x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Zero to Hero

This event occurred on
April 8, 2018
Storrs, Connecticut
United States

The distinctive processes one goes through, from Zero to Hero, can encompass growth factors, such as mental, personal or physical development, and can induce change at the global, local or individual level.

University of Connecticut
Storrs, Connecticut, 06269
United States
Event type:
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Bataouly Camara

Batouly Camara, a native New Yorker with family roots in Guinea, West Africa, can often be described as one with an enthusiastic and passionate spirit. As a first-generation scholar athlete at the University of Connecticut, she continues to experience first-hand how access to an education and sports continues to impact her life with a positive calibration. Compelled to create these same opportunities for young girls around the world, Batouly founded Women and Kids Empowerment (W.A.K.E), a nonprofit geared to address and support her mission globally. Meanwhile on the Storrs campus, when she isn’t on the basketball court, Batouly manages to serve as President of Collective uplift, a holistic development support group for students across diverse ethnic backgrounds, and also is an active member for both the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).

David McGuire

David J. McGuire is the executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, the statewide nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization that defends, promotes, and preserves civil rights and liberties under the U.S. and Connecticut constitutions. David joined the ACLU of Connecticut as a staff attorney in 2007, where his primary areas of legal focus were prisoners’ rights, digital privacy, and free speech. Later, as the ACLU of Connecticut’s legislative director, he played a leading role in pressing ‘ for police accountability legislation and was instrumental in passing state laws to reform police complaint procedures and police use of Tasers. In 2016, he became the organization’s executive director. David received his B.A. in history from Purdue University and graduated from Western New England College School of Law. After law school, he clerked for the judges of the Connecticut Superior Court.

David Skelly

David K. Skelly is Director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Frank R. Oastler Professor of Ecology at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies at Yale University. Prior to assuming the Museum Directorship in 2014 he served for five years as Associate Dean for Research in Forestry. He also holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Dave is a field biologist whose research focuses primarily on the ecology and development of amphibians. He has authored more than 80 papers, and his work on the effects of water pollution on the development of frogs in suburban environments has received wide attention in the national media. Dave has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been awarded the Forestry School’s annual prize for teaching excellence on four occasions. Dave received his B.A. from Middlebury College and Ph.D. in biology from the University of Michigan, and held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Wollongong, Australia and the University of Washington before joining Yale’s faculty in 1996.

Elizabeth Charash

Elizabeth Charash is a senior History major at the University of Connecticut. A native of Newtown, she was a high school junior when the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School occurred. Since then, Elizabeth established UConn Against GunViolence, a campus organization that engages students in informed dialogue regarding gun violence prevention. In 2016,she was awarded the Newman Civic Fellowship, a national award, for her work. She conducts research that examines the impact of race, class, and gender on advocacy, and has served as a Policy Fellow at the Brady Campaign in the summer of2017, where she advocated for gun violence prevention initiatives on Capitol Hill. Her articles on race and gun violence have been published in US News and World Report and Teen Vogue.

Justin Pedneault

Justin Pedneault is a third-year undergraduate nursing student at the University of Connecticut. His medical background is volunteering as a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) with the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association, where he has been a member since he was 14 years old. On the University of Connecticut campus, he serves in various roles teaching emergency care and treatment to students, staff and faculty. He is the founder of the UConn Rescue training program. UConn Rescue is a student organization of EMT’s that focuses primarily on providing training opportunities to the community, and Justin’s role as the training coordinator is to manage all of the activities. He is responsible for coordinating, managing, supervising and planning over 15 CPR, First Aid and Bleeding Control classes a semester, and since the start of the program, he has created over 1,000 available seats for training classes. Justin also works with Hartford Hospital by assisting to teach psychomotor (hands-on) skills to the EMT class offered on campus each semester in conjunction with the Department of Allied Health.

Kamora Le'Ella Herrington

Kamora Le’Ella Herrington is a mother first. She is also the Director of Youth Programming at True Colors, Inc., a support and advocacy organization for sexual minority youth based in Hartford, Connecticut as well as an instructor in the City of Hartford’s YDPA and MMI Institutes. Kamora Le’Ella has over 25 years of experience in the human services field and is a vocal advocate for Queer youth. She attended Springfield College and discovered during her semester of student teaching that she wasn’t cut out to be an elementary school teacher. From appearing on a Tyra Show episode titled “Hell to Pay: Gay Teen Exorcism” to being featured on the CNN special report titled “Gay Teens Talk Their Truth” to being a member of the National Black Justice Coalition’s (NBJC) Leadership Advisory Council as an activist leader to working with other community leaders to address the myriad of ways that trauma affects residents, Kamora is committed to questioning the status quo in order to build supportive communities where we are all valued.

Lewis Gordon

Lewis Gordon is a philosopher, musician, and global political intellectual figure. He is Professor of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs; Honorary President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies; and Honorary Professor at the Unit of the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa. His many books include Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism (Humanities Press, 1995), Her Majesty’s Other Children (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), Existentia Africana (Routledge, 2000), Disciplinary Decadence (Routledge, 2006), An Introduction to Africana Philosophy (Cambridge UP, 2008) and, more recently, What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought (NY: Fordham UP; London: Hurst; Johannesburg: Wits UP, 2015; in Swedish, Vad Fanon Sa, Stockholm: TankeKraft förlag, (2016), La sud prin nord-vest: Reflecţii existenţiale afrodiasporice, trans. Ovidiu Tichindeleanu (Cluj, Romania: IDEA Design & Print, 2016), and, with Fernanda Frizzo Bragato, Geopolitics and Decolonization: Perspectives from the Global South (London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2018). He is currently working on a book entitled Fear of a Black Consciousness (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). He edits the American Philosophical Association blog series Black Issues in Philosophy and co-edits the book series Global Critical Caribbean Thought.

Lisa Sanetti

Dr. Sanetti is an associate professor of School Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include implementation science, educator well-being., and school-based mental health. Her research has been funded by the US Department of Education and private foundations. Dr. Sanetti developed and evaluated a system of supports to facilitate teachers’ implementation of school-based interventions that is being adopted by schools across the country. She received the UConn Early Career Scholar Award, Early Career Scholar Award from the Society for the Study of School Psychology, and the Lightner Witmer Award from the American Psychology Association for the scope and impact of her research. Dr. Sanetti received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a licensed psychologist in Connecticut, and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Prior to joining the faculty at UConn, she was a behavioral consultant serving schools throughout New England. In this role, she provided assessment and intervention services to children with significant disabilities and/or mental health issues and their families and educators.

Lucas Codognolla

Born and raised in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Lucas Codognolla and his family immigrated to the United States in 2000 when he was 9 years old. Now 27, Lucas is a recognized undocumented leader in the immigrant youth movement both in the state of Connecticut and nationally. Lucas currently serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of United We Dream, the largest undocumented youth-led network in the United States, and as Executive Director of Connecticut Students for a Dream, a youth-led, statewide network fighting for the rights of undocumented youth and their families. Lucas graduated from UCONN in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Michelle San Pedro

Michelle San Pedro is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches anthropology and women’s studies courses. For the past ten years, she has worked with midwives and adolescent mothers in the northern highlands of Nicaragua. As a registered nurse with labor and delivery experience, her work there includes teaching prenatal classes at maternity waiting homes. She also organized a conference between Nicaraguan NGOs to assist survivors of intimate partner violence. Her research is supported by the Fulbright Program, UConn’s Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies,the Human Rights Institute, and the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy. She has coordinated over 50 National Institute of Mental Health and pharmaceutical psychiatric clinical trials at Yale School of Medicine, Connecticut Mental Health Center, and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, depression, schizophrenia, and dementia. Michelle received her M.A. in Anthropology from UConn, Nursing Certificate from Yale School of Nursing, and B.A. in Anthropology from Northwestern University. She is a member of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved. Michelle frequently speaks on reducing stigma and improving support for families suffering from gender-based violence.

Thomas Lawrence Long

Thomas Lawrence Long, PhD, associate professor in residence, is a humanities scholar and faculty member in the UConn School of Nursing and is an affiliate of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The curator of the Josephine A. Dolan Nursing History Collection, he has published research on midwifery in the Early Republic, on Civil War nurse narratives, and on nursing in literature and culture. He is co-author of Writing in Nursing: A Brief Guide (published by Oxford University Press in 2017) and provides writing support services in the UConn Center for Nursing Scholarship.

William Corey Moore

William “Corey” Moore, born and raised in New Haven, CT, has always been a truly devoted leader in his own right, constantly workingto better himself and his community. Corey is an honors student and has worked hard over the past four years to excel in the classroomas a Day of Pride Scholar. But although Finance is Corey’s major, the work he is most proud of has taken place outside the classroom. Utilizing the coursework and strong network provided by the School of Business, Corey has served as an intern at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, LLP for the past three summers. But as Corey prepares for graduate school and the next chapter in his life, it will not be the accolades received but rather his impact on this campus that he will be most proud of. Most recently he served as the President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and the Resident Assistant for the ScHOLA2RS House Learning Community. In both roles Corey worked to enhance the experience and promote the success of Black males at UConn. Through the planning of meetings, panels, and a Black male leadership conference entitled Dear Young Brother, Corey has continued to facilitate meaningful conversations on campus.

Organizing team


Storrs, CT, United States