TEDxPSU Announces 2019 Conference Speakers

*insert strong statement here*
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

The meme that’s taken Twitter by storm over the past few months actually has a real meaning — shocking, I know. Penn State hosts its own independently-organized TED conference each year called TEDxPSU, and the organization just announced this year’s guest speakers.

TEDxPSU 2019 is slated for Sunday, February 10 at Schwab Auditorium. The speakers are:

Todd Erdley

  • founder and CEO of Videon Central
  • earned BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Penn State

Ali Rothrock

  • worked as a sexual assault and domestic violence counselor
  • certified Trauma Responder
  • author of “Where Hope Lives”
  • CEO and lead instructor of On the Job and Off, an online platform dedicated to building a more resilient first responder

Jamie Campbell

  • assistant dean for diversity enhancement programs for Smeal College of Business
  • fourth year Ph.D. student in the workforce education program with concentrations in organization design and human resource development
  • research focuses on succession planning as a form of crisis management

Debbie Reber

  • parenting activist
  • New York Times bestselling author
  • founder of TiLT parenting, a website, top podcast, and global community for parents raising atypical children

Matt Jones

  • managing director of Poverty Resolutions non-profit
  • trip to Haiti after 2010 earthquake solidified resolve to combat worldwide poverty
  • earned MBA in finance and international development

Parham Eftekhari

  • executive director of the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), the nation’s leading cybersecurity think tank
  • developed or contributed to more than 100 educational briefings and events at institutions including Congress, the World Bank, and C-SPAN

Christopher Beem

  • managing director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy
  • author or co-author of five books, including “The Necessity of Politics”
  • perviously served as grants and communications manager for Next Door, a nonprofit dedicated to early childhood education in Milwaukee
  • previously directed the Democracy and Community Program at the Johnson Foundation’s Wingspread Conference Center

Tom Rishel

  • lifelong resident of Central Pennsylvania, has spent time in all areas of the state
  • self-employed independent contractor for several insurance companies
  • will present on the need to understand and effectively communicate with others to deal with whatever life sends your way

Myra Roldan

  • originally from Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico
  • dynamic instructional designer/developer at leading tech company
  • creates programs to help adult learners develop digital literacy skills

Lisa Duchene 

  • freelance writer and communications consultant
  • has written newspaper and magazine stories about small towns and the fishing industry on the Maine coast, global environmental problems and solutions, and feature stories about traveling in Pennsylvania

Nancy Dahl

  • author of “Grounded — Leading Your Life with Intention”
  • focuses leadership on self-awareness and clarity of purpose
  • strategic advisor to leaders and organizations

Dr. Christopher Depcik

  • associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Kansas
  • previously worked at the University of Michigan as a post-doctoral research fellow
  • earned BS in mechanical engineering from University of Florida
  • earned MS in aerospace engineering, MS in mechanical engineering, and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan
  • research focuses on sustainable approach to energy and transportation infrastructure

TEDx will also choose one Penn State student to speak at the conference through a competition held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 13 in Alumni Hall. Anyone is welcome to attend and vote on which student they feel should speak at the conference in February.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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