TEDx comes to SIU

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Report

SIU will be hosting a TEDx Talk on Jan. 25 which will feature several speakers including SIU students and alumni.

The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Student Center. These talks are designed to spark conversation about heavily debated topics in the nation. 

According to the TED Talk website, a TEDx Talk is a showcase of speakers who present well-informed and well-researched ideas, usually under 18 minutes. 


The speakers and topics of discussion that will be presented at the event are as follows: 

Bianca Adams-Gaston 

Adam-Gaston will talk about how a person can achieve greatness despite having a disability. 

Adams-Gaston presented her research when she attended graduate school at Lindenwood University. 

Adams-Gaston has Cerebral Palsy and hopes to use the SIU TEDx platform to debunk popular myths surrounding CP and people with disabilities. 

Mohammadreza Jalaeian 

Jalaeian is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in Philosophy in Learning Systems & Design Technology at SIU. He will be speaking about how artificial intelligence will bring change to on-the-job training. 


Kombe Kapatamoyo 

Kapatamoyo is pursuing a doctoral degree in Philosophy & Health Education at SIU. She believes her experience as a graduate assistant helped to instill in her the importance of sharing ideas through public speaking. 

Kapatamoyo’s presentation will be about unmasking one’s true self and being authentic about who you are. 

Felicia Kimbrough 

Kimbrough is a board certified Nurse Practitioner and Terrier Care Provider at Carbondale Community High School.

Kimbrough wants to help educate parents and young adults about the importance of consent, coercion and sexual violence. 

Walter Metz 

Metz is a professor of film studies in the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts at the university. 

Metz’s TEDx Talk is focused around re-inventing film criticism to find a middle ground. Metz has given over 100 academic conference presentations. 

Jeff Punske 

Punske is an assistant professor of Linguistics at SIU and his talk will be centered around the future of science and space travel. 

Punske will present examples of how language has changed from the past and how humans might adapt to change. 

Punske believes a change would be necessary if humans ever came into contact with extraterrestrial life forms. 

Sienna Walaszek

Walaszek is currently studying philosophy at SIUC and is deeply passionate about self-cultivation and reconnecting with the inner child.

Walaszek has a huge interest in sustainability and the natural world, such as caring for the Earth and all of its beings. 

Walaszek also teaches preschool at Rainbow’s End and she is an environmental educator at Touch of Nature. 

Travis Washington

 Washington was a former graduate student at SIUC and is heavily involved in advocacy work and action in the Carbondale community. 

Washington proposed the bill “Hands Up Act” which would sentence police officers to 15 years in prison for shooting unarmed civilians.

See More: ‘Hands Up Act’ would punish police for shooting unarmed citizens

Melinda Yeomans 

Yeomans has her PhD. in Communications Studies and is a certified high school Language Arts and Speech teacher. 

Yeomans will use her years of teaching experience to discuss how teachers can reform the way they teach students. She believes this can be accomplished by sharing wisdom. 

 Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached at [email protected]

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