x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Friction

This event occurred on
October 29, 2014
3:00pm - 8:00pm MDT
(UTC -6hrs)
Logan, UT
United States

After a successful sophomore event, we have worked tirelessly to improve our audience experience in the biggest, best ways possible moving into our third year. TEDxUSU has exploded to include 19 presentations, performances and recordings packed into one half-day conference, representing the most thought-provoking content the TEDxUSU team could curate that showcases our commitment to “ideas worth spreading.”
This year’s program is a half-day conference divided into three sessions. The first and third session will be headlined by Olympic silver medalist Noelle Pikus Pace and award-winning author Orson Scott Card, and will feature talks given by Utah State faculty and students.

New this year is an interactive second session where attendees will mingle with TEDxUSU speakers, network with fellow audience members, view innovative exhibits and presentations, and help create artistic compositions. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

Utah State University
Manon Caine Russell Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall
Logan, UT, 84322
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

David Brown

David Brown earned his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado Denver. Before the path to a doctorate in math, David majored in both Math and Philosophy and was a competitive bodybuilder who earned several titles in his teens and early twenties. Now, David has aspirations of becoming a mathematician with skills sharp enough to contend with his colleagues here at USU and from afar, and to cut through the reservations, fears, doubts, and misconceptions his students have about math and their talents for it.

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools. His most recent series, the young adult Pathfinder series (Pathfinder, Ruins, Visitors) and the fantasy Mithermages series (Lost Gate, Gate Thief), are taking readers in new directions.

Jim Davis

James H. Davis is a professor of strategic management and the chairman of the Management Department at Utah State University. Prior to USU, he was the John F. O’Shaughnessy Professor of Family Enterprises and professor of strategic management at the University of Notre Dame. He earned his PhD in corporate strategy from the University of Iowa. He has worked with many major national and multinational corporations on strategic planning and company positioning. His research was recognized by The Academy of Management Review as the most influential theory of the decade of the 1990s. He is the author of two books: Social Capital: Multidisciplinary Perspectives and Growth Simply: The three-circle model.

Dawn and Hawkes

Dawn and Hawkes appeared this year on NBC’s reality-singing talent show The Voice, performing a cover of The Beatle’s “I’ve Just Seen A Face” in a blind audition. Both judges Adam Levine and Shakira voted them to advance to the next round, with Levine calling their performance his “favorite performance [he's] ever seen, ever, on The Voice.”

Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez

Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez has been a professor of psychology at Utah State University since 2000. Her research focuses on family processes in Spanish-speaking Latino families, cultural adaptations of evidence-based interventions, and professional ethics. It was through her work with a variety of Latino subgroups in the U.S. as well as Mexico and Puerto Rico that Dr. Domenech Rodríguez developed true expertise in diversity issues. The wide variety in values, beliefs, and practices within the Latino ethnic group provided her with truly multicultural and cross-cultural work and life experiences. Melanie teaches Multicultural Psychology to undergraduate students as well as graduate seminars in Diversity Issues in Treatment and Assessment and Professional Ethics.

Deborah Fields

When not flying through the air during trapeze lessons or sewing with electricity, Dr. Deborah A. Fields seeks to understand the power of connected learning by studying how students’ learning is enriched when school, home, friends, and playful online spaces are combined. An assistant professor of instructional technologies and learning sciences at USU, Professor Fields is also the co-author of Connected Play: Tween Life in a Virtual World, a culmination of a decade of research documenting kids’ play, learning, and development in virtual worlds.

Evelyn Funda

Evelyn Funda is an associate professor of English at Utah State University, where she specializes in American literature and teaches courses on American culture, including a popular course on the literature and culture of the American Farm. As a daughter of Idaho farmers, agriculture is a subject close to Evelyn’s heart, and it is something she has written about in her memoir Weeds: A Farm Daughter’s Lament, which portrays the struggles faced by three generations of her Czech immigrant family as they settle on and farm a small acreage in southwestern Idaho.

Dennise Gackstetter

A dedicated yogini and meditation practitioner, Dennise Gackstetter has practiced yoga for 30 years and meditation for more than 10. She is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor with the International Yoga Alliance, and has spent more than 60 days in silent retreat. Dennise is a lecturer in the Department of Art and Design at Utah State University, where she also serves as art education coordinator. She was awarded the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor of the Year Award for the Caine College of Art in 2011. She has an MA and MFA in ceramics, and a BS in art education. She is an accomplished ceramic sculptor whose artwork has been exhibited at several national venues.

Jenna Glover

Jenna Glover received her PhD from Utah State University in clinical psychology. She works as a therapist at Avalon Hills, a residential eating disorder clinic in Paradise, UT. Prior to her work as a full time therapist, Jenna served as an assistant professor of psychology at Washburn University and USU. She is passionate about teaching and has focused her career on developing course content and therapeutic interventions that are pragmatic and useful. Over the course of her academic career she has taught 17 different courses in psychology, including specialized topic areas in developmental, educational, interpersonal, and social psychology. Jenna passionately promotes the idea that psychology is an important discipline that has the power to change lives. She has been honored with awards for teaching excellence, service to students, and wellness.

Matthew LaPlante

Matthew D. LaPlante is the son of a newspaperman who was, in turn, the son of a newspaperman. After serving a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf as an enlisted military intelligence specialist in the U.S. Navy, he began working as a newspaper reporter in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and ultimately returned to the Middle East as a war correspondent for The Salt Lake Tribune. Now an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University, his work has appeared on CNN, The Washington Post, Christianity Today and numerous other publications. In 2014, he co-authored “Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives — And Our Lives Change Our Genes” with geneticist Sharon Moalem. His work with photojournalist Rick Egan on ritual tribal infanticide in Ethiopia was honored with the 2012 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. An avid snowboarder, Matthew lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Heidi, and daughter, Spike.

Nicole Martineau

Nicole Martineau is an education undergrad at USU, majoring in biology education and minoring in theatre education. Her passions for science, teaching, and drama have taken her from researching nanoparticles and bacterial metabolism at USU, teaching biotechnology in Seattle, acting on community theatre stages, and initiating her own research on the potential for drama-based pedagogy in secondary science classrooms. She hopes to inspire other teachers to try new things in their classrooms, and to create more dialogue about what works—and what doesn’t—for students in science classrooms.

Jason Nicholson

Dr. Jason Nicholson is currently the assistant professor of percussion at Utah State University. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas, his undergraduate degree in Music Education from Winthrop University, and a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Miami. Jason has been an active performer in orchestral, jazz, chamber, solo, pop and world genres throughout the Salt Lake City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, and Charlotte metropolitan regions. He has performed with notable groups such as the American Festival Orchestra, the Corey Christiansen Trio, the Larry Smith Big Band, The University of North Texas Wind Symphony, the Charlotte Symphony, and the 8 Hands Percussion Ensemble. In addition to his training on traditional Western percussion instruments, Jason has extensive experience in Afro-Cuban drumming and African Drumming.

Noelle Pikus Pace

On February 15, 2014, Noelle Pikus Pace crossed the finish line of the Sochi Olympic Games, putting an emphatic exclamation point on a 12-year journey of chasing the Olympic podium. Silver medalist Noelle leapt into the stands, into the arms of her husband, in one of the most iconic and heartfelt moments of the XXII Olympic Winter Games.

Jason Quinn

Jason Quinn is an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Utah State University. His education and research have always been centered on energy, with current work focused on biofuels and previous work in nuclear fusion. Currently, his research efforts are dedicated to the development of engineering system models validated through experimentation and leveraged for life cycle assessment, economic feasibility, and resource demand of emerging technologies. Jason completed a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in nuclear engineering and engineering physics, and a PhD at Colorado State University. Living in Utah, he takes advantage of the snow in the winter and the rivers in the summer.

Jarod Raithel

Jarod Raithel is a PhD research fellow with the USU Ecology Center. He is currently examining how anthropogenic landscape transformation has shaped the behavior, spatial ecology and population dynamics of black bears across 30+ years along the eastern coast of the United States. He has had the privilege of contributing to a number of conservation efforts over the years, including quantifying cause-specific mortality of calf elk in the Blackfoot Valley, Montana; assessing the health of coral reefs on the Andaman Coast, Thailand; repatriating the Louisiana black bear; exploring wolf-deer predator prey dynamics in Southeast Alaska; and probing the evolution of sexual size dimorphism in extinct, massive, flightless ducks from the Hawaiian Islands. He has also spent seven years teaching science courses to 7th-12th graders throughout the country. Jarod is a certified PADI Divemaster, and he and his wife helped found the Koh Ra ecolodge in Khura Buri, Thailand in 2009. His greatest joy arises from watching his two small children—Bodhi and Sage—discover their world.

Lindsey Shirley

Lindsey Shirley, an associate professor of family and consumer sciences (FCS) education at Utah State University, has shared innovations in FCS content in teaching and learning that have been implemented into secondary and post-secondary classrooms around the world. Since arriving at USU in 2008, she has served as the instructor for a general education course that explores the links between design and sustainability and how clothing is often used to raise awareness about social issues. In teams or as individuals, her students design and create clothing that is featured during a university-wide fashion show. Lindsey is a graduate of the Iowa State University Family and Consumer Science Education Leadership Academy.

Organizing team


Logan, UT, United States
  • Anna McEntire
  • Brandon Crouch
  • Cami Dilg
    Website Manager/TED Liason
  • Seth Merrill
  • Holly Reynoso
  • Kaitlyn Sprouse
    Graphic Designer
  • Brooke Leavitt
    Social Media Manager/Writer
  • Kyle Harris
  • Carol Shafer
    Logistics Manager
  • Marshall Greer
    Website Manager II
  • Stacey Thompson
    Website Manager II
  • Becky Thoms
    Copyright Specialist
  • Carlie Pennington
    Project Manager-Support Staff Leader
  • Brad Barson
    Support Staff
  • Carlie Greer
    Support Staff
  • Wyatt Traughber
    Photographer II, Support Staff
  • Catherine Crouch
    Support Staff
  • Alex Unruh
    Graphic Designer
  • Caitlin Erikson
    Support Staff
  • Teresa Seeholzer
    Logistics Manager