Ashland University
x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Sparking Connections

This event occurred on
February 13, 2024
Ashland, Ohio
United States

"Sparking Connections" is not just a theme; it's a call to action.

In an era where the world is more interconnected than ever before, the power of ideas to forge meaningful relationships and drive positive change is unparalleled. At TEDxAshland University, we aim to create an electrifying atmosphere where ideas collide, minds synchronize, and new networks of thought emerge.

Great ideas should be shared with the world. Whether you're a student, a professional, an artist, or a community member, TEDxAshland University offers a unique platform for you to engage in this riveting exploration of connectivity.

Join us on February 13, 2024, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for TEDxAshland University!

Ashland University's Hawkins-Conrad Student Center Auditorium
401 College Avenue Ashland, OH 44805
Ashland, Ohio, 44805
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Cicely Wilson

Adjunct Professor, Correctional Education
Dr. Cicely T. Wilson, an adjunct professor in Ashland University’s Correctional Education program, brings over two decades of experience teaching Communication to diverse student populations. Her research focuses on social justice and the representation of students and professors of color in the communication discipline. She has co-authored award-winning articles such as "Virtual Invisibility: Race and Communication Education" and "Still Passed Over: Race and the Forgotten Professors and Students of Color." Additionally, she contributed to "Less Talk, More Action: Moving Communication Education Toward Racial Justice," published in Communication Education in 2022.

Deleasa Randall-Griffiths

Professor of Communication Studies
Deleasa Randall-Griffiths, professor and chair of Communication Studies at Ashland University, holds a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, specializing in interpersonal communication and performance studies. She received Ashland University’s 2020 Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2012 Ohio Communication Association Innovative Teacher Award. Her research explores family narratives and historical performance, and she co-chairs Ashland Chautauqua, embodying historical figures like Frances Perkins and Carrie Chapman Catt. She also co-edited "Narrative and Grief: Autoethnographies of Loss."

Jennifer Wininger

Instructor International Students/English Studies
Jenni Wininger taught English as a second language in Beijing, China, for ten years before returning to the United States where she worked under Turkish immigrants at a charter school for one year. Since then, she’s been teaching and taking care of international students from all over the globe at Ashland University. Her experiences have taught her that the most beautiful things in life are people and that loving people creates a beautiful life.

Johari Mitchell

Educator, Writer, & Creator
Johari "J.P." Mitchell is not just an educator, author, creator, and speaker; she is a visionary whose superpower lies in connecting vision to opportunity through the transformative power of words. J.P. nurtures a network of empowered communicators who possess the linguistic confidence, skill, and strategy needed to enact positive change in the world. Through her company, J.P. Mitchell Creative, she specializes in crafting interactive experiences, providing training, publishing books, and creating impactful media. J.P.'s drive to elevate the stories of marginalized voices is reflected in her commitment to igniting fires that illuminate the world.

Katelyn Meeks

Journalism & Public Relations
Katelyn is a junior at Ashland University and an active member of the campus community. She is pursuing a degree in digital media journalism and public relations, with a minor in political science. Katelyn's academic pursuits are matched by her involvement in campus organizations. She currently serves as the managing editor of The Collegian, AU’s student-run newspaper, is president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Vice President of College Republicans, is an Ashbrook Scholar, and can be seen on-air on AUTV, Ashland University’s TV station. Katelyn is interested in media, public relations, politics, and personal growth. She views life's struggles as opportunities for resilience and growth and is looking forward to sharing her insights on embracing adversity for personal empowerment with all of you.

Maksym Polianskyi

Ukrainian Freedom Scholar
Maksym Polianskyi, an international student from Ukraine, Ashbrook Scholar, and Ukrainian Freedom Scholar, is a sophomore at Ashland University. Max majors in International Political Studies and Communications with a minor in Cybersecurity. In June 2022, prior to coming to the United States, Max officially became an alumnus of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy, a values-based formative platform of personal and social development for young people. On campus, he is involved in several clubs, including the Ashland University Student Senate, Campus Activities Board, Public Relations Student Society of America, and more.

Michael Gershe

Alcohol Awareness/Impaired Driving Prevention
Michael Gershe is the founder of The Magic of Life Foundation whose mission is to help prevent impaired driving in communities. His memoir shares his story with humor, heart, and a message of resilience. Michael is a comedian, inspirational speaker, author, photographer, and a frequent guest on podcasts talking about overcoming grief and depression from the male’s perspective. He attended Ashland University on a swimming scholarship and earned a master’s degree from The University of Akron.

Reed Byers

Mental Health & Youth Advocate
Reed Byers uses his lived experience with mental illness and addiction to empower others to find their unique road to recovery while promoting health and relationship-building throughout the community. As an individual who needed help and support, he knows firsthand the value of having someone available to support, cheer, and assist in the process of change. Through his work, he is dedicated to sharing that there is hope for those who struggle with mental health and addiction. This effort is a community-wide effort, and Byers works throughout the community to address the needs. Byers is a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Certified Race Director, a community organizer, and a mental health and youth advocate.

Organizing team




Ashland, OH, United States