x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
October 10, 2010
8:00pm - 8:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
University Park
United States

TEDxPSU was held October 10, 2010 at the Schwab Auditorium on the Penn State University Park campus. This day-long event brought together innovative and thought-provoking individuals from all over the Penn State community and the world to listen and share fascinating ideas worth spreading. We selected speakers based on their expertise in a specific discipline and their ability to trigger conversation and inspire action. Using a blend of live talks and pre-recorded videos, TEDxPSU brought together the University community to kick off a dialogue about the challenges and opportunities facing our society.

University Park
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

David Celento

When choices are either/or, Celento is drawn to both/and. In the face of a new idea, people often ask "why?" while he wonders "why not?" He, like a number of architects and designers, is a bit of a misfit. Thus, it is little surprise that he and his wife, Rebecca's, firm, Celento Henn Architects and Designers, is somewhat unconventional — part architecture firm, part product and furniture design workshop, and part exhibit design enterprise. Their exploits during a decade of full-time practice and adjunct teaching at Carnegie Mellon University (their alma mater) led them to one simple and uncomfortable conclusion: They were ill-equipped to navigate what they perceived as the future of design — a future they felt sure would be defined by both digital production and sustainability concerns. 

They decided to rewind the clock and go back to school, not as teachers, but as students. They placed their practice in a state of suspended animation, packed their bags, cats, and motorcycles into a 1957 Airstream and headed to Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD). After finishing their graduate work, the GSD created a position so that Celento could remain another year at Harvard as the Assistant Director of the GSD's CAD/CAM Lab. His wife went on to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Celento joined Penn State in 2007, with Rebecca following a year later, both to teach in the architecture program. At Penn State, Celento has extended his research on technological nomadism, explored digital ceramic production, and introduced students to the wonders of digital fabrication tools. He has collaborated with a number of artists, engineers, and scientists, and in so doing has discovered a delightful number of other misfits. Many of them, interested in design thinking and blurring disciplinary boundaries, banded together with Celento to create the Center for Research in Design and Innovation. He has also lectured and published vigorously in obscure academic journals, while recently having one of his articles, "Innovate or Perish," published in a collection of provocative essays entitled "Fabricating Architecture" from Princeton Architectural Press, which can be found at

Chris Calkins

Chris Calkins is the director of Outreach Health Initiatives at Penn State. In this role, he works to expand health initiatives already under way in Penn State Outreach and identify opportunities to increase Outreach participation in teaching, research and outreach efforts related to health across the University. Calkins joined Outreach after three years as Clinical Liaison Officer for the Penn State Hershey Medical Center (PSHMC), where he led the development of collaborative programs between the medical center and other health care providers across the state.

 Immediately prior to taking the post at PSHMC, Calkins was Director of Special Projects in the College of Health and Human Development. There, he focused on student initiatives, diversity and strategic plan development and community engagement. Calkins sits at the intersection of understanding how these large scale factors influence health care delivery, education, policy and business. He works every day with partners across the University and the Commonwealth who are involved in an extraordinary number and variety of health-related efforts. Penn State is creating and applying new knowledge every day that impacts human health at every level, and Penn State Outreach plays an important role in raising awareness and convening stakeholders around critical health issues including domestic violence, autism, and access to health care in rural areas.

 Calkins received his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in health policy and administration from Penn State University and a master's degree in public administration from California State University, East Bay.

Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin is CEO of Deeplocal Inc. Prior to founding Deeplocal in 2006, Martin was a researcher and artist-in-residence at Carnegie Mellon University, where he led an interdisciplinary team in the development of a collaborative online mapping toolkit. As a founding member of both an art group and a touring punk/metal band, Martin has spoken, toured, and exhibited internationally since age 16. He has more than a decade of experience with mobile technology, starting in 1999 as Mobile Device Specialist for MetaDesign SF and continuing his work with clients including Palm Computing, Brodia, Panasonic, and Nike. Martin has taught art and design at several universities; he holds an MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, both in electronic media art. He has received recognition and numerous awards for his work in art, music, and technology, and he continues to write and speak about his passion for integrating the artists' process into the design and development of improved ways of experiencing people, information, and objects in this world.

Jason O

Jason Olcese (Jason O) is a performer who is best described as "a healthy mix of Jason Mraz and Keller Williams." On stage, Jason uses live looping to incorporate guitar, bass, vocals, harmonies, percussion, piano, harmonica, ukulele, and trumpet all in one inspiring show. Through the well-timed introduction of songs without looping, Jason's performances have a rhythm that captures attention, yet leaves the audience with a sense of having connected with the singer/songwriter. His original music is seamlessly funky and folksy with a pop twist and an honest lyrical style that speaks to the heart of human experience. With an on-stage personality that is at once inviting and charismatic, Jason will make his way into the hearts of listeners everywhere. Since 2002, Jason O has released six independent albums and written more than 150 songs. Growing up with parents who are music educators, Jason was raised on music and learned to play the variety of instruments he performs with today. During his developmental years as an artist, Jason attended Penn State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology with honors in music. It was during this time that he learned to externalize the music in his head and began sharing it with the world. Today, Jason resides in Pennsylvania, where he spends his time making music and touring to spread that music the old-fashioned way -- one person at a time.

Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier is an internationally-renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a "security guru," he is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier. His first bestseller, "Applied Cryptography," explained how the arcane science of secret codes actually works and was described by Wired as "the book the National Security Agency wanted never to be published." His book on computer and network security, "Secrets and Lies," was called by Fortune "[a] jewel box of little surprises you can actually use." "Beyond Fear" tackles the problems of security from the small to the large: personal safety, crime, corporate security, national security. His current book, "Schneier on Security," offers insight into everything from the risk of identity theft (vastly overrated) to the long-range security threat of unchecked presidential power and the surprisingly simple way to tamper-proof elections. Regularly quoted in the media — and subject of an Internet meme — he has testified on security before the U.S. Congress on several occasions and has written articles and op-eds for many major publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, Nature, and The Washington Post. Schneier also publishes a free monthly newsletter, Crypto-Gram, with more than 150,000 readers. In its 10 years of regular publication, Crypto-Gram has become one of the most widely read forums for free-wheeling discussions, pointed critiques, and serious debate about security.

Richard Doyle

Richard Doyle earned his Ph.D. in rhetoric at University of California, Berkeley. He was the Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow in History and Social Science of the Life Sciences at MIT in 1993. A professor of rhetoric at Penn State, Doyle holds appointments in English, Science Technology & Society and the College of Information Sciences and Technology. He was a visiting associate professor in the Department of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley in 2003. Doyle teaches courses in the history and rhetoric of emerging technosciences — sustainability, space colonization, biotechnology, nanotechnology, psychedelic science, information technologies, biometrics — and the cultural and literary contexts from which they sprout. Doyle has published two books: "On Beyond Living: Rhetorical Transformations of the Life Sciences" (Stanford, 1997) and "Wetwares: Experiments in PostVital Living" (Minnesota, 2003) — in a trilogy about emerging transhuman knowledges. These knowledges and practices, linked to molecular biology, artificial life, nanotechnology, psychedelic, and information technologies render the experiential distinctions between living systems and machines frequently dubious and often indiscernible. This excited and confused rhetorical membrane between humans and an informational universe nonetheless broadcasts a clear message: Humans, in co-evolution with the technical matrices transforming the planet, find themselves in an evolutionary ecology that is as urgent as it is experimental. Continuing his collaborative work on the "transhuman imperative," Doyle (aka mobius) has now completed the trilogy with a scholarly book about archaic and contemporary psychedelic media technologies and the evolution of mind: "The Ecodelic Hypothesis: Plants, Rhetoric and the Evolution of The Noösphere," currently in press with University of Washington. Other current projects include a book, "Admixtures: Dialogues After Genomics" with anthropologist Mark Shriver. The Admixtures Project has grown The Penn State Center for Altered Consciousness, currently investigating the genetics and phenomenology of legally-altered consciousness with the help of a flotation tank.

Ali Carr-Chellman

Ali Carr-Chellman is an instructional designer and award-winning author who has focused on change, innovations, diffusion, user-design and school change in her work over the past two decades. She has worked at Penn State in the College of Education for the past 16 years in the department of Learning and Performance Systems. She works primarily with doctoral level students focusing on research and producing the next generation of faculty with inspired research ideas and methods. Carr-Chellman also teaches online courses focused on helping practicing teachers learn how to improve their own instructional design practices and how to improve their classrooms. Carr-Chellman attended Ohio State University, where she studied elementary education. She then moved on to Syracuse, where she taught kindergarten and third grade. She discovered Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation, known as IDD&E, at Syracuse and earned her master's degree in that field while working full-time at a Sylvan Learning Center as a director. Carr-Chellman decided that traditional elementary classrooms weren't for her, in part because she was highly frustrated by the lack of innovation, agility, and ready change in traditional schools. She has an infectious enthusiasm that carried her well into her doctoral program at Indiana University. Her most recent research projects live those values out by asking prisoners and homeless people to think about how to reform schools, bringing new voices to the policy-making table.

She has recently taken the position of Head of the Learning and Performance Systems Department in the College of Education and is excited to work with the faculty and staff in her department through transparent leadership and shared governance.

Tony Pittman

As a business professional, Pittman has spent his 14-year career focused on leadership, consulting, and supply chain management. He currently holds the title of Director, Business Relationship Management, in Hewlett Packard's Global Supply Chain Services organization located in Plano, Texas. Before joining HP (formerly EDS) in 2006, he worked as a supply chain leader and consultant for several firms, including IBM and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 

In 2007, he and his father, Charlie Pittman, published their first book, "Playing for Paterno." The book chronicles their two-generation experience under the leadership of legendary coach Joe Paterno. As starters under Paterno, Tony and Charlie went a combined 45-0-1, posting the best known father / son record in the history of major college football. Combined, the two played on three of Paterno's five undefeated teams. Additionally, both were named First Team Academic All-Americans in their senior years, the only father and son in Penn State's proud history of academic excellence to earn that distinction. 

It was after turning down Harvard, Yale, and Princeton that Pittman decided to attend Penn State, following in his father's footsteps. He led the Nittany Lions in interceptions in 1993 and was a starting defensive back for the 1994 undefeated Rose Bowl champion team. He graduated with honors from Penn State in 1995. He received the Oswald award as Penn State's most outstanding scholar athlete and was recognized by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame as one of college football's most outstanding scholar athletes.

Jordan "DJ Earworm" Roseman

Most widely known for his annual 25-song mashup video "United State of Pop," DJ Earworm has been working as a San Francisco-based producer and performer since 2003. He first landed on the music scene after being hired by MTV as resident DJ during the 2005 MTV Music Video Awards in South Beach, Fla., performing at concerts, parties and VIP events throughout the weekend. Around this time his mashups were quickly becoming legendary and in early 2006, he was approached by Wiley Publishing to write about his craft. The result, "Audio Mashup Construction Kit," was the first book focused specifically on this new musical genre -- a groundbreaking guide for those interested in the art of producing their own mashups. His first breakout radio hit, "United State of Pop 2007," mashed up Billboard's 25 biggest pop hits of 2007 in an unprecedented feat of technical wizardry. It was followed up the next year by the wildly successful "United State of Pop 2008 (Viva la Pop)" and, in keeping with tradition, 12 months later DJ Earworm released "United State of Pop 2009 (Blame it on the Pop)" a truly global sensation which surpassed 26 million YouTube views within seven months of its release. These successes have caught the attention of the music industry, and he's been hired to produce custom mashup videos for artists as diverse as Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Sean Kingston and Maroon 5, among others. Most recently, Earworm was commissioned to create a mashup of Enrique Iglesias's song "I Like It," which he performed live in Johannesburg, South Africa during the opening ceremonies of the Airtel Champions League 2010 Cricket Tournament —giving an entirely new audience an opportunity to experience his musical creations.

Michael Bérubé

Michael Bérubé is the Paterno Family Professor in Literature and the Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State University, where he holds appointments in the Department of English and the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. He is the author of seven books to date: "Marginal Forces / Cultural Centers: Tolson, Pynchon, and the Politics of the Canon" (Cornell UP, 1992); "Public Access: Literary Theory and American Cultural Politics" (Verso, 1994); "Life As We Know It: A Father, A Family, and an Exceptional Child" (Pantheon, 1996; paper, Vintage, 1998); "The Employment of English: Theory, Jobs, and the Future of Literary Studies" (NYU Press, 1998); "What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and 'Bias' in Higher Education" (W. W. Norton, 2006); "Rhetorical Occasions: Essays on Humans and the Humanities" (UNC Press, 2006) and "The Left at War" (NYU Press, 2009). He is also the editor of "The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies" (Blackwell, 2004), and, with Cary Nelson, of "Higher Education Under Fire: Politics, Economics, and the Crisis of the Humanities" (Routledge, 1995). Bérubé has also written for a wide variety of academic journals such as American Quarterly, the Yale Journal of Criticism, and Modern Fiction Studies, as well as more popular venues such as Harper's, the New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Nation. "Life As We Know It" was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 1996 and was chosen as one of the best books of the year (on a list of seven) by National Public Radio.


Rives designs interactive narratives for grown-ups. Part poet and part storyteller, he offers audiences uniquely intelligent and creative entertainment — too impossible to categorize for a print medium like this bio, in fact. He's extraordinarily deft with words, extremely clever, creative, and intellectually alive. His work bursts in multiple directions, makes surprising connections, and leaves you gasping and laughing. He's funny! For his avid use of technology, he's been called "the first 2.0 poet," incorporating images, video, and text — often of audience members or the venue itself with tremendous ease and effect. Rives is known for memorizing snippets of the preceding speakers' presentations and incorporating them into his own performance, to startling and often comedic effect. This ability, combined with his extraordinary stage presence, make him a very effective moderator and master of ceremonies. He co-hosted Bravo channel's show "Ironic Iconic America," a unique and whimsical tour of contemporary American culture debuting Oct. 3, 2008. He also is the spokesman for Orange, the key brand of France Telecom, doing television and print pieces throughout Europe as the "first poet 2.0" for one of the world's leading telecommunications operators. He is a regular at the annual TED Conference, which brings together people from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment and Design, where he earns standing ovations. He's appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on the last four seasons of HBO's "Def Poetry Jam." He was the 2004 National Poetry Slam champion.

Sam Richards

Sam Richards is a sociologist and award-winning teacher who has been inspiring undergraduate students at Penn State since 1990. Every semester, 725 students register for his Race and Ethnic Relations course, one of the most popular classes at Penn State and the largest of its kind in the country. Through his natural ability of seeing a subject from many angles, Richards encourages students to engage more fully with the world and to think for themselves — something he did not do until his third year in college. Because of his passion for challenging students to open their minds, an interviewer recently referred to him as "an alarm clock for eighteen-year-olds." 

His career began at the age of 24 when he was hired to teach a cybernetics course — just 15 minutes before the first class meeting. He remembers walking into the room without having had a moment to create a lesson plan and greeting his students, "Welcome to the course. I'm your instructor. And if you have no idea what cybernetics is, you're not alone — because I don't either." This characteristic willingness to be playfully transparent in the classroom, along with a talent for making complex ideas understandable and relevant, is the foundation of his success as a teacher. Richards is also the co-director of the World in Conversation Project at Penn State, whose mission is to create a kind of dialogue about social and cultural issues that invites the unexamined, politically incorrect thoughts of participants to the surface so that those thoughts can be submitted to conscious exploration and inquiry. The conversation topics span a range of cultural issues — from U.S. race relations to gender to drinking to relations with the Middle East. This year, nearly 7,000 University Park students will participate in one of more than 1,200 of these unscripted conversations.

Tonee Ndungu

Tonee Ndungu is a media consultant with a specialty in New and Rich Media Tools and Applications. He is the founder of the Wazimba Youth Foundation, which is an African youth IT outreach organization that educates and emphasizes the use of Internet-based media tools and social networks among teens in Africa. He is a leadership motivational speaker, TEDxKibera co-creator, and a social media enthusiast. Tonee heads up the international office of the 1% CLUB in Kenya, which is an online marketplace for small development projects where citizens and companies can contribute 1 percent of their income, time and knowledge to a project of their own choosing. Last year, Tonee started The NAiLAB, a new ICT incubator initiative in Nairobi. NAiLAB harnesses the simple ideas of the local, rural and technologically-limited visionaries by opening up the opportunity for them to present their ideas to a group of tech-savvy "ideavattors" (idea-innovation-creators) that conceptualize and build the tools to make the simple idea applicable on technology platforms (mobile phones, the Web, etc.). An example of their work is the M-Kulima (M-Farmer) concept — a farmer-friendly and cost effective mobile learning portal that allows farmers to listen to the specific advice they need in real time, at any place and at any time at a nominal price. NAiLAB further supports young technology enthusiasts interested in building businesses from their innovations through incubation by providing business development, market research, legal support, and fund sourcing support set them on their ventures.

Organizing team


State College, PA, United States
  • Zach Zimbler
    Director of Special Projects
  • Rich McMillen
    Operations Director
  • Ryan Dickson
    Speakers Director
  • Andrew Brown
    Sponsorship Director
  • Mark Poblete
    Communications Director