x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Connecting Threads

This event occurred on
February 27, 2024
Huntington, West Virginia
United States

Plot points tied together on a storyboard. Weaving strands of color into clothing. The subatomic strings that compose our universe. Untangling ourselves from endless lines of conversation on the Internet. All of these—and more—are what we at TEDxMarshallU reference by our theme “Connecting Threads,” a title inspired by Marshall University’s HLC Quality Initiative theme of “Building Bridges.”

Guided by our speakers, we hope to unravel the many questions surrounding connection. From the individual to the community, what really holds us together? How can we stay connected in a world plagued by division and borders? And why do we even care about all these threads surrounding us? Let’s find out together on February 27th, 2024, at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse.

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards Playhouse
5th Ave
Huntington, West Virginia, 25755
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Adam Booth

Storyteller + Musician
Adam Booth is the 2022 West Virginia Folk Artist of the Year, awarded at the Governor’s Arts Awards. He blends traditional mountain folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia to create original, forward-thinking story artistry. As a nationally touring artist, his professional telling appearances include premiere storytelling events across the United States, including the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the International Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Festival, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, the National Storytelling Conference, the National Academy of Medicine, and as a Spoken Word Resident at the Banff Centre. He is a member of the Recording Academy and his recordings have received multiple national honors, including a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Adam serves as the inaugural Storyteller-In-Residence at Shepherd University and is the founding artistic director of Speak Story Series.

Candace Layne

Licensed Professional Counselor
Candace Layne, EdD, ALPS, LPC is a mother, Licensed Professional Counselor, Approved Licensed Professional Supervisor, and owner of Imagine Counseling Services. Dr. Layne is a mental health advocate, enjoys serving the community, and is a self-admitted overachiever that is passionate about life, learning, and people. She has demonstrated her love of teaching and training in mental health over her 17-year career in mental health and higher education, including teaching as a college professor and facilitating breakout sessions at two national conferences. She is currently the Director of the Marshall University Counseling Center and is certified in Mindfulness, is a Certified Grief-Informed Professional, is trained in Accelerated Resolution Therapy, and has a certificate in violence, loss, and trauma. She graduated from Marshall University with BA and MA degrees. She loves hard, loves family, and friends, knows no stranger, loves sports, and loves to travel and try new adventures.

Clare Tuffy

Clare Tuffy worked for the Office of Public Works for over 40 years managing visitor services at National Monuments sites in the Boyne Valley in Ireland. She was manager of Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, which is the starting point for all visits to the World Heritage Properties of Newgrange and Knowth. She also managed visitor services at the Hill of Tara, Old Mellifont Abbey, Trim Castle and Loughcrew. Altogether, these sites receive approximately 500,000 visitors annually. She retired in 2022. Clare has extensive experience in lecturing, teaching, and broadcasting and has written visitor guides to archaeological sites. She has worked with schools to develop educational programmes. Clare continues to work with communities to promote the use and appreciation of the monuments in their local area.

Edward Kinghorn

Clinical Neuropsychologist + Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Edward W. Kinghorn, PhD, received his doctorate in Experimental Physiological Psychology from BYU in 1986 and is a licensed Clinical Neuropsychologist in HI, UT, and ID. He is a Professor Emeritus and past Chair of the Department of Psychology at BYU-Hawaii. From 1996-1998, he was a Clinical Research Fellow in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Utah Health Science Center. He recently served as a volunteer Area Mental Health Advisor for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Central America. Throughout his career, he worked as a Disaster Mental Health Specialist with American Red Cross, which included various local assignments, and serving in New York City after the 9-11 attacks and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. His clinical and research interests include the Neuropsychology of stress, Functional Neuro-imaging (fMRI), and cortical language brain mapping in epilepsy. He and his wife Lee Anne have 8 children, 22 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

Evan Green

Journalism and Psychology Student
Evan Green is a Yeager Scholar majoring in journalism and psychology at Marshall University. He serves as The Parthenon’s (MU student newspaper) executive editor and is a member of the Society of Yeager Scholars and the Board of Scholars at Marshall University. Green has been a freelance reporter for several news publications over the last five years, including Scioto County Daily News, The Portsmouth Daily Times, and the Shawnee State Chronicle. He also served as the Field Director for Dr. Sydnee McElroy’s House of Delegates campaign and worked as a summer fellow for the West Virginia Working Families Party. Green is also a member of the Brad D. Smith Student Incubator, where he has launched the start-up company Break Free, a non-profit focused on providing free feminine hygiene products on Marshall’s campus.

Jessica Tall

Medical Student
Jessica "Jess" Tall is a fourth-year medical student a the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. She has always been interested in STEM, medicine, and the arts. Her diverse background as Black and Latina allowed her to navigate many cultural channels which sparked her interest in learning about other cultures and improving interpersonal relationships between various groups. She believes everyone, regardless of background, can share many commonalities. She studied Anthropology, Human Biology, and Spanish at Emory University. She is currently a tutor and mentor through Project Pre-Med and Fairfield U and is a member of the medical school's multicultural advisory committee (MAC) and Medical Spanish, and has worked with the MU Minority Health Institute to promote equity, justice, and education in the medical field. In 2023, she was recognized with a Women of Marshall Award and was named Fairfield U's mentor of the year. She plans to become a pediatric neurologist.

Luke Jeffrey

Accounting Student
Luke Jeffrey is a junior and Yeager Scholar majoring in accounting at Marshall University. As an Innovation Intern for Marshall’s iCenter, Social Media Manager for The Parthenon, and Founder and Chair of the Society of Yeager Scholars’ Board of Scholars, Luke actively commits to innovative contributions wherever possible. In the future, he hopes to take this same passion to law school and beyond, helping businesses shape the future and improve people’s lives. In his free time, Luke enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with animals.

Sierra Lutz

Biochemistry and Theatre Student
Sierra Lutz’s bucket list from when she was ten included: fighting a dragon and giving a TED Talk. Surprisingly, the first was accomplished last year as Agnes in She Kills Monsters. Originally from Utah, she is now a junior Yeager Scholar pursuing a biochemistry major and a minor in theatre. If those two things seem incongruent and disconnected, don’t worry, that’s what her talk is all about! Sierra has always been a part of the theatre and feels blessed to have performed in over 25 productions thus far. With science as another constant companion, she’s competed twice at the International Science and Engineering Fair and presented a poster at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual conference. She is currently researching the tardigrade microbiome and would like to be a medical researcher. If this were a play, she’d ask you to laugh loud and enjoy the show, but that doesn’t quite work. So, sit up, pay attention, and maybe still laugh loud at those jokes.

Sydnee McElroy

Physician + Podcaster + Author
Sydnee McElroy, MD, is a physician and assistant professor at the Marshall University School of Medicine. The main thrust of her medical work is currently volunteering medical services to people experiencing homelessness. Dr. McElroy is also a vocal health policy advocate who received the 2020 NAIIS Immunization Excellence Award for her work in vaccine awareness and education. In 2017, The Independent Investigations Group (IIG) honored Dr. McElroy for her work in advancing science and reason in the media. She's the co-host of Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine, the world's most popular medical podcast. She, along with her co-host and husband Justin McElroy, adapted their show into a New York Times bestseller "The Sawbones Book," which has just received a paperback edition.

Organizing team


Huntington, WV, United States


  • Ash Mills
    Team member
  • Ben Eng
    Team member
  • Callia Yang
  • Chris Ingersoll
    Team member
  • Crystal Stewart
    Team member
  • Gracie Queen
  • Jamison Lewis
  • Matt James
    Team member
  • Rafael Alfonso
  • Ryan Vance
    Post production
  • Sebastian Morris
    Post production