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TEDxNCState 2021


Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

At TEDxNCState, we are proud to continue upholding our mission of helping to spread our communities innovative, empowering ideas to a broader audience. Through stories of agility and acceptance, we’ll look at the outcomes of moving forward. We’ll explore innovations that have the potential to revitalize our communities and look inward at how we all can do our part. At a conference like never before, this year Talks will be released via live viewing parties to encourage discussion and networking after the event. Thank you for helping us to elevate the voices of our community members and giving them a chance to change your perspective.

What is GESTALT?

Originating as a 19th century sub-field of psychology, gestalt as an idea has evolved into widespread application. In a nutshell, it echoes the adage of "the whole is more than the sum of its parts." For our TEDxNCState speakers this year, their talks reflect this big-picture principle, creating new ideas from disparate pieces of experience and knowledge. Although our 2021 talk format will be very different this year, we hope to illuminate our local communities with these ideas, creating new connections previously unseen like  constellations in the night sky.





Bradly Allf

"How predatory academic journals endanger science"

Bradley Allf is an award-winning science communicator whose work can be seen in publications such as the Smithsonian, Scientific American, Undark and Atlas Obscura. Bradley is proud of his accomplishments in unearthing academic fraud: publishing the plot of the tv series Breaking Bad in a peer-reviewed scientific journal to learn about disinformation and epistemology. When he’s not working on his dissertation on public engagement in science at NC State (or trolling duplicitous research journals) he enjoys mountain biking, rock climbing and seeking out wild landscapes in unexpected places.


Chasta Hamilton

"You Weren't Built to Break"

Chasta Hamilton believes the performing arts can change the world, and she's on a mission to make it happen. As the owner and artistic director of Stage Door Dance Productions, Chasta is reinventing the dance education model by focusing on character development and community involvement in addition to technique and performance attributes. This journey is detailed in Chasta's inaugural book: Trash The Trophies: How to Win Without Losing Your Soul. She is the founder and president of the nonprofit, Girls Geared For Greatness, and the founder and former editor of The Dance Exec. A 2007 Park Scholarship Alumna of NC State University, Chasta was also recognized by the Triangle Business Journal as a 2014 40 Under 40, and in 2016, a Women in Business, Future Star. Proud to call North Carolina home, Chasta lives in Raleigh with her husband John, and their Scottish terrier, Elvis. John and Chasta  are eagerly anticipating the debut of their greatest production to date: the arrival of their baby boy this spring!


Lindsay Wrege

"How to Make Things Better with Diversity Equity and Inclusion"

Lindsay Wrege is the co-founder and CEO of 321 Coffee, a coffee shop focused on neurodiversity inclusion. What started as a side project during her undergraduate career quickly grew as Lindsay discovered her talent for entrepreneurship. 321 Coffee now employs over 20 individuals of all abilities at a permanent shop at the North Carolina Farmers Market, with plans to expand throughout Raleigh. Her passion for inclusion stems from her personal experience growing up surrounded by people with disabilities, seeing first-hand what they’re capable of followed by the lack of opportunity available to them. Lindsay believes in the power of using business for social impact and continues to advocate for adults with disabilities. She is currently studying Business with a concentration in Entrepreneurship at North Carolina State University. In her free time, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her friends and family and finding adventures.


Chris Hayes

"Leaving a Legacy: The Realities of Conducting Research in Complex Areas"

Chris Hayes is an entomology PhD. student with his M.Sc. in Global Health from Duke University (2020). He is a driven young researcher committed to improving the world around him one interaction at a time. He has spent the past several years working in remote parts of South East Asia, helping to empower communities to participate in ongoing health-focused research, and is currently preparing to begin new research in Africa. He plans to spend his life investigating the intersection of humans and insects, and will build lasting relationships along the way.


Alex Kim

"Online political debates can be toxic. Does it have to be this way?"

Alex Kim is the founder and CEO of Crowdsolv, an online crowdsourcing platform that democratizes how we solve the toughest challenges facing our communities, our businesses, and our world. Before launching Crowdsolv, Alex was a consultant in Deloitte’s Government and Public Services practice in Washington, DC, working on projects ranging from improving narcotics interdiction to thwarting identity thieves. An avid musician, Alex founded Musical Empowerment at NC State, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing instruments, mentorship, and free weekly music lessons to those who would not otherwise have access to them. In his free time, Alex loves to hike, ski, and play with his dog, Chalupa. Alex holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from NC State University and currently resides in Denver, CO.


Susan François

"The Waves of Life"

At 15 years old, Susan François dual enrolled in classes at NC State. Eight years later, she realized that she had lost her forward momentum. Her life moved on, complete with a career in computer science and familial ups and downs, but she never forgot the Pack. She returned in Spring 2020, 38 years after her first courses, with the naive expectation that her 130 credit hours already completed would allow her to graduate in one semester. But the game has changed. She'll now be graduating in May '21 with a B.S. in Science, Technology and Society. Once one of the youngest in her classes and now one of the now the oldest, come and learn some of the wisdom this “non-traditional student” has gained for handling the waves life smacks you with and be inspired to retake control over your forward momentum.


Mike Iskandar

"My Other Car is a Time Machine: A Journey Back to Self Compassion"

Mike Iskandar is on a mission to help the world overcome the silent struggle of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression that strikes far too early in childhood and lasts far too long into adulthood. He is the founder of Time Travel Journeys, a self development program that guides participants on an exploration of the best qualities of their past and future selves, and how those qualities can uplift who they are today. Mike’s journey began in the year leading up to his 40th birthday, when he responded to some of life’s biggest questions (“Where did the time go?!" … "Who am I?" … "What legacy will I leave behind?”) by interviewing 40 people from ages 1 to 40 about what it’s like to be the age that they are. This unique journey of self discovery revealed an unconventional path to self compassion that is now helping children and adults to understand and appreciate who they were, who they are, and who they aspire to be.


Victoria Augoustides

"Innovation From Our Local Disposal"

A fervent believer in fresh perspectives and sustainable biological solutions, Victoria Augoustides has been the lead researcher on the Pig and Pines project, a research initiative based on the idea of adding value and remediating waste products of pine and swine production in North Carolina. Her work seeks to use pine bark as a tool in mitigating the odorous compounds and toxic byproducts affiliated with hog cultivation. The origin of the Pig and Pines project was a desire to connect a contribution in the agricultural bioprocessing field with her two identities: one globally-rooted in South Africa’s capital and the other tied to her hometown in the pork BBQ capital of the Southeast. Victoria has been an active member in the engineering and academic communities for the last 6 years, supporting and consulting with makers, startups, professors, fellow students, and local businesses in implementing interdisciplinary ingenuity and new angles in their problem-solving approaches. Outside of academia and Zoom classes in her Raleigh apartment, Victoria enjoys gardening with her 50+ houseplants, exploring the greenways of the Triangle, and recreating the world around her on canvas.


Savannah Hauk

“Demystifying the Feminine Crossdressing Experience”

Detroit-born Savannah Hauk is an author, podcaster and advocate, living a confident, visible and successful male-to-female crossdressing life. Her eLit award-winning Living with Crossdressing book series is written to demystify and destigmatize the dual gender experience for both crossdressing men and their loved ones. Savannah also co-hosts the weekly The Fox and the Phoenix Podcast, reinforcing the same positive and inclusive message of gender identity and expression. Through a lifetime of experience and research, Savannah understands the many reasons men crossdress, the struggles and fears they face, and the weight of the crossdressing labels they accept but may not truly understand. When Savannah isn’t working or advocating, she loves the MCU, rebuilding LEGO sets from bulk bricks, and goofing around with her girlfriend and two fur babies.

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