Lineup set for TEDxUofSC

The lineup of speakers is set for the inaugural TEDxUofSC Oct. 9 at the University of South Carolina Alumni Center.

Twelve speakers, covering topics from reclaiming traditional Southern foods to the challenges of re-entering a community after a stint in prison, will share their ideas. TEDx events feature short, powerful talks on innovative ideas that impact the world.

Tickets to the event, which is open to the public, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at noon Aug. 22. General admission and student tickets will be available.

Ten of the 12 speakers have a USC connection, with five different colleges and schools represented. In addition to speakers, the university will host various performers throughout the day.

“A 21st century university relies on the free exchange of ideas to help transform our culture and our world. The ‘Ted Talk’ was designed with one simple idea in mind, to promote ‘ideas worth spreading.’ TEDx is a natural fit for our campus and will provide a tremendous showcase for some of the most innovative people in the Carolina family,” says university President Harris Pastides, who will deliver the opening address to kick off TEDxUofSC.

Other speakers are:

Kassy Alia, a doctoral student in the clinical community psychology program, is the CEO of Serve and Connect, a nonprofit organization that builds partnerships between law enforcement and citizens that empower, build trust and create lasting impact. Alia will speak about ways to build authentic trust.

Derek Black, a professor in the School of Law who specializes in educational law and policy, will discuss returning critical literacy to the school curriculum to better prepare young people to discern fact, nuance and noise in the overwhelming volume of “news” they encounter each day.

Juan Caicedo, a professor and undergraduate student director for civil engineering in the College of Engineering and Computing, will speak about technology he developed that monitors for vibrations in homes, such as falls by children or elderly family members.

Kimani Davis is the owner of Mercy Contracting, LLC and founder of YNotU 2, a nonprofit organization that provides vocational rehabilitation, job and life skill development for disadvantaged job seekers. Davis spent two years in federal prison for drug trafficking, and will speak about the challenges of re-entry and the necessity of acknowledging ex-offenders as full members of community.

Parastoo Hashemi, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, will present on work she and her team are developing to find new treatments for depression by exploring indicators of the illness found in human skin. She takes a very complicated problem and boils it down to “Your dog can sniff out when you’re sad. We should be able to figure that out, too.”

Ronda Hughes, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and director of the Center for Nursing Leadership, has spent the past three years gaining access to databases from insurance companies, the Census Bureau, hospitals, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and health care networks. She will present on the process of using this data to create individualized patient profiles that highlight risks for hospital readmission.

Shigeharu Kobayashi, an indie comic publisher, arts advocate and self-proclaimed fourth-best waiter in Columbia, will encourage the audience to recognize and challenge their own definitions and creative parameters. He also serves as program director at Tapp’s Art Center.

David Matolak, a professor of electrical engineering in the College of Engineering and Computing, will present on his work, which focuses on building better radios that will allow for more information sharing and safer air travel.

David Shields, a Carolina Distinguished Professor in the English department in the College of Arts and Sciences, has dedicated himself to understanding the history of indigenous Southern foods, and to reclaiming those foods from extinction. He will share the political and scientific impacts on food through his story of re-introducing the Bradford watermelon.

Sarah Simmons, an accomplished restaurateur in New York City and Columbia, operates a workforce development program for Columbia high school students who are not planning to go to college. She will discuss revolutionizing the traditional restaurant model by creating opportunities for individuals and the community.

Seth Stoughton, an assistant professor in the School of Law and a former police officer whose work focuses on modern policing techniques, practices and policies. He will speak on his theory of guardian policing, which defines the role of officer as “protecting civilians from unnecessary indignity and harm.”

Lyric Swinton, a rising junior at USC who is a first-generation college student and dedicates her extracurricular time to student government and mentoring youth. A graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities summer program in creative writing, Swinton will share a written piece composed of her experiences with stereotypes.