocery store, making great coffee at home, and even understanding what you’re really ordering the next time you go out for coffee.


SESSION IV - REACHING OUT

Humanity is driven to look beyond, and this final session wraps up TEDxACU 2017 with a look at what we have to gain when we reach out across communities, continents, and galaxies.


THE MAGNIFYING GLASS: BLACK FOOTBALL PLAYERS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES

Dr. Brandon W. Jones
Assistant Director
Academic Success Center
Clemson University

@drjonz84

In his work as an advisor, academic coach, and learning strategy consultant, Brandon is able to put his passion for helping students realize their purpose and make the most of their college experience into action.

Brandon’s TEDxACU talk will discuss his research into the academic, social, and athletic experiences and self-perceptions of high achieving Black male football players, which offers important implications for improving the educational outcomes of student athletes on university campuses.


BrownHeadshot copy.png

Jarrod Brown
President
Mission Lazarus

missionlazarus.com
@JarrodWBrown

LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

In 2001, Jarrod moved to Honduras to work on a ten month project. But ten months quickly turned into fifteen years, and today he directs Mission Lazarus, a non-profit organization he and his wife, Allison, founded to help communities in Honduras and Haiti seek economic sustainability and social development.

In his TEDxACU talk, Jarrod will ask attendees to consider how global corporations’ use of sustainable business principles and social entrepreneurism could make a real difference for the next generation in impoverished nations around the world.


INFANT GALAXIES TO ALIEN ATMOSPHERES: NASA'S NEXT HUGE TELESCOPE

Dr. Amber Straughn
Astrophysicist
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

AMBERSTRAUGHN.COM
@ASTRAUGHNOMER

Amber grew up under rural Arkansas’ beautifully dark skies, a setting that sparked her lifelong fascination with astronomy. In her work with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope science team, Amber seeks to answer important questions about how our universe works.

Amber’s TEDxACU talk will discuss telescopes’ critical role in centuries of human understanding about the cosmos and explain how the tennis-court size, 3-story tall James Webb Space Telescope will help to solve some of astronomy’s biggest unsolved mysteries.