Sophomore, Law, History, and Society and Communications Studies Major on a pre-law track
Amaya Allen is a Vanderbilt University sophomore studying Law, History and Society and Communications Studies on a pre-law track. Originally from Queens, New York, Allen graduated from Medgar Evers College Preparatory School with honors in 2017 and received a full tuition Posse Foundation Scholarship. At Vanderbilt, Allen is a resident advisor for E. Bronson Ingram residential college and is involved in many student organizations including Caribbean Student Association and Evolve. During her summers, Allen has interned at The Asia Society as well as QBE North America. After she graduates from Vanderbilt, she plans on attending law school in the New York tri-state area. Her likes and hobbies include eating blueberry muffins bingeing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and watching too many natural hair videos on Youtube. Her worst fear is to peak in life, because she believes that she can only go up.
Sophomore, History & Secondary Education - Balloon Artist
Barton Christmas is a Vanderbilt undergraduate sophomore from Paducah, Kentucky. He studies History and Secondary Education, paired with campus involvements ranging from VUcept to Vanderbilt University Theatre. Barton’s choice to attend Vanderbilt came following his receipt of the Curb Scholarship in Creative Enterprise and Public Leadership. Regarding his enterprise, Barton has owned and operated a balloon art business, Barton’s Balloons, since the age of 11. He is eager to share the exploits of such a background with the TED Community. Following his matriculation from Vanderbilt, Barton hopes to seek a career in comedy, education, and politics.
Vanderbilt Keegan Traveling Fellow
Danielle Kitchen has spent her last six months traveling the world, from places like the NATO Summit in Brussels to Iraqi military bases, asking people one main question: what do you think of the military? Danielle received the Vanderbilt Keegan Traveling Fellowship, which is given to two graduating seniors each year to travel the world for a year to study a topic of their choosing. She is traveling to 20 countries across 5 continents and interviewing civilians, military personnel and defense officials. She is also managing a project for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, where she is in charge of interviewing Afghan students at the American University in Kabul to identify behavioral and academic success trends correlated with State Department investments. She spent her summers in college interning at Google, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Hudson Institute Center for Political-Military Analysis. She also studied abroad at London School of Economics and on Semester at Sea.
Dr. Larisa R.G. DeSantis
Vetebrate Paleontologist in the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt University
Dr. Larisa R.G. DeSantis is a vertebrate paleontologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt University. She earned degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (B.S.), Yale University (M.E.M.), and the University of Florida (Ph.D.). By studying mammal teeth and bones, she determines how they responded to ancient climate change, potential reasons why they went extinct, and the long-term consequences of both climate change and large animal extinctions on a diversity of plants and animals. DeSantis is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award which is the most prestigious award in support of “early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.” When DeSantis is not in the laboratory, field, or classroom, she is involved in scientific and public outreach in her local community and as the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Distinguished Lecturer for North America.
Dr. Mary Crnobori
Coordinator of Trauma Informed Schools
Dr. Mary Crnobori is the Coordinator of Trauma-Informed Schools for a large urban public school district in the Southeast. She is dedicated to social justice and promoting more compassionate and supportive school environments that promote healthy development, executive functioning and learning, and well-being for all children. She equips educators with critical knowledge about how trauma and un-buffered stress can affect neurobiological development, lifelong health and wellness, and school success; and helps school professionals implement practical, trauma-informed strategies that empower and foster resilience and school success for all students. Dr. Crnobori holds a PhD in Special Education from Vanderbilt University, a M.Ed. in Special Education, a B.A. in Psychology, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is the co-author of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and a book, and speaks extensively about adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed school practices.
Program Coordinator for Fraternity & Sorority Life at Vanderbilt University
Harold Brown is a Dallas, Texas native who has made it his goal to leave a lasting legacy in the field of education. As a Higher Ed professional, Harold has worked in various capacities on college campuses that include but are not limited to Fraternity & Sorority Life, Career Development, Student Activities, and Diversity & Inclusion. Outside of a university setting, Harold has presented and published work around issues that focus on the experiences of marginalized students and professionals on a college campus. Harold holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University. Currently, Harold is pursuing his Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership at Tennessee State University. Upon completion, he plans to apply his knowledge and skills to advance Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Junior, Political Science and Cinema & Media Arts on Pre-Law Track
Jacqueline Grogan is an undergraduate junior at Vanderbilt University in the College of Arts and Science, double majoring in Political Science and Cinema & Media Arts on the pre-law track. She credits this distinctive academic path to her early exposure to Academy Award-winning film, My Cousin Vinny.
A recipient of the Posse Foundation’s Full-Tuition Leadership Scholarship, Jacqueline holds executive positions in organizations of many kinds, from the likes of performing arts, case competition, satirical comedy, student teaching, and media management.
Though born in China, Jacqueline’s heart and home can be found in New York City, where she takes in all the landscapes, cultures, and bagels with lox that she can. Nashville, though, has been a refreshing change of pace and scenery for her, and she is grateful for the people she has met and the opportunities she has been afforded while here.
Jacqueline Grogan is an adoptee.
Student. Violin Performance and Computer Science
Originally from Orlando (FL), John Horzen currently lives in Nashville, TN, where he is studying Violin Performance and Computer Science at Vanderbilt University. John has experience working as a dishwasher, janitor, history tutor, music teacher, programming teacher, student weatherman, violinist, saxophonist, trumpet player, alpine horn specialist, screenwriter, co-director, director, producer, and all-around handyman. Recently, he founded the Coalition to Stop Procrastination School Network, directed/produced a Hamilton Flashmob, assistant-directed Vanderbilt’s production of American Idiot: The Musical, and served as first violinist in a string quartet representing Vanderbilt in France’s Aix-en-Provence Music Festival. Unsurprisingly, John says he is interested in essentially everything, and can’t wait to share his passion for art with the world, starting with TEDx.
Student, Music Composition
Madeline is from Michigan, and is currently in her second year of studying music composition at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. Madeline has been studying music for fifteen years, and graduated from the international boarding arts high school Interlochen Arts Academy with a major in music composition in 2017. Madeline was selected as the sole recipient of the Interlochen music exchange program award, in partnership with the Royal Welsh Conservatory in Cardiff, Wales. She has completed multiple commissions, which have received performances at national and international venues, such as the National Flute Association Convention and televised concerts at universities and independent recitals across the United States. From working with dance, to written word, to music, to visual art, to film – she believes that the synthesis of art forms and technology can lead to groundbreaking innovation in how we understand and relate to the human experience.