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TEDxPSU Announces 2021 Theme and Conference Speakers

University Park, PA – Penn State University will host its 11th annual TEDxPSU conference, an engaging experience for students, faculty, and the community, on Sunday, March 6th, 2021 at 1pm. The conference will be held virtually, and the TEDxPSU team is working hard to bring Schwab Auditorium to the virtual stage. The event is free and open to the public. This year’s theme, “Time To Pause,” emphasizes that we as human beings are a busy species. TEDxPSU: Time to Pause is a space to pause our bustling lives and reflect on new ideas.

TEDxPSU: Time To Pause will feature 11 ground-breaking and innovative speakers:

Mark Anner
Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science at Penn State University. Founding director of the Penn State Center for Global Workers’ Rights and the founding director of the Penn State MPS program in Labor and Global Workers’ Rights.

Sam Bencheghib
Environmental activist, filmmaker and co-founder of the Make A Change World organization, which brings attention to plastic pollution, using awareness campaigns that highlight the urgency to act now.

SeriaShia Chatters
Director of Equity and Inclusivity of State College Area School District in State College, PA, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Penn State University, University Park.

Shah Chowdhury
Award-winning Environmentalist and Social Entrepreneur based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Currently spearheading an NGO called ‘Footsteps-Bangladesh’ which addresses social challenges in the fields of environment, health, and education.

Molly Countermine
Beloved Associate Teaching Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University, University Park, and musician.

Perry Dripps
Educator, sustainability professional, musician, and cook who was formally diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) combined type at the age of 33.

Jen Emigh
Director of the AURORA Outdoor Orientation Programs at Penn State University. Associate Director of Leadership Development at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, and Outdoor Leadership Instructor at the Pennsylvania State University.

John Liechty
Professor at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. Developed solutions for top Marketing Research firms and Investment Banks.

Michael Mitole
Sophomore in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University studying Finance and Economics. Member of the Sapphire Leadership and Presidential Leadership Academy programs and serves as the Chief of Staff in the University Park Undergraduate Association.

Isabelle Snyder
Senior at the State College Area High School. Founder of ‘Go With the Flow,’ an organization that utilizes community engagement and donations to package take-home kits of menstrual hygiene products, available in K-12 schools and community centers district-wide.

Marisa Vicere
Founder and president of the Jana Marie Foundation, which provides education and support services to thousands of youth, teachers, parents, and community members throughout Central PA. Chairman for the Centre County Suicide Prevention Taskforce and Board Member of Prevent Suicide PA.

Read the speakers’ full bios at or visit our social media to learn more.

To attend TEDxPSU: Time to Pause virtually on March 6th, 2021, visit on the day of the event and follow @TEDxPSU on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on conference announcements and details.

TEDxPSU was brought to the Penn State community in 2010. The mission of TEDxPSU is to bring together innovative and thought-provoking individuals from the Penn State community and the world to share Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDxPSU unites the Penn State community by initiating a dialogue about challenges and opportunities facing our society. Stay in touch with TEDxPSU on Instagram (@TEDxPSU), Twitter (@TEDxPSU), or on Facebook (TEDxPSU) and visit our website

About TEDx, x= independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

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