x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Reimagine

This event occurred on
May 1, 2018
Chicago, Illinois
United States

TEDxDePaulUniversity is independently organized through a license provided by TED, the idea-generating nonprofit organization. Now in its third year, the DePaul event unites our community for a half-day of idea-driven programming and promotes our faculty, staff, student and alumni thought leaders through the world-famous TEDx platform. DePaul organizers begin planning the event nearly a year in advance to give the audience an experience unlike any other. This year's theme is Reimagine – a single word that invites our speakers to develop talk ideas that consider questions or subjects in a new light.

DePaul University Student Center
2250 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60614
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Adia Gooden

Gooden is a licensed clinical psychologist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and her doctorate in clinical community psychology from DePaul College of Science and Health in 2013. Gooden is currently a staff psychologist and coordinator for multicultural outreach and support at The University of Chicago’s Student Counseling Service. In this role, she provides individual, group and couple therapy to undergraduate and graduate students. She also conducts outreach workshops for students of color and continuing education training for clinicians on working with black clients. Gooden authors a blog focused on promoting mental health among black women. She speaks and writes about black women, black couples, black youth and mental health.

Brandon Hendrix

Hendrix has worked for the United States government since 2004. His most rewarding experience has been training more than 1,000 U.S. service members to become agri-business development teams. These teams partnered with Afghan farmers to bring their products to local and international markets using techniques that required no fossil fuels. Hendrix earned his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Chicago State University followed by a Master’s Degree in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in business administration with an emphasis on data science and decision making at DePaul.

Christopher Robinson

Robinson is a member of the Congregation of the Mission, which was founded by St. Vincent de Paul. He was admitted to the Vincentians in 1980 and received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at St. Mary of the Barrens College Seminary in 1983. Shortly after, he professed his religious vows and was ordained in 1989. He also holds a Master of Religious Education, a Master of Divinity, a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology and a Sacrae Theologiae Licentiate. Robinson has served as the director of Catholic Campus Ministry and as an adjunct faculty member at DePaul since 1994, as well as an interim pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish.

Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco

Vásquez de Velasco is dean and professor of art, media, and design in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul. He has combined professional practice with teaching, scholarship, and academic administration into a career that celebrates design, multidisciplinary collaboration, and innovation in education. He previously served as vice provost and dean of the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University, and as executive associate dean of the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. Vásquez de Velasco earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban planning from Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru, his master’s degree in architecture from the University of Toronto, and his doctoral degree in architecture from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

James Brinkmann

Brinkmann is an innovative flutist, educator and 2011 DePaul School of Music alumnus. He unites his passions for teaching and performing by creating interactive performances that strengthen the listener’s connection with music. From playing in concert halls to jamming in the subways, he has performed around the country with the University of Utah School of Music, Lakeview Orchestra, Atlanta Flute Club and Redux Contemporary Art Center. Always striving to create new ways to present classical music, he and oboist Alli Gessner co-created and performed “Concerto for Frenemies: a comedic musical production of W.A. Mozart’s C/D Concertos for Flute and/or Oboe.” Brinkmann is a faculty member at the Merit School of Music and an assistant faculty member at the Northern California Flute Camp.

Karen Bartuch

Bartuch spent almost a decade as a Chicago Police officer in a variety of assignments, including patrol, intelligence and counter-terrorism, and most notably as a policy adviser for the superintendent of police. She successfully transitioned to the private sector in 2011, joining Motorola Solutions, Inc., where her work included developing advanced analytics solutions for law enforcement. In 2016, she joined PwC, where she leads innovation for her team developing new client-facing solutions as well as internal optimization projects. Bartuch received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwestern University. She went on to earn her master’s degree in communications from DePaul where she also is currently working on her doctorate in business administration.

Karli Butler

Butler proudly refers to herself as an activist, optimist and survivor. No stranger to adversity, she’s managed to turn her trauma into triumph through storytelling, reflection and forgiveness. As an acid burn survivor, she uses her experiences and her scars to teach and empower. When she’s not serving as the Trauma-Informed Social Service Provider at Curt’s Café, you can find her running around her local parks with her adorable son, Zailen. Butler is a 2010 alumna of DePaul’s College of Communication.

Kevin Felisme

Felisme works at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, a therapeutic residential facility for youth in Chicago. He is an advocate for economic development in low-income communities and youth development. His goal is to open up a successful business on the South Side one day that can serve as an economic engine for the community. Felisme graduated from American University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in justice and law, and is currently pursuing his MBA at DePaul. In his free time, he volunteers at The Port Ministries, a community center that offers free services and resources for Chicago’s South Side residents.

Laura Biagi

Biagi is a performance artist, educator and yoga teacher working in the fields of performance and theatre studies, contemplative pedagogy, and inclusive leadership. Biagi is a visiting multicultural faculty member at The Theatre School at DePaul where she teaches theories of directing, yoga of the voice, movement as a healing art, and a course on storytelling at Cook County Jail. Biagi also develops student plays that focus on identity, diversity and belonging, including: “Be/Longing” in 2016 and “Bee’s Knees” in 2017. Her solo piece, “The High Priestess,” was showcased as part of Collaboration’s 2017 Peacebook Festival at the Goodman Theatre and at Chicago Ideas Week in the summer and fall of 2017.

Tammy Higgins

With more than 30 years’ experience in the information technology industry, Higgins started her career in the U.S. Air Force as a systems engineer. She has held various sales positions with Cisco, AT&T and Nortel Networks before moving in 2010 to Orange Business Services, a global integrator of communications solutions for multinational corporations. She has also worked in pre-sales technical roles covering a wide array of data networking, voice, collaboration and internet solutions. Higgins is currently completing her doctorate in business administration at DePaul with a focus on sales strategies and the expertise required in today’s complex technical sales roles.

Whitney Spencer

Spencer is a first-generation college graduate who aims to leverage her infiltration of the education system as a means to critique the construction of black intellectual "lack," and to further complicate longstanding societal ideas around who might be called "an intellectual.” She graduated with a bachelor’s degree and Master of Education from the University of Louisville. While there, she fell in love with the 'hood that helped raise her and cultivated the radical imagination that she needed to disrupt restrictive ideologies and uplift the culturally centered, community generated intellectual practices of black people. She continues to explore this work as a first-year critical ethnic studies graduate student at DePaul, and as an aspiring visual storyteller.

Organizing team


Chicago, IL, United States


Chicago, IL, United States