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Shattering your expectations



NC State Grad | Scientist | Activist


Over the last three years, Cody has acted as a Mental Health Ambassador (MHA) with the Counseling Center at NC State working on peer-to-peer education to spread awareness about mental health issues and concerns. During his tenure as an MHA he saw a gap in mental health awareness for graduate students and took on the challenge to be an advocate for his community. For the last three years, Cody has had the opportunity to speak at conferences, Board of Trustee meetings, with the Chancellor and Deans of many Colleges to spread awareness about the stressors present in graduate school and why they should care about the wellbeing of their graduate students’ mental health. Originally from New Jersey, Cody has been attending NC State for close to a decade, receiving his Bachelors and Masters, before moving on as a Ph.D. Candidate in the Fiber and Polymer Science Program in the Wilson College of Textiles, working in the Textile Protection and Comfort Center here at North Carolina State University.

Community Member | Humanitarian | Activist


With a background in integrated, community-led approaches to address global health inequities, Brianna is a passionate advocate for women’s rights and climate action. At TEDxNCState, Brianna will examine the intersection of feminism and environmentalism and proposes that advocates for gender equality are natural allies to the movement for climate action.  Currently, Brianna is a global health professional serving as the Director of Training, Engagement and Prevention at InterAct, Wake County’s only provider of comprehensive services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Brianna worked in New York City for The Hunger Project, an international development NGO committed to ending hunger and poverty, and before that, she worked in rural health clinics in Honduras, Panama, and Kenya. Brianna has her B.A. in Religious Studies from Bucknell University and her M.P.H. in Global Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Musician | Actor | Creator

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Deborah’s niche: the intersection between design and disability. Deborah’s passions for both design and disability justice have driven her work in Industrial Design at NC State for the last few years. As a disabled designer herself, she is in just the right position to understand the need for designers, creators, and professionals that will seek out disabled expertise. Universal design—design that is meant to work for everyone—is the bar set for design right now, but she wonders: how much farther can we go if the process to create these things is inclusive, too?

Entrepreneur | Academic | World Traveller


Jennifer is the Director of Student Learning and Faculty Development for NC State Entrepreneurship.  She develops and delivers classroom content, mentors entrepreneurship students and presents at entrepreneurship and innovation events around the world.  On the side, she mentors faculty interested in entrepreneurial thinking and consults with organizations on developing entrepreneurial mindsets within their employees.  She completed her MSM at NC State, specializing in New Product Development and Technology Commercialization. Jennifer has worked with entrepreneurial organizations for over 20 years and has been involved with entrepreneurship education since 2001. As part of NC State Entrepreneurship, she has been a leader in building the NC State Entrepreneurs Garage, the Albright Entrepreneurs Living and Learning Village, an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship general education academic program, and many complementary events and activities.  This work has helped produce businesses that have received national media attention, accepted millions in investment dollars and generated hundreds of new jobs. Both she and her husband are native North Carolinians, and currently live with their rescue dog in Chatham county.

Dancer | Writer | World Traveller

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Hailing from Raleigh, Jeremy is studying computer science with a minor in Spanish. In this performance, Jeremy tells the story about how he fell in love with dance and how it changed his outlook on life. From auditioning for Fusion Dance Crew with no prior dance experience, to staging his own team performance, he learned the value of looking at his passions in a new light. In the midst of graduate school application season, he discovered that the same lessons he was learning in dance also applied to academics: it was simply about being present.

NC State Grad Student | Entrepreneur


As the owner of Sankofa Farms, a 12-acre farm launched through a USDA Farm Service Agency’s Direct Farm Ownership loan, Kamal works to improve food policy throughout the triangle. This agriculture-based program aims to improve the perception of both STEM and agriculturally related professions through the exposure to agricultural technology while improving financial independence, career readiness and nutrition literacy. From introducing students to high level farming techniques to managing twelve beehives, the farm has garnered both national and local attention from Forbes Magazine, The News and Observer, and Earth Eats. Kamal also acts as the project director for the Black North Carolina Youth Pipeline to Food & Agriculture-Driven Health Improvement project and is a member of the Durham Food Justice design team. Currently a doctoral student at NC State in the Agriculture Extension Education program, Kamal holds a B.S. in animal industry/animal science, and a master’s degree in agricultural education from NC A&T State University.

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Former NFL manager turned serial entrepreneur and investor, Reed has quickly become a

leader in the rapidly growing influencer marketing space. Best known for his role as business manager

to YouTube stars Mr. Beast, Preston, and Typical Gamer, Reed’s brainchild, Night Media, is now the fastest growing digital talent firm of its kind, looking for innovative ways to influence youth and create opportunities for its clients to launch brands within industries like physical merchandise, gaming, toys, beauty and so much more. Bringing social influencer innovation to the nonprofit sector, Reed currently serves on the advisory board of InspireMore, a community-driven organization dedicated to igniting hope and inspiring passion. Reed’s hand in influencer marketing spreads across interdisciplinary fields. The goal? Proving that digital media is the wave of the future, and that future is now.


He’s been seen on Masters of Illusion on the CW Network, FOX TV’s Masterchef, ABC News, FOX

Morning News, NBC News, and is a previous TEDx alumni known for his talk “Why The World Needs

Magic Now” (TEDx Raleigh 2012). When not performing or speaking at events, Shaun is a trusted creative consultant for one of the world’s premiere and most respected magic brands, Paul Harris Presents. Shaun is part of an exclusive team that helps shatter reality on a daily basis, helping to create some of the most cutting edge illusions that shape magic across the globe.


Passion. Openness. Intuition. All fervent attributes of Thomas, a self-published author from Crozet, Virginia. Currently studying Horticulture at NC State, his primary passion is poetry. As an outlet to discuss the trauma of severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, Thomas published his first poetry collection, growth, at age 17, documenting his struggle and recovery from trauma. Thomas plans to continue sharing his words with others, using his artistic talents to raise awareness for the need to accept mental disorders and decrease social stigmas.

NC State Undergrad Student | Artist | Poet

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“Shattered” is a turning point: a reflection, a revelation, and innovation. From fractured shards, we find new growth. Shattered is rebirth, allowing us to see the past in broken reflection, and from it, forge a new and better reality. 

TEDxNCState will give voice to these possibilities. Through stories of trials and triumphs, we’ll take a look at compassion and its strengthening power. We’ll discuss identity, and how personal growth stems from self-understanding. TEDxNCState will inspire big questions about sustainability and the impact of the individual, as well as challenge popular methods and the status-quo. 


“Shattered” invites us to find solace in the shared human condition and celebrate our unique experiences.  Thank you for accepting that invitation and supporting our event; hearing what shattered means to us but also finding a meaning of your own.

February 21, 2020 | 6:30pm-10:30pm | Titmus Theatre


A creative movement & aerial arts community, Cirque de Vol offers inspiring classes that go beyond nurturing just your physical fitness, providing opportunities for growth, empowerment and mental clarity. Two of Cirque de Vol’s talented performers, Alissa and Arika are excited to showcase their skills at TEDxNCState 2020. 


Alissa’s primary apparatus is the Lyra, but she enjoys playing on the trapeze and silks as well. Her journey into aerial arts began with pole fitness, but after her first Lyra class, she was officially hooked. She feels at home in the Lyra and loves introducing others to its magic. When she’s not hanging out in her hoop, you can probably find her on her yoga mat.


Arika moved to Raleigh to study at NC State after being recruited by a cheerleading coach. She cheered and did gymnastics for over 9 years of her life and spent 3 years learning hip hop and jazz dance. While at NCSU she was introduced to aerial arts and started her aerial journey with Cirque de Vol.

Blaine Carrick

An independent game developer from Raleigh, Blaine is pursuing a degree in Computer Science from NC State. With 6 years of experience in self-taught programming, Blaine has created a new digital universe and characters to change the user experience. Alpha Vale, Blaine’s most notable work, is a Minecraft universe that works to manipulate current functions right from the command line. While creativity may be a complicated thing to harness, Blaine has found new ways to design elements that no-one has ever imagined before by placing self-imposed limits that spark creativity.

NC State Undergrad | Game Developer

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Rody Hawkins

With more than 32 years of experience in the food industry, Dr. Rody Hawkins has developed and implemented new food products for two of largest food companies in America: Oscar Mayer Foods, currently a division of Kraft-Heinz, and ConAgra Foods. For Oscar Mayer, Dr. Hawkins created the concept and product known as “Lunchables,” a product described by Kraft Marketing as the most innovative new product developed by Kraft over the past 30 years. In 2015, Rody and his team founded Improved Nature, a plant-based protein company. Improved Nature’s proprietary process turns plant protein into all-natural plant-based meat alternatives that provide the same taste and texture consumers desire.

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Janie Manning

As an active working luxury jewelry designer, she studied Clothing and Textiles at Florida State University. She is passionate about history, the arts, and design. Using her skills she applies knowledge of flat pattern designs by converting ideas into metal 3-dimensional jewelry designs, using silver and gold. Janie sources production assistance in the USA that keeps the integrity of the jewelry at a high level of quality and authenticity in the basketry art she creates. She is responsible for introducing new designs and seeing them through the production process. Manning travels frequently to meet with jewelry stores, museums shops and art galleries for both sales and marketing events. Her husband and two daughters support the endeavor along with her sister, who provides invaluable time and assistance in exploring new designs, production techniques, and sales opportunities

Community Partners

Community Partners

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