Notre Dame to host TEDxUND on Feb. 27

Author: Sue Ryan



The University of Notre Dame will present TEDxUND 2015, featuring a diverse lineup of speakers that includes a modern-day artisan, a youth poet, the mayor of South Bend and many others, exploring the topic “What if …,” on Feb. 27 (Friday) in the Patricia George Decio Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Designed to showcase the ideas and talents of the Notre Dame community in engaging 12-minute presentations, TEDxUND presenters were chosen from a pool of more than 130 applicants, and include current undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students, faculty members, alumni and community members, including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Elected in 2011 at the age of 29, Buttigieg is America’s youngest mayor of a city with more than 100,000 residents. He is president of the Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus and serves on the board of the Truman National Security Project. A lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, he spent most of 2014 on leave from the office while deployed to Afghanistan.

Notre Dame alumnus Brian Snyder, executive director of digital for the Americas region at Golin in Chicago, will emcee TEDxUND 2015.

Scheduled speakers and their topics are:

Session 1 (Final speaker order in session to be determined):

  • Benjamin Sunderlin, graduate student, Lafayette, Indiana: “What if we remade the Liberty Bell?”
  • Edithstein Cho, alumna, Roseville, Minnesota, and Deandra Cadet, undergraduate student, Newark, New Jersey: “What if stories do change the world?”
  • Jackson Jhin, undergraduate student, Houston: “Understanding electronic sound.”
  • Julia McKenna, community member, South Bend, Indiana: “If hands were just for holding … and other ‘what ifs’ from a teenage poet.”
  • Pete Freeman, undergraduate student, Culver, Indiana: “What if ‘thank you’ were more than two trite words?”
  • Prashan De Visser, graduate student, Wattala, Sri Lanka: “Counter the radicalization of youth.”
  • Rev. David Link, professor emeritus of law, South Bend: “Breaking the cycle of crime.”
  • Susan Jackson, alumna, Butler, Pennsylvania: “Creating collaboration from contentiousness — How ISSF is working to improve tuna stock sustainability and transforming adversaries into advocates along the way.”

Session 2 (Final speaker order in session to be determined):

  • Mark Doerries, postdoctoral student, Newport News, Virginia: “What if children led our communities?”
  • Katie Mattie, alumna, Ypsilanti, Michigan: “What if Iron Man were a woman?”
  • Dustin Stoltz, graduate student, Florence, Montana: “Can we cooperate without trust?”
  • Grace Agolia, undergraduate student, Massapequa Park, New York: “Deaf child area: Reconciling the worlds of silence and sound.”
  • Alesha Seroczynski, research associate in the Program of Liberal Studies, Dallas: “What if juvenile offenders met Aristotle?”
  • Brittany Ebeling, Lakeville, Minnesota, and Garrett Blad, North Liberty, Indiana, undergraduate students: “What if … we got uncomfortable?”
  • Paul Blaschko, graduate student, Mankato, Minnesota: “Learning how to read minds.”
  • Pete Buttigieg, community member, South Bend: “What does it mean to be the next South Bend?”

TEDxUND will be held in two live sessions. Session 1 will take place from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Session 2 will run 4 to 7 p.m.

Admission to TEDxUND 2015 is free, but tickets are required. Applications are being accepted online through Feb. 3 (Tuesday) with 300 seats available for the live event. Attendees will be selected by lottery.

More information is available online at

About TEDx, where 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. TEDxUND strives to re-create the unique experience found at TED, where the world´s leaders, thinkers and doers congregate to share what they are most passionate about.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It started in 1984 as a conference that brought together people from three worlds: technology, entertainment and design. Since then, its scope has become ever broader, including two annual conferences: the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, each summer. TED also now includes the award-winning TED Talks video website. For more information, go to

Contact: Paul Van Ness, event organizer, 574-631-1873,

Originally published by Sue Lister at on January 20, 2015.