past speakers.

The anthropologist Ralph Linton observed that the last thing a fish would ever notice would be water. We are in a similar position today regarding language, which surrounds every human being almost every waking minute. Yet while every English course in elementary, middle, and high schools addresses writing and language, students do not typically encounter the study of language before linguistics in college, and only a small percentage there.

While many students and parents are unaware or apathetic to what is the meaning of grammar today, teachers have essentially divided into two camps with regards to grammar and language: those who teach formal grammar and those who essentially ignore language study in their English classes?!

Hunt will touch on the power of the language and the issues as we move forward in our daily lives at the speed of need. How does languages change over time? How is technology (e.g., emojis, social media) changing language today? How do we learn language? What are codes and cyphers, and how are they similar to and different from languages? Who makes the grammar rules? Who writes the dictionaries?

Hunt Lyman

Yes, I'm that Grammar Guy!

Does the digital age threaten our connectedness? Do families still have meals that gather everyone around the table or has the magic of the meal faded? Is it generational? Is it economics? Maybe life has gotten too busy and hectic with work or children’s sports events, the business “grind’ or school activities to make time for family meals. But, history shows that a meal can make a difference. Dea Irby set out on a journey to find the magic of the meal and answer these questions. What she discovered surprised her. She will share results of the journey, her findings and process for maximizing our human experience that may lead you to new places.

Dea Irby

The Magic of the Meal

Art has played an important role in documenting Man since the beginning of time and been a dominant force leading into the 40s. Meanwhile the birth of technology occurred at that same period. Without media, we may not be where we are today because media has a way of affecting us in ways that we don't really understand. We can talk about what's happening now in the music world and how we got exposed to that type of music and the accessibility of that music. Mr. Brown will share ideas and messages that address meeting in the Middle. What happens when the two worlds converge? Is the desire for culture beginning to decrease as we get overwhelmed with all of the things we see on that module or computer system in your hand? We see the good, the bad, and the ugly in the environment like never before. What is the impact to both worlds? Education? Co-existence? Extinction? Evolution?

Larry 'Poncho' Brown

Art, Media and Cultural Identity

As the TEDxAshburn, Poet Laureate, accompanied by the accomplished bassist Will, Sherelle shares her melodic “spoken words” to open and close the festivities. Entitled, “The Great Compromise” and “The Last …Word?!”, Ms. Gordon will bring the house down!

Sherelle Gordon

The Great Compromise

The words of the great poet Robert Frost , “ I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference…” couldn’t resonate any clearer with this young man that has stood at the crossroads of defining success in his own terms; As many of us ponder, “What is the path to pursuit of happiness? How do you mix the accomplishment of education, with the world of hard knocks university? How do handle the pressure to pursue the “middle” when such names as Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, J.K. Rowling, Johnson or Bezos have achieved folklore and legendary status. In a time in society where many struggle to follow the traditional road versus adventurous route of the entrepreneur where both roads maybe checkered with high achievement, high stress, risk of debt, excitement or unfulfilled expectations. Let’s journey with Andrew as he shares his message from the road less traveled while pursuing your dream while acknowledging class, generations, family, heritage, and spirituality.

Growing up poor and a 1st generation immigrant What to do when the NEXT BIG THING maybe the FIRST BIG THING! Andrew hit big with his firm “Triple G, LLC.” After selling to the firm SocialCoaster, the prodigal son returned home to hit the road again with new sense of self.

Andrew Shin

A Road Less Taken: A GenZ Story

Raised in rural West Texas, Dr. Crystal’s closest family members frequently failed to receive sufficient medical care. Her grandmother suffered from undiagnosed chronic pain, which doctors regularly dismissed or overlooked. Throughout my career, I have remained steadfast in my commitment to improve the way illnesses are understood and tested – to raise the standard of care that my family was not afforded. As the CEO and Co-Founder of Aperiomics, Dr. Icenhour manages a team of infectious disease experts and artificial intelligence technologists, leveraging decades of experience in medical research to design the world’s first tool capable of pinpointing every bacterium, virus, fungus, and parasite known to modern science. With the technical infrastructure and comprehensive databases, the teams enable physicians to uncover the root cause of infections.

Dr. Crystal Icenhour

Pinpointing Microorganisms for Better Health Outcomes

How do you change your mindset? How do you fight through the gale wind forces of self-doubt, apathy, and negativity to rise to new heights? Ken shares a powerful message that leads to action by changing your beliefs and mindset to break the cycle of self-destruction.

Ken Harvey

A High School Dropout: Breaking Through the Eye of the Storm

Darkness is the absence of light, if you believe then you also believe that He will lead you out of the valley of darkness into the light. Light is hope it is our goodness, it is what warms or inner souls and heart. When you were young, you were afraid of the dark, especially those noises that scared us in the night. What usually happened when you turned on the light that the unknown things were not so scary. Mrs. Thomson will demonstrate, where is dark there is light…. where is tragedy there is triumph.

Tanja Thompson

From Tragedy to Triumph 

Connecting to your Inner Genius Using the Key Language in your Limbic Mind.

Candice Fathi

Everybody is a Genius! …Finding Yours.

First can happen in our lives more often than we think. For me, I think of three stages of - 1.) the first time I saw the immediate impacts of a terrorist attack on American soil, 2.) My first job after graduating from college, 3.) Traveling outside the United States for the first time. These three stages are all connected by international relations, service and diplomacy. Serving as the first Sports Envoy for the U.S. Department of State's Culture Connect program - greatest job I've ever had. 

Omari Faulkner

The Fate of First!

Description TBD 

Purcell Johnson IV

Understanding the Millennial Mind

Public speaking is one of the top fears for most people, but Sam has identified one greater. One that almost cost him his life and his freedom. So what is the dirty word that he and so many others are afraid of? You’re afraid of it, yet it might save your life!

Sam Lucania

The Dirtiest Four Letter Word - That Can Save Your Life!

For a majority of pet owners and people who work with animals, and even for interpersonal communication, there tends to be this great divide of communication and understanding. Most people already have a preconceived idea of what this is, with whom they are communicating and what the other party is capable of understanding. It is my mission to help close that gap. In this talk, we’ll go over what intuitive communication is and how we all have that ability. We’ll also illustrate that connecting with animals is more than verbal commands. We’ll also touch on how the animals in our lives are more that just the sum of their physical parts. I will also share my own journey to become an animal communicator, some teaching exercises to help people begin to understand how they communicate intuitively, and my first experiences with intuitive communication. Once we reconnect and re-discover how to use our own inborn ability to communicate intuitively, we can utilize this skill with our animals, and the people around us. This can lead us to a more enhanced method of communication which can help to facilitate honor, dignity and respect for all beings. 

Holli Shan

Connecting Intuitively through Animal Communication: More than Sit, Stay, Get Down from There!

As a first generation immigrant from India to the US, I have experienced several trials and triumphs over the past couple of decades. As with most immigrants, one of the challenges which is hard to overcome is to form a strong connection to the next generation. With 2 teenage children, this was no strange challenge for me. I have had passion for Indian classical dance since I was a child and had an opportunity to continue learning and performing in the US under the guidance of my teacher, Lakshmi Babu. When my daughter Pragna Nidumolu was 4, I brought her under the guidance of my teacher to pursue classical dance. Pragna developed a keen interest in the art form and ancestral culture. Our mother daughter bond continues to strengthen as we connect deeper through the incredible art of dance. The role of the teacher in connecting generations through art is tremendous and impactful.

Padmini Nidumolu, Lakshmi Babu & Pragna Nidumolu

Connecting THE FIRST generation with the next through the art of dance

We’re constantly connected and moving at a break neck pace. In a day and age where the people are always responding to emails, tweeting, or answering a phone call, how are we supposed to keep up? How do we know what is an opportunity and what is a distraction? Where should we focus our limited time and energy? What will matter in the long run? Tyler will discuss a method which might sound counterintuitive to many – we should slow down to move fast. In order to take a shot or take advantage of an opportunity, we have to be aware of it – we have to stop sprinting past opportunities and start seeing them clearly.

Tyler Sweatt

Going Slow to Do More

Our technology is evolving at an exponential rate - what does this mean for us? Pat's talk addresses this question, perhaps the most important one of our generation, head-on: first with the world's shortest TED talk, and then, if time allows, with some supporting models and frameworks he has developed in the course of his research on this topic. 

Pat Scannell

Are you smarter than your technology?

Conventional wisdom says 90% of startups fail. The internet is littered with people, information, and guides on becoming an Entrepreneur, often oversimplified to the point of meaninglessness. So what happens when the conventional startup gospel misses the mark? AJ’s talk is one part unconventional advice, one part inspiration, and zero parts business school. He has lived through the Silicon Valley mantra 7 times, failed hard, been labeled a dyslexic and a disrupter, and rode a Billion dollar "unicorn" --- all before the age of 30.

AJ Jaghori

Unconventional Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Mali Phonpadith arrived to the United States at age four as a refugee after fleeing war-torn Laos with her family. Against all odds and shaped by a tumultuous journey, filled with tragedies and losses, she shows us that we are capable of experiencing joy after pain, taking flight after the falls, and healing after hurting. Clarity of vision and purpose helped her to claim her unique mission in this world and she now thrives as a business owner and community champion. She talks about how having a strong sense of a purpose fuels us to abundantly share our gifts as a service to others, expands our worldview of what’s possible and increases our spiritual capacity to thrive, evolve and soar.

Mali Phonpadith

Activate Your Wings and SOAR

Gifted children often lead double lives. Intellectually, they may seem like small,

eccentric adults, and they may prefer the company of adults, but in many ways they are still

children. For this reason, many gifted education experts have doubts about letting gifted

students start college several years early. In this talk, you will hear about my experience

entering a college environment at age 13. You’ll hear about my successes and failures, the way

I interact with the professional and academic world, and what I am learning now as an ex-gifted


Caroline Cannistra

What I Learned As An Ex-Gifted Kid

Having just come off ABC’s reboot of American Idol, Brandon Diaz shares his journey of what

brought him to success in life and success in his career. There is no easy path to success but Brandon will share the 3 P’s that helped him turn a lot of No’s to a lot of Yesses.

Brandon Diaz

Hello, It Is Me You’re Looking For

Kristen shares ideas, adventures and moments with altitude in a storied life as a true Renaissance Woman - Veteran, politician, a leader, lawyer, linguist, mom, wife and prolific scholar.

Kristen Umstattd

Defining Ideas and Moments

The integration of social media into everyday life has increased dramatically in recent years. Most view it as a positive driving force for social change; however, the over-saturation of social-media driven information in society has become a negative influence with far reaching consequences on the way we interact and work.

Ryan Thomas

The Power of Temptation

There's something very powerful about being authentic, original and bold in just being YOU. Consider what makes you feel different, less than or other and how those innate qualities, characteristics and attributes actually equip you for your greatest sense of fulfillment, happiness, and impact on the world. 

Múkami Kinoti Kimotho

Your Difference Is Your Superpower

Rob Jones, a retired Marine Corps combat engineer, recalls the fateful events that caused him to lose both his legs above the knee. Primarily tasked with finding improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, Rob’s luck finally ran out on July 22, 2010, when an IED found him first. Rob will discuss the principle he followed that not only allowed him to make a full recovery, but enabled him to become stronger than he ever thought possible.

Rob Jones

Use the Weight

A message to demonstrate to ability with your mind, body and soul to transcend ownership of the idea to others.

Krista Woods

The Power to Connect

Tom, a Music Therapist looks back at his volatile childhood and shares the one life-changing decision he made at eight years old, which set his future into motion. One morning when the pain and anger in his household became too overwhelming he decided to cross the street to a church where music poured out thru the stain glass windows every Sunday. There, he met a Sunday school teacher who would change his life forever by introducing him to the world of music. Now, years later as a professional Music Therapist he spends his days providing therapy to people with physical, emotional, and mental health issues who are in search of healing. Every time he works with a client or patient he is reminded what courage and grace looks like and how the power of music can give strength to the fragility of humanity.  

Tom Sweitzer

Music Saved My Life

As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Daniel considers it his mission to impart and spread hope to individuals and communities. He is acutely aware of hope's power to illuminate darkness and fill voids, since he has witnessed its transformative capabilities firsthand. Hope nurtures us when we feel abandoned, depressed, or fearful. It is a force of renewal, which rekindles the light of love in all of us. Creative genius does not generate hope, but it discovers the hope pervading all things, and it magnifies this immanent hope by giving it a voice, a form, and an emboldening presence through artistic mediums.

Daniel Guigere

"God Hates Me"

Shaved heads, nausea, chemotherapy, radiation, the look of pity …what does that all lead up to? Cancer, the number one killer in kids and adults alike. As a 17 year-old sibling to a childhood cancer patient, Valerie provides a brutally honest and genuine perspective on the harsh effects it can have on a family. As a strong advocate and a head-shavee herself Valerie can testify how a different appearance can create even more pain than the chemotherapies itself. Please join us to hear about the side of childhood cancer that no one ever wants to know. 

Valerie Nguyen

A Reflection of Cecilia

As a Producer/Director that chronicled many adventures in life from really swimming and filming the most dangerous Shark in the world at night without a cage, to chronicling books by suiting up in armor in Games of Thrones in war like battles, to working side by side with top scientist (e.g., Paleontologist, Oceanographers) and Military in the world, Robert shares one of his most insightful moments and one of most tragic maritime disasters in US naval history. He will share a lesson he learned from a survivor of the USS Indianapolis. As highlighted in the legendary shark movie and novel, Jaws, Robert was honored to interview survivors from the USS Indianapolis which was recently discovered by a team of civilian researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. After more than 72 years, this past month, the wreckage was located on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, 18,000 feet below the surface. The story - At 12:14 a.m. on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 men on board, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remainder—about 900 men—were left adrift in waters populated by tiger sharks and oceanic whitetips. Most had no food or water. The ship was never missed, and by the time the survivors were spotted by accident four days later, perhaps 400 still live. 317 survived.


The survivors talk about never giving up. But what does it mean to never give up? What does perseverance offer, and what are the limits?

Robert Cantrell

Never Give Up: A Lesson from a USS Indianapolis Survivor

Imagine. What if you could walk in to a Home Depot, Lowes, or any other major retailer and pickout your entire kitchen one gigantic module for delivery? What if you could solve the question of affordable worldwide housing? What if you establish modules that could be built anytime, anyplace, anywhere you could imagine with limited time, space and money? Well that future is here! Led by a message of Innovation and the messenger, Designer Bobby Vance, in 2018, Virginia Tech will compete in the Solar Decathlon Middle East as the only U.S.-based team in a competitive pool of 21 universities worldwide. The team won the Solar Decathlon Europe in 2010 with LumenHAUS. With FutureHAUS Dubai, Virginia Tech builds on 16 years of faculty-student research in solar home design, modular construction, and smart home technology. The aim to create a solar home that shows the power of research, the importance of collaboration, that serves as a model of design, efficiency, and affordability for Dubai and for future homes worldwide. Mr. Vance will deliver that message.

Bobby Vance

If You Think It, Let's Build It: The Future is Liquid Space

Did you ever accept a job that you hate?! More importantly did you step into a RELATIONSHIP knowing full well that it is a dead end adventure leading to nowhere that you desire? The JOB knows what it wants from You! What is a JOB? Your passion? Your Grind? Do you put too much pressure on the role of the JOB? Have you ever had this feeling? After years working at the same job, you realize you've just been going through the motions for as long as you can remember. Sadly, you're not alone. 

Does your job no longer bring you joy? Have you ever had this feeling? Ms. Santiago is going share a message on how we put our forces to work for us!

Cheryl Santiago

Take This Job And Shove It!

Have you noticed as the boom of artificial intelligence, social media, and new technologies emerge a constant that has remained stagnant? In general, the way at which we learn and teach and educate or children! Despite the emergence of burgeoning schools and with some of the most creative educational styles producing some of the innovative student and teachers; In most cases, we are leaving millions behind in the rural and urban centers of the U.S. and abroad using the same archaic techniques and approaches to teach and train that have existed since the turn of the century. How do get back on the edge of education? How do we keep the next future genius on course to think, to learn to grow?!

Mo Hasan

The Plight of Learning and Flight of Education!

What risk would you take to make a discovery of a lifetime… or a hundred lifetimes?

When most people think about scuba diving they envision coral reefs, tropical fish, and warm, clear water. Imagine using SCUBA as a tool to increase your odds of discovery. Imagine reaching places most people wouldn’t dare to explore. Imagine being the first human to see and touch fossils left behind by creatures that once trolled the Earth.

Envision diving in a river with zero visibility and heavy currents while being faced with submerged trees and the occasional alligator. The swamp river systems along the Atlantic Coastal Plain may be dangerous, but they yield new scientific discoveries in tremendous quantity. To achieve such discoveries, you will need to employ black water SCUBA diving. While diving in black water you will encounter many dangers; however, the results are incredibly rewarding. If you are brave enough, you will experience extreme currents that rip out fresh fossil material and expose the surface of underwater

fossil-bearing formations, leading to extraordinary finds…

Jason Osborne

The Risk of Reward: Pushing the limits for discovery

Beer brewing is one of the oldest and most important processes for human survival historically. In modern times, this process has been refined and is well controlled, with beer aficionados demanding more varieties and ever changing flavors. In the old days, beer breweries would only brew a few different recipes, currently breweries are expected to put out a plethora of different beers. 

Here I want to discuss the design of new beers based on the most important co-worker of each brewery: the yeast. This living organism can originate from unexpected locations resulting in exciting partnerships and new beers, such as the Bone Dusters beer we brewed in partnership with Paleo Quest.

Jasper Akerboom

Designing Novel Beers with Foraged Yeast

Meredith is the Total Joint Program Coordinator at a leading Northern Virginia Hospital. She has 9+ years of experience as a registered nurse in Orthopedics, Surgery, and Transplant Coordination. Originally from Texas, Meredith obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Texas Tech University before moving to Northern Virginia in 2012.

In her most recent role Meredith has taught over 70 classes to patients and their family members to prepare them for surgery, led a successful site survey for National Certification for the Hip and Knee Program, and worked with practitioners and executive leadership to improve outcomes in 4/5 processes within her 1st year.

Through her work in this field she has gained a unique insight into human behavior, specifically how expectations versus reality often collide, and has developed a “no-nonsense” approach to pain management through establishing “realistic expectations”.

Meredith Draisey

The More Prepared You Are... The Better Your Result.

Pat Scannell

The Future of Human Thought

Pat will share some insights of his 3+ year research project on the cumulative impact of technology on the human brain. Those insights include the fact that humans are going through a time of rapid change, and this will have dramatic implications at the most basic level for each of us - during our lifetime, human thought will face enormous forces of change. Pat’s goal in the talk will be to outline WHY the brain is facing such a unique time of change, and to tee up WHAT we might do about this.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” has been quoted countless times. What is never addressed is who within the community is contributing to the child’s upbringing. Most twenty first century children in the United States can call teachers, principals, and school counselors as part of the community that impacts and molds their lives. What if peers, college students, university faculty, and researchers were part of the community? Building a network of untapped resources, unlike any other, can and will lead to successes and collaborations where the children not only benefit from the village but the village benefits from the children.

Providing opportunities for students to collaborate with society and contribute to real research data has proven to be a novel way to structure classrooms. Restructuring the customary framework of the classroom and expanding the “village” of resources has been a source of challenge and reward. The “why” has always been clear but the “what” and “how” evolve with each new idea. Identifying real world problems and global research networks is granting the student ownership in their education. By bringing these new resources to the kids earlier in the process, we can inspire them to the future outcomes and engage them in their own success. We inspire the uninspired.

Musicians and technologists mix the sounds of a melodic singer, a poetry slammer, funk, rock, and hip hop and along with the riffs of classic improvisational jazz and new technologies to reinvent jazz and demo the capture process to promote, record and perform to save the starving artist/musician.

Kerry Thomas

From Clutter to Clarity

Clutter is not just “stuff.” Clutter can be physical, digital, mental, emotional or spiritual, and each type can be overwhelming. Learn the number one cause of clutter in any area of your life, and how to bust through for lasting results.

Jason Osborne

Inspire the Uninspired | The Science, the Culture & the Community of K-12 classrooms

Daryl Adams

Saving a Slice of American Pie | The Sweet Taste of Jazz

Misty Bright & Mo Hasan

The Power of Collaborative Resourcing

Why is it that some teams make the change to transcend running better than others? Why is it that some people seem to have no problem getting what they want while others struggle?

In this fun, interactive, and engaging session, Misty Bright and Mo Hasan will take you through the basic neuroscience of teamwork including best practices to achieve better collaboration and productivity. You will gain new insights into how you can transform the teams in your life and walk away with practical tools you can use immediately.

People with a burning desire to find relevance and a place on the planet often feel an indescribable yearning that cannot be measured or communicated. In particular, veterans and first responders often feel isolated and alone with no place to go. In other instances some seek that new passion, job or friend. My team's vision is to develop a place and a platform that creates that holistic "safe harbor" or “Resilience Ranch,” to help veterans and first responders thrive anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. We strive to create a culture with no politics, no rhetoric, no bias, and a 100% laser-beam focus on eliminating veteran suicide. The mission - wounded veterans and first-responder families live the most vibrant life possible.

Tom Chaby

My Hardest Mission | Operation Suicide Elimination

Every child is born with limitless potential, and sport can be their lever for opportunity, outreach and connection. Best of all, it can easily be tailored to meet local need. Programs have emerged all across the world that are using sport to effectively address the greatest challenges that local youth face. They are especially impactful in underserved, low-income communities (Our very own rural and developed portions of Loudoun County, nearby Fairfax, D.C., New Orleans, or even India, etc.) youth are in constant need of positive engagement, support and a place. Our speaker is recreating models for our hard to serve cities and towns.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

Sport Has the Power to Change the World

Saturday, Oct. 12

5:00pm - 10:00pm

Save the date:


What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxAshburn, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxAshburn event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.