x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Thinking Future. Thinking Forward.

This event occurred on
September 15, 2020
Charlotte, North Carolina
United States

This year TEDxUNCCharlotte is excited to feature 14 speakers spreading ideas on a variety of topics connected to Thinking Future. Thinking Forward. Hear ideas that will challenge your relationship with Siri, consider if "pulling yourself up by your bootstrap" is a reality, the cost of college housing and more. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. and feature two speaker blocks with a reception following at 5 p.m.

McKnight Hall
9205 University City Rd.
Room 320
Charlotte, North Carolina, 28262
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Ashley Rivenbark

Senior Associate of Leading for Equity & Inclusion
Ashley Rivenbark (艾莉) is a Senior Associate of Leading for Equity & Inclusion at Catalyst, a global non-profit that conducts research for and collaborates with organizations to shape and execute inclusion learning and development goals. Ashley completed her undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies (Chinese) and Romance Languages (Spanish). She went on to receive a Master of Science in Management from Wake Forest University in May 2016. Ashley holds a Diversity & Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. Outside of work, Ashley cohosts a podcast through the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Alumni Society. She is also dedicated to equity and inclusion work in her community through her involvement with Charlotte’s Community Building Initiative’s Equity Impact Circles and her selection to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance’s Emerging Business Leaders program.

Brittany Danielle Hunt

Ph.D. Student
Brittany is a Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Instruction at UNC Charlotte. She has previously earned a Master’s of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014 and a B.A. in Psychology from Duke (her allegiances mainly lie with Duke University though). Brittany is a part-time lecturer in the School of Social Work, focusing on decolonizing and indigenizing education to bring Native American issues forward that have traditionally been erased in curriculum. Brittany is a huge fan of Harry Potter and a proud member of Slytherin House. Brittany is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest tribe in the state of North Carolina with more than 70,000 members.

Colby Ford

AI Consultant and Researcher
Colby is a three-time alumnus of UNC Charlotte and a first-generation college student that began his university education at the age of 14. Colby earned an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, a master’s in Data Science, and a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Colby is an AI Consultant and genomics researcher for Bioinformatics and Genmomics, as well as teaches the cloud computing for data analysis graduate course for the Data Science Initiative at UNC Charlotte. Colby’s mom thinks his works on robots like in “Ex Machina” and his dad thinks that he cures people. “The Book of Mormon” is Colby’s favorite musical, which he once won tickets for at Belk Theatre.

Connor Wood

Connor is a UNC Charlotte student studying geography and a dedicated student leader interested in systematic structures that produce the urban and institutional landscapes that we see today. Connor has been a Resident Advisor, Program Coordinator for the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Leadership Fellows Mentor, and served on the Homecoming Committee for two years. Connor completed a summer research fellows studying the LYNX Blue Line Light Rail Extension and Student Housing at UNC Charlotte. Connor has an interest in obtaining a Masters of Public Policy and even possibly a Ph.D. in geopolitical policy. Connor is a Shonda Rhimes television show addict and can quote you the entirety of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Jim Carrey edition.

David Goldfield

Professor of History, UNC Charlotte
David is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at UNC-Charlotte and wrote the book, “The Gifted Generation: When Government Was Good.” In fact, David has written or edited 17 books on American history and politics. David serves as an Academic Specialist for the U.S. State Department doing programs at posts around the world focused on the United States’ electoral process and political institutions. David loves playing and watching baseball, a fondness that began after David broke his hand playing baseball. Prior to that experience, David planned to become a concert cellist and was studying at the Julliard School of Music. Two of his favorite artists are Gustav Mahler and Buddy Holly.

Diana Rowan

Professor for the School of Social Work, UNC Charlotte
Diana is a Professor in the School of Social Work at UNC Charlotte, where she has taught for 13 years. In addition, Diana is also the Director of the Academy for Veteran and Military Health and is an experienced researcher on health promotion and various health disparities. For two years she has been involved in securing funding to hold one-day conferences on campus for local service providers in our community who work with veterans, share research, best practices, and explore unmet needs of veterans in our community. She is an advocate for and mentor to student veterans on campus. Diana is a veteran and has been involved in work/research in 7 different countries of Southeastern Africa. Furthermore, Diana has also developed and led a spring break learning service trip to rural villages in Malawi for the past 8 years.

Fatma Mili

Dean of College of Computing and Informatics, UNC Charlotte
Fatma has served as the Dean for UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics since August 2017. Fatma holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris, France. Her research focus is in the areas of decision-making, formal methods in computing, and complex and self-organizing systems. Fatma firmly believes STEM education should be embedded in ethics and that inclusivity and equity are paramount for curricular design and pedagogy. Dr. Mili is an avid reader, writer, and runner. Fatma loves learning new languages and knows four: Arabic, French, English, and Spanish, and is currently learning German and Italian.

Maggie Brown

Maggie is a UNC Charlotte student studying psychology. Growing up, Maggie was in a weird middle between the “smart” group of kids and the “not-so-smart” group, giving her a unique perspective. Maggie was constantly told that she was smart, but proven otherwise by being placed in elevated classes but being a lower performing student in that group. This led to Maggie having a passion for breaking stigmas set up by school systems and society. Maggie is a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen as well as a North Carolina certified beekeeper. Maggie has been playing the guitar for 9 years.

Manuel Pérez-Quiñones

Software & Information Systems Professor, UNC Charlotte
Manuel is a Professor of Software and Information Systems at UNC Charlotte. Manuel’s research interests include educational, cultural, and diversity issues in computing, personal information management, and human-computer interaction. Manuel holds a Ph.D. of Science from George Washington University and a B.A. and M.S. from Ball State University. Manuel has been a National Science Foundation CAREER Awardee, published over 100 refereed articles and co-authored several book chapters. Manuel is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico and is fascinated by genealogy, having tracked his family history back to Spain in the late 1800s. Manuel loves to listen to salsa music but regularly attends punk rock concerts (for his kids).

Margaret Kocherga

Ph.D. Student
Margaret is a Ph.D. candidate in nanoscale science and a professional ballerina. Margaret learned to dance and perform once she started walking, but she now researches organic electronics and transforming the area towards a more sustainable future. Margaret attended the National Ballet School in Ukraine before immigrating to the United States when she was 15 years old. Margaret initially planned to pursue dance before tearing her ACL, prompting her to search for new passions, where she fell in love with chemistry in college. In addition to being a professional ballerina and Ph.D. candidate, Margaret is the founder of the tech startup Light and Charge Solutions and owns two dogs, Funtic and Bella. Margaret can speak Russian, Ukranian, and English, a skill that has aided in her travels (she’s visited 17 countries).

Octavio Lopez

Octavio is a UNC Charlotte student studying Religious Studies. He is planning to become a professor and hopes to teach courses related to the psychology of religion. From an early age, Octavio has been fascinated by religion and the reasons people have for believing in whatever they happen to believe. While originally going to school with intentions of obtaining a psychology degree, he ended up finding his passion in Religious Studies. Octavio wants to know as much as he can about the whole phenomenon that is religion and wants to try and better understand people and himself. Octavio enjoys cooking and music and even has a podcast about music, called Bass & Drums, that he creates with a friend.

Organizing team


Charlotte, NC, United States