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2014 TEDxNSU

TEDx - x=independent organized TED event

TEDxNSU is an annual event, featuring engaging lectures, videos, visual art, and interactive experiences, hosted by the College of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University. TEDxNSU showcases the scholarly work of members of the university.

Thought-provoking events like TEDxNSU support the college's aim to encourage intellectual exploration and the sharing of ideas amongst students, faculty and staff, and members of the local community. TEDxNSU expands this reach to a global audience with videos of the lectures available on YouTube.

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxNSU, where x=independently organized TED event. At our TEDxNSU event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

TEDxNSU 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014
Noon–5:00 p.m.
NSU's Main Campus | Davie, Florida

View photos from the event on Flickr.

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED. This TEDx event is independently organized

Theme: Game Changers

This year’s theme focused on that moment. That moment when everything becomes different. That moment when there is no going back. That moment when that was THEN and this is NOW. That moment etched forever in the mind. Permanent. Indelible. Intensely personal and yet begging to be shared with others—to learn from, to feel, and to inspire. That game-changing moment.

There are certain events and thoughts in one’s life that are game changers. They change the way a person acts or thinks or feels. We can all learn from others’ experiences. At TEDxNSU 2014, we brought stories of some incredible people who shared their game-changing events and ideas to inspire the game changer in all of us.

This year’s lineup featured a series of edge-of-your-seat talks in which speakers and performers captured the hearts and minds of the audience with tales of their personal game-changing moments. During breaks in the action of our speakers, we reviewed videos of game-changing moments from past TED events. Halftime entertainment featured refreshments and a culinary experience that changed the way game-goers thought about food.

Team NSU's Starting Lineup | Presenters

Click on the speakers' names below to learn about their backgrounds, education, and professional experiences.

"Parasites Lost: The Journey from Woeful Worms to Helpful Monsters"
By Christopher Blanar

Christopher Blanar People generally view parasites with horror and disgust, as mere agents of suffering and disease—but recent discoveries are changing that. Biologists are finding that parasites maintain biodiversity and drive ecological processes. Doctors are discovering that a world without parasites can be surprisingly unhealthy. Perhaps it is time to give these much-maligned creatures an image makeover? 

Christopher Blanar, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at NSU’s Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. His research straddles the fields of parasitology, disease ecology, and environmental biology, exploring the extent to which ecological processes and environmental degradation affect parasitism in aquatic animals. He also studies the introduction of pathogenic parasites to South Florida fishes via the imported ornamental fish trade, and how parasites might determine whether introduced species become invasive. Blanar is part of a growing number of biologists encouraging us to view parasites as necessary and ecologically valuable contributors to biodiversity and ecosystem stability, rather than as mere agents of disease.

"A Perimenopausal Blonde Walks Into a University..."
By Carol Dowd-Forte

Carol Dowd-Forte Writers know that it’s not always about one big moment. It’s about a series of smaller moments linked together as a narrative, both dramatic and subtle plot points which form an arc and move a story forward, so when the reader reaches The End, she looks back and says, “Ah, now I get it.” We also know how momentous it is to find your “voice” and how important that voice is to a writer’s life and process. Author George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” so I guess you can call this a “coming of middle age” tale. 

Writer and editor Carol Dowd-Forte is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University’s M.A. in Writing program, a former stringer for The Miami Herald, and president of A Girl’s Gotta Eat: Writing and Editing for a Price, LLC. She is founder of The Alley, a writers’ support group; has been an invited attendee of Yale University’s Summer Writers’ Conference and Workshop since its inception; and is currently working on two novels, one of which has the interest of a publisher she met through the Yale Conference. A tomboy when “female athlete” was an oxymoron, Dowd-Forte was one of the first female graduates of St. Thomas University’s Sports Administration Program (’82) and began her 30-year trek to overnight success in television sports. She’s done stand-up comedy, swam in Jeopardy!’s contestant pool, hates the color pink, and survived both the New York City public school and transit systems. Before becoming a writer, she was a fetus.

"Recognize Your Habits, Change Your Destiny"
By Michael P. Kelly

Michael Kelly We each have the potential within us to achieve our ideal destiny, whether that vision is defined by personal wealth or being part of something that changes the world. But, our life experiences often leave us with habits of perception and behavior that sabotage our efforts to positively impact our own lives and the world at large. The crucial first step in changing these habits is to identify and understand some of the long-standing, unconscious perceptions and behaviors that drive our daily lives. Recognizing our strengths, which can then be enhanced; our sources of stress, which can then be alleviated; and our blind spots, which can then be dealt with, allows us to make powerful changes in our habits—and ultimately in our own personal destiny. 

For more than 25 years, Mike Kelly has consulted Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, venture funds, and startups. As a consultant, trainer, and coach, Kelly has helped organizations to become more productive through process, technology, and education. His work promotes more effective leaders, stronger teams, and greater workplace satisfaction. Kelly recently completed the coursework for NSU’s Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and will begin his doctoral studies later this year. According to Kelly, “Even in the face of corporate policy and swiftly advancing technology, it is still the people that make organizations work. Helping people to be more productive and happy in their roles is the best way for organizations to be successful.”

"The Ultimate Teammate: The High Five"
By Brooklyn Kohlheim

Brooklyn Kohlheim A true competitive advantage in today’s world seems to be few and far between. Everything is accessible, statistically analyzed, and posted for everyone to see with most businesses and sports teams examining the same things across the board. The women’s basketball program at NSU has stepped outside the box to gain a competitive advantage by empowering their student-athletes to communicate non-verbally and, unlike most teams, stat the interactions every single day. As you will see, the result and idea is worth spreading. 

Brooklyn Kohlheim earned an M.A. in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction from the University of Indianapolis. She is currently NSU’s assistant women’s basketball coach. The team made an Elite Eight appearance in the 2012–2013 season and, most recently, has been ranked in the nation’s top 25 for Division II. Kohlheim has a strong desire to think outside the box to gain competitive advantages over opponents. This approach has included conducting research on determining characteristics of coaches considered to be “player’s coaches.” This desire has led to the NSU women’s basketball program using in-depth analysis of various behaviors (i.e., the Nash Effect) and statistics during the season. Kohlheim is passionate about bringing individuals together as a team, which has guided her for the past three seasons toward building a framework for team cohesiveness.

"Breast Cancer, Premature Puberty, and the Environment"
By Jean Latimer

Jean Latimer In the arena of cancer research, there is much talk about gene-environment interactions. While genetics is the aspect most commonly discussed, only about 15% of breast cancers (the 2nd most common cancer in American women) are due to familial inheritance of a mutation. Reportedly, the other 85% of breast cancer cases are affected by environmental factors including diet. In addition, the phenomenon of premature puberty in industrialized countries is on the rise and is related to an increased risk for breast cancer. This talk will underscore the importance of the environment in breast cancer prevention and introduce steps that can be taken to improve our own environmental factors. 

Jean Latimer, Ph.D., associate professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy, earned her doctorate at the SUNY Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She completed postdoctoral fellowship training at University of California—San Francisco. Her work centers on the etiology of sporadic breast cancer and understanding its environmental causes, including those differentially present in women of distinct ancestries. As an independent researcher, Latimer developed a variation of a stem cell culture technique to create a tissue-engineering system for human breast tissue and tumors, which was published and patented. Her contributions include the generation of a large set of explants and cell lines (used in multiple U.S. laboratories), representing all stages of breast cancer, including normal breast epithelium. Latimer has participated in projects involving over 7 million dollars in funding, using these resources to train 37 undergraduates, 17 graduate students, and 8 fellows. Her work has generated 30 scientific papers and 2 patents.

"The Gray Area"
By Natalie Negron

Natalie Negron During a medical internship last summer, biology student Natalie Negron was observing a transplant surgery on a brain-dead patient. As the surgery progressed, she began to mentally place herself in the position of the patient on the operating table and reflected upon the life she’s led. She asked herself, Have I done enough? Does my life have meaning? Her answers were game-changing. 

Natalie Negron is a third-year undergraduate student from Miramar, Florida, majoring in biology and minoring in both history and behavioral neuroscience at NSU’s Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. She is a member of NSU’s Dual Admission Program for Osteopathic Medicine and an avid participant in the Undergraduate Honors Program. Negron is currently an officer of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society and a member of the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society, and Tau Sigma National Honor Society. She is also an active member of the Pre-Medical Society and enjoys volunteering at local elementary schools teaching students about science through the Science Alive! program. Negron works as a Senior Peer Leader for the Academic Society Program in the College of Undergraduate Studies, mentoring first-time-in-college students. Her area of research interest is genealogy and tracing individual ancestral lineages.

"Darwin’s Descendants and the Evolution of an Idea"
By Glenn Scheyd

Glenn Scheyd Life existed on our planet for billions of years before anyone tried to make sense of it. The discovery of the principles of natural selection represents the most game-changing shift humans have made in our ability to understand ourselves. Only in combination with an understanding of genetic inheritance, however, was the more sophisticated work of Darwinian science possible. It is tempting for us, as it must have been for Darwin’s contemporaries, to think we finally have things figured out. The history of science should teach us otherwise. 

Glenn J. Scheyd, Ph.D., associate professor and assistant director of the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, is an evolutionary psychologist. He therefore concerns himself with identifying the ways in which people’s behaviors today can be better understood as responses that would have been genetically beneficial to our ancestors over tens of thousands of generations, rather than as rational solutions to modern problems. He earned his doctorate from the University of New Mexico. His research interests include attractiveness perception; mate selection; and, most recently, parent-offspring conflict. Scheyd has a three-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.

"So There Is No Free Will. Now What?"
By Robert Speth

Robert Speth With the sequencing of the human genome and advances in neuroscience, along with discoveries in the fields of epigenetics and social sciences, we have opened a Pandora’s Box. An increasingly unavoidable conclusion from the progress of science is that humans do not possess free will. Revealing this knowledge about ourselves challenges every facet of our understanding of who we are. This presentation will describe some of the mounting evidence that precludes the existence of free will. Additionally, this talk will attempt to resolve the paradoxical absence and illusion of free will that is so essential to our humanness. 

Robert “Bob” Speth, Ph.D., professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy, joined the university in 2009. His research interests center on neuroscience and receptor pharmacology, with an emphasis on the brain renin-angiotensin system. Research accomplishments of Speth and his colleagues include the first report of a benzodiazepine receptor in the human brain, discovery of angiotensin II receptors in the ovary and epididymis, the first localization of angiotensin II receptor subtypes in the rodent brain, and the characterization of the mas oncogene protein as the receptor for angiotensin 1-7. Speth has published nearly 170 peer-reviewed manuscripts (of which more than 30 have been co-authored by undergraduate students), dozens of non-peer-reviewed manuscripts and miscellaneous writings, and approximately 100 letters to editors and op-ed pieces advocating for the use of animals in biomedical research. Speth’s teaching interests include all aspects of pharmacology and bioethics, which he has taught for more than 30 years.

Slideshow - "The Eastern Tropical Pacific: One of the World’s Game-Changing Locations"
By Joshua Feingold

Joshua Feingold The Eastern Tropical Pacific has inspired many artists, poets, and scientists. This selection of images from above and below the water’s surface was captured by Joshua Feingold during some of his many trips there to study coral ecology.

Joshua Feingold, Ph.D., professor at NSU’s Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, completed his undergraduate studies at Trinity College and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. His research addresses biological and ecological properties of coral reefs and coral communities in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean. His ongoing investigations focus on ecological responses of coral communities to impacts associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation and subsequent long-term coral recovery in the Galapagos Islands, the distribution and abundance of fungiid corals, and descriptive ecology of Caribbean coral communities. His most recent research focusses on free-living coral populations in the southwest Gulf of California.

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