2015 talks

  • The Container Globe - a Punk Reimagining of Shakespeare's Theatre

    Angus Vail

    In the Globe theatre in 1599, Shakespeare's new plays were performed big, bold, up-close and personal, and the boisterous audience were all ...

    In the Globe theatre in 1599, Shakespeare's new plays were performed big, bold, up-close and personal, and the boisterous audience were all part of the action. The Container Globe is a modular, mobile reimagined version of the original Globe, built from shipping containers.
    Angus Vail is a rock music business manager, who developed an annoyingly expensive Shakespeare addiction in his 20's, and from a desire to make the arts cheap and available for anyone, built the "ArtBloc" performance and art space from repurposed shipping containers.

  • The Death of Literature

    Jody Azzouni

    Reading is declining everywhere. Surprisingly, this is because of cognitive and biological reasons. It's a cultural shift of enormous magnitude--essentially the death of several art forms. ...

    Reading is declining everywhere. Surprisingly, this is because of cognitive and biological reasons. It's a cultural shift of enormous magnitude--essentially the death of several art forms.
    Jody Azzouni is currently professor of philosophy at Tufts University. He's published many articles and several books in philosophy, most recently, "Semantic Perception: How the illusion of a common language arises and persists." He also publishes short stories and poems regularly in literary magazines such as Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and many others.

  • Valuing the physical quest in an increasingly virtual world.

    Justin Fornal

    As new technology presents us with more and more virtual ways to experience the world, there are seemingly less reasons to ...

    As new technology presents us with more and more virtual ways to experience the world, there are seemingly less reasons to get one’s hands dirty. With all that one could desire being just a finger swipe away, we are missing out on the challenges of the journey that gives the destination its value. In the quest for one’s personal Holy Grail, the quest often turns out to be greater than the Grail itself. Where has that quest gone?
    Anthony Bourdain has described Justin Fornal as “a showman, iconoclast, explorer and gourmet.”, while John Waters described his style as “postmodern Little Richard.” Since traveling to Vietnam as a young man to seek out and document the world’s rarest condiment, ca coung (the thoracic exudate of the giant water bug), Fornal has been on an impassioned explorer’s journey to uncover, experience, and share the world’s vanishing cultural traditions. Whether being buried alive in a Haitian Vodou ritual, attending an arms market qat chew in Yemen, or transcribing the contents of sacred jini oil in Zanzibar Fornal lives his research 24/7. 5 years ago he created the Annual Bronx Small Game Dinner which introduces guests to indigenous protein sources.

  • Makerhoods: Creating Economic Opportunity through Communities.

    Avi Telyas

    The war on poverty has been lost, at least in its mission to increase self-sufficiency, primarily because the built environment ...

    The war on poverty has been lost, at least in its mission to increase self-sufficiency, primarily because the built environment was not designed for self-employment. From the earliest mill towns to today’s metropolis, cities are designed for wage employment with distinct employment and residential zones. Makerhoods.org was founded to reduce this barrier by constructing urban work/live and mixed use developments specifically designed for low to moderate income entrepreneurs. Coupled with a business development support system, a Makerhood community is structured to offer meaningful self-employment for an urban population with few alternate opportunities for work.
    Avi Telyas is an American real estate developer, serial entrepreneur and pioneer in lean manufacturing and large scale modular construction. His passion for architecture and craft entrepreneurship has led him to found the organization called Makerhoods, an organization which advocates for urban land use policies that foster self-employment and self-sufficiency through affordable working and living space for low income urban entrepreneurs. Mr. Telyas is a 1986 graduate of the Harvard Business School and a former trustee of Pratt Institute.

  • Freedom of Fashion: Dress Codes and Sartorial Liberty

    Nathaniel Adams

    Dressing is a function as basic as eating or drinking and, in the right conditions, putting together an outfit can be as pleasurable and ...

    Dressing is a function as basic as eating or drinking and, in the right conditions, putting together an outfit can be as pleasurable and rewarding as cooking a good meal or mixing a good drink. We value our right to dress as we please and bristle at dress codes that tell us what we can and can’t wear. Yet in our increasingly globalized and multicultural world people’s sartorial choices and traditions come into conflict, and clothes become as potent a source of contention as words. From freeing the nipple to banning the burqa, the arguments over values, identity, equality, and liberty can revolve around clothes in a profound way. Can (and should) there be true sartorial liberty?
    Nathaniel Adams is a writer and menswear designer living in downtown Jersey City. He is the co-author, with photographer Rose Callahan, of I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman, and the co-founder, with Dr. Lee-Jon Ball, of the Secret Empire custom suiting firm. An expert on the topic of dandyism, Nathaniel has spoken at New York University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, the National Arts Club, and Disneyland. His has written for The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Journal, The Rake, and The Chap, and is currently writing a biography of 19th-Century champagne magnate Charles Heidsieck as well as a second volume of I am Dandy.

  • The Crazy History of Quantum Mechanics

    Leonard Mlodinow

    Everyone knows quantum mechanics is crazy and mysterious. What they don't know is that the history of it's discovery is ...

    Everyone knows quantum mechanics is crazy and mysterious. What they don't know is that the history of it's discovery is just as odd as the theory. Physicists spent decades chasing strange clues about the atomic world before finally deciding they had to completely alter the way think about the universe. This unfamiliar road often led to self-doubt, and turmoil and disputes among some of the worlds most brilliant thinkers. This journey into the unfamiliar ultimately echoes the path we all take as we navigate the many opportunities and decisions that make up the story of our own lives.
    Leonard Mlodinow is an award winning author and physicist holding a PhD in theoretical physics from UC/Berkeley. Mlodinow is the author of 9 books, five of them bestsellers: The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules out Lives, Subliminal: How our Unconscious Mind Rules our Behavior, The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time both co-authored by Stephan Hawking, and War of the Worldviews written with Deepak Chopra. He also wrote for numerous television series, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and MacGyver.

  • Virtual Reality and Theater: Simulacra and Simulation

    William Cusick

    Theater has evolved, adapted and transformed to embrace new technologies for over 2,500 years. Virtual Reality, as both concept ...

    Theater has evolved, adapted and transformed to embrace new technologies for over 2,500 years. Virtual Reality, as both concept and technology, has been rapidly developing for the past 50 years and is now approaching a tipping point of accessibility. As the tools of VR creation become readily available to theater artists, questions emerge: How does a live performance medium wield VR as a storytelling tool? What are the possibilities for a wired audience? Can a simulation of live theater, outside of the live performance space, transcend its own theatricality? The histories of these two art forms are fundamentally connected and suggest many ways forward into the unknown.
    William Cusick has written and directed two feature films, both highly stylized combinations of live action and animation: Pop Meets the Void, and Welcome to Nowhere (Bullet Hole Road). Cusick’s video projection designs for theater, music and dance have been featured in productions around the world, on Broadway and as representative of American Theater Design in the 2011 Prague Quadrennial. Cusick received the 2007 Henry Hewes Design Award for Projection Design for The Coast of Utopia on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater. Cusick is on faculty at The New School in New York City where he teaches creative technologies and filmmaking at the School of Drama.

  • Pizza, Glowsticks, Coffee and Creativity, A Recipe For Good.

    Vicki L. Meloney

    Being a design educator, there is a responsibility to help students realize that graphic design has the power to make a positive ...

    Being a design educator, there is a responsibility to help students realize that graphic design has the power to make a positive change in the world. For the past 10 years the Communication Design department at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, hosts an annual Designathon. For 24 hours student volunteers, faculty and alumni forego a full night's sleep to donate their time and talent to create pro-bono design work for area non-profit organizations. This highly charged event allows students, staff, and alumni to work together in a creative and fun environment all while giving back to the community. Although many organizations host similar events, Kutztown University’s Communication Design department has created a recipe for hosting a Designathon extravaganza, that turns traditional service learning into a highly anticipated, incredibly fun, much talked about event.
    Vicki L. Meloney is an award winning graphic designer and full-time Professor at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. She received her MFA from Temple University and has worked in the greater Philadelphia area for more than a decade before becoming a tenured Faculty member. In addition to teaching, Vicki owns and operates a freelance design business where she focuses her enthusiasm and design skills on the development of creative visual communications for local non-profits, small start-ups and the community at large.

  • Investing for a Better World: Utilizing Wall St. for Social Change

    Jenny Coombs

    Why occupy when you can unify? Steering society with the help of the stock market is not a new concept, but in an age where money...

    Why occupy when you can unify? Steering society with the help of the stock market is not a new concept, but in an age where money dominates the world, it is important to see investing as an instrument for change. There are two powerful ways to accomplish this…and neither way requires having a personal banker or a finance degree.
    Jennifer N. Coombs is a stock analyst by day, and an artist by night with a passion for guiding individuals on making wise investment decisions. After nearly a decade of experience in the financial world, Jennifer is currently an economic contributor for The Street and Seeking Alpha, and recently founded her own firm, GradMoney, which develops education programs for investing strategies specifically for young adults and novice investors.

Talks

2015 TEDxJerseyCityWomen

  • The Interview

    Inés García

    Inés is a bilingual actress. She currently plays the role of María Teresa in “In The Time of the Butterflies” at the Spanish Repertory in NYC.

    Inés is a bilingual actress. She currently plays the role of María Teresa in “In The Time of the Butterflies” at the Spanish Repertory in NYC Last fall she performed in Theater Mitu’s Juárez at the Rattlestick in NYC and at the LATC in LA.

  • Walang Títulos

    Jennifer Armas

    Jennifer is an interdisciplinary performance artista, writer, and community worker from Queens, New York. Her work centers around …

    Jennifer is an interdisciplinary performance artista, writer, and community worker from Queens, New York. Her work centers around telling stories of diaspora.

  • Finding Justice in the Land of the Free, Beyond Baltimore

    Dr. Ellis Williams

    How can we work collectively for equality in a diverse democracy, i.e. a “just culture”? This talk will explore the challenges …

    How can we work collectively for equality in a diverse democracy, i.e. a “just culture”? This talk will explore the challenges associated with race, class, power, fear and rage through the lenses of an “outsider” immigrant, woman, and urban mother, and try to offer practical solutions for building coalitions and community.
    Dr. Ellis-Williams is the Chair, African/African-American Studies, Director of the Lee Hagan Africana Studies Center and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University. She is the Vice Chair for the board of New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, a Minister at Bethany Baptist Church, in Newark NJ. Antoinette is author of Black Gardenias: A Collections of Poems, Stories, & Saying From A Woman’s Heart, producer, director and writer for documentary Lee Hagan: Connecting Generations and Scarf Diaries: A Play About Women, Life and Entanglements. Other research interests include work on Immigrants in the African Diaspora; Urban Politics; Youth, Women and Empowerment; Social Justice and Race, Civil Rights; Immigration; Cultural Diversity and African American Male Issues. Ellis-Williams graduated from Seton Hall, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology; the University of Pittsburgh, Master’s of Public Administration and graduated from Cornell University, Ph.D.

  • The Link Between Social Justice and the Environment

    Morley Kamen

    Morley performs all over the world, and had the distinct honor of presenting at TEDWomen. Her song “Women of Hope” …

    Morley performs all over the world, and had the distinct honor of presenting at TEDWomen. Her song “Women of Hope” (video by Damani Baker “Still Bill”) has been featured in Nobel Women’s Initiative documentaries and has brought her before many world leaders and policy makers. She has performed for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Ban Ki-moon, Mary Robinson, and Ela Gandhi. She has written, collaborated, and shared the stage with such distinguished artists as Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Toshi Reagon, Richie Havens, Robert Wilson, Raul Midón, Amadou et Mariam, Joan Wasser, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Queen Latifah, Angélique Kidjo, Sarah McLachlan, Max Roach, Wynton Marsalis,Joan Wasser, Manu Katche and Cassandra Wilson.

  • Women of the Tenement

    Annie Polland

    A recent New York Magazine article claimed that women who opt out of careers in order to stay home and raise children are “reclaiming …

    A recent New York Magazine article claimed that women who opt out of careers in order to stay home and raise children are “reclaiming the domesticity of their grandmothers.” But were all grandmothers and great-grandmothers domestic in the sense implied in the article? This talk examines the working class women of the Lower East Side tenements, where domesticity called for a heated engagement with the business and political worlds. This engagement is brought into relief during the 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott, when immigrant mothers rioted on the streets in their quest for affordable kosher meat. Join us as we delve into the boycott, looking at both the perspectives of the leaders as well as women who ran butcher shops, and attempt to examine the impact this political engagement had on future generations.
    Annie Polland is the Senior Vice President for Programs & Education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where she oversees the development and ongoing improvement of all Museum interpretive programs. She is the author, with Daniel Soyer, of Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration (NYU Press), winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award. She received her PhD in History from Columbia University, and previously served as Vice President of Education at the Museum at Eldridge Street.

  • Senses,”an excerpt from one-woman show “Kookspeak”

    Summer Dawn Hortillosa

    Playwright, director and actress Summer Dawn Hortillosa performs “Senses,” the grand finale and soul of her zany one-woman show “Kookspeak,” featuring four monologues from the mouths of kooks.

    Playwright, director and actress Summer Dawn Hortillosa performs “Senses,” the grand finale and soul of her zany one-woman show “Kookspeak,” featuring four monologues from the mouths of kooks. Her one-woman show and its parts have been featured in the So Low Theater Festival, Tachair One Act Play Festival, Digable Arts Festival, Tri-State Arts and Music Festival, Jersey City Land of the Freeform Festival and as an opener for Grammy- and Tony-nominee Reg E. Gaines’s “The Last Celebrity.”
    Award-winning playwright Summer Dawn Hortillosa is the co-founder and director of 68 Productions, an independent theater company committed to creating diverse works about and by people of color for all audiences. Her work explores millennial romance, magic, racial equality, feminism, social justice and other themes. She is a recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education and the Lavina Kohl Permanent Career Award in Literature from the Society of Arts and Letters-NJ. For more information, visit summerization.wordpress.com

2014 talks

  • Breaking the Gender Binary: Transgender Youth Explosion

    Margaret Nichols, Ph.D.

    Not long ago children who insisted they were the ‘other’ sex were so rare that they were known only to a few clinics around the world …

    Not long ago children who insisted they were the ‘other’ sex were so rare that they were known only to a few clinics around the world specializing in childhood ‘Gender Identity Disorder.’ Now, they are in the news regularly, supported by their parents and winning law suits against school districts to use the bathroom of their choice. In this talk I explain the difference between transgender children and those who are gender nonconforming or gender fluid, why we’re seeing so many of them now, and the changes they are making in our culture. Finally, I’ll describe why we all should care, not only for the sake of these children – but for the sake of ALL our children. All those who care about gender equality and freedom of self-expression need to become allies and advocates for transgender kids.
    Margaret Nichols, Ph.D. is a psychologist, sex therapist, and Executive Director of the Institute for Personal Growth, a psychotherapy organization she founded in 1983 with offices in Jersey City, Highland Park, and Freehold New Jersey. Among many other specialties, IPG has always worked with sex and gender diverse people, including the LGBT community. Dr. Nichols has been active in community mental health for many years, helping to start one of the first shelters for victims of domestic violence in the 1970’s and the Hyacinth Foundation, New Jersey’s largest HIV support and service agency, in 1985. She is a frequent speaker on LGBT issues and author of many articles and papers on LGBT sexuality. Her current primary clinical areas of interest include transgender and gender nonconforming young people. Under her leadership. IPG has worked with and advocated for hundreds of ‘TGNC’ kids as young as age 4 as well as their parents and families.

  • Feminist Porn: Shifting Our Sexual Culture

    Olivia Tarplin

    Feminist pornography has evolved from its beginnings of female porn icons and sex-positive academic feminists. It seeks to both address existing …

    Feminist pornography has evolved from its beginnings of female porn icons and sex-positive academic feminists. It seeks to both address existing issues of sexism within the mainstream porn industry as well as create new spaces and paradigms for pornography that challenge mainstream tropes. It also strives to create fair and favorable working conditions for performers. Through these many changes, feminists’ relationship with porn has shifted from battles over what pornography reveals about structures of power to experiments in what pornography can change in structures of power.
    Pornography has become the way that people learn about sex. It has become the new sex education, as actual sex-ed is scarce and highly limited. By depicting authentic, non-scripted, diverse representations of men, women, and genderqueer people, feminist pornography has the potential to sexually educate and sexually reorient the public and thus revolutionize sexual relationships.
    Olivia Tarplin is a Jersey City native who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies with a concentration in Gender and Media Studies from The New School in 2014. Her research has centered around issues of gender, politics, sexuality, media, and specifically pornography. Focusing on the thriving industry of feminist pornography, she has spent the past 2 years studying how experiments in feminist porn can change the widespread sexual culture and how porn made ethically can act as a new and improved way to educate the masses about sex. In keeping with these interests, during her time in college she co-designed new and innovative ways to teach sex-positive sex/health education, and implemented these strategies by leading sex education workshops in Freshmen classrooms around campus. She currently works in New York City in the non-profit world.

  • Stripping Away Negative Body Image

    Lillian Bustle

    Studies have shown that the media’s portrayal of women’s bodies has a severely negative impact on the self-image of women and girls. But what about …

    Studies have shown that the media’s portrayal of women’s bodies has a severely negative impact on the self-image of women and girls. But what about seeing positive images of women? Actor and Burlesque performer Lillian Bustle grew up battling body shame and harassment that colored her view of the world and her own worth. This performer’s immersion in the New York Burlesque scene and her resulting paradigm shift inspired her to delve into ways women can experience their own bodies in new and affirming ways. In this talk, Lillian discusses self-esteem, risk-taking, and diversity, and offers practical techniques for destroying self-negativity.
    Lillian Bustle is an actor, singer, burlesque performer, and gleeful loudmouth about body love. Although her first burlesque performance was in 2012, she made her nightclub debut at the age of 14 as a singer in a drag show. She’s been covered in glitter and boas ever since. Influenced by body-positive activists like Jes Baker and bodacious women like Bette Midler, Lillian busts through societal boundaries about size and beauty. She hopes to help people of all shapes and sizes celebrate in their own skin.

  • Mapping the Mind

    Colleen Mills Finnerty

    Brain science is changing how we think, about how we think. In the last 20 years this field has undergone enormous change and technological innovation.

    Brain science is changing how we think, about how we think. In the last 20 years this field has undergone enormous change and technological innovation. As a member of the Rutgers Mind-Brain Analysis Lab, Colleen conducts cutting edge research on how brain networks support decision making in humans. This research has shed light on how simultaneously efficient and biased our decision making can be. In today’s complex world, we are constantly bombarded with information, and constantly making decisions. In addition to discussing her research, Colleen will translate the lessons she has learned from her 8 years analyzing the brain into cognitive strategies for coping with our “Brave New World.“
    Colleen Mills-Finnerty holds a M.A. degree in Psychology and is a 5th year Ph.D. student. Her research has been published in academic journals such as Neuroimage. She is a Mortimer D. Sackler Institute Fellow, and her work has been presented at over a dozen national and international academic conferences.

  • The Will of Opportunity: The Path of Autism to College

    Kerry Magro

    In the next decade over 500,000 individuals will reach adulthood with autism. For many of those who are less severely affected with autism, …

    In the next decade over 500,000 individuals will reach adulthood with autism. For many of those who are less severely affected with autism, a social and communication disorder, a post-secondary education will become a strong possibility. In this talk, you will hear from Kerry Magro a 26-year-old adult who was nonverbal at 2 and a half and diagnosed with autism at 4 who has just recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Strategic Communication and Leadership from Seton Hall University and today is a national motivational speaker.
    In Kerry’s talk he will discuss his experiences navigating education, creating a path both, to and through, college. This will include time management, managing independence, advocating for your needs and much more! Above all, Kerry will share how there is a great deal of potential for those with autism to thrive in college and give other examples of individuals who are doing it today.
    Breakthrough Autism Self-Advocate Kerry Magro knew early on that he was special. Kerry was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), a form of autism, at age 4. Growing up, he dealt with many difficulties in regards to sensory integration, motor problems, overall social interaction and communication delays. After being re-diagnosed at 5, Kerry’s future was very uncertain.
    Today however, after countless hours of therapy and the support of a loving family, Kerry has conquered many of his challenges. Now 26 years old, he has completed his Masters in Strategic Communications at Seton Hall University. Along with this Kerry is also a columnist for Autism after 16, a life coach, motivational speaker, and an aspiring writer.
    In July 2013 Kerry released his first book, “Defining Autism from the Heart” based on his life on the spectrum. In 2012 he finished consulting on his first motion picture project in Joyful Noise, which made 30 million domestically and is now currently working on the indie-film “Jane Wants a Boyfriend.” He also recently founded a Non-Profit Organization focused on post secondary scholarships and advocacy for the disabled community.

  • Crowdfunding Today, Tomorrow, Together

    John T. Trigonis

    Ever since the Statue of Liberty, crowdfunding has been bringing people together in unprecedented ways. Most recently, this phenomenon of …

    Ever since the Statue of Liberty, crowdfunding has been bringing people together in unprecedented ways. Most recently, this phenomenon of online fundraising has reignited a sense of possibility and an empowering belief that each one of us has the potential to do remarkable things; whether it means bringing to life a hip new restaurant or producing the next Sundance darling, that’s entirely up to us.
    John T. Trigonis, author of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign, will demonstrate how we the people are contributing to the creation of the bravest new world yet, and he will also impart a few insider tips and tactics to enable you to bring to light that one thing you’re passionate about making a reality.
    Writer, independent filmmaker, and renowned crowdfunding expert John T. Trigonis has mentored thousands of filmmakers, storytellers, and other creators worldwide to help them craft compelling crowdfunding campaigns that not only reach, but oftentimes exceed their online fundraising goals.
    Trigonis also literally wrote the book on Crowdfunding for Filmmakers after running his own Indiegogo campaign for his eighth short film Cerise. Through a well-wrought campaign that put to practice his “Three Ps of Crowdfunding,” he surpassed his fundraising goal, then enticed his crowd again independent of a platform to raise thousands more to submit Cerise to film festivals. The advice offered in Crowdfunding for Filmmakers has not only proven useful to creatives, but also to those raising funds for everything from setting up a local restaurant to gaining awareness for personal or social causes. Marketing firms have even cited the book as the go-to guide to learn about proper social media engagement, which truly is the heartbeat of a successful crowdfunding experience.
    After spending a few years as a private crowdfunding consultant for a number of creative projects on various platforms, Trigons was brought on board Indiegogo’s film team as its head specialist and now works behind-the-scenes on some the most successful film and video campaigns like Gosnell, Miles Ahead, Life Itself, and many other top-dollar projects, all while continuing to nurture his own creative multimedia projects.

  • The Little Station That Could: Story of WFMU

    Gaylord Fields & Therese Mahler

    WFMU-FM is the longest running and most renowned freeform radio station in the United States. It broadcasts at 91.1 FM in Jersey City, NJ, right across …

    WFMU-FM is the longest running and most renowned freeform radio station in the United States. It broadcasts at 91.1 FM in Jersey City, NJ, right across the Hudson from lower Manhattan. Rolling Stone Magazine and The Village Voice have both called WFMU “the best radio station in the country” and the station has been the subject of feature stories in The New York Times and on the BBC. In recent years the station has gained a large international following due its online operations and counts Simpson’s creator Matt Groening, film director Jim Jarmusch and Performance Artist Laurie Anderson, among others, as devoted fans. All of the station’s programming is controlled by individual DJs and is not beholden to any type of station-wide playlist or rotation schedule. Experimentation, spontaneity and humor are among the station’s most frequently noted distinguishing traits. WFMU does not belong to any existing public radio network, and close to 100% of its programming originates at the station. WFMU’s programming ranges from flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to rock and roll, experimental music, 78 RPM Records, jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, gospel, exotica, R&B, radio improvisation, found sound, spoken word collages and much more.
    Gaylord Fields, a Jersey City resident, has hosted and programmed his freeform music show on WFMU for more than two decades. He is also a journalist and editor who has written about music and popular culture for Rolling Stone, Spin, AOL Music, and Time Out New York, among other print publications and websites.
    Therese Mahler has been a WFMU host and programmer since 2008. She once won $1550 in the Cash Cab. She lives in Jersey City.

  • Street Math

    Laura Overdeck

    Math isn’t just for the engineers and scientists out there. We all need number sense to make decisions in regular daily life.

    Math isn’t just for the engineers and scientists out there. We all need number sense to make decisions in regular daily life. We’re bombarded with information, but we fail to put those numbers together usefully – and that leads us to make both small mistakes and big ones. See how simple street math shines light on the worst problems that we allow to continue in our society and in our own personal lives – and how being a little math savvy can turn them around.
    Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is the founder of Bedtime Math, a nonprofit that helps kids love math like playtime or dessert. Over 50,000 kids and parents enjoy Overdeck’s wacky nightly math problems online and in her two books, with the third book launching this coming March. Having garnered press in TIME Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and others, Bedtime Math has now launched Crazy 8s Club, a hands-on after-school math club for elementary-school-aged kids. Thanks to the free kit, schools and libraries have started more than 1,600 clubs serving over 25,000 kids, making it already the biggest after-school math club nationwide for grades K through 5.
    In addition to being a social entrepreneur, Overdeck is Chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation, which supports math/science education reform. She is also Vice Chair of the Board of Liberty Science Center, and serves on the boards of Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and Governor’s School of New Jersey. She holds a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.

  • Friends in Dark Places: How Creativity Can Connect Us

    Emily Helck

    How can we make sense of devastating life events? How can we begin to rebuild? When Emily Helck was diagnosed with cancer at 28,…

    How can we make sense of devastating life events? How can we begin to rebuild? When Emily Helck was diagnosed with cancer at 28, she embarked on a series of creative projects, which illuminated the cancer experience for her, and over a million others.
    Emily Helck is a writer and artist living in Jersey City. Her prize-winning nonfiction has been published by ABC News, the Huffington Post, and the Jersey City Independent. She holds a master’s degree in literature and creative writing from Fordham University.

  • Changing our cities with cloud-based companies

    Jay Shapiro

    For hundreds of years people have gathered in urban city centers to be closer to work, leading to lives filled with increased traffic,…

    For hundreds of years people have gathered in urban city centers to be closer to work, leading to lives filled with increased traffic, property prices and stress. Empowered by internet technology, a new way of working called “Cloud-based Companies” may reverse those trends, making work something you “DO”, not somewhere you “GO”. This has broad reaching implications for urban planners, municipal governments and elevator repairmen.
    Entrepreneur, adventure traveler and professional envelope pusher, Jay Shapiro looks at how digital innovations can change the global face of business…and then does it.
    In 1999, on the 10th anniversary of the birth of the World Wide Web, Jay Shapiro launched “BLUE”, one of the first dedicated web marketing agencies in Asia. From this third-floor walk-up apartment converted into a makeshift start-up office would grow into one of the largest digital marketing agencies in the world. Leveraging the power of online collaboration and remote teams in those early days opened Jay’s eyes to the potential for creating companies that exist entirely in the cloud.
    Jay has become a thought leader in the area of remote work and cloud-based companies through his many ventures including AppMakr, which despite being the largest mobile app publisher in the world has no physical offices, anywhere.

  • Jazz Improvisation as a Model for Radical Collaboration

    Jim Kalbach

    The business world today is undergoing transformative change wrought on by internetand hyper connectivity.

    The business world today is undergoing transformative change wrought on by internetand hyper connectivity. Thought leaders refer to our present day as the “Connected Age” or the “Age of Empathy,” among other things. With this, all of the basic questions of organization and management are back on table. Teams need to shift their mindsets and adopt new modes of working together.
    Luckily, jazz improvisation provides a rich metaphor for us to follow in this brave new world. Four key attributes lead to a type of “radical collaboration” found in jazz: empathy, humility, embracing uncertainty and following patterns. As a result, a jazz ensemble is an example of a perfect learning machine, a self-healing organism ready to recover from just about anything thrown at it.
    To demonstrate the basic principles of jazz improvisation and how they can relate to radical collaboration in business, this talk will feature a live performance with musicians from the area.
    Jim Kalbach is a designer and business consultant with over 18 years of experience in online services and software. He holds a degree in music theory and composition from Rutgers University, where he also studied information science. A seasoned instructor, he has taught many courses, workshops and seminars on a variety of topics.
    In Hamburg, Germany, where he previously lived for 15 years, he was the founder of an active jazz combo. Jim arranged most of their songs, including several concept projects such as jazz for children. Since returning to NJ in Sept 2013 Jim has joined the local jazz scene in Jersey City, primarily via the jam session at the Brightside Tavern. Jim is an active speaker, writer, and instructor on strategy, web design and information architecture. He is the author of best-selling book Designing Web Navigation (O’Reilly, 2007). Jim blogs at www.experiencinginformation.com and tweets at @jimkalbach.

  • The Misnomer of Disability in the Work Environment

    Nati Amos de Huerta

    Disability is a generic term to represent a broad spectrum of diametric facets of quality of life however it bares no distinguishing measurements.

    Disability is a generic term to represent a broad spectrum of diametric facets of quality of life however it bares no distinguishing measurements. As a result, it has developed negative connotations that damage and disrupt the integrity of people that are considered as such. It cuts through race, gender, and class. People who are disabled are often patronized, and seen as less-than. They are allowed to exist as a source of instant gratification, existing as a cautionary tale that perpetrated the arduous realization of being treated as separate but never equal. To most, being considered disabled is often the lowest form of insult in comparison to any other factors. The language that is used to qualify them is often complacent and looks to validate their existence. It works to pacify the perception of acceptance to those who are uncomfortable with the notion that they can be presented as compatriots. Therefore it does more harm than good, because it reinforces the notion that people with this label are a blight on our society and should be held in contempt or at best, pitied. This prevents the admittance to being openly apart of society primarily in the workforce, and therefore causes society to lose a significant wealth of knowledge and experience by disregarding them. Despite having these limitations, people with disabilities are not only earning higher degrees, but are often earning an array of them, notably in the hard sciences. This natural propensity and ingenuity to do things different, is what makes them valuable to any workforce. What is seemingly lacking in the eyes of most, is greatly compensated by the resourcefulness and opulence they bring to all aspects of their life and the lives of people around them.
    Natalia Amos De Huerta is a biochemistry graduate of Roosevelt University now living in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Molecular Biology. Amos was born with an extreme congenital disorder that left her with 1/3 of a face and disfigured hands, but not without plenty of spunk. She has been in various medical publications and given lectures to physicians regarding bedside manner over two decades of surgeries. She seeks to be a bridge between the medical community and people with non-science backgrounds to aid them in giving more knowledge to people that would otherwise be heard with deaf ears. In her off time she tutors science education. Outside of the science realm, she is an accomplished dancer and sideshow starlet who has performed internationally, but is most well recognized for her appearances with Coney Island’s “Sideshows By The Seashore”, through laughter, education and charm Nati hopes to show through her talk that someone’s appearance or physical traits should never override their intelligence and qualification for a paying job.

  • Why You Should Care: The Human Trafficking Footprint in the U.S.

    Ryan L. Brooks

    As the fastest growing illegal business in the world, human trafficking has profound influences here in the United States.

    As the fastest growing illegal business in the world, human trafficking has profound influences here in the United States. Through sympathetic understanding and awareness, both socially & legally, the average American can positively impact what has become the worst human right violation, slavery.
    Ryan Brooks is a third year law student at Rutgers School of Law – Newark. His academic focus, both as an undergraduate and law student, has been international law, legal and political theory, and global policy. Ryan recently worked for the Rutgers International Human Rights Clinic, with a specific focus on issues pertaining to human trafficking. Mr. Brooks is currently pursuing positions as an international legal consultant. He is currently a J.D.Candidate at Rutgers School of Law-Newark.

  • Documenting History: Life & Reproductive Rights

    Christopher Englese

    Weaved with personal stories that influence his political and artistic endeavors, ‘Documenting History: Life and Reproductive …

    Weaved with personal stories that influence his political and artistic endeavors, ‘Documenting History: Life and Reproductive Rights Through a Lens’ discusses the power of documentary filmmaking and social activism on public policy affecting women’s reproductive rights.
    Christopher Englese is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and visual creative with a talent for words and storytelling. While earning his Master of Philosophy degree he moved overseas to complete his dissertation. Christopher’s overseas work includes production for the BBC, BBC Radio 1 and Black Camel Pictures. After spending several years in Europe he was eager to get back to New York City and continue his passion of making authentic films that challenge social norms. Christopher has since developed shows for major networks, completed his first feature and has proudly contributed to award-winning documentaries, broadcast work for companies such as MTV, TLC, The History Channel, Discovery, ABC and advertisements for major brands and Broadway productions.

  • Honor Diaries

    Janice Kovach

    In this talk Janice will speak up about a movement to raise awareness and break the silence impacting women and girls around the world, including here in the United States.

Honor Diaries shines light on an opportunity to expose the political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing certain human rights issues. Until society is educated and women are given a voice there will continue to be violence against women and girls. In the words of Malala Yousafzai “They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came thousands of voices. Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”

Janice Kovach won election as Mayor of Clinton NJ in November 2011. She was sworn in to a four-year term on January 2, 2012. Janice’s decision to run for Mayor was two-fold. She loves the Town of Clinton and wanted to play a role in how the town was going to move forward. She brings her business savvy approach to municipal government. Her second reason came after watching the results of the 2010 midterm elections and how women were portrayed by the media and other women. She realized that until women became part of the decision-making process and “had a seat at the table”, they would forever be under-represented. Janice spends volunteer time training and mentoring women who want to run for office, giving them the resources necessary to play in the political arena.

Previously, Janice had been appointed Director of the New Jersey Division on Women in August 2006 and served until September 2010. As the former Director, Ms. Kovach was a member of the New Jersey Commission on the Status of Women, Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, Governor’s Advisory Council Against Sexual Assault, Governor’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, Gender Parity Council and the NJ Commission on Women Veterans. Prior to joining state government, she was a Councilwoman in the Town of Clinton, serving as the Planning Board Liaison, Chair of the COAH committee and the Historic Preservation Commission. She resigned her Town Council seat when she assumed the Director’s job of the Division on Women. Janice has, in addition to her role as Mayor, taken the passion for her work at the Division and parlayed it into a non-government role. At various events Janice speaks about the “Real Women in NJ”. She tells their stories, what drives their passions and their hopes and dreams – using these stories to inspire other women. Janice reminds women that they are phenomenal individuals and every day ordinary women do extraordinary things. She continues to speak about empowerment and works with women’s organizations and individuals to assist women interested in public participation, whether civic, government or political. Encouraging women to use their voice to drive public policy.

As a resident of Clinton, Janice served as a Trustee of the Red Mill Museum Village and President and Trustee of the CPS Partners in Education Foundation, Inc. In October 2004, she was appointed to the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and served until May 2010. Janice is a Leadership NJ Fellow – class of 2009. She was appointed to the Hunterdon County Polytech School Board in March 2011 and served until October 2013. Janice served various boards including Girl Scouts Heart of NJ and the Women’s Heart Foundation. She continues to serve as a member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, executive board member and chair of the education & training committee of the NJ Women’s Political Caucus, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ and recently joined the Global Advisory Board for Honor Diaries Janice has worked as a consultant for several companies. Previously she was a Director with Prudential, managing a 24 X 7 call center and a Marketing Project Management Group. She has also held management positions with Fleet and NatWest Banks. She has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Thomas Edison State College. Follow Janice on twitter @janicekovach and read the many articles she shares about women in politics, government, business and academia.

2013 Talks

  • Jersey City rail and the industrial economy of New York harbor

    TIMOTHY WHITE

    Tim White is a resident of downtown Jersey City, an urban historian, and a History professor at …

    Tim White is a resident of downtown Jersey City, an urban historian, and a History professor at New Jersey City University. In his research, he looks at the regional economy of cities, most recently with a focus on Jersey City and the economy of New York Harbor. He is also a walking tour guide, a faculty leader for study abroad, an avid theatergoer, a community theatre actor, and a member of the Historic Paulus Hook Association.

  • Step Up Your Art – Creating Honest Art for Today’s Youth

    BENEDICTO FIGUEROA

    Benedicto “Broken English” Figueroa is a self-taught writer, actor, poet, and stage performer. In 2012,…

    Benedicto “Broken English” Figueroa is a self-taught writer, actor, poet, and stage performer. In 2012 Figueroa was named Poet Laureate of Union City, NJ. He is also the Host and Slam-master of Jersey City Slam which he founded in 2009. He’s headlined shows at The Howl Festival, Bowery Poetry Club, The Carlos Williams Carlos Foundation, and led workshops and classes at Pace University, Montclair University, Rutgers, William Patterson University, Saint Peters University, and numerous grade schools and high schools across New York and New Jersey. “Broken English” was most recently published in Instigatorzine, Lamplighter Magazine, the Jersey City Independent, and the anthology Solo Para Locos..

  • CONTEMPORARY SUPERHUMANITY

    DR. SETH ADVENTURE

    Dr. Adventure has been studying biotechnology since age 9. After attending school for biomedical …

    Dr. Adventure has been studying biotechnology since age 9. After attending school for biomedical engineering and prosthetic fabrication he began filing for patents and set up the New Flesh Workshop. He received his first patent in 2011 for an Electromagnet based Artificial Muscle Actuator. The New Flesh Workshop creates custom aftermarket modifications for prosthetics and orthotics, wearable technologies and high impact armor systems.

  • A place to play

    Caley Vickerman

    The Guerilla Haiku Movement is a Public Art Experience that has traveled to over 40 cities across the country since April of 2011, …

    The Guerilla Haiku Movement is a Public Art Experience that has traveled to over 40 cities across the country since April of 2011, joining communities in spontaneous interaction and dialogue through the creative, succinct and powerful use of haiku. Actor and Educator, Caley Vickerman, otherwise known as the Haiku Mistress, is the founder of Guerilla Haiku. A certified teacher in NY State, she has over 12 years of classroom experience both as a full-time classroom teacher, and as an art educator consulting and leading workshops in-and-out of schools at all grade levels. As a performer she has trained and worked in interactive performance models, engaging audiences in the act of storytelling. Her passion for experiential education and interactive performance, and deep commitment to community dialogue, keeps her seeking for the perfect tool at the intersection of these subjects. Guerilla Haiku is the ultimate manifestation of her journey thus far.

  • We the people – using the power of citizen science

    Michelle Anne Luebke

    Michelle has over ten years of experience leading adults and high-school students through creeks and natural areas,…

    Michelle has over ten years of experience leading adults and high-school students through creeks and natural areas, teaching about science and the environment, and managing aquatic ecology monitoring programs. She earned her Honors undergraduate degree in Zoology and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin in 2000 and advanced degrees from the University of Georgia in Geography (emphasis in fluvial geomorphology) and Conservation Ecology & Sustainable Development in 2006 and from New York University in Environmental Conservation Education in 2013. Michelle was first inspired by the power individuals possess to promote change while serving as an Environmental Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and became passionate about Citizen Science while running a watershed monitoring program in California. She currently teaches “The Nature of New York” at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and manages a Citizen Science program at NYU studying local estuaries with urban youth.

  • Finding your voice – the necessity of singing

    Katie Kat

    Katie Kat is an Entrepreneurial Opera Recitalist with a Masters in Classical Voice Performance from New York University.

    Katie Kat is an Entrepreneurial Opera Recitalist with a Masters in Classical Voice Performance from New York University. She was a 2012 NYFA Artist as Entrepreneur Bootcamp Scholar, and can be seen producing operatic performances for nontraditional venues such as; bars, clubs and conventions, as well as performing at such venues as Lincoln Center and with the Off Broadway show Speakeasy Dollhouse. She will make an appearance on the science channel’s Oddities promoting her storytelling adaption of Dvorak’s Rusalka. Her operatic roles include; Dvorak’s Rusalka (Rusalka), Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (Marcellina, Countess) and Cosi Fan Tutte (Despina), Kurt Weil’s Street Scene (Anna Maurrant), Menotti’s The Telephone (Lucy), Purcell’s Dido and Aneas (Belinda)and The Fairy Queen (Night, The Plaint). Her graduate thesis recital; Always, and other recital performances are available for hire. Current projects include a Victorian Cabaret recital project and an album of international lullabies.

  • How neuroscience is challenging punishment

    CARL ERIK FISHER, M.D.

    Carl is a graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he was a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow in …

    Carl is a graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he was a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow in the Division of Brain Stimulation and Therapeutic Modulation, studying ways of modifying human brain function with both non-invasive stimulation and surgical intervention. He has received the Rappeport Fellowship from the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law and the Laughlin Fellowship from the American College of Psychiatrists, and he has been named a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar and a New York State Office of Mental Health Policy Scholar.

  • Let’s make games

    Jay Boucher

    Jay Boucher is a visual artist and interactive designer working in Hoboken, NJ. He specializes in illustration and game design to …

    Jay Boucher is a visual artist and interactive designer working in Hoboken, NJ. He specializes in illustration and game design to create entertaining experiences on-line. He teaches game design and digital literacy at schools in northern NJ.Jay spent much of the 2000′s as Sr. Designer for MTV.com, designing sites for shows like Pimp My Ride and the Real World, as well as full site designs for MTV2 and MTV Tr3s. He has worked for Hearst Digital and Condé Nast and freelance clients include Mercer MMC and Westwood One Radio Network. He currently makes interactive childrens games for the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.Jay holds a BFA in Illustration from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in Photography & Related Media from School of Visual Arts, NYC.Visit his portfolio at jayboucher.com and his blog at Hobokenpudding.com

  • The love of science — Mission Youth

    Robert O’Donnell

    In Robert O’Donnell Jr.’s Jersey City classroom, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders get hands-on science experience as they work to transform an abandoned local reservoir into an urban oasis and environmental learning center, educating the wider community in the process.

    Through O’Donnell’s commitment to increasing scientific literacy, Project Reservoir has become a nationally recognized program that has helped boost achievement at Christa McAuliffe School–PS 28, where about 75% of students are Hispanic and about 83% are considered economically disadvantaged. Before and after school, students can be found feeding mosquito-eating fathead minnows, culturing paramecia, maintaining 20 breeding tanks, analyzing data and modifying team prototypes.

    The aquaculture room, in fact, has become a field-trip destination for other schools, and Project Reservoir has partnerships with many organizations, including the Reservoir Preservation Alliance, St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, the Concordia Learning Center, St. Peter’s University, numerous public schools (P.S. #8, P.S. #25, Academy 1, P.S. #30) within Jersey City, and the Newark Museum—which O’Donnell persuaded to donate three 500-gallon fish tanks.O’Donnell’s classroom is a respectful, caring, collaborative place where he conveys high expectations of all. With the door always open to students and parents, he maintains a classroom website that has had more than 19,000 hits and a YouTube channel of past projects with more than 23,500 views. Former students return often to benefit from O’Donnell’s continued mentoring. He is known for his sensitivity to students at risk, who go on to become successful college students.His dedication to science education has resulted in improved test scores: More than 83% of O’Donnell’s eighth-graders pass the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge science exam each year, outperforming the state average.

    During the 2012-13 school year his students won more than $56,000 in savings bonds from science competitions. O’Donnell, who has taught for 11 years and holds an M.A. in the teaching of physics, also coaches volleyball, basketball and track, and his teams have won numerous district championships.O’Donnell is also a generous mentor to student teachers and to peers throughout the district who want to make Project Reservoir part of their science programs. He collaborates with other district educators and conducts presentations to colleagues on educational technology and hands-on science instruction. He is coordinator of PS 28’s science fair and has represented PS 28 for events at the national level, including in 2013 when Project Reservoir were finalists in the U.S. Army’s CYBERMISSION, Siemens We Can Change the World, and the Lexus Eco Challenge, in 2012 when Project Reservoir won a Grand Prize in the Disney Planet Challenge and in 2010 when the school was named a finalist for an Intel Schools of Distinction Award for its STEM activities. As one administrator put it, Robert O’Donnell Jr. “serves as a model of excellence for the teaching profession.”

  • Making friends with your microbes

    Kevin Spyker

    Kevin Spyker is a Certified Healing Foods Specialist based in downtown Jersey City. His focus is to help us unlock the powerful …

    Kevin Spyker is a Certified Healing Foods Specialist based in downtown Jersey City. His focus is to help us unlock the powerful potential of the human body to regenerate and thrive by incorporating nutrient-dense meals and ancestral methods of preparation. Having studied the diets of indigenous cultures from around the world, Kevin now shares this intrinsic wisdom to broaden our perspectives about what we eat.With his community project known as Culture Den, Kevin and his partners connect consumers to local, sustainable food sources, and teach them how to prepare meals for optional nutrition. Beyond personal counseling and workshops, Culture Den is a resource for do-it-yourself strategies that reduce household toxins and wasteful packaging. They demystify our microbiome, the web of symbiotic life-forms within us. Discover how traditional fermentation creates “living foods” that bolster our immune system. By understanding the role of these microbes in our bodies, sourcing high quality foods, and detoxifying our homes, we can learn to achieve and maintain vibrant health.