x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Plus

This event occurred on
March 27, 2015
2:00pm - 6:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Athens, Georgia
United States

Why Plus? Do the math. The University of Georgia is an ever-growing institution saturated with innovative and creative thinkers ready to spread their ideas beyond campus and add to the global good. Always improving. Always expanding. The status quo is merely a starting point for UGA students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Campus provides a temporary home for their ideas to grow before introduction into the global formula. TEDxUGA 2015 celebrated the contributions of our presenters and their ideas as they explored UGA’s Plus.

Tate Grand Hall
Tate Student Center
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, 30602
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.


dangfly! is a pop rock band based in Athens, Georgia. Adam Payne formed the group in 2010 after an extensive solo career and front man for the Adam Payne Band. Good Luck, Curiosity, released in 2013, was the group's first record. The same year, the band appeared on an AthFest music sampler. The band's current lineup includes members Adam Payne (songwriter/lead vocals/guitar), Shawn Johnson (percussion), Jay Rodgers (bass), Adam Poulin (fiddle), Scotty Nicholson (keys/guitar) and Ben Whitener (trumpet).

Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon (ABJ, 1989, Masters of Mass Communications, 1992, UGA) is the founding online editor of Surfer Magazine and the author of Ghost Wave: The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth. His work has also appeared in two New York Times bestsellers: The New York Times' 36 Hours in the USA and Canada and Garden & Gun magazine's The Southerner's Handbook. His writing appears in The New York Times, Garden & Gun, Outside, Men's Journal, Surfer, Surfer's Journal and on, where he's also an editor. Recently, he also served as a judge on ESPN's documentary series Big Wave Hellmen. He lives with his wife and children in Charleston, South Carolina, where the waves rarely get over six feet high.

Connor Lewis

Connor Lewis is a senior marketing major at the University of Georgia. While at UGA, Connor has been a Southern Tide Campus Ambassador for 5 semesters, won 4 consecutive All-Campus Ultimate Frisbee championships, and runs his own logo/t-shirt design company. With a father in the field of Aerospace Engineering and a mother in Interior Design, he hopes to find a career path that his upbringing balances in both technology and design.

Dawn Bennett-Alexander

Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander is a lawyer, an associate professor of Employment Law and Legal Studies at UGA, and co-author of the leading Employment Law text in the country, which created the discipline. Her life work is based on her belief that each of us is here for a unique purpose and come with the tools to accomplish it, including our race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. She believes part of her mission is helping people to understand that our differences should not be perceived as meaning "less than.” She is sure she was given three daughters to help with that mission, and she strives to change the world so that it accepts them as the incredibly wonderful creatures they are. “I believe that we have a responsibility to try in the ways we can, to change what we don't like about the world.” In the end, she believes “It’s ALL about LOVE…” She shares her musings in her blog, Peaces of My Heart.

Emily Hiers

Emily Hiers is a senior Fabric Design and Theatre double major from Bainbridge, Georgia. Emily spends most of her time in the studio preparing for her exit show in May, and compulsively stressing over “real life” after college. Although she enjoy digging through thrift shops for trinkets and oddities to add to her ever-growing collection, what Emily loves most is meaningful conversations with those that aspire to make the world a little bit sweeter. Emily would not be here today if it were not for the love of her friends, who almost always listen to what she is saying; her family, whose dysfunction has made her the character she is today; and her girlfriend, who loves her even though she is a certified hot mess. The inspiration for this talk is a tiny person full of more joy and life than she has ever known before, Emily’s little sister, Lindsey.

Han Park

Professor + mediator
Dr. Han S. Park is University Professor of Political Science and the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues at the University of Georgia. Raised in the war-torn areas of China and Korea, Dr. Park has developed a life-long commitment to peace studies. He was awarded the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builder’s Prize (2010) for his peace building efforts around the world. Park’s writings reflect this principle: Development as the Crossroads (2015), North Korea Demystified (2012), North Korea: The Politics of Unconventional Wisdom (2002). Park has visited North Korea some 50 times since the eruption of the nuclear crisis in early 1990s to facilitate dialogue and mediate differences between Pyongyang and the rest of the world. These efforts continue to facilitate an ongoing series of “Track-II” international seminars that have contributed to expanding the network for dialogue and adverting military confrontation on the Korean peninsula and beyond.

John Drake

Professor + researcher
John M. Drake is an Associate Professor in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. His research seeks to understand the dynamics of biological populations and epidemics, focusing on the integration of theory and experimental or observational data. Biological phenomena of interest include extinction, fluctuations in variable environments, the spatial distribution or populations (niche theory), Allee effects, demographic stochasticity, spatial spread, and near-critical dynamics. Practical applications of this work include decision support for managing invasive species, mapping the spread of infectious diseases, and forecasting disease emergence. Dr. Drake received his PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 2004 and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California from 2004-2006. He has been at the University of Georgia since 2006.

Julie Rushmore

Julie Rushmore studies the interface of public health, disease ecology, and wildlife conservation. In 2006, she graduated from Duke University, where she spent hundreds of hours observing and researching lemur behavior at the Duke Lemur Center. After taking a year away from school to conduct field research in Madagascar and learn lab techniques at the University of Georgia, Julie entered UGA’s DVM/PhD program where she is receiving training in veterinary medicine and disease ecology. As a 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellow, Julie spent a year studying health and behavior in a wild chimpanzee community in western Uganda. Her research focuses on behavioral and ecological factors that affect pathogen transmission dynamics in wild great apes. She completed her PhD in the Odum School of Ecology in 2013 and is now a second year veterinary student at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

Lemuel LaRoche

Nonprofit manager
Lemuel LaRoche is the founder and executive director of Chess and Community Conference, Inc., a nonprofit youth empowerment organization dedicated to developing strategic leadership skills in young people. Known in the communities that he serves as Life, he fuses chess with conventional therapeutic methods to curb impulsive behavior amongst youth with delinquent pasts. Lemuel holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia and has over fifteen years experience in adolescent and community development. He is the subject of Life the Griot (2014), a documentary highlighting his work in Georgia. Lemuel was listed as one of Athens’ exceptional community leaders in 2013 and his organization has been featured in Georgia Magazine. He is internationally renowned for his poetry, which he uses as a tool for empowerment and reconditioning. He is the author of two books, Tree of Life: The Human Ascension and Hidden Ripples: Life’s Unspoken Language.

Leon Tsao

Leon Tsao is a graduate student in the Gifted and Creative Education Program at the University of Georgia. He works under the advisement of Dr. Bonnie Cramond on neurodiversity advocacy (the idea that we should appreciate the diversity in people's brains and that we should not shun differences), finding the relationship between ADHD and creativity, discovering the benefits of interdisciplinary collaborations, including that of engineers and artists, and identifying the needs of philosophically gifted students. He is working on a book comprised of a series of artfully composed short essays and poems about discovering the inner self and the interconnectedness of all. He runs a video blog on personal growth through personality typology. He likes tennis, chess, painting, playing guitar, and singing. He hopes to teach at a community college or small college some day.

Lisa Taylor

Lisa Taylor is a civil rights attorney at the Department of Justice. She joined DOJ in 2001 as one of ten Honors’ Attorneys and litigates civil rights cases throughout the country. Ms. Taylor has served as President and Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of Equal Justice Works, an organization dedicated to serving the underprivileged, and as Chair of the Department of Justice Association of Black Attorneys where she mentored attorneys both inside and outside of the Department. Ms. Taylor is a former Naval Officer, serving in the Engineering Division onboard the USS Tarawa where she worked alongside the Executive Officer to develop the ship’s first anti-harassment policy. Her recognitions include the Presidential Medal for Service, the Ellen Jordan Award for Commitment to Public Interest, Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under the Age of 40, and a Harvard Law School Wasserstein Fellowship.

Michael Bottone

Michael Bottone is a third year computer science student at the University of Georgia. He is in the honors program and working towards both a Bachelors and Masters degree. Most of his time is spent in classes and doing software development for several startup companies working out of Four Athens (Vitamin C and Rivalry Technologies). Michael and his team won the 2015 VTHacks hackathon with their low cost and efficient automated telescope.

Michelle Blue

Michelle Blue is the co-founder of Bené, a fashion collection of scarves committed to the development and empowerment of young women. Through their partnership with Sista Works, Bené has been able to provide girls in Ghana with the opportunity to continue their secondary education by sponsoring their tuition, books, supplies, uniforms and fees. Michelle is passionate about mentoring and speaking at local high schools and young groups, sharing her entrepreneurial journey, and encouraging youth to believe in their dreams. Michelle graduated from the University of Georgia in 2013, where she studied Business Marketing and Fashion Merchandising. While a student Michelle served as a Terry Ambassador, on Student Alumni Council and worked in University Housing as a C.L.A.S.S. Advocate and Resident Assistant. She also co-founded Success Starts Here, which helps underprivileged students at Clarke Central High School in the areas of personal development, college and career preparation.

Myriam Quispe-Agnoli

Myriam Quispe-Agnoli is a faculty member in the Department of Economics in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. She used to be a research economist and assistant policy adviser in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Her fields of specialization are international economics, trade and finance, open macroeconomics, and economic development. Dr. Quispe-Agnoli has published her research in various journals, including Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Journal of Regional Science, Southern Economic Journal, American Journal of Public Health and Contemporary Economic Policy. Her research has also appeared in several books. A native of Lima, Peru, Dr. Quispe-Agnoli earned a bachelor's degree in social sciences at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. She earned her master's degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and her doctorate in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sonia Altizer

Environmental researcher
Sonia Altizer, Ph.D., is a Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. For the past 20 years, starting as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, she has traveled the world to study monarch butterfly migration and ecology, and has witnessed first-hand how the numbers of monarchs have dwindled in recent years. Sonia co-edited a book to appear in 2015 titled Monarchs in a Changing World: Biology and Conservation of an Iconic Insect, and participated in high-level task forces dedicated to monarch butterfly conservation. At UGA, her students run a citizen science project called Monarch Health which involves hundreds of volunteers across North America sampling wild monarchs for a debilitating disease. Sonia’s main research focuses on critters much smaller than butterflies – she studies how pathogens affecting wildlife are shifting in response to human environmental change.

Stephanie Jones

Student + educator
Stephanie P. Jones is an award-winning English educator and graduate assistant at the University of Georgia in the department of Language and Literacy education. Her research focuses on the ways in which African American females engage with literacies in and outside of the classroom, and specifically how those literacies can help shape culturally relevant and engaging pedagogy and curriculum for the secondary classroom. Stephanie has written several op-eds for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Teaching for Social Justice and has done consulting work on behalf of The CLASSroom Project.

Organizing team


Tallahassee, FL, United States


  • Kate Devlin