x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Reimagining Possibilities

This event occurred on
September 12, 2019
Denver, Colorado
United States

In the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” TEDxMSUDenver is a TED-style event planned and coordinated independently, under license from TED.

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On

TEDxMSUDenver is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and performances will be shared with the MSU Denver community. The TED format is a suite of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that are idea-focused, and cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter. All TEDx events present multiple issues and a diversity of voices from many disciplines. After all, what’s the fun without a little variety?

King Center Concert Hall
855 Lawrence Way
Denver, Colorado, 80204
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Carrie Morgridge

Vice President and Chief Disruptor of The Morgridge Family Foundation
Carrie Morgridge serves as the Vice President and Chief Disruptor of The Morgridge Family Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to invest in leaders and organizations that are reimagining solutions to some of today’s greatest challenges. Carrie is also the award-winning author of Every Gift Matters – How Your Passion Can Change the World. Her second book, The Spirit of the Trail, was released in May 2018. Carrie and her husband John created Student Support Foundation, a national organization that inspires youth philanthropy. For the past decade they have celebrated and advanced the educator profession by creating mindSpark Learning. mindSpark Learning is focused on empowering educators to tackle the most challenging conditions in their schools through Design Thinking and other strategies. Carrie speaks internationally to education advocacy forums, at poverty alleviation conferences, and many convenings that are philanthropically focused.

Charlie Buckley

Professor in the School of Education at MSU Denver
Dr. Buckley is an assistant professor in the School of Education at MSU Denver. In her 30-year career as speech language pathologist and a special educator, she has worked to improve classroom and community engagement for students with exceptionalities. Her current research and service projects include improving learner outcomes by focusing on individual strengths and abilities in inclusive settings. The shared experiences of this mother and daughter in supporting students with diverse needs has fueled their desire to create communities that include the most marginalized individuals

Colton Lee

Activist / Student
Colton is majoring in Philosophy and is working on two minors; one in Psychology, and the other in an IDP minor titled Ideology Estadounidense. Areas in which Colton will work in the future includes, but is not limited to; autonomy, identity theory, relationship theory, access within inclusivity versus exclusivism, and critical theory. They will also continue their work on the infinite predicate of god, which is their Honors Thesis topic, within Philosophy of Religion. They hope to attend The New School in New York to pursue their Graduate career.

Dave Gingerich

Senior Staff Engineer in Deep Space Exploration at Lockheed Martin Space Systems
For over 35 years Dave has supported the development, test, integration, and operation of several compelling space exploration missions, including– Four Mars orbiters-a legacy that began with the first return to Mars 20 years after Viking and continues with three spacecraft currently circling the Red Planet The first mission to touch water on the surface of Mars The first Mars lander to examine the planet’s interior and detect a Mars-quake A mission that captured and returned to Earth samples of the sun’s outer atmosphere Stardust, a mission that completed close flybys of comet Wild-2, comet Tempel-1, asteroid Annefrank and returned to Earth the first confirmed pieces of a comet A mission that took dozens of images of the frozen hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere and surface of Saturn’s largest moon Titan OSIRIS-REx that will return samples from asteroid Bennu in 2023 and Juno providing close-up images of Jupiter’s atmosphere and the Great Red Spot.

David Bechtold

Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at MSU-Denver
David Bechtold is an Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at MSU-Denver. His areas of expertise include Sustainability and Strategic Management. Dr. Bechtold business experience includes owning a management consulting firm and a real estate development company. He also was part of the development team for a community re-entry program serving adults with traumatic brain injury as well as the business director for a medical research facility. In the summer of 2019 Dr. Bechtold was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for Blue Star Recyclers. Blue Star Recyclers is a 501(c)3 Colorado based company whose purpose is to provide meaningful employment to people who have a developmental disability, particularly individuals who have autism spectrum disorder.

Emily Ragan

Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver
Dr. Emily Ragan is on a mission to promote effective, accessible education by strategic use of educational resources. She received her BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph. D. in Biochemistry at Kansas State University. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver. As a champion of OER at MSU Denver and in the State of Colorado, she currently represents MSU Denver on the State OER Council, and served as Committee Chair in 2017. With her leadership, the Council produced a report that was the foundation for a bill passed by the Colorado Legislature providing more than $2.5M in grants over three years to speed up adoption of OER in higher education statewide. As OER Coordinator at MSU Denver, she leads faculty workshops and trainings about OER.

Emily Yetzbacher

Corporate Operations Manager
Emily Yetzbacher is a Corporate Operations Manager who works with staff and clientele to foster welcoming, authentic, and effective relationships, ensuring productivity and retention within the workplace. Emily believes that work culture is essential for successful companies and staff performance, with accountability being the key to maintaining positive work environments. Emily supported Danielle Shoots, founder of The Daily Boss Up, the youngest CFO for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, former VP of Business Operations for Comcast, and fellow TedxMileHigh speaker, in implementing culture and staff experience as the Director of Culture and Advocacy for The Daily Boss Up, a career and leader mentorship blog. Prior to her current role, Emily has experience in case management and advocacy for marginalized populations within the Denver Metro area. Emily holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Heather Bulk

Heather Bulk is the chief executive officer of The SAS Family of Companies: Special Aerospace Services (SAS), SAS Flight Factory, and Rocket Apparel. She is also co-founder of the Who Dreams Wins Foundation. Ms. Bulk oversees the strategic direction, business operations, legal affairs and financial performance of these Colorado-based aerospace companies. With roughly 80 employees across the United States, the SAS Family of Companies engages in lifecycle relationships with clients in Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, and Energy providing critical guidance, tactical engineering, precision manufacturing and assembly, and procurement of mission-essential hardware.

Ivo Georgiev

Computer Systems Engineer and Adjunct Professor in Computer Science
Ivo Georgiev is a computer systems engineer, an adjunct professor in computer science, and a technology entrepreneur. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a PhD in Computer Science from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He spent a year as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Computational Bioscience Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He is an avid learner and has been taking online courses since their inception, in various subjects such as Computational Neuroscience, Data Science, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence, among others. He has worked for half a dozen information technology startups in Silicon Valley and Eastern Europe, starting as a Systems Analyst and progressing to CTO. He has been teaching college-level computer systems courses at CU-Boulder, CU Denver, and MSU Denver, for 10 years.

Jacob Maestas

Tonguebyte is a 4-piece Saxophone Rock group from Aurora, Colorado who blend the genres of Punk, Jazz, and Alternative Rock to create a compelling sound that grips the listener’s ear. This, accompanied with the poetic lyrics written by Guitarist/Vocalist JJ Maestas, and rhythmic and melodic complexities of Benjamin Eberle’s bass playing deliver an exciting new sound that anyone could get down to! Tonguebyte hit the Denver scene in the summer of 2017 after Jacob and Benjamin started playing DIY acoustic shows; since then has played such notable venues as Lost Lake, and the Larimer Lounge, and have performed at The Taste of Colorado 2018. Alongside that, they have an independent EP release titled Asphyxia / I Remember about the longing and losing of love.

Janine Davidson

President of Metropolitan State University of Denver
Prior to her appointment in 2017, Davidson served as the 32nd undersecretary of the United States Navy and the president’s appointed “chief management officer” for the Navy and Marine Corps. Her appointment as Navy “under” followed nearly 30 years of academic, civilian and military service. She has taught at George Mason University, Georgetown University, Davidson College and various professional military schools, and was an aviation and aerobatics flight instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Davidson began her career as an Air Force officer and cargo pilot. She was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Squadron Officer School, and was the first woman to fly the Air Force’s tactical C-130.

Jo Buckley

Youth activism and restorative justice
Her daughter, Jo Buckley has directed the youth activism program Public Achievement in the CSU and Fort Collins community and has served as a community representative in restorative justice circles. She brings the practices of restorative justice into her classroom, where she works as a bilingual educational assistant. She is passionate about equipping young leaders with the tools and pathways to create systemic change. Jo is currently working on her master’s degree in education. The shared experiences of this mother and daughter in supporting students with diverse needs has fueled their desire to create communities that include the most marginalized individuals, and therefore elevating all of society.

Katia Campbell

Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver
Katia Campbell is an Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Denver in the areas of Rhetoric, Diversity, and Media Studies. Her scholarship and teaching focuses on rhetoric, free speech, cultural representation, popular media, and critical pedagogy. She also consults and facilitates workshops on Communication and Diversity, Media Literacy, Free Speech, Public Speaking, and Dialogic Ethics.

Katrina Chaffin

Telemedicine Service Line Coordinator
Katrina Chaffin is a Telemedicine Service Line Coordinator with HCA Continental Division responsible for the operations of telemedicine services. She is currently in the Masters of Health Administration program at MSU Denver and expected to graduate December 2019. Katrina is the MSU Denver Student Liaison for Colorado Association of Healthcare Executives and involved with the Emerging Professionals group with Colorado Medical Group Management Association. She currently holds the position of President for MSU Denver Healthcare Leaders student group. Katrina is committed to improving healthcare access for all. She is passionate about healthcare innovation and enjoys learning about new technology or practices from others.

Katrina Little

Registered Nurse
Katrina Little, M.S.N., RN is a Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Nursing (College of Professional Studies) at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her areas of focus are on education and health promotion and amongst child-bearing and breastfeeding women and their families in underrepresented populations. Little has 15 years as a Registered Nurse specializing in inpatient obstetrics and caring and sharing in the low to high-risk birth experiences and community health across the states of Texas, California and Colorado. She has over eight years of experience teaching as an affiliate faculty and full-time faculty. Little served as Clinical Affilate Faculty at University of Colorado School of Nursing before joining MSU Denver in 2013. After serving the community as a School Nurse in Denver Public Schools, she transitioned to a full-time Faculty at MSU Denver in 2017.

Kristen Blessman

Kristen Blessman has over 20 years of leadership experience, including strategic marketing, business development and executive management; working with both non-profit, for-profit as well as small business ownership experience. Kristen is a change-agent leader with a focus on revenue development through the areas of innovation, strategic planning, start-up social enterprise, rebranding, and award-winning marketing and advertising campaigns. Currently, Blessman serves as the President and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC). As CEO of the CWCC, Blessman is responsible for executing the organization’s mission of advancing women in business. Blessman was hired in 2017 to bring value to membership through innovation, brand awareness and long-term vision. Through the creation of a new leadership program, mentoring program and unique peer group programming,

Matthew Candelaria

Activist / Student
Matthew, a self described punk skateboarder and academic, is majoring in English with a concentration in composition and rhetoric, and minoring in philosophy. In pursuit of a career in higher education, Matthew wishes to develop his masters thesis on anarchist pedagogies and social activism in the near future. As an activist of social justice and intersectionality, Matthew seeks to dismantle, or at least disrupt, all unjust hierarchies especially in everyday life.

Nicole Predki

Dancer, Scientist, and Interdisciplinary Artist
Nicole is a dancer, scientist, interdisciplinary artist and, generally, a maker of things- many different things. She has performed aerial and ground-based dance around the country and has been known to accidentally break more than a few test tubes while (accidentally) dancing in science laboratories. She has an MFA in dance from the University of Colorado Boulder with a focus in Somatics and Multidisciplinary Performance and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Environmental Science from Columbia University in NYC. Her current focus in dance and science revolves around the diverse application of the creative process across disciplines.

Travis Heath

Associate Professor of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver
Travis Heath is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He has practiced in Los Angeles, California, is currently a licensed psychologist working in private practice in Denver, Colorado, and is co-founder of Rocky Mountain Narrative Therapy Center (RMNTC). The work he has been focused on includes shifting from a multicultural approach to counseling to one of cultural democracy that invites people to heal in mediums that are culturally near. Writing he has contributed to has focused on the use of rap music in narrative therapy, working with persons entangled in the criminal justice system in ways that maintain their dignity, narrative practice stories as pedagogy, and a co-created questioning practice called reunion questions. His practice has been apprenticed by narrative therapy co-creator David Epston.

Tyler Kingsbury

Personal Trainer
Tyler Kingsbury is a Personal Trainer in Denver, Colorado with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from MSU Denver. Having spent a great deal of her life navigating through and surviving her own berating, negative self-talk and anxiety, she strives to share what she’s learned with others struggling with similar issues. Being a Personal Trainer allows her the opportunity to meet people of all ages and sizes, motivated by their insecurities. In April 2019, she created the Manifesting Relevant Goals tool which is used for making goals, independent of fear and the pressure of perfection. It gives you the starting point for forging a new path, of self-love and acceptance, revealing a more fulfilling and relevant life. She asks the questions: What if we were able to remove our need for perfection in ourselves? What we would care about? How would our lives change and who would we be?

William Anderson

A Colorado native that attended Metropolitan State University for his Bachelor’s degree, the University of Phoenix for his Master’s degree in education, and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Denver studying education. He works at The Manual High School in Denver Colorado as a social studies teacher, teacher-leader, and is an adjunct professor for Colorado College in their Education department. He was a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Council from 2014-2016, and is currently a member of the National Geographic Teacher Advisory Council. He is a dream chaser, reader, runner, lover of history, music, and junk food. A quote that sums up his teaching philosophy is, “Of all of our studies, History is best qualified for our research” Malcolm X.

Organizing team


Commerce City, CO, United States
  • christy belz
    Team member