TEDxUICU

SPEAKERS

We are so excited about all of our knowledgeable and inspiring speakers this year! Read their bios to find out a little bit about them and what they will be speaking about.

JILL KIMMEL

Coming from the comedic Kimmel family, this renowned comedia and hilarious mother of teenagers has been doing staand-up all over the world since 2016. She has brought her observations about divorce, dating, and raising kids on five overseas tours for the military, is the writer and star of the bi-weekly, "What A Mouth" Facebook video series, and was reccently cast on Comedy Central's "Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City". Come see Kimmel talk about her roots and deliver an inspirational story that is sure to touch the hearts of her audience.

KEVIN ZHANG

A Senior at Vanderbilt University, Kevin has served as the President of the College of Arts & Science, the Director of the Consulting Academy, and the President of AKPsi Business Fraternity. Professionally, he has represented the United States as a Fulbright Summer Fellow in the United Kingdom and led youth recruitment strategy for McKinsey & Co.’s global effort to pull one million youth out of poverty. Despite his recent progress, Kevin has a past riddled with failure: he was rejected by nearly every college he applied to and nearly went to prison before graduating high school. He plans to share a message regarding the power of purpose in the relentless pursuit of one’s goals.

DONNA COX

Dr. Donna J. Cox, MFA, is the Michael Aiken Chair, Director of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory, the Research & Education division, and the eDream Institute at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications University of Illinois. She is a Professor in the School of Art & Design and researches the art of scientific data visualization. She and her collaborators form “Renaissance Teams” to thrill millions of people with cinematic presentations of science in international fulldome digital museum shows, IMAX movies, feature films, and television. AVL recently completed Solar Superstorms and A Beautiful Planet 3D IMAX film. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry selected her as one of 40 modern Leonardo DaVinci’s. In 2017, IMERSA awarded her a lifetime achievement award for her lasting contributions to the fulldome community. Cox and AVL are winners of the Innovation Transfer Award-University of Illinois, for her work with potential significant societal impact.

THOMAS DOWLING

Thomas is currently a V&C Young Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Institute of Government and Public Affairs’ Wolffe Intern, where he researches state and local government. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a Truman Scholar, the University of Illinois’ Lincoln Academy Student Laureate, a Fulbright participant, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. Previously, Thomas has served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Representative Carol Ammons and has worked for the AFL-CIO, the Sanders 2016 campaign, and the Center for American Progress. Thomas will graduate this year with degrees in political science and history and matriculate at the University of Oxford next year.

MEREDITH A. JONES

Meredith A. Jones is an internationally recognized researcher, writer, blogger, speaker, and expert in the alternative investment industry. She is the author of Women of The Street: Why Female Money Managers Generate Higher Returns (And How You Can Too), which won an Axiom Award gold medal in 2016. She is also a contributor to Institutional Investor magazine, with a monthly column called "The Broadside." Meredith was named as an Inc. magazine's "17 Inspiring Women To Watch in 2017" and as a Distinguished Author by the SEC in 2018. She serves on the Board of Directors for Rock the Street, Wall Street, a non-profit that provides financial and investment literacy programs to high school girls. She is a frequent speaker on the international conference circuit and has had her findings published in books and major media outlets including the Economist, the New York Times, CNBC, the Mall Street Journal, the Financial Times and others.

AHMED MUSIOL

Producing content for Ahmed is about searching for the constant reminder within each project of our life's purpose. With a firm belief that there is always a way to find a solution, Ahmed is the kind of executive producer who finds joy in the process of creating compelling content about causes and social issues that matter. His diverse background and commitment to social good allows him to provide every client with a unique perspective on communicating their story in the most impactful way. A Chicago transplant residing in Los Angeles, Musiol actively supports a number of non-profit organizations. Ahmed has collaborated with his partners in creating and producing several properties at Wayfarer, and has directed for both their original series' My Last Days and Man Enough. The second season of My Last Days aired on The CW in conjuction with the network's new digital vertical, CWGOOD, co-created by Wayfarer. This platform highlights the causes CW stars and fans care about with content that entertains and inspires.

BRIGHTON JONES

Brighton Jones is an entrepreneur, silicone mogul and philanthropist. After a decade of failed endeavors and traveling the world on a shoestring budget, he provides a unique perspective on the human experience, business and life's deepest, darkest secrets of happiness. He is currently on a mission to be a force for good, disrupt the jewelery industry as Co-Founder of Enso Rings and was recently featured on ABC's Shark Tank, HSN and Forbes. Brighton loves life, his family and all human beings. He is an avid thrill seeker and always chasing the next adventure!

MAKERGIRL

MakerGirl is a non-profit startup organization based in Champaign. Its mission is to inspire young girls to pursue careers in STEM. 14 UIUC students lead the day-to-day operations of the organization under the strategic directino of its co-founders. MakerGirl runs weekly sessions for young girls teaching them how to 3D print and learn about the successes of women in STEM. Since its start in 2014, MakerGirl has impacted over 2500 young girls and is working to expand and impact more girls across the country. Nishi Gupta is a full-time MBA student, graduating this May. She is very passionate about education as a cause, and about supporting non-profits. She has been supporting MakerGirl in her role as a Marketing Director. Rachel Berg is a junior studying Industrial Engineering. She has been on the MakerGirl team for the past two years working in team relations, special events and running the sessions. She is excited to see the future with more women leading in STEM fields. Rachel Tham is a sophomore studying Agricultural and Biological Engineering, focusing on Materials Science and Engineering. She is an environmental enthusiast and boba connoisseur. She joined MakerGirl's team this school year and is expanding MakerGirl to other universities.

MALAVICA SRIDHAR

Malavica Sridhar is currently a Product Manager at CircleUp, a data-driven investment platform that provides capital to innovative, early-stage consumer brands. With experience collecting, cleaning, manipulating, and shipping data, she knows data storytelling has the power to defy human heuristics and challenge the status quo. Previously, Mal worked as a business analyst with McKinsey & Company, where her work centered on statistical analysis with a short stint at the United Nations reporting on worldwide trends in gender equality advancement. During her spare time, she tutors Bloomberg analysts on the best ways to leverage statistical languages like R and Python. In 2017, Mal received offers from Facebook, AirBnb, DropBox, and Google.

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