TEDx Spring 2018 Talks

How Dare the Sun Rise | Sandra Uwiringiyimana

Organization Founder, Author, Human Rights Activist

Sandra Uwiringiyimana is Co-founder and Director of Partnerships & Communications at Jimbere Fund, an organization that aims to revitalize distressed communities in Congo. Since her family's resettlement in 2007, Sandra has fought hard to call for justice for the Gatumba massacre and has become a voice for women and girls, refugees and immigrants, and forgotten people like the Banyamulenge Tribe. She addressed the United Nations Security Council at the request of Ambassador Samantha Power to plead with world leaders to act on the pressing issue of Children in Armed Conflict.

Crossing the Color Line | Brennon Thompson

Cultural Competence and Health Literacy Operations Specialist

Brennon Thompson works as a Cultural Competence and Health Literacy Operations Specialist at the Center for Human Services Education, a division of Heritage Christian Services. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from American University. Brennon has a passion for bringing people together to share and learn about the unique identities and experiences of our local and global neighbors.

It's Kind of Hard to Talk About | Grace McMahon


Grace McMahon is a freshman at SUNY Geneseo from Long Island, New York. She has had a stutter from a very young age, and devotes her time to helping and understanding others who struggle with their own differences. She attends conventions every summer through an organization called FRIENDS: The National Association for Young People Who Stutter, and is an active member at every one. Her favorite things to do include writing poetry, painting, listening to music, reading, and talking to others about subjects she is passionate about.

A Casaulty of War: Gulf War Illness | Jennifer Jackson Gkourlias

Teacher, Advocate

Dr. Gkourlias is an educational leader with over twenty years of experience as a public school curriculum leader and social studies teacher. She was previously a school principal in the Rochester City School District and served as the founding principal of Rochester's first charter school for young women, Young Women's College Prep. Currently, she is a teacher of English as a New Language in the Buffalo City Schools. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership with a concentration in program evaluation from the University of Rochester in 2007. She is an advocate for veterans and is presently writing an oral history of the Persian Gulf War through the eyes of veterans who served with a focus on exposing the truth about Gulf War Illness.

The 7 Steps Toward Achieving Seemingly Impossible Dreams | Barnabas Gikonyo

Professor, Motivational Speaker, Author

Barnabas Gikonyo graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois with a Ph.D in organic and materials chemistry. His research interests range from application of various polymeric materials as "biomaterial bridging surfaces" for the repair of spinal cord injuries to the use of osteoconductive cement for the repair of critical-sized bone defects/fractures to development of alternative/non-food biofuels. Since publishing a number of textbooks on biofuels, he supports 10 undergraduate students in research while concurrently teaching classes at State University of New York at Geneseo.