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TEDxUSU: Speakers Announced — Registration to Open Soon

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

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TEDxUSU presenters Buddy Wakefield and Jim Butcher

TEDxUSU presenters: Buddy Wakefield, Jim Butcher

TEDxUSU presenters Karl White and Ronda Callister

TEDxUSU presenters: Karl White, Ronda Callister

TEDxUSU presenters Douglas K. Lemon, Taylor Halversen

TEDxUSU presenters: Douglas K. Lemon, Taylor Halversen

TEDxUSU presenters, The Fry Street Quartet and Christopher Gauthier

TEDxUSU presenters: The Fry Street Quartet, Christopher Gauthier

Utah State University’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies has released the schedule of speakers and performers for its Nov. 7 TEDxUSU conference. The event, designed to introduce “ideas worth spreading,” will feature impactful research and performances. Presenters will represent USU faculty, students, alumni and friends.

“TEDxUSU is a perfect fit for Utah State,” said Mark McLellan, vice president for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at USU. “We had so many excellent nominations for speakers and performers at this inaugural event; it was difficult to whittle it down to a three-hour conference.”

Upon USU students’ request, world slam poetry champion Buddy Wakefield was invited to campus to kick-off the conference with his presentation. Wakefield has been featured on NPR, BBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and most recently signed to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records.

In 2004, Wakefield won the Individual World Poetry Slam finals. He then successfully defended that title at the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands, against the national champions of seven European countries.

USU alum and Rhodes Scholar Jim Butcher will talk about the relationship among the environment, economics and civic change. From his early days growing up in Montana, to pursuing civil engineering during his undergrad studies at USU and now working across corporate, government and NGO sectors, he has been passionate about how to integrate environmental issues into today’s organizations.

Butcher has led projects with companies and government such as Intel, Kodak, Morgan Stanley and the Clinton Administration White House, among many others. His work has helped them re-perceive the future and develop strategies to better navigate the future. As CEO of Entegra Partners, he has continued to work with various organizations on innovative environmental and civic strategies.

Joining Wakefield and Butcher are USU researchers Karl White and Ronda Callister.

White is a psychology professor at USU and the founding director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management. His team was instrumental in establishing universal newborn hearing screening in the United States and has subsequently worked with more than 30 countries to establish early hearing detection and intervention programs. He will discuss how such programs provide a sound foundation for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to excel.

In addition to publishing top academic journals on anger expressions in organizations and teaching courses on third party resolution, Callister has led a major campus change effort as the principal investigator on a $3 million NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant. Her presentation during the TEDx event will provide insights about gender issues and careers.

The TEDxUSU conference will conclude with a presentation by Douglas K. Lemon, president of the USU Research Foundation. Lemon will take viewers through some of the mysteries of the universe uncovered by WISE, a highly sensitive astronomical telescope designed and built by USURF’s Space Dynamics Laboratory for NASA, that surveyed the entire sky while orbiting the Earth.

With over 31 years of experience, Lemon has led the development of next-generation, high technology solutions for clients in space, aerospace, intelligence, national defense and homeland security. His technical and programmatic work has focused on advanced methods and applications of satellite and aerial image processing, ultrasonic measurements, and other advanced electronic systems.

“Our researchers have a wealth of experience that they are excited to share with the community,” said McLellan. “They have established themselves in their respective fields, which is evidenced by the transformative impact of their top-notch research that they have conducted over the years.”

Scott Bates, associate vice president for graduate and undergraduate research at USU, chairs the TEDxUSU organizing committee.

“All our USU researchers have their eye on the future as they conduct their current work,” Bates said. “These presentations will differ from what we’ve seen from their academic presentations in the past, because they have been encouraged to take a few intuitive leaps down the road in speculating about the future of their fields.”

USU undergraduate Taylor Halversen will represent the student community in speaking on how students contribute to the conversations, activities and accomplishments at university campuses. Majoring in communications studies, Halversen recently started her third year at USU and has worked with history professor Norm Jones on the Lumina Foundation/Business Innovation Factory project.

There will be two performances as part of the conference, both coming from the Caine College of the Arts: the Fry Street Quartet and photographer Christopher Gauthier. Members of the Fry Street Quartet will perform work by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, while Gauthier will present Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism, a portrait project addressing the rising prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the United States.

“These performances will provide an important textural and contextual aspect to the conference, and we are extremely pleased to have them as part of the event,” said McLellan. “We also are very grateful for the generous assistance of the Caine College of the Arts in providing facilities support and assistance throughout this planning process.”

Since TEDxUSU has a limited license from the TED organization, only 100 seats are allowed at the live event, with an additional estimated 250 seats at simulcast overflow rooms.

Thirty seats will be reserved for special attendees, and the remaining seats will be released by lottery. Seats at the live event will be split equally between randomly selected USU faculty and students, and seats in the overflow rooms will be randomly drawn from the entire lottery pool.

People wishing to be considered for the ticket lottery must visit the TEDxUSU website to fill out the online form, which will go live Monday, Oct. 15, at 8 a.m. and remain up until that Friday, Oct. 19. Duplicate entries will be deleted, and ticket holders will be selected and notified via email on Oct. 24.

More information about the speakers, registration and event can be found on the website, Facebook page and Twitter hashtag (#tedxusu).

About TEDx
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Writer: Nadiah Johari,

Contact: Scott Bates,

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