x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Fools Gold

This event occurred on
March 31, 2016
Harrisonburg, Virginia
United States

When things are not what they seem.

Festival Ballroom
1301 Carrier Drive
Harrisonburg, Virginia, 22801
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Griffin Harrington

Virtual Reality Videographer
Introducing Griffin Harrington: A 2015 JMU graduate and the first Producer of Virtual Reality at Discovery Communications. While at JMU, Griffin spent most of his four years with a camera in one hand and an iPhone in the other (probably on Instagram). Griffin has spent the past nine months traveling the world producing, directing and editing over thirty VR experiences.

Mark Warner

Senior Vice President of Student Affairs + leadership speaker
Dr. Mark Warner is the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning at James Madison University. In addition to teaching a highly esteemed leadership class at JMU, Dr. Warner facilites an executive leadership development program for professionals, which has garnered national and international attention. Dr. Warner has participated in hundreds of engagements including organizations such as Merck Pharmaceuticals, National Management Association, U.S. Marshals, the University of Virginia Foundation, Babson College, the FBI Academy, and the International Leadership Association. His speaking experience extends to international borders, including countries such as China, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Spain in addition to teaching courses in Honduras, Italy and Austria. In his spare time, you can find Dr. Warner at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife Jennie with their two daughters, Sarah and Katie.

Michael McCleve

Associate Director of Leadership + Motivational Speaker
What do model railroading, a wife & 4 kids, and leadership all have in common? Answer: Michael McCleve. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy at Brigham Young University, Michael found a place for his personal passion for leadership in the field of college student affairs and earned his Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Student Personnel Administration at Indiana University. He has spent more than 20 years in multiple professional positions helping others to learn about and become better leaders. He currently works as the Associate Director for Leadership at James Madison University and welcomes all types of conversations, questions, and explorations about leadership.

Mieka Polanco

Anthropology professor
Mieka Brand Polanco is an associate professor of anthropology at James Madison University who believes that the two questions that drive anthropological research are powerful tools for pursuing social justice. The questions, “What does it mean to be human?” and “But why?” compel us to move beyond surface aesthetics and consider one another with compassion and depth. In her own work, Polanco pursues these questions as they relate to race and space in the United States. Her recent work focuses on American prisons, concerning the belief that this oversimplified model does not sufficiently explain who ends up behind bars.

Nathan Wright

Biochemistry Scientist
Nathan Wright received his B.A. in biology from Haverford College in 2000, his M.S. in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2008. After a three-year postdoctoral fellowship working on the molecular structure/function relationship of antibiotic resistance in bacteria at Johns Hopkins University, Nathan joined the chemistry and biochemistry faculty at James Madison University in 2011. Here, he spends roughly half his time researching the molecular mechanisms of how cells sense their surroundings, and half his time teaching a wide variety of biochemistry-related undergraduate classes. When not doing science, Nathan enjoys having adventures with his kids Charlotte (age 3), Stephen (age 6), and his wonderful wife Paula.

Osama Malik

Digital Strategy Management + Musical artist
JMU graduate Osama Malik is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a day job as an executive at a leading management and technology consulting services firm, where he leads their Digital Strategy practice. Osama has collaborated with chart topping songwriters and producers in the music industry as well as the top tech giants and emerging start ups to develop new business models, applications, and services. When he’s not working on music or consulting – Osama can be found either chasing his four children or collapsed in exhaustion after chasing his four children.

Organizing team


22801, VA, United States


Burke, VA, United States
  • Andrea Murchie
    Team member
  • Josh Gordon
  • Kyle McGill
  • Madison Spoutz
  • Tarek Arafat