Monday, September 23, 2019

TEDx Salt Lake City - Time Well Spent


I’ve just returned from TEDx Salt Lake City 2019 and I am super excited about the experience.  If you have ever watched any of the hundreds of TED talks online, you know what I’m talking about.

TED conferences bring together a myriad of different subjects and speakers are given 20 minutes to give the audience an incredible amount of info about whatever subject they are an expert on.

Here is the description straight from the TED website:

TED is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 110 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

I spent the day learning incredible things from incredible people and then afterwards I was lucky enough to get a chance to spend some time talking with some of the speakers and learning even more.  Also, this isn’t just about learning, it is an *event*!   Held at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus, the breaks throughout the day allowed attendees to go outside and enjoy food trucks, dancers, scientific exhibits, and more.  The only way to really appreciate what these events are all about is to attend one in person.

Attending a TED Conference has been on my bucket list for a few years now.  I had originally thought that the meetings were something reserved for special individuals, but it turns out that all you need is a desire to learn and to purchase a ticket.  You can either visit the  TEDx Salt Lake website or you can go to the main TED website for ALL the details.  

Here are people and bios of those who brought me so much education on Saturday:

Cathy Callow-Heusser
Instructional Designer and Educational Researcher
Cathy Callow-Heusser started her career as a software engineer. She coded expert systems and multimedia applications while earning degrees in Instructional Design and Educational Research and Evaluation. She has worn many hats, but her happy place is teaching math. Cathy prefers to teach students who have traditionally struggled in math because she loves watching attitude changes as students become successful. The best decade of her career involved evaluating the Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) Reading First program and subsequent initiatives in literacy and math, as well as providing technical assistance to help teachers improve reading and math instruction. During this time, she and her teams traveled to 86 BIE schools throughout the US, which cemented her passion for honoring cultures and languages. Representation MATTERS! Cathy is the proud mom of 2 biological, 2 adopted, and 3 bonus children. She and her husband Val have 10 grandchildren.

Connor Behr
Molecular Biology Student
Connor Behr is currently a student at BYU PathwayConnect in pursuit of a degree in molecular biology, which he has loved and studied since he was 12 years old. He is skilled in the field and has experience shadowing at ARUP Laboratories and a summer internship at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Connor received the Emperor Science Award in 2017 for his research in cancer development and treatment, and he conducted related gene and protein expression projects with Physarum polycephalum, an organism he has been studying for more than 9 years. He is currently heading a campaign called the PhyR Project for the development of an alternative insulin production technique.

Cynthia Bee
Conservational Landscape Architect
Cynthia works to translate the technical nature of landscaping into public friendly messaging as the Outreach Coordinator for the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District's Conservation Garden Park. Whether it's teaching landscape classes to homeowners or creating digital and social media marketing content, she's learned how homeowners think about landscaping-and how to influence them. Cynthia earned her Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Architecture from Utah State University and has spent more than 20 years working in different sectors of the green industry.

David Kozlowski
Marriage & Family Therapist
David Kozlowski obtained a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from National University in San Diego. Since 1999, David has worked as a counselor, behavioral specialist, mental health worker, and therapist in group homes, crisis treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, drug addiction facilities, and schools for severely emotionally disturbed kids and teens. David has his own private practice, is the Host of the Light The Fight podcast, and is the Executive Director of the Non Profit Quit Trip’n.

Denise Druce
Yoga Instructor
For nearly four decades, Denise Druce has been inspiring people to live healthier, happier lives. She calls herself an Elevator…when you’re around her, you’re going up! Denise has taught a wide variety of fitness classes over the years, from step to indoor cycling to her current and lasting love, yoga. She teaches her students to stand at the “Soft Edge of the Hard Place” in fitness and in life. Her non-profit Yoga Forward is "taking yoga where it isn’t"…prisons, shelters, schools, and shopping malls. She has a Masters Degree in Public Health, is a Yoga Alliance E-RYT500, and is a breast cancer Thriver. She spends most weekends on the road, making the world a better place by getting more people trained to teach yoga everywhere. Denise and her husband, Michael live in Salt Lake City with their three boys.

Dr. Joey Wilson
Engineer and Entrepreneur
Dr. Joey Wilson is an acclaimed engineer and entrepreneur, focused on the field of sensing people using radio waves. Dr. Wilson’s breakthrough doctoral work on detecting and locating movement using wireless networks at the University of Utah has earned worldwide attention. Dr. Wilson is now the founder and CEO of XANDEM, a company focused on high-tech radio frequency sensors for applications like energy efficiency, elder care, healthcare and security. XANDEM was the first to research, design, and ship a product that utilizes everyday wireless networks to accurately detect and locate moving people within buildings. Joey and his team are now helping other businesses turn existing wireless devices into powerful people-sensing systems. In his free time, you can find Joey throwing a disc with his wife and two sons on the grassy fields near their home in Salt Lake City, finger picking his guitar, backcountry skiing through the trees, or trail running in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

Dr. Ruby Chou
Executive Director, Mundi Project
Dr. Ruby Chou is an arts executive, classical pianist, and educator. Ruby advocates for open access to pianos, music education, and innovative performances as the executive director of Mundi Project, a Utah-based nonprofit community music organization. Mundi Project is launching Utah’s first intergenerational music program at Neighborhood House in October. As an educator, she mentors 21st-century musicians as adjunct professor of piano and music entrepreneurship at Weber State University and specializes in teaching youth and adults in various learning environments. Ruby performs locally and nationally with professional, amateur, and young musicians. Ruby also serves on the board of directors for Utah Nonprofits Association. Dr. Chou earned a doctoral degree in Music and Human Learning from The University of Texas at Austin. She graduated from Manhattan School of Music in NYC with a master’s degree in piano performance and a Bachelor of Music degree from The University of Utah.

Dr. Taylor Sparks
Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Dr. Taylor Sparks is an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Utah. He is originally from Utah and an alumni of the department he now teaches in. He did his MS in Materials at UCSB and his PhD in Applied Physics at Harvard University and then did a postdoc in the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB. He is currently the Director of the Materials Characterization Lab at the University of Utah and teaches classes on ceramics, materials science, characterization, and technology commercialization. His current research centers on the discovery, synthesis, characterization, and properties of new materials for energy applications. He is a pioneer in the emerging field of materials informatics whereby big data, data mining, and machine learning are leveraged to solve challenges in materials science. When he’s not in the lab you can find him running his podcast “Materialism” or canyoneering with his 3 kids in southern Utah.

Em Capito
Em Capito is an unconventional psychotherapist obsessed with the widespread loss of resilience in the face of overwhelming comfort. While studying her own trauma from the inside out, Em embarked on a series of experiments that led to a prescription for intentional discomfort. Em blends these experiential interventions with meditation and yoga therapy to build the holistic mind-body resilience that carries us through our darkest moments. She completed a master’s degree in social work at the University of Utah in 2007 and a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix in 2011. Em is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a certified LifePower yoga teacher, and a Dharana Method meditation teacher with a private practice in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Foreign Figures
Foreign Figures’ alternative take on pop music stems from the four very different humans that create it together: EJ, Steve, Seth and Jonny T. Formed in late 2014, the Utah band has achieved millions of streams online, received licensing deals from Fox, MTV and Fox Sports, and taken their charismatic live show to over half of the United States. The band’s sound and synergy comes from their desire to create something unique together that they couldn’t or wouldn’t create on their own. They view their creative differences and skills as something to celebrate, and collaboration as something special. The band name is a synonym for authenticity and imagination, which comes through lyrically in many of their songs, breaking down the culture of choosing sides. Everyone is a foreign figure to someone else in the world—if you’re unlike anyone else, then you’re a foreign figure.

Gerald Elias
Musician, Author, Conductor, Composer
Gerald Elias leads a dual life as an internationally acclaimed musician and award-winning author. A former violinist with the Boston Symphony and associate concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, Elias, performer, conductor, composer, and teacher has concertized on five continents. He has been music director of the Vivaldi by Candlelight chamber series in Salt Lake City since 2004. His Daniel Jacobus mystery series takes place in the dark corners of the music world where greed, ambition and lust lurk backstage. His debut novel, Devil’s Trill, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Two others have been recorded as unique audio books in which Elias performs musical clues. Elias has also authored a children’s story, Maestro, the Potbellied Pig. His 2018 essay, “War & Peace. And Music,” won 1st prize from the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. Elias resides in Salt Lake City and West Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Jaxon Willard
Dancer, Choreographer
Jaxon Willard dances at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio. He currently trains in numerous styles of dance, including Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Musical Theater and Ballroom. Jaxon has been dancing since before he could walk. He was a quick study and loved music and to move. He started choreographing early on as well. He made the Brigham Young University Youth Ballroom team when he was 12, but after much thought and heartache, he began his formal training for all styles of dance and dance company involvement. At his very first Nationals competition, the Dance Awards Vegas 2016, he placed in the Top 10 for the Best Dancer. The following year at the Dance Awards Nationals Vegas 2017, he was honored to be named the First-Runner Up for The Best Dancer, with a self-choreographed piece. Jaxon feels blessed to have the opportunity to have found something that brings him such happiness and allows him to express himself in a profound and positive way.

Jessica Baynes
Founder, Healing in Motion Dance
Jessica Baynes attended the University of Utah, where she received her BFA in Modern Dance. Jessica sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury during her freshman year and underwent almost two years of intensive rehabilitation to regain quality of motor function. During that time, she experienced social isolation, stigmatization, and loss of identity as a result of her injury. Since recovering, Jessica founded Healing in Motion Dance, an arts and medicine initiative that teaches rehabilitative ballet classes to participants with neurological conditions that impair neuromuscular function such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, and stroke. Her goals with the program are to physically strengthen and emotionally empower others with motor function inhibiting diagnoses, through ballet. Healing in Motion Dance serves as a platform on which collegiate dance and physical therapy students collaborate by designing adaptive ballet classes for patients in their local healthcare system.

Josh Taylor
Creative Change Agent
Josh Taylor is a filmmaker, designer, writer, art director, and creative strategist, but at his core, he is a Creative Change Agent and Business Storyteller. He helps companies in the midst of pivotal change/transformation moments, discover, craft and share their own stories through creative content, experiences, and workshops, in order to help their employees and customers build stronger emotional engagement and human connection to the business and its journey.

Karen Burns
Assistant Director, Intermountain Therapy Animals
After working in the corporate world for many years, Karen Burns found her true passion in a non-profit organization, Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA). Karen is the Assistant Director of ITA and manages Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) Programs in 30 (and growing) schools and libraries in the state of Utah. She has partnered with three different therapy animals over the past two decades, and is also a licensed ITA Workshop Instructor and R.E.A.D. Instructor. Karen enjoys traveling around the country and internationally training others to use our literacy support program, R.E.A.D., in their communities. Karen remains passionate about sharing the gifts our four-footed friends can offer people during difficult times in their lives. They offer hope, healing, fun and a sense of normalcy in settings where that is rarely otherwise possible.

Kotryna Liepinyte
Kotryna Liepinyte is a former undergraduate student from the University of Utah with a BA in English Literature and Communications. She was born in Kaunas, Lithuania and is passionate about honoring her foreign culture and engaging in conversation about immigration stereotypes. Kotryna's mission is to provide an open dialogue about the representation of immigrants in local and global news. Kotryna intends to pursue her education and passion by attending law school. She also enjoys traveling around the world and experiencing a variety of cultures.

LeBaron Family
Singing Family
The LeBaron family was brought to the limelight when a casual recording of their family karaoke night went viral. Dennise LeBaron had requested that her children make her a video of them singing “One Day More.” The LeBaron children and their spouses all love to sing, so they happily complied. The video was posted to Facebook, and by the end of the week, it had over 8 million views! When the children were very young, they showed themselves to be extremely musical and eager to perform. Mom and Dad, musicians themselves, were pleased to instruct them in the hope that sharing music would create strong bonds between their children. After the oldest daughter, Holli passed away in 2002, the remaining siblings have prolonged her legacy through music. The family attributes its closeness to the memory of Holli and her deep appreciation for music and their family’s religious faith. The LeBarons hope to not only share their music with the world, but make everyone who hears it feel like family.

Rob Landes
Take a classically-trained violinist who began studying at the age of 3, add two music performance degrees, include a loop pedal and a dash of humor, and you have Rob Landes. Rob Landes has become a sensation on both YouTube and Bilibili (China’s most popular short-video platform) for his combination of video game music, pop music, comedy, and costumes. With over 1.6 Million subscribers worldwide and 160 million views online, Rob has delighted diverse audiences with hundreds of musical covers. As to his live performances, Rob Landes has opened for T-Pain, Rachel Platten, and Jason DeRulo, while also having performed at New York Fashion Week, Carnegie Hall, the Sundance Film Festival, throughout Europe, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia, and now TEDxSaltLakeCity!

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