x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
December 7, 2019
Santa Cruz, California
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).

Rio Theatre
1205 Soquel Ave
Santa Cruz, California, 95062
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Santa­Cruz events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Abigail Makepeace

Abigail Makepeace is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, the founder of Makepeace Therapy, a writer, and a thought leader in trauma’s impact on relationships. She has a private practice in Los Angeles, where she works with couples and individuals to help them discover the root causes of unwanted patterns and destructive behaviors. Through these revelations, she empowers her clients towards the path of forgiveness and healing and helps them break these habits so that they can live more fulfilled, healthy, and joyful lives. Treating past trauma, which presents as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a large portion of her practice. Abigail is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and incorporates this somatic treatment to help clients suffering from PTSD. She believes healing is possible for everyone and that one changed life contributes to changing the world.

Barry Sinervo

Barry Sinervo, Full Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz, is an evolutionary biologist who conducts research on Behavioral Ecology, Game Theory and the Biotic Impacts of Climate Change. He received his HBSc from Dalhousie University with a double major in Mathematics and Biology, PhD from the Zoology Department, University of Washington, and was a Miller Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Early in his career he discovered the first biological example of the rock-paper-scissors game, played out in nature by the side- blotched lizard. He is co-author with Dan Friedman of a book (Feb., 2016) entitled: “Evolutionary Games in Natural, Social and Virtual Worlds”. He is currently researching contemporary extinctions of reptiles and amphibians and changes in plant communities driven by climate change, at sites distributed on five continents, leading a multinational research team of scientists developing physiological models of the biotic impacts of climate change on diverse biological systems, and measuring the biotic impacts of climate from equatorial sites to polar regions. He gives workshops on climate change science at institutions around the world. He is also Director of the UC-wide Institute for the Study of the Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts, a research consortium funded by a UC Presidential Research Catalyst Award, studying biotic impacts of climate change across the UC Natural Reserve System of California.

Carolina Rubio-MacWright

Carolina Rubio-MacWright is an artist, immigration lawyer and activist fighting for immigrant and humanitarian rights. Her experience as an immigrant and immigration attorney opened her eyes to systems of oppression and how these intersect, taking peoples freedom away. She believes art is the most powerful way of explaining these inequities. She has thus mixed her law and art into the perfect platform called Touching Land; a program that uses hands on experiential arts as a tool for immigrant empowerment and community building. At Touching Land, immigrants learn about their rights and self-worth as they make a ceramic piece. The program also has a building bridges track, where cross cultural exchange happens as immigrants and American citizens come together through the power of art. Whether working on policy campaigns for non- profits, performing public art pieces, speaking at events or organizing lawyers to work inside detention centers, Carolina is guided by a simple principle: anything is possible when inspiring ideas and passionate people come together.

David Deamer

David Deamer is a Research Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1989, Deamer proposed the idea that it may be possible to sequence a DNA molecule by passing it through a nanoscopic pore embedded in a membrane. Mark Akeson and Deamer investigated the technique over the next 15 years, and in 2014 commercial devices were marketed that utilize nanopore sequencing concepts and patents developed by the Akeson and Deamer research groups. In a second research area, Deamer investigates how nucleic acids and primitive cells could have emerged on Earth 4 billion years ago, which is the topic of his TEDx talk. Deamer's research is described in Assembling Life (2019), published by Oxford University Press, and was featured in a cover article in the August 2017 Scientific American.

David Lee

David T. Lee directs research that integrates design, modeling and algorithms to support a flourishing future of education, work, community engagement, and governance. He is an Assistant Professor of Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz, where he directs the Tech4Good Lab. Before that, he received his PhD from Stanford University, where he was a part of the Social Algorithms Lab. His work has received awards at AAAI HCOMP and ACM CHI, been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and deployed with the Finland Ministry of the Environment. He is a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, an Accel Innovation Scholar fellowship, two Magic Grants from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, and the Baskin School of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award. He loves spending time with his wife, Ivy, and his three young kids Liana, Isobel, and Daniel.

Finian Makepeace

Finian Makepeace is the co-founder of Kiss the Ground and a renowned presenter, media creator, and thought leader in the field of regenerative agriculture and soil health. His dedication to Kiss the Ground’s mission of “inspiring participation in global regeneration, starting with soil”, has motivated him to develop training programs, workshops, and talks designed to empower people around the world to become confident advocates for this growing movement. As part of the Kiss the Ground media team, Finian has worked with leading experts, farmers, and businesses to bring the ideas of regenerative agriculture and soil health as hopeful solutions to the world’s problems in clear, comprehensible and thought-provoking formats to audiences everywhere. Simply, he has helped Kiss the Ground succeed in sharing this message across the globe. His background as a leader of a band and lifelong activist has given him the unique opportunity to blend his artistic vision with his ability to organize and advocate for this growing, global, and diverse community. His “calling” is that people experience being a part of making history” and he believes that with enough new advocates promoting the ancient wisdom and new science of regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration we can heal our planet.

Hamza Al Hadairi

This TEDxSantaCruz talk is part of 22 surrounding our theme of “the Art of Hope.” Defined as the anticipation of something desired happening, hope is ferocious, persistent, necessary; hope is a powerful force for invention, change, and social justice. To hope is to be human. Our fifth TEDxSantaCruz event was held on December 7, 2019, at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA.

Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franze is a novelist, essayist, journalist, translator, and screenwriter. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters and the author of five novels, including The Corrections, Freedom, and Purity, and five volumes of nonfiction, most recently The End of the End of the Earth. Among his honors are the National Book Award for fiction, and the EuroNatur Award, for his work in conservation. He lives full-time in Santa Cruz.

Karelle Siellez

Karelle Siellez graduated from her PhD in Astrophysics in France and moved to Atlanta for Postdoctoral research in Astrophysics at Georgia Tech in 2015. She is now working as an Astrophysicist at the University of Santa Cruz, California. She participated on the LIGO discovery of gravitational waves which was rewarded by a Nobel Prize and she received the breakthrough prize in 2017. She is also an “artivist” (artist-activist) connecting art and science together with a call for action. She completed several murals around the theme of ocean life in Atlanta and in Europe, has conducted projects intertwining art and science outreach, focusing on underserved populations with scarce access to museums and art, and organized countless outreach events for children to introduce astrophysics through craft activities. She is the co-founder of the Whale Shark Project, an environmental non-profit created in 2017 that won the Georgia Tech Earth Day award in 2019.

Kyle Robertson

Kyle Robertson holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from UC Santa Cruz and a J.D. from UC Berkeley, and in 2015 co-founded the Center for Public Philosophy at UC Santa Cruz. He has a passion for all things public philosophy, including high school ethics bowl programs, teaching inside San Quentin State Prison, and philosophy for children. He regularly speaks on public philosophy topics and publishes on the challenges of doing public philosophy. In addition to this work, he is a Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at UC Santa Cruz.

Lara Love Hardin

Lara Love Hardin is the COO, Editorial Director, and Senior Collaborative Writer for Idea Architects. She holds an MFA in creative writing from UC Irvine and is a New York Times bestselling writer. Her many lives include backpacking nomad, radio talk show host, pet cemetery owner, and criminal justice advocate. She has also taught creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine and is a published fiction writer. She lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband, dog, cat, goldfish, and six (yes, six) children.

Mariah Roberts

Mariah Roberts is Executive Director of Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks. She was one of the key partners of the collaboration to imagine, fund and build Chanticleer County Park, a 4.5 acre park, featuring LEO’s Haven Inclusive Playground designed beyond ADA requirements to be an outdoor classroom for inclusive play. The park is slated to open in January 2020. Mariah holds a bachelor's degree from Pomona College in Women's Studies/Religious Studies and a master's degree from San Francisco State University in Special Education. Her passion for community engagement and Universal Design in public spaces is informed by having spent twelve years as an educational specialist serving families across the South Bay and Central Coast. In medical clinics, schools or homes, she worked with professionals and families to co-design activities, materials and spaces to promote active learning and healthy development through play.

Phil Hammanck

Phillip L. Hammack, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of Psychology and Director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Hammack is an expert on gender and sexual identity diversity and diversity in intimate relationships. For over a decade, Hammack has been a leader in psychology’s paradigm shift in how we think about and study identity. He has published dozens of scientific papers in scholarly journals and is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Social Psychology and Social Justice. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the William T. Grant Foundation, and he has been a guest on the popular NPR Freakanomics podcast. Hammack has received several early career awards and has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Ryan Coonerty

Ryan Coonerty is Chair of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the two-time former Mayor of Santa Cruz. He is also an entrepreneur, author, and educator. He is currently the host of "An Honorable Profession" podcast and a lecturer on law and government at UC Santa Cruz. Previously, he cofounded NextSpace Coworking, co-authored of The Rise of the Naked Economy – How to Benefit from the Changing Workplace and wrote Etched in Stone – Enduring Words from our National Monuments. Ryan was selected by the Aspen Institute to be a Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership as one of "the nation’s most promising young elected officials.” Ryan graduated from Santa Cruz’s public schools and the University of Oregon. He received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Sandy Skees

Sandy believes in the power of business as a platform for disruption and mobilization to help customers, investors, partners, communities, governments, and employees create a regenerative and equitable world. She’s worked more than 30 years driving business value by aligning purpose, messaging and communications with business strategy. Over the years, her work with corporations, nonprofits, and NGOs has been focused on everyday products, recycling and waste, renewable energy, supply chain, social justice and LGBTQ and gender issues. She sits on numerous boards including Sustainable Brands, Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, and Mini Mermaid Running Club. In Santa Cruz, she founded 100 Women Who Care, Breaking the Glass Ballot, and was appointed to a four-year team on the County's Human Services Commission.

Sue Carter

Sue Carter is the Provost of Rachel Carson College, the Director for the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development at UCSC, and a Professor of Physics. She has worked at companies like Pfiezer, General Motors, IBM and AT&T and has been a principle or founder at 4 start-ups: Add-vision (fully printable Organic Light Emitting Displays), Solexant (tools to deliver next generation solar cells), IRIS Science Academy (hands-on science education for students who learn differently), and Soliculture (sustainable electricity generation with improved crop yields). In her multiple roles, Carter focuses on deploying basic research and supporting students' grass-roots efforts to deploy innovations to promote global sustainability.

Sylvanna M. Falcón

Sylvanna M. Falcón is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies, Director of the Research Center for the Americas, and founder of the Human Rights Investigations Lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activists inside the United Nations, [University of Washington Press, 2016; winner of the National Women’s Studies Association’s Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Award] and the co-editor of Precarity and Belonging: Labor, Migration, and Noncitizenship [under contract with Rutgers University Press] and New Directions in Feminism and Human Rights [Routledge, 2011]. She is also the producer and host of a weekly public affairs radio program called Voces Críticas/ Critical Voices that airs on KZSC and KCSB.

Tim Goncharoff

Tim Goncharoff is a passionate, creative and dedicated advocate for the environment. As the Zero Waste Programs Manager for Santa Cruz County, he is a well-known innovator and problem-solver, and the creator of many cutting edge environmental protection programs. Tim has won numerous awards for his accomplishments and speaks all over the world about his inspiring work.

Organizing team




Santa Cruz, CA, United States