Monique is currently teaching in the Education Department at Ithaca College, training the newest generation of future teachers as they prepare to inspire their students. Education is her career and passion. Last year she was part of the founding team at Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School, a blended learning charter school in San Jose which is integrating technology to innovate on the middle school curriculum. Prior to that she was an assistant principal, taught math and science, coached volleyball, and created an Outdoor Education Program for middle school students. Monique received her MEd in School Leadership from Harvard University and her BS in Human Development from Cornell University.
Anne Rhodes has worked for many years doing anti-bias work in Ithaca – at Cornell, Ithaca College, with faculty, staff and administration in area public schools, and in the community - including work on racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, anti-semitism, ageism, and able-ism. She founded the Homophobia Educators Network, co-led a Round Two MRC Talking Circle for white allies. and helped start the White Allies Against Racism group. She is also a theater artist, writer, and Teaching Artist, supporting arts in education partnerships between cultural organizations and schools for the past 30 years across New York State, developing arts integration programs and providing professional development for teachers to integrate the arts with curriculum and promotemore critical and creative thinking in young people. In 2009, Anne started Dryden Solutions to encourage sustainability projects and strengthen community in the Town of Dryden. In 2010, she received a Civic Leaders Fellowship from Cornell to support this work. Anne is currently on the planning group for the Building Bridges Initiative, and on the GreenStar Community Projects planning group for Food System Networking.
Though born and raised in New York City, Michael's love for astronomy at a young age came in large part from seeing the dark skies of central New York. Michael spent the last seven years in central New York, graduating from Colgate University in 2011, where he studied Astronomy-Physics and Computer Science, and attending Cornell University currently. As a graduate student in the Department of Astronomy, he works with Professor James Cordes and is a member of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves and the International Pulsar Timing Array collaborations. He has been a teaching assistant in a number of introductory level physics, astronomy, and computer science courses, and has been a part of various outreach programs at both universities, now working as an officer of the Astronomy Grads Network at Cornell. During undergrad, he was a member of the Men's Cross Country and Track and Field program, competing in distance events. Most of his free time now is devoted to training for races of all distances with various running clubs in the Ithaca area.
Scott was born in Atlanta, GA, and raised in northern Alabama. While studying abroad in Japan during his studies at the University of Alabama, Scott took 5 weeks to backpack around China and SE Asia. It was there that he discovered his passion for helping the economically disempowered and made a commitment to bringing new pathways out of poverty to those who needed them most. He was featured in the powerful documentary "Money & Life" for his work with the volunteerism empowering "HERO Rewards" program he led the design and piloting of in Fairfield, Iowa. Now, he lives in Ithaca, NY, where he has founded the "AmeriQoin Cooperative" as a way for communities to benefit from world-class "community impact currency" technology without having to bear the full financial costs of developing and maintaining it.
Aileen is a junior at Ithaca College, in a six year physical therapy program, working toward a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT). She also has a double minor in biology and neuroscience in order to fuel her curiosity in biological sciences. This allows her to tutor classmates in science courses, as well as act as teaching assistant (TA) for the Primary Human Anatomy course at IC. Aileen also takes an active role on campus through participating in clubs such as Active Minds, a national mental health awareness and advocacy organization. This club in particular inspired Aileen to become a panelist speaker on her own struggles with mental health. Her hope is that panel presentations by herself and her peers will start the conversation about mental health with other college students, and therefore decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Michael Koplinka-Loehr is the Program Manager for Rescue Mission in Ithaca, which operates Court Street Place (a residence for 10 men transitioning from homelessness to greater community stablity) and will begin operating the local homeless shelter and Friendship Center as of mid-March, 2014. He was a member of the Tompkins County legislature for 12 years (2 as Chair) and the Ithaca City School Board for 3 years before that. He has been involved in the human services community throughout Tompkins County since age 11, when his mom created several organizations to serve those in need (not to mention keeping 8 children organized and caring about the world around them). He is married with 4 children and lives in Lansing, NY in a fully solar-powered home.
Michelle Courtney Berry is a national award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, trainer and writer who works with students, alumni and other top performers to help them manage stress to achieve their goals. She’s also taught graduate and undergraduate students at Binghamton University, Cornell University and Ithaca College. A former high school athlete, Michelle won numerous merit-based scholarships to Binghamton University which she completed, with honors in three years. Graduating with a dual-BA degree in English, Literature & Rhetoric and Political Science, Michelle was her college’s Commencement Speaker. She went on to work in TV news reporting, covering the White House and Capitol Hill before completing her graduate studies at Cornell University as a Fellow in Communication. Since then, she’s run for and won seats in public office twice, walked on fire, climbed one of the highest peaks in the Adirondacks, served as a CouldYou? Fellow in Africa, appeared on "Good Morning America” and in “O-The Oprah Winfrey Magazine.” The second Poet Laureate of Tompkins County, she’s opened for Maya Angelou, The Dalai Lama, Dorothy Cotton and Howard Zinn. Find her on the web at: www.michellecourtneyberry.com
Amelia is a Higher Education Student Services professional, having worked in Residence Life at both IC and Cornell over 17 years. At each campus, she created a diversity-issues theater troupe, bringing a message of inclusion and engagement across difference each year on campus through performances and discussions, the student troupe persists at Cornell today and reaches 3,000 new students each August. Amelia is a stroke survivor, a mother, a wife, and a fighter.
Rachel Wagner is Associate Professor of Religion and Culture at Ithaca College. She regularly publishes in the areas of religion and media, religion and film, and religion and video games. Her first book, Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtual Reality (Routledge, 2011), explores how our fascination with all things virtual reveals our desire for new rituals and new modes of worldbuilding. Recent publications include chapters in Understanding Religion and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2012); The Encyclopedia of Video Games (Greenwood Press, 2012); Digital Religion (Routledge, 2012). Playing with Religion in Digital Games (University of Indiana Press, forthcoming) and The Companion Volume to Religion and Popular Culture (Routledge, forthcoming). Her article “God in the Game: Cosmopolitanism and Religious Conflict in Video Games” recently appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (OUP, January 2013). She is Co-Chair of the Religion, Film and Visual Culture Group of the American Academy of Religion.
Rachel Gray is currently a Junior Physical Therapy major with a double minor in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at Ithaca College. She has lived in Milford, New Hampshire almost her entire life, but calls many places home including Ithaca NY and Gloucester MA. Rachel first heard of TED in high school from her dear friend, Nakita VanBiene, and has loved listening to and talking about them ever since. It then became a dream of hers to either speak at a TED event or attend one; and now she will be able to do both. On top of school work Rachel has been a Resident Assistant for two years and would love to continue to be one her senior year. In her free time, Rachel enjoys running the hills of Ithaca’s campus and through the Natural Lands. Even though she is a Physical Therapy major, her love of religion and interest in the effect that media has on individuals has been growing since her freshman year of college. Rachel has enjoyed exploring her passions with long-time professor Rachel Wagner while collaborating on “X-Box Apocalypse.”
Born and raised on the outskirts of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, Alec grew up spending countless hours in the woods. This background brought him to a semester long nature immersion program in New Zealand and finally to Ithaca College. Although he majored in Communication Management, Alec did so to find the most effective business approach to promoting nature connection. He was also able to finish a minor in Outdoor Pursuits and run the primitive skills club to continue his outdoor experience. Alec graduated in May of 2012, won a national marketing competition the following summer and now both build, market and sell residential wind turbine systems in Ithaca, and work to locate high growth potential startup companies for the venture capital organization Launch, NY. He hopes to continue to promote and study the beneficial effects of nature connection on youth, adults and the natural environment.
The 90’s took Jennifer to Costa Rica where she spent seven years immersing herself in the tropical Caribbean culture, learning from the locals about plant medicine and simple living. A return trip to visit family brought Jennifer to the Finger Lakes area in 1997 where she fell in love with the natural beauty there; the green hills, pristine bodies of water, and the people. During her stay in Costa Rica, she witnessed several traditional burials, and was in awe of the walking processions from the village to the graveyard. People laughed, cried and celebrated during those walks. It was a time of raw emotions and healing. Jennifer wanted people in Ithaca to have that same option. Four friends co-founded Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, which opened in May of 2006. Jennifer has been the Burial Coordinator there since 2008, and it is her passion to educate and assist families and funeral directors with planning natural burials; the ultimate recycling.
Mary Bowers enjoys reading, people-watching, being outdoors and has a weakness for Doritos and bad puns. In May 2013, she became a proud alumna of Ithaca College having earned a degree in Anthropology and minors in Writing and the Humanities & Sciences Honors Program. During her years at IC, Mary's educational focus was on the social and economic determinants of health disparities, which she plans to continue studying in graduate school next fall. Eventually Mary plans to become a community organizer in the field of public health. What she loved most about her education so far is how it has simultaneously complicated and clarified her understanding of the world, blurring boundaries such as those between self and other, physical and social, and real and unreal... yet strengthening her belief that significant change is possible and attainable. This process is at the heart of her research referencing the experiences of college students with disabilities and is the idea Mary will be sharing with the TEDx community.
Since his undergraduate days, Doug has been exploring ways in which we can use computers to study music. He has published over 40 academic papers on everything from automatic music genre classification to automatic music mashup creation. Doug is currently an assistant professor of Computer Science at Ithaca College. He received a B.S.E. in Computer Science from Princeton University in 2001 and Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering from UC San Diego in 2008. Doug plays lead guitar in a garage band with his brother-in-law, his neighbor, and a old buddy from high school. They play one show each year at Porchfest in downtown Ithaca. He believes that everyone should sing, play music, and dance.
Dr. Nia Nunn Makepeace is a native of Ithaca, New York. She serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Ithaca College. Dr. Nia’s previous work experience includes serving as a School Psychologist at Beverly J. Martin (BJM) Elementary School, and the Executive Director of the Southside Community Center (SSCC) in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Nia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Clark Atlanta University and completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in School Psychology from Michigan State University. Her teaching, and research endeavors are imbedded in educational psychology, child/adolescent development, and special education. Undergraduates, who study under Dr. Nia, participate in service learning projects that provide direct service to children and families in the community, while actively exploring topics related to race, gender, power, privilege, oppression, and the different human responses in social structures. Dr. Nia’s passion for teaching also includes directing the Community Unity Music Education Program (CUMEP), a community based curriculum invested in performing arts education, human rights education, and identity empowerment. Raised in a culture dedicated to strengthening community and serving as a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Dr. Nia is committed to serving as an agent of social transformation.
Adam Peruta is a professor at Ithaca College who teaches graphic design, advertising art direction, and branding. He enjoys teaching students how to use technology and design to create new user experiences, and has been involved in numerous successful startups. Outside of the classroom Adam enjoys living an active lifestyle and has participated in hundreds of races ranging from 5Ks to Ironman triathlons to 100 mile runs. Adam is also a USA Triathlon Level I certified coach. He has passions for good design, writing code, and running far.
Born and raised on the outskirts of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, Alec grew up spending countless hours in the woods. This background brought him to a semester long nature immersion program in New Zealand and finally to Ithaca College. Though he majored in Communication Management, Alec did so to find the most effective business approach to promoting nature connection. He was also able to finish a minor in Outdoor Pursuits and run the primitive skills club to continue my outdoor experience. Alec graduated in May of 2012, won a national marketing competition the following summer and now both build, market and sell residential wind turbine systems in Ithaca, and work to locate high growth potential startup companies for the venture capital organization Launch, NY. He hopes to continue to promote and study the beneficial effects of nature connection on youth, adults and the natural environment.
Born and raised on the outskirts of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, I grew up spending countless hours in the woods. This background brought me to a semester long nature immersion program in New Zealand and finally to Ithaca College. Though I majored in Communication Management, I did so to find the most effective business approach to promoting nature connection. I was also able to finish a minor in Outdoor Pursuits and run the primitive skills club to continue my outdoor experience. I graduated in May of 2012, won a national marketing competition the following summer and now both build, market and sell residential wind turbine systems in Ithaca, and work to locate high growth potential startup companies for the venture capital organization Launch, NY. I hope to continue to promote and study the beneficial effects of nature connection on youth, adults and the natural environment.