Centuries have built a powerful network of research and scholarship that is vast and intertwined. The passions and actions that inspire this network are sometimes unseen, unheard, and untamed. But the results are ever-reaching. At the University of Georgia, we plant seeds of research and scholarship every day. And now at TEDxUGA 2023, we will explore how these seeds have taken root and flourished into ideas with the power to change the world.

K Chad Clay

At the University of Georgia, Dr. K Chad Clay is the Director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues and an Associate Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs. His teaching and research focusses on human rights, political violence, and political economies. Additionally, Dr. Clay is the co-founder of the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), which develops measurable statistics for education and outreach efforts focused on understanding and defending human rights. HRMI is the first global initiative to track and report on the human rights performance of countries across the world. In this talk, Dr. Clay argues that most of us are Human Rights people — we just don’t know it yet. Most of us care about reducing human suffering in some way, shape, or form. And so, when we shift our perspective from an economic-based worldview to a human-centric mindset we are able to create a more diverse, sustainable, and equitable future.

Naola Ferguson-Noel

Dr. Naola Ferguson-Noel is a Professor in Population Health at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center (PDRC) in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. Dr. Ferguson-Noel is an expert reference for avian mycoplasma control and diagnostics in the global poultry industry and a recipient of multiple patents for protecting poultry domestically and abroad. As a leader in the global veterinary community, self-titled Chicken Doctor Dr. Ferguson-Noel works to ensure the health and well-being of millions, even billions, of poultry. Due to its availability and affordability, poultry is a leading protein source throughout the world. And yet, the poultry industry has received a bad reputation due to a series of false narratives. Here, Dr. Ferguson-Noel debunks common misconceptions about the poultry industry so we are better informed about what we are eating and feeding our families.

Mattia Pistone

At the University of Georgia, Dr. Mattia Pistone is the Director of the Magma Mia Petrology and Volcanology Laboratory and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology. Dr. Pistone is a Primary Investigator of DIVE (Drilling the Ivrea-Verbano zonE), an international research initiative aimed at probing the Moho (the boundary between Earth’s outer crust and the mantle) for the first time ever. For centuries, the boundary between the Earth’s crust and the mantle has remained inaccessible, and drilling to explore the Earth’s interior has been impossible. However, exploration of this boundary is now achievable after just 1 mile of drilling due to recent discoveries in the Ivrea-Verbano Zone. As the primary investigator of this groundbreaking research initiative, Dr. Mattia Pistone sheds light on the significance of drilling into the Earth’s interior and what this cryptic geological frontier can teach us about life here on earth and elsewhere in the universe.

Jake Goodman

Jake Goodman is a Miami-based psychiatry resident physician. With more than 2.1 million followers, Dr. Goodman is a mental health activist and social media content creator focused on fighting stigma and discrimination while empowering those experiencing mental health challenges to seek help. Medical training practices in the United States haven’t changed much since formal residency programs were first introduced in 1897. A series of unaddressed problems within these practices have perpetuated mental health challenges within the medical profession. In this talk, Dr. Jake Goodman brings awareness and promotes advocacy to further the discussion on medical training improvements that are necessary to better protect the mental health and care of both physicians and patients.

Maria Taylor

Maria Taylor is the first female full-time host of NBC Sports’ Football Night in America. A familiar face in households all over the world, Taylor has hosted many of the most-watched sports programming and events including NBA, NFL, College Basketball, College Football, Olympics, Paralympics, and the French Open. In addition to her hosting roles, Taylor is the executive producer of an eight-part documentary series on the history of the Black quarterback in the NFL, which will be the first of many impactful documentaries to be produced by her company. Taylor graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and a Master of Business Administration. As a broadcaster for many of the most prominent sporting events throughout the world, Maria Taylor has successively taken flight despite facing challenges on her journey. Reflecting on her personal experiences as a Black woman in sports media, Taylor guides us on how to navigate turbulence and pilot our own destinies.

Jarryd Wallace

Jarryd Wallace is a world record-holding sprinter and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic bronze medalist in the 200m dash. Off the track, he shares insights from his personal life and athletic journey to inspire audiences across the globe. Amidst his athletic success, Wallace graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. Due to several surgical complications, Jarryd Wallace faced one of the greatest transitions in his life by making the tough decision to amputate his leg. Now, as a professional athlete, he has come to realize that we can all better master our own controlled and uncontrolled transitions in life by focusing on one question: What is required of me?

Jeremiah de Sesto

Jeremiah de Sesto is currently completing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia studying Management Information Systems, International Affairs, and International Business. De Sesto will continue his education at Harvard University where he will pursue a Master’s in Public Policy and a Juris Doctor. De Sesto’s experience as a first-generation Filipino American has shaped his perception of identity, diversity, and learning. He explores how this intersection has been meaningful to his life and the important role it plays in American society. In this talk, he explains how Ancora Imparo, “Yet, I am still learning,” is the key to true fulfilment, growth, and garnering a culture of respect.

Elle Dougherty

With a lifelong passion for the ocean and its creatures, Elle Dougherty is completing a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science as a pre-veterinary student at the University of Georgia. In addition to her studies, Dougherty interns with the Vermilion Sea Institute assisting with whale shark and microplastic research. Elle Dougherty creates a tide in our perceptions of the ocean’s predators by taking the audience on a journey through the wondrous world beneath the waves. In this talk, she challenges our perceptions of elasmobranchs by exploring the deep history, unique adaptations, and necessary solutions to protect these oceanic predators.

Calvin Rausch

Calvin Rausch is studying International Affairs, Political Science, Public Administration and Policy, and Nonprofit Management at the University of Georgia. With a strong commitment to serve, Rausch governs two university-wide student-focused initiatives aimed at addressing food insecurity and professional readiness. Service has become trendy, but as a result, those serving are often guilty of attempting to solve problems for the impacted people, not with them. With experience volunteering domestically and abroad, Rausch has learned that service without knowledge is vandalism, not value. When serving feels easy, we are likely doing it wrong: we are likely failing to ask, listen, and respond to the root of the need. Here, Rausch reflects on her own personal experiences to advocate for informed altruism by asking questions first to put ourselves second.

Dominique Holloman

Dominique is a passionate alumna who proudly holds two undergraduate degrees from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, a master’s degree from the Mary Frances Early College of Education, and a Juris Doctorate from the School of Law. A former member of the Board of Visitors and the Law School Alumni Council, she currently serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Dominique was the inaugural president of the affinity group UGA Black Alumni and a member of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. In addition to her work as a government affairs professional, she continues to help create a more diverse and dynamic community at UGA.