University Events

Published on February 15th, 2022 | by University of Mississippi


Eight Speakers Slated for 2022 TEDxUniversityofMississippi Event

Presenters will address theme of ‘New Avenues’ during in-person forum at Ford Center

Eight exciting speakers will explore ‘New Avenues’ in the arts and sciences for the seventh annual TEDxUniversityofMississippi, set for Tuesday, February 22, at the University of Mississippi.

The in-person event begins at 7 pm in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the Ford Center Box Office, phone 662-915-7411.

The event will follow the university’s COVID-19 protocols, which require everyone to wear masks while inside university buildings.

“This year’s theme is ‘New Avenues,'” said Landon Bradley, head of PR for TEDxUniversityofMississippi. “The speakers and artists will share ideas on what new avenues people, communities, and organizations are exploring to optimize outcomes.”

Organizers for the event are Anna Reese Couhig, chief of staff; Anna Acker, assistant to the chief; Kate Hooper, faculty adviser; and a team of 23 students and eight consultants.

This year’s presenters are:

  • Richard Balkin, interim department chair and professor of leadership and counselor education and coordinator of educational research and design in the School of Education. He is the recipient of the Extended Research Award from the American Counseling Association for his research spanning nearly two decades on adolescents in crisis and counseling outcomes. Balkin’s work in the field of counseling helped him develop a model for forgiveness. He will show how we can still forgive, even if we cannot heal a breach with the cooperation of the offender.
  • Maria Brito, art consultant. She has curated art exhibitions on three continents and worked with some of the world’s top artists, including Chinese activist Ai Weiwei and incognito street sensation Banksy. She has also advised hip-hop moguls, Oscar-winning actors, Tony-winning producers, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and many more. Using her experience in the art world and observations of how 450 artists follow trends and visualize the future, Brito identifies ways people can tap into their own creativity to find and create new trends.
  • Jacqueline DiBiase-Sammons, assistant professor in the Department of Classics and the 2021 recipient of the Dr. Mike L. Edmonds New Scholar Award in Humanities. Her research investigates the aesthetics of ancient graffiti and graffiti made using charcoal. DiBiase-Sammons will take the audience on a walk down a street in Pompeii to examine the messages preserved beneath the ashes of Mount Vesuvius and what ancient graffiti can tell us about the people that once lived there.
  • Michael Fagans, an assistant professor at the School of Journalism and New Media, working photojournalist and documentary filmmaker. Fagan’s journey has taken him to the Navajo Nation, Malawi, India, Austria, Afghanistan, Scotland, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Belize and Guatemala. During his talk, Fagans will use his own photographic work to demonstrate how photography can reveal new perspectives and alternate realities.
  • Michelle D. Hanlon, co-director of the air and space law program at the School of Law and its Center for Air and Space Law. She is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Space Law, co-founder and president of For All Moonkind Inc., and a permanent observer to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. All of Hanlon’s work is focused on building a future where humans become a multiplanetary species, living and thriving both on Earth and throughout the universe.
  • Meagen Rosenthal, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Administration and interim director of the William Magee Institute for Student Well Being, focuses on developing systems to integrate health research evidence into practice. During her talk, Rosenthal will share success stories, demonstrating how community-based research can generate solutions that are more readily and sustainably used by people to improve well-being. She believes community-based research should be seen as an investment not only in communities, but for communities.
  • Stephanie Showalter Otts, director of the National Sea Grant Law Center at the Ole Miss law school, a federally funded program that provides legal research, education and outreach services to address ocean, coastal and Great Lakes natural resources issues. She is dedicated to overcoming legal gaps regarding lead testing in water by more stringently testing the water coming into Mississippi homes. “Through increased transparency, testing and outreach, we can help families move out of the darkness and take action to reduce exposures to lead in drinking water and improve the health and educational outcomes of Mississippi children,” she said.
  • Sharde Thomas, granddaughter of the late Otha Turner, a well-known fife player. She is the heir of her grandfather’s musical legacy and serves as the lead vocalist, fife player, and manager of the Rising Stars Fife & Drum band. Thomas’s talk will walk her audience through the history of fife and drum music and her band’s journey to revitalize the music style. Her talk will be accompanied by performance.

TEDxUniversityofMississippi is dedicated to the Ideas Worth Spreading concept and aims to spark meaningful conversation in the LOU community and beyond. For more information about TEDxUniversityofMississippi, visit and follow the group’s social media at @tedxunivms on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

For accommodations related to a disability, contact the UM Box Office at 662-915-7411.

TEDxUniversityOfMississippi partners include the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, College of Liberal Arts, Office of the Provost, Residential College South, School of Journalism and New Media, Croft Institute of International Studies and the Associated Student Body.

By Edwin B. Smith

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About the Author

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is Mississippi’s flagship university. A member of the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, Ole Miss has a long history of producing leaders in public service, business, academics and the professions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school; nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy; and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action. Acclaimed as one of the nation’s most beautiful, Ole Miss's main campus is in Oxford, which is routinely recognized as one of the nation's best college towns.

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