x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Community Transformed

This event occurred on
September 24, 2020
Glendale, Arizona
United States

“Communities” are often presented as divisive groupings that pit one set of interests against another. In a time when individuals self-report increasing loneliness and anxiety, community can provide companionship and support.

This event celebrates transformational power and achievement. Speakers are encouraged to explore their own discoveries, and value of shared experiences.

Speakers include researchers, students, and performers. The audience is challenged to examine their own beliefs, recognize the transformative nature of connections, and proactively seek out additional methods of engagement.

YouTube Live Stream
4701 W. Thunderbird Road
Glendale, Arizona, 85306
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­A­S­U­West events


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

Allan Colbern

Expert in Citizenship
Dr. Allan Colbern is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. His work explores the vital role social movements and political parties play in mobilizing federal and state institutions to provide rights to Black and immigrant communities, and it reconceptualizes citizenship as grounded in rights at the federal and state levels. His book, Citizenship Reimagined: A New Framework for State Rights in the United States, is forthcoming this year with Cambridge University Press. Recipient of the Presidential Award from the Russell Sage Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York, Dr. Colbern is working on completing his second book, Today’s Runaway Slaves: Unauthorized Immigrants in a Federalist Framework, where he compares antebellum Northern laws and contemporary sanctuary policies protecting Central American asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants from federal immigration law.

Beulah Supriya

Beulah Supriya is an international student from Hyderabad, India. She is in her second year of the master's program in Communication at Arizona State University. Beulah enjoys music and expressing herself through song and poetry. Before she learned the meaning of the word catharsis, poetry helped her process emotions and situations she was going through. She hopes to one day publish a collection of her poems. Beyond writing, she enjoys learning new languages and new cultures. She loves baking, giving back to her community, rereading Lord of the Rings, and spending time with her four dogs when she is back home in India.

Christina Peugh

Scholar, Researcher, Ally & Kindness Enthusiast
Christina Peugh is a student at Arizona State University pursuing a degree in Communication. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to continue her academic path at ASU with her work within the field of gender identity and sexuality. Christina is passionate about the LGBTQIA+ community and, in studying this topic, she wants to ensure that our world is more inclusive for future generations. Besides her research, Christina also mentors public speaking students in the communication lab on ASU’s West campus. When not pouring through dozens of textbooks and research articles or giving feedback on speeches, Christina can usually be found wandering the streets of Disneyland or spending time with her equally magical family.

Deborah Hall

Expert in Psychology & Identity
Dr. Deborah Hall is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. Her research explores aspects of social identity, interactions, and relationships and is motivated by the goal of better understanding how people with diverse worldviews, values, backgrounds, and identities relate to one another. She is currently examining how research at the intersection of psychology and computer science can help identify and reduce instances of cyberbullying on social media. Dr. Hall’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and nominated for a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Innovation. In addition to teaching courses in psychology and statistics, Dr. Hall directs the Statistics and Methods (SAM) Lab on Arizona State University’s West Campus.

Joel Nishimura

Expert in Dynamic Systems & Identity
Dr. Joel Nishimura is an Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Arizona State University. As an applied mathematician, Dr. Nishimura investigates how simple ingredients can combine to create systems with complex mathematical structures. Meanwhile, as a person of mixed race, he has always been interested in exploring the ambiguity of identity. Dr. Nishimura grew up in the Pacific Northwest and earned his Ph.D. in upstate New York at Cornell University. He now lives in Arizona with his wife, two daughters, and dog.

Jordan Brown

Student & Creative Writer
Jordan Brown is an undergraduate student at Arizona State University's West campus, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communication. He currently acts as the vice president of Advocating Sun Devils in Tempe. In the future, his goal is to find a career in public relations. However, most of all, he hopes to find a way to positively change the lives of those around him through a deep understanding of language and how it motivates us. Jordan also aims to reach people and impact their lives through his creative writing, a talent that he has been honing for many years and continues to practice.

Justin Hamilton

Pastor & Mentor
Justin Hamilton began his mentoring journey in 2012 as a high school basketball coach in Northern California. He then became a youth pastor at his local church and served his community in both roles for four years. In 2016, Hamilton and his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where he continued to pastor and coach. For three years, Hamilton led a young adults group in Scottsdale with a focus on building healthy relationships, spiritual growth, and leadership. Through hosting conferences, weekly gatherings, and monthly services, thousands of young adults were reached. During this time, Hamilton also served as a chaplain for the Phoenix Suns. In 2019 Hamilton moved to Gilbert, AZ to join the staff at Generation Church. He teaches a practicum on Youth Ministry for Generation Leadership College and works with hundreds of middle and high school students each week.

Katarina Kunert

Scholar & Advice Connoisseur
Katarina Kunert graduated from Arizona State University in May 2020 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Communication. She is continuing her education at ASU in the master’s program for Communication Studies. She has a huge passion for helping people and giving advice. As much as she loved talking about emotions and being the crying shoulder for people to lean on, Katarina hated communicating herself. She was against opening up to anyone about anything, but through college she learned the importance of opening up to people and showing her true self. She learned that "you are not alone" has less to do with people being there for you, and more to do with others sharing the same traumatic experiences as you. Arizona State University has given Katarina the opportunity to find who she truly is and realize her potential. It gave her the courage to create a new self, or as some people say, realize the person she already was.

Kim Toms

Expert in Grief & Support Systems
Kim Toms is an instructor at Arizona State University, where she teaches a class on personal resilience. In one newly created assignment, she asked students to write about their failures at empathy. Reading their responses, Kim was smitten by her own hit-or-miss interactions with grieving people. Continuing education credits presented themselves when her husband died suddenly. As brave friends, family and colleagues rushed in to help, others drifted away. A few, notably, were fired. In that crash course on bereavement, she learned firsthand how to support those grieving, heartbroken, and otherwise sucker-punched by life. As a result, she has become a much better member of all her communities. Currently, she lives in Phoenix with two fluffy dogs in a newly quiet and tidy house.

Kimberly Vehon

CEO & Foster Care Advocate
Kimberly Vehon is the founder and CEO of Foster Arizona and Foster Arizona Housing Project, non-profit public charities focused on educating, encouraging, and empowering Arizonans to positively impact the lives of kids in foster care and those transitioning out of foster care. From Foster Arizona’s founding, her mission has been to help positively impact lives through the power of connections. In 2018, she was honored with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption’s Angels in Adoption Award and the local Woman of the Year Award for the positive impact she has made in the lives of kids in foster care. She uses her creative storytelling abilities and innovative leadership to help change the face of foster care. Having experienced the personal joy that comes from being a foster/adoptive mother, she is passionate about finding children loving families. She is a proud mom of seven children and a grateful wife to an amazing husband that encourages her to dream big and change the world.

Makenna Flynn

Scholar & Human Rights Activist
Makenna Flynn is currently an undergraduate student preparing to complete her bachelor’s of Global Management this fall at Arizona State University's West Campus. After graduation, she will continue at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird location in the master’s of Global Management program, focused on global affairs and legal studies. Makenna is also the founder of Reclaiming Our Voices: Stories for Social Justice, a podcast focused on human rights and social issues in Arizona. Her passion for #advocacy began in high school when she volunteered at a refugee organization in Arizona and put on a job fair for refugees in Phoenix. When not studying or working on her podcast, Makenna spends her time writing and traveling. She has studied abroad in the Dominican Republic to learn about Peace Corps projects and in Argentina to better understand human rights issues and to practice her Spanish.

Melody Yoon

Student & Social Media Butterfly
An extrovert of extroverts, Melody Yoon carries her charismatic nature through life on the internet as well as the real world. She is currently an undergraduate student at Arizona State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English with a certification in secondary education, and is excited to share her love of literature with the future generation of Americans. When she isn’t reading and writing for school, you can find her reading and writing about how disempowered people are shaping the landscape of online discourse. As a queer Korean-American, Melody is fascinated by the connections marginalized groups make in online spaces, in lieu of potentially antagonistic offline environments, and discussing universal themes in all forms of writing, including video games.

Patrick Bixby

Expert in Travel & Mobility
Dr. Patrick Bixby is an Associate Professor of English at Arizona State University and Resident Director of the University Studies Abroad Consortium Summer Program at the NUI, Galway. While Dr. Bixby's research falls primarily under the heading of Irish studies, it also addresses literary modernism, continental philosophy, and issues of travel, mobility, and the body. He is currently writing a book titled "License to Travel: A Cultural History of the Passport," which investigates the unyielding paradox of the document. By examining the travel documents of artists, intellectuals, everyday travelers, and all-but-anonymous migrants, the book tells the story of how these seemingly humble objects implicate individuals, their emotions, and imaginings, in some of the most sweeping transformations of modern history.

Paula Veach

Expert in Power Constructs
Dr. Paula Veach is a Lecturer in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and holds 20 years of service as a Police Commander with a local municipal Police Department. Her research interests include gender and identity formation within the constructs of self, work, and community. She has interrogated the manner in which power flows and retracts among people and has spoken extensively about these topics in the academic, business, military, and law enforcement sectors. Veach’s reputation as a teacher is shaped by her ability to connect people to knowledge through shared stories and experience. She believes that each of us is writing the only story of our one precious and wild life. Even as we live it, we should try to write it well.

Organizing team


Phoenix, AZ, United States


Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • Tyler Martinez
    Team member