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Speaker Lineup Announced for TEDxKGI Event

The TEDxKGI event that will take place on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, will feature eight speakers who will present thought-provoking ideas and inspire individuals to learn new perspectives.

The eight speakers are Larry Grill, Alex Goryachev, Ruthann Russo, Torie Weiston-Serdan, Branwen Williams, Desiree Zerquera, and current KGI students Shan Ahmad and Ross Steinberg.

“The TEDxKGI Committee is proud to present these eight amazing speakers who are passionate about shaping the future,” said Andrea Mozqueda, student services specialist and TEDxKGI coordinator at KGI. “All of their talks are diverse and will spark the conversation of how we can grow together as a humane society.”

Grill is the dean of research and director of the Vaccine Research Center at KGI. He and his students have been involved in developing low-cost vaccines for economically important diseases in Africa. Grill also teaches courses at KGI and at The Claremont Colleges Keck Science Department. He has published more than 25 scientific articles and is an inventor on more than 30 issued U.S. and international patents.

Grill’s TEDx topic, “Enabling a World Response to Disease,” will focus on how society can teach developing countries the technology to provide low-cost vaccines.

“This technology can make a difference in preventing human and animal diseases,” said Grill. “I want to imagine the near future where developing countries make vaccines and empower this change for a better life.”

An immigrant from Russia, Goryachev discovered the freedom of innovation as a teenager when exposed to the social and cultural possibilities of the Internet. As senior director of innovation strategy and programs at Cisco, he applies his entrepreneurial spirit to ignite co-innovation among employees, customers, startups, and partners.

Goryachev’s talk, “Everyone is an Entrepreneur—The Art of Innovation in Everyday Life,” will look at how individuals can learn from the experiences of a large corporation in implementing an entrepreneurial corporate culture of innovation and ongoing change.

“My number one rule is: Disrupt, disrupt, disrupt,” said Goryachev. “I want to talk about how people can tap into their own passions in order to bring their ideas and aspirations fully to life, discovering what is most important to them.”

Russo is a life-long learner and is board-certified in integrative medicine. Early in her career, she served as an attorney and then CEO for three technology startups. She currently creates self-care programs that improve both organizational and individual health.

“In my TEDx talk, ‘Your Vital Role in Reimagining Healthcare,’ I share how my daughter, Emmalea, became diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager,” said Russo. “That transformed both my life and hers, and it started the discovery of integrative health practices and the lifestyle that accompanies these practices.”

Weiston-Serdan is a scholar-practitioner with more than 12 years of teaching and youth programming experience. She is the author of Critical Mentoring: A Practical Guide and does extensive work with community-based organizations in support of their youth advocacy efforts, specializing in training mentors to work with diverse marginalized youth populations.

Her TEDx talk, “Critical Mentoring—Because Young People Deserve the Best of Us,” will be about the importance of considering race, gender, and sexuality when mentoring young people so they can be engaged in more relevant ways.

“Young people are our future and becoming more equipped to support them is of the utmost importance,” said Weiston-Serdan. “Getting mentors ready to work with young people in more critical ways is a fire starter for me.”

Williams is an oceanographer who studies the health of the Arctic ocean. She uses measurements of the skeletons of marine creatures to collect data about changes in ocean chemistry and temperature. Branwen is also an associate professor of environmental sciences at The Claremont Colleges, where she leads the Williams Marine Environmental Research Lab.

Her talk, “How We Are Changing Our Arctic Ocean,” will explore the human impact on our oceans and climate, and what this means for the future.

“I will take the audience on a journey from the deep-sea coral communities offshore of Los Angeles to the shallow, ice-covered waters of the high Arctic,” said Williams. “I am optimistic that we are up to the challenge of future adaptation to environmental change.”

Zerquera is a professor, public scholar, consultant and on the faculty in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the University of San Francisco. Her work centers on examining ways opportunity is shaped by policies, practices, and ideologies, and discovering alternatives that advance equity.

Zerquera’s talk, “Envisioning a More Just Future,” argues that society needs to embrace social justice as a process, and foster tools for not just addressing injustices as they are brought to collect public consciousness, but to foster better skills for engaging in the process of social justice.

Steinberg is a second-year Master of Business and Science (MBS) student at KGI who will graduate in the spring of 2018. He began his career in strength and conditioning coaching, working with athletes at the professional and Olympic level. He is passionate about health, fitness, and nutrition, and is an entrepreneur in these fields. Ross graduated from the University of La Verne with departmental honors in Kinesiology.

Steinberg’s talk, “The Future of Nutrition,” evolved after he witnessed some of the challenges elite athletes and everyday people face when considering their next meal.

“I think that nutrition is a topic that can be polarizing, as there are many misconceptions about the science in the area, dogma around best/worst diets, religious beliefs, social justice beliefs, and many others that get tied into the debate,” said Steinberg. “By trying to modernize the debate we can make a real difference in the dialogue.”

Ahmad is also a second-year MBS student at KGI, and is interested in the commercialization of novel therapies for rare diseases. He has a passion for helping youth in underprivileged communities achieve their full potential through equal education access and increased alumni engagement. Shan received a degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Florida.

Ahmad’s TEDx talk, “Locational Privilege: The Importance of Where You Are From,” will discuss the idea of how location has an impact on personal and professional development.

“We are often born into situations and circumstances that we can’t change, and location is one of those,” said Ahmad. “Where you grow up and start your career is very important and must be a consideration.”

Tickets for TEDxKGI are currently on sale for $20 each and can be purchased at tedxkgi.com. In accordance with the license terms issued through TED, the event is limited to the first 100 people who sign up. For those unable to attend, a viewing party will be hosted a few weeks after the event. For questions on TEDxKGI, please contact tedx@kgi.edu.