A snapshot captures a fleeting moment in its purest form, unfiltered and unrestrained. One snapshot is a single perspective, but when united with others, a gallery emerges. TEDxUGA 2024 will provide a lens into the gallery of ideas that exist within the University of Georgia community. Join us as we explore the candid experiences, groundbreaking research, and innovative scholarship that will frame the future.

Denis Dumas

Dr. Denis Dumas is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Mary Frances Early College of Education. His laboratory develops innovative statistical methods that identify creativity in students. By leveraging AI models to conduct universal screenings, Dr. Dumas hopes to cultivate a better understanding of the necessary support highly creative students need to thrive in educational environments. Dr. Dumas’ talk emphasizes the importance of accurately recognizing these highly creative students to prevent their creative behaviors from being misunderstood or disciplined.

Cassandra Hall

Dr. Cassandra Hall is the Observatory Director and an Assistant Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Hall uses state-of-the-art simulations to understand how planets form around stars and is exploring the power of artificial intelligence in hunting for forming exoplanets. By discussing the possibilities of her AI model that detects the formation of exoplanets, Dr. Hall unveils how AI can help us find what is hidden in the darkness of our universe. In her talk, she encourages us to turn our fear of the celestial unknown into an opportunity for discovery.

Christina Proctor

Dr. Christina Proctor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior in the College of Public Health. Her research focuses on exploring mental health challenges faced by rural farmers and identifying key stressors that contribute to these issues. Dr. Proctor is dedicated to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health among rural farmers and increasing financial support for mental health services in these areas. Leaning on her expertise, her talk provides solutions to better support the American farming community as they continue to play a vital role in feeding the ever-increasing global population.


Nithya Natrajan

Dr. Nithya Natrajan graduated from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics. She is a Family Medicine physician whose practice, Blossoming Families: Perinatal Care, focuses on perinatal care for new parents and their families. Dr. Natrajan’s personal experience with birth inspired her to advocate for the improvement of birth outcomes and empower families as they welcome a new baby. In her talk, Dr. Natrajan explores the importance of enhancing support throughout the birthing period to fortify the bonds within families and communities.

Erin Sowell

Erin Sowell graduated from the Terry College of Business with a master’s in Marketing Research. She is the founder of Thoughtful Research, a consultancy that applies ecosystem science to help business leaders have a better understanding of their market. Using science, research, and insights, Erin enables organizations to secure success in dynamic markets and business environments. In her talk, she discusses how to disrupt the market and become competitive by exploring the similarities between natural and business ecosystems.

Fernando Velasco

Fernando Velasco is the Director of Player Engagement for the Atlanta Falcons and a former UGA and NFL football player. Fernando graduated from the Mary Frances Early College of Education with a bachelor’s in Health and Physical Education. Personal experience has taught Fernando the power that forgiveness has on healing and the ability to set oneself free from trauma. In his talk, Fernando shares how his journey to forgive his father allowed him to value and embrace his words of wisdom.

Mamie Harper

Mamie Harper, a PhD student in the School of Social Work, is often referred to as the “Children’s Champion.” She has been an influential advocate for children’s rights, both as a social worker and as the Executive Director and Founder of Carrie’s Closet of Georgia. Mamie’s talk helps reframe our understanding of clothing, recognizing it as a fundamental human right rather than a privilege. She shares a new perspective on clothing donations, emphasizing that “no child should look like the trauma they have endured.”

Olivia Rothstein Keeffe


Olivia Rothstein Keeffe is a Landscape Architecture graduate student in the College of Environment and Design. Her research is dedicated to exploring the physical manifestation of collective memory through memorials along with their influence and impact on communities. Olivia’s talk shares research insights on impactful memorials, showing how collective efforts can contribute to the improvement of future commemorations.

TJ Stephens

TJ Stephens is a Business and Sports Management undergraduate student in the Terry College of Business. During his tenure as the President of Esports at UGA, TJ has led the organization to become one of the largest on campus, reaching over 2,000 active members, and winning various regional and national titles. TJ champions Esports by sharing his personal experience in the industry and emphasizing the positive impact the sport has on local communities. In his talk, he explores how the unique accessibility of Esports fosters both social opportunities and economic benefits on a global scale.

Narke Norton

Narke Norton serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Veterinary Medicine. As a first-generation student, Narke graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Master’s in Higher Education Administration. Currently, Narke is pursuing a PhD in Education with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Administration from the Mary Frances Early College of Education. Beyond his university responsibilities, Narke has a strong interest in mentorship, theater, storytelling, and student affairs. One of Narke’s greatest accomplishments includes being selected as a 2014 TEDxUGA presenter with a talk on the power of debate and the benefits of public speaking – Out of the Coffin and Into the Conversation.