TEDx Buffalo 2017 Speakers

Dr. Kush Bhardwaj

Dr. Kush Bhardwaj

Hip Hop as a tool for education.

Dr. Kush Bhardwaj is a professor of African American Studies at the University at Buffalo and the Assistant Director of Admissions at Medaille College. A distinguished educator, he has received three Milton Plesur awards for excellence in teaching. Dr. Bhardwaj has taught at all levels, ranging from elementary school to college. Much of his teaching has focused on transforming lives through the study of race, gender, and social issues. He is the founder of the class “Hip Hop and Social Issues” at the University at Buffalo.

Robert Collier

Robert Collier

Business cards are dead.

Robert James Collier is the Founder of Entrepreneurs Dinner where he helps entrepreneurs overcome the #1 obstacle facing their business while enjoying delicious 4-course meals served by private chefs, bartenders serving your favorite drinks and an intimate dining experience at gorgeous, private residences. Robert enjoys traveling around the world and practicing meditation.

Jaclyn McKewan

Jaclyn McKewan

What libraries can offer people today.

I live in Lancaster, New York, with my husband, dog, and three cats. I have a Master’s Degree in Library Science and I work at the Western New York Library Resources Council, a non-profit organization. In my spare time I write, cook, design websites and create YouTube videos.

Ayla Abiad

Ayla Abiad

What is it like to be Syrian in 2017.

Currently residing in Buffalo, New York, Architect Designer Ayla Abiad was born and raised in the Syrian capital of Damascus before moving to the U.S in 2009 to seek a higher educational degree. Today Ayla holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture, with specialization in Sustainable Urban and Natural Environments from the University at Buffalo, and is a key member on a variety of successful projects in WNY thanks to her experience in the architectural design of education and transportation facilities.

Today Ayla is an active Syrian community member in Buffalo and a volunteer since 2010 with the International Institute to help refugees and Syrians who have just arrived in the United States. Remotely she also works closely with both local and international organizations in Syria; Caritas Syria and Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Damascus, to help children affected by the civil war.

Dr. John Atkinson

Dr. John Atkinson

My Challenge for Buffalo: How to Live Sustainably.

Dr. Atkinson is an Environmental Engineering professor in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His teaching and research interests focus on Air Pollution Control and Sustainability. John is a passionate Buffalo transplant, excited to engage with both his students and his community.

Dr. David Schmid

Dr. David Schmid

Violence: As American as apple pie.

Originally from England, I am a Professor of English at the University at Buffalo. I teach classes on popular culture, literature, and cultural studies. I have published widely on a range of subjects, including violence, celebrity, and crime fiction.

Matthew L. Schwartz

Matthew L. Schwartz

If you are hungry then we feed you.

Matthew L. Schwartz, MBA is a graduate student at the University of Buffalo, presently pursuing his Masters of Social Work. Founder of the Food Gnomes, Matthew believes the answer to individual, communal, and social liberation lies in the intersectionality of ethical and responsible business practices and Social Work.

Chris Fritton

Chris Fritton

50,000 miles, 130 print shops, 20,000 prints, countless experiences.

Chris Fritton is the former Studio Director of the Western New York Book Arts Center. A poet, printer, and fine artist, Fritton has over a decade of experience writing, printing, and making his own books, in addition to collaborative efforts with other authors and artists. Currently Fritton is working on a brand new project called The Itinerant Printer, where he plans to visit over 130 letterpress print shops in the US & Canada throughout 2015-2017.

Christopher Culp

Christopher Culp

Sexual education should de-center reproduction to be inclusive.

Christopher is a philosopher, educator, and clarinet player whose research focuses on the intersection between existentialism, sound studies, and queer theory. He is currently a sexual health educator providing safer sex workshops, LGBTQ+ Youth Empowerment trainings, and outreach on PrEP, PEP, and HIV/AIDS research. An enthusiastic teacher, he has taught kindergarten through college, including multiples years at summer camps and adjuncting at Trocaire College, University at Buffalo, Villa Maria, and D’Youville College. He holds an MA in Philosophy of Art and an MM in Clarinet Performance, with a focus on 20th and 21st century performance art and music.

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