A new decade reveals new opportunities and new obstacles. As we face the future, we have a choice: cling to the familiar or unlock the next level. At the University of Georgia, we embrace bold questions, innovative scholarship, and untold stories as the keys to rising beyond what we think is possible. TEDxUGA 2021 will elevate ideas with the power to launch our world to the next level.
Cristen Conger & Caroline Ervin
Dr. K. Paige Carmichael is a professor of veterinary pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, having previously served as the college’s dean for academic affairs. Dr. Carmichael received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University, completed a combined pathology residency/PhD at UGA, and then became board certified in veterinary anatomic pathology. Dr. Carmichael’s area of research is animal models of human disease, and she has studied and published on many diseases common to people and animals. She is passionate about diversifying the veterinary profession and mentoring students and early career faculty. Her many honors and achievements include the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship, the President’s Fulfilling the Dream Award, and numerous teaching awards.
Dr. Christopher Pizzino is an associate professor of contemporary US literature in the Department of English. His teaching and research interests include comics and graphic narratives, theory of the novel, image theory, and various genres of contemporary literature, film, and television. Dr. Pizzino’s research has appeared in Postmodern Culture and PMLA, among other places, and he is currently researching a book on the resurgence of 1980s culture in the contemporary culture wars.
Dr. Lisa Renzi Hammond is an assistant professor in the Institute of Gerontology in the College of Public Health. She is also faculty in the interdisciplinary neuroscience program and adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology. Her expertise is in lifespan sensory and neurological health, and she studies the ways in which making positive lifestyle changes can improve visual function, cognitive function and the risk for neurodegenerative disease. Along with her colleagues in gerontology, Dr. Renzi Hammond is currently working to improve diagnosis rates for age-related neurodegenerative diseases in the state and local communities.
Cristen Conger & Caroline Ervin
Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin are the co-founders of Unladylike Media and the co-hosts of the feminist podcast Unladylike. Both women are alumna of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The two spent years working together at HowStuffWorks as the hosts of Stuff Mom Never Told You, then launched Unladylike to create the equality-focused content they wished had existed when they were growing up. Now, their mini multimedia empire includes their Webby award-winning podcast, various speaking engagements, an enthusiastic online community, and the book “Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space.” Throughout their work, Conger and Ervin strive to create groundbreaking conversations and make room for marginalized voices.
Dr. LaKeisha Gantt is a licensed psychologist, assistant professor of psychology at Piedmont College, and member of the Athens-Clarke County Board of Education. Dr. Gantt earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Mercer University and both her Master of Education in Counseling and her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia. In addition to providing counseling services to diverse communities, Dr. Gantt advocates on issues at the intersection of education, psychology, and multiculturalism.
Matt Stevens is the vice president of strategic impact at Creature Comforts Brewing Company. Stevens holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia, as well as a Master of Science in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh. As a longtime resident of Athens, Stevens promotes active citizenship as a means to improve every community. He believes everyone should have a plan to support the city they love and devotes himself to simplifying service in a complex world.
John Jardin is a third-year undergraduate pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations with minors in Theatre and English. Jardin currently serves as a Student Government Association First Year Forum Peer Leader. In his talk, John will explore how implementing LGBT curriculum in K-12 public schools can combat systemic homophobia and cultivate safe spaces for LGBT youth.
Taylor ‘Tot’ Keller is a fourth-year undergraduate studying Advertising and pursuing the New Media certificate in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After years of struggling with her health, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of hormonal issues within women. In her talk, Keller will foster awareness, understanding, and community for those affected by this under-researched disorder.
Sam Spellicy is a MD/PhD candidate at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center and the Medical College of Georgia. Her current research focuses on stroke rehabilitation and therapeutic development. In her talk, Spellicy will encourage us to take an active role in our healthcare and communicate better with our healthcare providers.
Alton Standifer is the assistant to the president where he focuses primarily on student affairs, diversity relations, and community engagement. After graduating from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, Standifer is currently pursuing a doctorate in UGA’s Public Administration and Policy program. Standifer will serve as TEDxUGA’s emcee for the second year in a row.
Kappa Alpha Psi
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was founded in 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington. 60 years later, sixteen young black men at the University of Georgia met to form the first interest group of prospective Kappas. On April 16, 1971 the Zeta Iota Chapter at the University of Georgia was chartered. Since its inception, the chapter has developed and trained youth for leadership while engaging with the campus and Athens community. The Zeta Iota chapter has attained some of the highest achievements throughout the Southeastern Province and Grand Chapter levels of Kappa Alpha Psi. With a strong belief in excelling academically, athletically, socially, and through service, members of the Zeta Iota Chapter precisely display what it means to achieve in every field of human endeavor.
Delta Sigma Theta
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded in 1913 by twenty-two young, determined, and educated women on the campus of Howard University. In 1969, eight women referred to as “The Great Eight” chartered the Zeta Psi Chapter at the University of Georgia. They paved
the way for over four hundred capable black women to serve the university and Athens community. Today, Zeta Psi continues to lead in service, hosting the annual Miss Black University of Georgia Pageant to raise funds for Kimberlee N. Chatmon Memorial Scholarship, in memory of the chapter’s first deceased member. Because of its powerful sisterhood, scholarship, and service, the Zeta Psi chapter has been frequently recognized both on campus and nationally.
Student Idea Showcase Participants
TEDxUGA Student Presenters are chosen annually through the TEDxUGA Student Idea Showcase. Though the following students were not selected to present at TEDxUGA, their talks demonstrate outstanding qualities and embody true, original ideas worth sharing.
Colin Beecham is a fourth-year Real Estate major in the Terry College of Business. He is a co-founder and current CEO of “Jam For Cam,” a nonprofit organization that supports melanoma research among other causes. He is also a co-ed cheerleader and a brother of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. In his talk, Beecham will share how rethinking the way we view nonprofits can strengthen their ability to advocate for their causes.
David Cowan is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. He is part of the Graduate Acting Ensemble and teaches acting in the Department of Theater and Film. Cowan’s current research focuses on compassion-focused therapy as it relates to acting and cognitive neuroscience. In his talk, Cowan will explore how an acting class can provide a safe environment for emotional healing.
Jeffery John is a second-year undergraduate studying Computer Science and Public Policy. John’s longtime passion for creative spaces led him to find his niche in the world of 3D printing. In his talk, John will illuminate how bringing our ideas to life through makerspaces and 3D printing can inspire a shift in how we view innovation.
Kestrina Shrestha is a graduate student in the College of Education pursuing a master’s in College Student Affairs Administration. Her extensive campus involvement includes advising the Asian American Student Association, the Black Theatrical Ensemble, and the Indian Cultural Exchange. In her talk, Shrestha will share how the idea of a backpack can help us better manage the stress we encounter in our day-to-day lives.
Divya Yendapally is a fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Design and Media. Currently, Yendapally is collaborating with the School of Social Work to build an app that teaches medical professionals how to work with patients who have experienced trauma. In her talk, Yendapally will address how we can better understand trauma-related disorders and make treatment more affordable and accessible.