PITTSBURG - Organizers of Pittsburg State's first TEDx event, "Diversity in Our World," have chosen 10 diverse speakers out of a slate of many who auditioned.
TEDxPittsburgStateUniversity will be held on March 27 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Miller Theatre inside the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. Tickets for the event, limited to 100 audience members, go on sale this week.
The speakers include:
• Ruby Rios, a high school senior from Shawnee Mission, Kansas, who co-founded KC STEMinists — a program that helps girls apply technology to entrepreneurial and global issues. In 2017 she was featured by Ink Magazine as one of Kansas City's "30 under 30" and traveled to Malawi, Africa, on a sponsorship by the United Nations "Girl Up" campaign.
• Greg Dagnan, once employed by Silver Dollar City on the Fire in the Hole roller coaster and now Chief of the Carthage Police Department. He's also served as executive director of a non-profit agency that investigates child abuse and has been a patrol officer, a traffic officer, a DARE officer, an SRO, and a criminal investigator.
• Kevin Bracker, a longtime finance professor whose students recently won first at a regional competition. He's a competitor himself: he has completed numerous races ranging from 5K to 100 miles.
• Mark Lehman, a pastor, who with his wife, Sarah, has grown their church from 30 attendees in 2,000 to averaging 525 in 2017, and wrote a sabbatical policy eventually adopted by churches across Kansas.
• Mitzi Peña, a senior at Pittsburg State who soon will graduate with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Originally from Mexico City, she has a passion for educating, inspiring, and advocating for social issues and plans to start a scholarship program for immigrant students in low-income families.
• Hank Cloninger and Kolleen Gladden, president and vice president of the Pittsburg State student body for the 2016-2017 academic year, who have been campus and community change-makers and leaders both separately and together.
• Sandra Main, an advocate for self-care who is a licensed masters level psychologist and mother of four. She is passionate about helping people to realize their own power and potential.
• Dr. Michael Simmons, who has been in private practice in the Four States for more than 25 years and has served on several national healthcare committees, the President's Physician Advisory Coalition, and as medical director for several health insurance companies.
• Harold Wallace III, the assistant director of Student Diversity Programs at Pittsburg State, who was a first-generation college student from Los Angeles, California. He navigated his way through college with very little help, and now serves as advisor for Black Student Association, Native American Student Association, and Hispanics of Today to help students of color matriculate to and through college.
Tickets will be available for $10 each and the audience is limited to 100 in accordance to TEDx guidelines. Free watch parties will be set up around campus using livestream for those who would like to watch but are unable to attend.
A total of 55 tickets will be available for students, faculty, and staff. Those tickets will be sold start at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 26 in the Pittsburg State Ticket Office in the Weede Gymnasium. Ticket buyers are limited to one ticket per person, and Pittsburg State IDs are required.
A total of 25 tickets will be available for community members. Those tickets will be sold starting at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 27. Ticket buyers are limited to two tickets per person.
An additional 20 tickets have been reserved for use as complimentary tickets for speakers and their families.
Watch parties will be hosted in Ballroom A and Sunflower Room in the Overman Student Center so that people can watch via livestreams. The rooms will open at 5:30 p.m.; the event will start at 6:30 p.m. No tickets are needed for the watch parties.
About TEDx, x = independently organized event
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, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for theTEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Monica Lewinsky, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.
TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.