TEDxPSUBerks brings innovative, international speakers to campus

Penn State Berks will host a TEDxPSUBerks event from noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, in the PSC Auditorium.

Penn State Berks will host a TEDxPSUBerks event from noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, in the PSC Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for Penn State students with valid college ID and for all veterans, and $15 for the general public. Seating is limited and tickets can be purchased by visiting Eventbrite and entering tedxpsuberks.com.

The theme, (Dis)Connected, has an intentional dual meaning. According to the event website, “Whether it's a connection to culture and economies driven by technological advancements, or the disconnection​ from society because of the FOMO (fear of missing out), the theme allows us to explore important topics of a modern age.”

Organized and coordinated entirely by a team of approximately 25 Penn State Berks students and several more volunteers — all under the guidance of college faculty — the goal is to create a memorable experience to connect and bring diverse disciplines and backgrounds together around new ideas. The event will also be livestreamed and available on TEDxPSUBerks.com YouTube channel after the event.

“We are incredibly excited to bring TEDx back to Penn State Berks after a four-year hiatus,” states Chris Adams, the college’s TEDx license holder and co-curator of the event. “With the support of the campus leaders, students, faculty and staff, we've spent the past 14 months crafting an experience that is sure to engage and inspire. All you need to bring is your imagination.” 

This event highlights an impressive lineup, including speakers who are not typically heard from locally but who are doing incredibly creative, innovative, and provocative work in their fields. The format includes short, powerful talks, each focused on a single topic or idea. There will be no presentations focused on selling a product, no keynote speeches and no panel discussions.

Innovators scheduled to appear in person or by video at TEDxPSU events include:

Alan Murphy, "War Story"
Murphy is a Penn State Berks alumnus and he was the co-curator of the inaugural TEDxPSUBerks in 2014. Before coming to Berks, he was a U.S. Navy air crewman and rescue swimmer from 2005–10. Murphy’s talk will be about identity through storytelling and connecting with others through similarities and common experiences.

Dr. Annika Sörensen, "How to Unlock Your In-Born Power to Beat Stress"
Sörensen is a medical doctor with more than 30 years of experience and a stress specialist from Sweden. Her mission is to help people avoid becoming ill from stress. With her unique medical perspective, she has helped thousands of patients learn how to manage stress in a healthy way. Her talk will help attendees navigate through stress and share life hacks of how to manage stress daily.

Budd Royce Lam, "Intentionally Reconnecting with People"
Lam is the founder and managing director of the gaming company Dev Null Studios and a self-described ‘lifehacker’ from Toronto, Canada. His talk will discuss reconnecting offline with the people around you even when you feel you are too busy.

Ed Burns, "Authentic Role of Social Media in Relationships"
Burns is a Penn State Berks alumnus and founder of Melior Marketing, LLC in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. He has spent the last 11 years working in technology and developing his digital marketing agency. His talk will be about how the authentic role of social media plays into our daily relationships.

Ike Shibley, "Learning to Be Grateful Can Increase Happiness"
Shibley is a Penn State Berks associate professor of chemistry whose research focuses on ways to facilitate cognitive development in college students and finding the most productive ways to enhance student learning.

Jason Ziemianski, "50/50 Model of Being Divorced"
Ziemianski is a media executive and entrepreneur from Los Angeles, who will discuss applying the 50/50 model to being divorced with children. His goal is to focus on what all of the other content providers are not telling us. His message is that the answer may not be about changing who we.

Jen Ruiz, "Power of Flying Solo"
Ruiz is a solo female travel writer and blogger and an attorney from Rochester, New York. Her book, "The Affordable Flight Guide," is an Amazon bestseller. Her work has been featured by The Washington Post, ABC News, Matador Network, Elite Daily, and the Huffington Post. In her talk, she will discuss finding strength in solitude.

Leslie Cooprider, "Making a Comeback after Trauma"
Cooprider is a recent college graduate from Bloomsburg University and a technology account executive from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She will discuss making a comeback after trauma, how a meltdown can build a revolution and how disconnecting from a cause can contribute to healing. 

Martin Castor Peterson, "Illusion of Reality"
Peterson has 20 years of experience as an attention artist, mentalist and hypnosis master trainer. Originally from Denmark, he now performs around the world. Peterson has earned three international awards for his hypnosis work and he was even awarded the coveted ‘golden buzzer’ in Denmark’s Got Talent in 2018.

Neil Rawlings, "Overcoming ADHD and Depression"
Rawlings is a mechanical engineering student at Penn State Berks and he is from Wayne, Pennsylvania. His talk will be about his personal journey of living with and overcoming ADHD and depression.

Kesha Morant Williams, "Wednesdays with Willie"
Morant Williams is a Penn State Berks associate professor of communication arts and sciences, whose research focuses on interpersonal relationships, health communication and popular media examined through a cultural lens. She states, “In a world full of noise and disparate perspectives, interpersonal relationships provide a sanctuary.”

Miriah Marshall, event co-curator and director of partnerships for the event, stated, “Moments like these, I will look back and think how crazy it was, but at the same time I will miss the entire process of hosting a TEDx event.”

For more information about the TEDxPSUBerks event, contact Adams or Marshall at [email protected], or visit the website or follow us on social media:


About TEDx, x = independently organized event
TEDx brings the spirit of TED’s mission of ideas worth spreading to local communities around the globe. TEDx events are organized by curious individuals who seek to discover ideas and spark conversations in their own communityTEDx events include live speakers and recorded TED Talks, and are organized independently under a free license granted by TED.