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TEDx 2017 speakers
Speakers for TEDxDePaulUniversity on April 18, 2017: Back row, left to right, Mariela Shaker, Doris C. Rusch, Rachel Pride, Nelly Mueller, Elisabeth "Biz" Lindsay-Ryan, Jeanne Williams, front row, left to right, Jameson Dixon Jr., Brian A. Thompson, Tom Rietz, Julia DiGangi, Kelly Richmond Pope. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
For the second year in a row, TEDxDePaulUniversity inspired more than 130 attendees and provoked important conversation within the DePaul community through the theme "Courage to Connect."

Attendees of the April event called the talks "powerful," "eye-opening," "revealing," "empowering," "thought-provoking," and "diverse." In less than one week of being posted online, taken together, the talks have been viewed more than 25,000 times on YouTube.   

The speakers, which included faculty, staff, students and alumni, spoke on a wide-range of illuminating topics from race and privilege to connection and hope. Each speaker spoke from a place of experience, sharing stories of hardship, difficult conversations, scholarship, and even war, making each talk personal and impactful.

Here is a list of the 10 talks from TEDxDePaulUniversity 2017

Julia DiGangi │The Art and Science of Suffering
Through her work with torture survivors, combat veterans, bereaved parents and orphans, DiGangi has become intimately acquainted with the many faces of suffering. The DePaul alumna shares what she has learned about various forms of suffering and coping strategies in her talk, "The Art and Science of Suffering." Watch >>

Jameson Dixon │ The Power of Self-Connection
Drawing on his lived experiences, Dixon aims to help others connect with the world around them through empathy, openness and conversation. The Career Center staff member discusses this in his talk: "The Power of Self-Connection." Watch>>

Biz Lindsay-Ryan │ Why We Need to Talk to Our Children about Race and Difference
Lindsay-Ryan is an adjunct faculty member, trainer and consultant who is passionate about helping educators and parents navigate the difficult discussions with children, which she addresses in her talk "Why We Need to Talk to Our Children about Race and Difference." Watch>>

Nelly Mueller │ Careening Out of Complacency
Mueller grew up with three siblings who were adopted from Ethiopia, and understanding the communication patterns when discussing race, privilege, and the way it is talked about in America became imperative. The DePaul alumna shares what she has learned from her unique experiences in her talk: "Careening Out of Complacency." Watch>>

Rachel Pride │ Courage to Disconnect
In her talk "Courage to Disconnect," Pride - who is also a student at DePaul - emphasizes the impact we can have on our community if we simply take a break from our phones to serve those around us, especially those less fortunate. Watch>>

Kelly Richmond Pope │ Why Do We Hate Whistle-Blowers?
Pope is an accounting professor turned documentary filmmaker who teaches accounting through the lens of fraud and film. In her talk, "Why Do We Hate Whistle-Blowers?" she touches on the lessons learned from some of the nation's most high-profile whistle-blowing cases. Watch>>

Tom Rietz │ I Grew up in Poverty. Here's Why I Recognize My White Privilege
As a child, Rietz saw first-hand what it was like for children of all backgrounds in the foster care system. Deeply affected by the experience, it has shaped how he sees the world today, which he discusses in his talk: "I Grew up in Poverty. Here's Why I Recognize My White Privilege." Watch>>

Doris Rusch │ Why Game Designers Are Better Lovers
Rusch's work as a faculty member is focused on the theory and practice of creating games that model the "human experience" and focus on mental health issues. Her expertise as a game designer opened her eyes to a new theory, which she discusses in her talk titled, "Why Game Designers Are Better Lovers." Watch>>

Mariela Shaker │ A Story of Hope from the Syrian Civil War
Shaker is a graduate student and an accomplished Syrian violinist who escaped the war in Syria after receiving a music scholarship to Monmouth College in 2013. Unable to return back home, she applied for asylum in the United States. Through it all, her passion is to deliver a message of peace and love through music, which she demonstrates in her talk and performance, "Healing Through Music: A Story of Hope from the Syrian Civil War." Watch>>

Brian Thompson │ Connecting Young Minorities to Their Future Selves
As a young college student, adjunct faculty member Thompson faced academic challenges and fought to find his direction until an internship on the floor of Chicago Board Options Exchange changed everything. His experience there launched into a finance career in conjunction with his entrepreneurial pursuits, which he discusses in his talk: "Connecting Young Minorities to Their Future Selves." Watch>>

To view a list of all the talks visit For more on information about the event visit