Marshall to host virtual TEDxMarshallU April 2

Graphic for Tedx Event April 2Marshall will host its 3rd annual TEDxMarshallU event organized by students, faculty and staff from 7-9 p.m. Friday, April 2, online. The theme for this year’s TEDxMarshallU is “RISING,” to honor the 50th anniversary of the Marshall University community beginning to rise from the ashes of the November 1970 plane crash and to highlight ideas and initiatives that are helping our community rise in education, economic development, and mental health and persevere through adversity.

Speakers include the following:

  • Lt. Chad Napier, a retired Charleston police officer who worked with the Metro Drug Unit and now is employed by Appalachia HIDTA. He will discuss Handle with Care, a statewide trauma-sensitive collaboration between law enforcement and schools to ensure that traumatized children are handled with care.
  • Kathy D’Antoni, Ed.D., an educator who has served as associate state superintendent for West Virginia. She will share her thoughts on education in West Virginia, specifically the Simulated Workplace initiative.
  • Brandon Dennison, founder and CEO of the Coalfield Development Corporation, will discuss helping West Virginia reach its fullest potential through Coalfield Development’s trainings and education to start social enterprises.
  • Lee Farabaugh, a senior technology, design, operations and business development expert with 20 years of experience in financial technology and health care IT pioneered the Hereshore model for U.S.-based technology outsourcing. She will explore the concept of outsourcing IT services to smaller cities in the United States.
  • Red Dawson, who served as assistant coach for the Thundering Herd football team in the 1970s, will share his perspective on rising from the devastation of the 1970 Marshall University plane crash.
  • Suzanne Strait, Ph.D., associate director of the Division of Science and Research at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, is in her 27th year of teaching as a professor of biological sciences at Marshall University, and served as a West Virginia Mask Army organizer during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her talk will be centered around COVID-19 and the West Virginia Mask Army.
  • Ashley Perkins, Pharm.D., a mental health advocate with a background as a pharmacist and educator, will discuss improving mental health awareness through sharing stories and helping others with mental illnesses cope and achieve their goals.
  • Duo Transcend, the entertainment team of Tyce Nielsen and his wife, Huntington native Mary (Wolfe) Nielsen, are aerialist and roller-skating performers who entertain around the globe with Cirque du Soleil, and were runners up on America’s Got Talent Champions. They will perform and discuss how to overcome failure through determination and grit.

Visit to register for this virtual event.

“I’m proud to have been a part of bringing the tradition of the yearly TEDxMarshallU event to Marshall University,” said Dr. Brian Kinghorn, assistant professor in Marshall’s College of Education and Professional Development, who is licensee and lead organizer of the event. “We have an amazing team of top-notch MU students, faculty and staff who have been working tirelessly since last summer to plan and organize this event, and we have a phenomenal lineup of speakers. This year has been particularly special because we are able to use our platform to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the plane crash, honor the lives lost and those left behind to mourn and persevere, and highlight the resilience of our community rising from the ashes of that and other tragedies over the last 50 years.”

What makes TEDxMarshallU unique “is that each speaker will share their personal experiences and brilliant ideas with the connection to the other speakers through the common theme of rising,” said Kelly Leonard, TEDxMarshallU’s co-organizer, who is an M.B.A. student and a 2020 Marshall bachelor’s graduate. “This is an event people do not want to miss, as they will take away great insights and ways to make positive changes within the world.”

Media are invited to attend and cover the event. Per TED guidelines, no outside photography or videotaping of the event is allowed during the event, including from members of the press. Selections of the official media along with guidelines for their use will be made available to the press soon after the event. Direct queries or requests for press passes to the event can be directed to Kinghorn by e-mail at or by calling 517-974-4996.

Additional information about the event can be found at The event is also on Twitter (, Instagram (, and Facebook (


About TEDx (x = independently organized event)

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that brings people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized, subject to certain rules and regulations.


About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, including an annual gathering in Vancouver, as well as TEDWomen, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world. Videos of these talks are made available, free, on and other platforms. Audio versions of the talks from TED2019 are published to TED’s podcast TED Talks Daily, available on all podcast platforms.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; TEDx, which licenses thousands of individuals and groups to host local, self- organized TED-style events around the world; the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities; the Audacious Project, which surfaces and funds critical ideas that have the potential to impact millions of lives; TEDSummit, which gathers the most engaged members of the global TED community for brainstorms, discussions, performances, workshops and an eclectic program of mainstage talks; and the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED also has a growing library of original podcasts, including The TED Interview with Chris Anderson, WorkLife with Adam Grant, TED en Español and Sincerely, X.

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