Videos from our 2021 event

Videos from our 2020 event

Edna Meisel is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the Marshal University Graduate College. With her banjo in hand and her band mates joining her on stage, Edna shares her love of Appalachian Old Time music along with some of the rich history of Appalachian musical traditions.
Sabrina Thomas, an Instruction and Research Services Librarian for Marshall University Libraries opens up about her childhood in the foster care system and her path to achieving success in her family and career. She talks about the importance of building bridges for children aging out of the foster care system and wanting to attend college. Sabrina uses her deep and passionate insights to encourage foster kids not to give up on their hopes and dreams.
Ellie White is a Marshall University student studying physics and Co-Director of Open Resource Telescopes. Ellie reflects on the deep connections between the vastness of space and the daily lives we live. Tying in her knowledge about the stars and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), Ellie highlights the importance of mentorship in passing knowledge to rising generations in order to sustain life on Earth. Ellie’s passion for astronomy, combined with her research at the Green Bank Observatory, gives her a unique perspective on mentorship. Her experiences being mentored, and then becoming a mentor herself, provide us with amazing insights into the power we each hold to make a difference in the world through supporting one another and build bridges to the future.
Jennifer Wells, Executive Director of Our Future West Virginia, shares the resilience she has forged through experiencing tragedy in her own life and helping others recover and heal from tragedy as a social worker. Jennifer is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina and was among those sheltering and suffering in the Superdome. Unable to rebuild their lives in New Orleans, she and her family were relocated to West Virginia. She shares her story of perseverance and how the impact of her trauma has equipped her to serve the children and families of West Virginia, providing them with the necessary tools to overcome their circumstances.
Trey Kay is the host of the “Us & Them” radio program produced by PRX and West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Trey speaks about how his personal journey can help us come together in civil discourse during times of heightened political divisiveness. He tells of his experience living through West Virginia’s Kanawha County Textbook Controversy as a young student and how that experience gave him a front row seat to the differences between people and ideologies. Through his journey and efforts, he hopes to inspire others to engage in civil conversations about tough topics to expand people’s knowledge and acceptance of others, and to improve the overall tone of political discourse in our society.
Hershel “Woody” Williams is a World War II Medal of Honor recipient and founder of the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. Reciting Will Allen Dromgoole’s classic poem “The Bridge Builder,” Woody reminds us that we must build bridges for future generations, and he poignantly reminds us that we must rely on others to survive in times of war and peace. He shares his experiences at Iwo Jima that earned him the Medal of Honor and emphasizes that he wears his medal for the two Marines who died protecting him that day. Woody speaks of losing his best friend in the war and his lifelong efforts to honor the families of those who selflessly sacrificed their lives for our country and freedoms.

Videos from our 2019 event

Briana Nannen, a music educator, highlights the potential to use collaborative community music making experiences, designed to use music’s ability to harness the entire brain and rewire neurological pathways, to provide a valuable avenue for overcoming negative stigmas and healing individuals and communities struggling with substance use disorder. Briana Nannen is an Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Marshall University.
Sean Callebs is a network reporter for CGTN with over 20 years prior experience at CNN, where he covered a wide array of stories and anchored programs on CNN and Headline News. Sean was CNN’s point person based in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and reported from ground zero for weeks following the 9-11 attacks. He was nationally recognized for his reporting on the problems of poverty in the United States.

Beth Wolfe shares her experience of growing as a leader throughout her life. From childhood to her professional career, she emphasizes the importance of overcoming adversity and continuing to grow as a leader over time. Her three pillars of leadership include: you don’t need a title to be a leader, leadership takes courage, and the small things can make all the difference. Leader. Educator. Mentor. Communicator. Beth Wolfe considers herself fortunate that her leadership and communication skills were recognized and nurtured from a young age, rather than being told to sit down and be quiet.
As an undergraduate student hailing from diverse worlds, Rawan Elhamdani draws from her Libyan (African), Appalachian, and Muslim identities and experiences to address some key differences between perception and reality. Rawan shares personal experiences to explore insights for successfully overcoming stereotypes and building your own legacy. Rawan Elhamdani is majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in premedical studies. She has a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology and has completed laboratory research on diabetic lysozyme function.

As a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., Jordan Richardson works to influence the laws related to criminal justice reform. In his talk, Jordan highlights many of the issues of our current criminal justice system, especially the societal burdens of mass incarceration. He also proposes some innovative solutions that the general public can enact to improve the criminal justice system without ever changing the law. Jordan Richardson is an attorney and Senior Policy Counsel in the Koch political network where oversees its legislative agenda to advance criminal justice reform.
Previously Recorded TED Talk Screened at Our Event
In this eloquent talk, Michael Murphy shows how he and his team look far beyond the blueprint when they’re designing. Considering factors from airflow to light, theirs is a holistic approach that produces community as well as (beautiful) buildings. He takes us on a tour of projects in countries such as Rwanda and Haiti, and reveals a moving, ambitious plan for The Memorial to Peace and Justice, which he hopes will heal hearts in the American South.
Previously Recorded TED Talk Screened at Our Event
As a fire chief and first responder, Jan Rader has spent her career saving lives. But when the opioid epidemic hit her town, she realized they needed to take a brand-new approach to life-saving. In this powerful, hopeful talk, Rader shows what it’s like on the front lines of this crisis — and how her community is taking an unusual new approach to treating substance-abuse disorder that starts with listening.