x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
March 15, 2018
Rolla, Missouri
United States

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Leach Theatre
103 Castleman Hall
400 W. 10th St.
Rolla, Missouri, 65409
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Albert Keys

Albert was on his way to get his grandmother a hamburger when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a car accident. He was not expected to move or even breathe on his own again. When others gave up on Albert, people at Ranken Jordan--A Pediatric Specialty Hospital, searched for and found reasons for hope. Albert, now a young man, is dedicating his life to helping others.

Anthony Petroy

Petroy’s research interests include ethical leadership and positive psychology in leadership that explores how to focus on the positive aspects of leadership. He authored several publications, including a trademarked lecture series titled “Inspiration Through Knowledge” and has given numerous presentations. During his career, he has taught 50 different courses and developed 20 new courses. Petroy earned a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix in 2005. He earned a master of science degree in management from Troy State University’s European Division in London, a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the Pennsylvania State University and an associate of applied science degree in information systems from the Community College of the Air Force.

Cornell "Nick" Nichols III

St. Louis native, Cornell “Nick” Nichols III is a technical consultant by day and standup comedian by night in the Kansas City area. He graduated from Missouri S&T in May 2015 with a degree in Engineering Management and emphasis in Management of Technology. In March 2013, Nick gathered the courage to perform at the Missouri S&T Blarney Bash Talent Show. Comedy was a way for Nick to overcome his fear of failure and expand his comfort zone. Since then, Nick has performed with national acts such as Bo Burnham and Hasan Minhaj. Turning a weakness into a strength opened unexpected doors that Nick never knew existed. Nick went from being the shy kid in class, afraid to read out loud, to telling jokes in front audiences of all types. His passion is helping others grasp all that life has to offer beyond their comfort zone.

Dajae Williams

As a scholar, athlete, musician, and engineer Dajae “Moe” Williams prides herself in the ability to design her own life. Not fazed by the notion that “You can’t have it all,” Dajae doesn’t allow anyone or anything to box her in. She constantly searches for the intersection where her passions and purpose meet, in order to live a life that most may not even imagine. A life with infinite new experiences and broken barriers. The South St. Louis, MO native has recently graduated with a B.S. in Engineering Management from Missouri S&T. During her college career, she had the opportunity to intern and learn from experts at top companies such as Dot Foods, Anheuser- Busch, John Deere, Toyota and Apple. She has also played collegiate basketball for both the S&T Lady Miners and the STLCC Archers. Her more recent endeavors include music production and the creation of songs that teach students STEM topics. When she isn’t producing music, you can find her creating solutions as a manufacturing engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Daniel Gutierrez

Daniel Gutierrez is the vocal music director at Reed Academy Middle School, Daniel is an award winning educator, active conductor, All-State choir clinician, and speaker throughout the country. In 2012 Daniel was hired, as the only applicant, to be the choir director at Reed Academy Middle School. Since his arrival, the program has gone from 14 students to 320, and has reached national acclaim. Daniel will be speaking about the power in seeing potential in people, and his experiences supervising a lunch detention in which he recruited students to become part of a choir that performed at the most well-known national choir conference in the country. He believes there are extraordinary implications in this experience and wants others to see the potential in people around them, regardless of vocation or endeavor. The presentation will culminate with a performance by current and past students of his from the Reed Academy choir program, showing the potential realized at this middle school.

David Duncan

David has spent the last 30 years studying the intersection between psychotherapy and Christian spirituality. He has a masters in counseling psychology. He is licensed as a professional counselor in Missouri. In the mental health field since 1975, he has held administrative, clinical and teaching positions. He is a community mental health liaison with Pathways Community Healthcare, where he assists police officers in handling persons with behavioral health difficulties. He serves as an adjunct full professor in counseling at Webster University in Rolla. David is a contract trainer with the US Army MP School and a mental health consultant for Team Expansion, a missions organization sending workers primarily into areas in which there is no Christian presence. David’s passion over the past fifteen years has been assisting trauma survivors to find their way to peace and freedom from fear, anxiety and the memories of psychological trauma. His favorite pastimes include bicycling, hiking and camping with wife Tippy. He occasionally walks a stream with a fly rod and a few flies, and being both Christian and a fisherman, is challenged to maintain honesty in the stories that ripple forth from the streams.

Dr. Amy Belfi

Dr. Amy Belfi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Science at Missouri S&T. She received her B.A. in Psychology from St. Olaf College, her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Iowa, and completed postdoctoral training at New York University. Her research focuses on how music influences our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behaviors. Why do we like music? Is music different than other types of objects in our environment? The results of her research have suggested that music is an especially powerful tool for eliciting some of our strongest emotions and memories.

Dr. Dave Westenberg

Dr. Dave Westenberg is Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He earned his PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dave fell in love with the microbial world as an undergraduate student. Like most of us he initially thought of microbiology as dealing with disease causing organisms but quickly grew to appreciate the incredible structural, physiological and genetic diversity of microorganisms and their critical role for life on Earth. His passion is now sharing the fascinating world of microorganisms with others. He has been active in microbiology education as an American Society for Microbiology Scholar-in-Residence (now called Biology Scholars) and has chaired the ASM Committee on K-12 Education and Outreach. He has received awards for teaching and advising including the Missouri S&T Class of ’42 Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award and Alumni Outstanding Advisor Award and the 2017 Science Educator Award from the Academy of Sciences, Saint Louis. He is a National Academy of Science Education Fellow in Life Sciences and an HHMI Biointeractive Teaching Ambassador. His laboratory studies the role of root associated microorganisms on plant nutrition and bioremediation.

Dr. Grace Yan

Dr. Grace Yan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering of Missouri University of Science and Technology. Before this, she held a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at University of Texas at El Paso and a Lecturer position at University of Western Sydney, Australia. She got her PhD degree from Harbin Institute of Technology, China in 2006. She is passionate about the mitigation of hazards induced by tornadoes and the improvement of the life quality in tornado valley through addressing the common fear. She believes proper tornado resistance is a matter for the entire community. To achieve true tornado resistance, it needs the whole community to be alert and act appropriately. She has been endeavoring to develop a virtual-reality visualization tool based on physically-based modelling to facilitate people’s decision on structural reinforcement in order to achieve a tornado-ready community. Through this TED talk, she wishes that she could awaken the whole community to play together towards a tornado-resistant community. She also does research on resilient infrastructural systems in multi-hazard environments, structural health monitoring and sensor technologies. She has published 32 journal papers and 49 conference papers. She is the recipient of 13 research grants.

Jacob Huxol

Hi, my name is Jacob Huxol and I am a Junior at Missouri S&T, I'm majoring in Metallurgical Engineering. Over seven years, juggling has become one of my major passions; everyone can do it, it's easy to learn and it helps pass the time. One day when I was a middle schooler, my family took me to a renaissance fair. We watched a juggler perform and joke around and I was mesmerized... I told myself "Dang, if he can do it, I can do it too". I practiced and failed and practiced and failed for months. Some days I'd get bored of my homework and just juggle! Until I finally caught the balls consistently. Ever since, I've done it to pass time and I love it. With the same method, I've learned how to play the guitar and the ukelele. I've also learned a bit of German, Spanish, Arabic, and I'm currently going to learn Chinese. Someday I want to travel around the world and make new connections, but in the meantime I want to stick with school. I can't thank my family and my friends enough, they are my inspiration and they've helped me through everything!!

Organizing team


Rolla, MO, United States