Aidan Wallace has worked with The Steady Collective, Asheville's one of two needle exchange programs for almost two years, and conducts research pertaining to the interactions between needle exchange participants and law enforcement through UNC Asheville. Aidan is currently a senior in high school, beginning university studies at sixteen. For the past seven years, he has studied and performed classical music on alto and soprano saxophone.
Chloe Everett is a student at UNC-Asheville, where she studies psychology and neuroscience. Chloe is a staunch advocate for disability rights and neurodiversity. She has experience working with people on the autism spectrum, and is neurodivergent herself. Chloe is dedicated to using her experiences growing up in the behavioral therapy system to better assist others, and improve existing therapies for autism.
Cleaster Cotton has taught thousands of children and facilitated numerous professional development, team-building and arts workshops for teachers, parents, community members and business professionals. Cleaster is an artist, and specializes in racial equity, social justice, diversity and innovative instructional design.
Dan Antonelli lives and works in Asheville. He is currently about to launch a children’s imagination app called “Imaginaction” that he hopes shifts children’s relationship with technology and fosters creative confidence. Dan can often be found at Trader Joe’s hopefully making people’s day a touch brighter.
Dave is a creative free-spirit currently based in Asheville, NC. He has a background in Behavioral Psychology, Special Education, English as a Second Language, and Illustration. He is fascinated by the nature of creativity, the hero's journey of self-empowerment, the interconnectivity of all things, and the bizarre essence of the human experience. Outside of developing this TEDx talk, he puts his energy into illustration, learning about tattooing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, yoga, getting out in nature with his dog Jack, and connecting with fellow humans.
Jerry Pcolar is a student of philosophy and religion at the University of North Carolina Asheville. He focuses on why people believe the things they do, and how their beliefs link together to form a meaningful whole. Jerry’s research focuses on trying to understand religious experiences from the perspective of the devotee with as little interference from academic method as possible.
Katy Hudson follows light everywhere they see it. Hudson followed their passions to the mountains to study either Drama or Atmospheric Sciences in 2011, and never chose between the two. They've found endless joy in studying everything about light - from stage lighting design, to atmospheric optical physics, to liberatory enlightenment. You can find this light being hanging out in the liminal spaces of Asheville, staring off into the sky in sheer ecstasy.