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Dr. Curtis Austin is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) at The Ohio State University. He received his B.A. and M.A. in U.S. History from the University of Southern Mississippi and his Ph.D. in American History from Mississippi State University. While also serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies in AAAS, Professor Austin teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the Black freedom struggle, and the history of American race relations. He is currently writing a book on the Black Power movement and conducting research for a book that examines the history of radicalism in Black liberation movements. As part of his research, he has interviewed dozens of former members of the Black Panther Party, the Weather Underground, and the Revolutionary Action Movement. Dr. Austin enjoys taking part in civic engagement and has won numerous awards that honor his work. Among these are the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Award, the Distinguished Community Engagement Award from The Ohio State University, and the National Council for Black Studies Award for Outstanding Service in the Promotion of Social Responsibility. In 2007, his book Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party won the Choice Library Journal’s Outstanding Academic Book Award. In his spare time, Dr. Austin enjoys reading and traveling with his wife, Dr. Leslie Alexander.




Dedicating herself to the auto-industry, Carla Bailo has been around cars for a long time. Throughout her career, Carla has strived to provide the safest and most efficient vehicular experience for the public. She has recently launched the Smart Mobility Initiative, working to analyze the usefulness of autonomous vehicals. She and her colleagues are using Columbus, Ohio as a test bed for smart mobility. Carla spends her time on stage discussing the purpose of smart mobility, the technology behind it, and the Smart City Challenge in Columbus.


Carla Bailo is the Assistant Vice President of Mobility Research and Business Development at The Ohio State University. She is also the President and CEO of ECOS Consulting, LLC which specializes in Engineering Efficiency and Optimization as well as Electrification and Computer Operated (Autonomous) Vehicles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.






More people were killed in genocide during the 20th century than in all of the century’s international wars combined, and millions of others were forced to flee their homes. In this talk, Dr. Hollie Nyseth Brehm suggests that it is our responsibility to eradicate genocide. Drawing on her research on the risk factors of genocide and interviews with those who perpetrated the violence and those affected by it, Nyseth Brehm outlines three broad steps to eradication—recognizing genocide as a crime, understanding the causes of the violence, and responding. Although much remains to be done, Nyseth Brehm urges you to take this responsibility seriously in order to create a world without genocide. 

Dr. Hollie Nyseth Brehm is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ohio State, where she teaches classes on conflict, global crime, and terrorism. Her research focuses on the causes and processes of genocide and on how countries rebuild in the aftermath of atrocity. She has lived and worked in Rwanda and Bosnia, where she interviewed both perpetrators and victims of genocide. Nyseth Brehm is currently a member of a government atrocity prevention task force and regularly consults with the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide





Dr. Carlarne sheds light on his experience with the genocide in mid-1990 Bosnia, a place that made him question the role of meaning in our lives. He explores the connection between meaning, identity, and ideas, claiming that in today’s world, meaning has become too attached to identity. As addicts of meaning, individuals must break the intimate bond between meaning and identify and create a stronger tie between meaning and ideas. According to Dr. Carlarne, this new connection will cultivate a global peace as individuals grow to understand that some aspects of life are meaningless.

Dr. Carlarne was born in Kenya, and grew up in Nairobi and London. He has spent much of his life trying and failing to understand what it means to be alive. His work around the world as a British Army officer, police officer, peace and human rights activist has taken him to places of genocide and violence, and to communities of peace and hope. He has been fortunate to witness the best and worst in people. Now Dr. Carlarne is working with wonderful colleagues and friends to make Columbus a hub for peace and nonviolence. An anthropologist by training, his current research focuses on the evolutionary basis of meaning.




Debanuj DasGupta shares how the HIV ban on immigration and heightened detention of immigrants created obstacles in his journey to legalization in the US. He blends his research about the HIV ban on immigration and his traumatic memories of being detained in order to shed light on the difficulties of refugees and undocumented immigrants in the US. Debanuj believes that traumatic memories, especially intrusive flashbacks, are vital modalities for conducting social science research.

Debanuj DasGupta is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the South Asia Studies Initiative at the Ohio State University. His research interests are related to the intensification of neoliberalism and bio-politics in contemporary U.S. and India. Debanuj’s dissertation, titled “Racial Regulations and Queer Claims to Livable Lives,” analyzes immigration regulation related to HIV/AIDS, transgender asylum, and radicalized queer migrant subjectivity over the past two decades in the US. In 1994, Debanuj founded the first HIV prevention program for homosexual men in Kolkata, India. His work has coincided with the environmental, sexual, and immigrant rights movements. Debanuj holds a B.A. in Sociology from Presidency Autonomous University and an M.A. in Geography & Urban Planning from the University of Akron. Debanuj’s work has been published in the Disability Studies Quarterly, Contemporary South Asia, and many other notable journals.





Bria Davis discusses representation in comic books and movies and how this representation is integral for learning.


Bria is a fourth year student studying Communications and triple minoring in Creative Writing, Art, and Pop-Culture Studies. She spends an exceptional amount of energy exploring connections between stories in our everyday lives and the science behind communication. She enjoys trying to understand why we love the pop-culture we do and what we can learn from it (though her friends may tire of hearing about the “broader social implications” of their favorite TV shows). When she’s not doing that, she’s drawing and writing in the hopes of becoming the next David Sedaris, Dr. Seuss, or Neil Gaiman. In what spare time she has, Bria enjoys performing random acts of kindness with the Boo Radley Society, creating concept art for Multivarious Games, and recruiting the next freshman class with her fellow Telecounselors. After she graduates, she plans to continue exploring her passions in whatever ways they present themselves.





In his talk, Dr. Joe Donnermeyer discusses conformity and commitment within the Amish community and what we can learn from these values.


A city boy by birth and upbringing, Dr. Joe Donnermeyer’s interest in rural societies and cultures go back to his graduate student days at the University of Kentucky and his thesis research conducted deep in the heart of the Bluegrass state’s Appalachian region. During his many years at The Ohio State University, he became an academic “bigamist,” pioneering the development of rural criminology while at the same time conducting research and teaching a course annually about the Amish. With retirement, Dr. Donnermeyer has not slowed down. His upcoming publication, “International Handbook of Rural Criminology” is scheduled for release in mid-2016, and he is the co-founder and assistant editor of the “Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies,” which is published semi-annually.





Rebekah Matheny teaches us how to stop forsaking our senses and create memories that will last a lifetime. Given how ocularcentric our society has become, she fears for the future wondering what will happen if we don't put down our cell phones and take in the world around us. This talk will reconstruct your reality by teaching you how to create sensory memory and see the world through the lens of a designer.


Rebekah L. Matheny has been bridging the design profession and academic environment for 12+ years. She is an assistant professor of interior design at The Ohio State University, where she teaches courses in interior finish materials, lighting design and design studios that integrate retail brand strategy and the storytelling process. Matheny’s research investigates the sensory perception of interior finish materials and their application to create an emotional connection between the person and the place in order to create lasting memories of place. Her research also investigates how materials create an authentic experiential storytelling, particularly for connecting to millennials’ and Gen Z. Matheny holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon.




Dr. Rustin Moore tells us about zooeyia which includes the the power of the human-animal bond and the benefits of having a pet.


Dr. Rustin Moore is the dean and Ruth Stanton Chair of Veterinary Medicine in the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Dean Moore is a board-certified equine surgeon and has extensive experience in teaching and mentoring veterinary and graduate students, research & scholarship, and providing academic and scientific disciplinary leadership. An award-winning alumnus of West Virginia University and a two-time graduate of the CVM, he returned to lead the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, rising to executive director of the College’s Veterinary Medical Center, associate executive dean and then dean. The CVM has a particular interest in serving the community, and Dean Moore has a special interest in the power of the human-animal bond and zooeyia, the positive health benefits (physical, emotional, behavioral, social and psychological) on people by interacting with animals.




Astrophysicist, Paul Sutter, discusses the importance of artistic representations of science as seen in his project, "Song of the Stars."


As an astrophysicist, Dr. Sutter received his PhD in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2011. After spending three years at the Paris Institute of Astrophysics, he had a research fellowship in Trieste, Italy while a visiting scholar at the Ohio State University. Now, Paul is an astrophysicist at the Ohio State University’s Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics and the Chief Scientist at the COSI Science Center. His research focuses on many topics, from the emptiest regions of the universe and the earliest moments of the Big Bang, to the detection of the first stars. As an “Agent to the Stars,” Dr. Sutter engages the public in science outreach. He is the host of the “Ask a Spaceman!” podcast, where he answers questions posted on social media. He writes for, appears at events and on TV, consults for films, and is leading the creation of innovative new outreach productions, such as Song of the Stars, a fusion of modern dance and astronomy.




Abd Al-Rahman shares his personal experiences on the ground in Syria, offering an intimate perspective to challenge the misconceptions about the Syrian conflict and attempts to humanize the conditions of the countless lives stuck on the brink of a lost future.

Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi is a third year majoring in Biomedical Engineering with Honors at Ohio State University. He is fluent in Arabic and takes pride in his heritage as a Syrian American. With the ongoing Syrian genocide and conflict, he has traveled to Turkey with UOSSM (Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations) the past 3 summers, working in field hospitals, refugee camps, and mental health clinics. Abd Al-Rahman is currently developing a student organization aiming to create partnerships between college students and refugees via an immersion experience at Ohio State University. As a devout Muslim, Abd Al-Rahman tries to embody the characteristics of Prophet Muhammad, dedicating his time to others and working for the underprivileged. Those virtues are the driving force for his involvement in establishing ENCompass, a student-run public health service organization, his passion for teaching and position as an organic chemistry Teaching Assistant, and his ultimate goal to become a physician.




"Honam" is defined as the word 'skin' in (Twi), the native language of Ghana, West Africa. Doesn't the spelling of "honam" almost look like the spelling of "human?" Their definitions are closely related as well. This poem intertwines these concepts to the ever loved actress Lupita N'yongo's success story while raising an anthem of loving ourselves and our brown girls.

Cynthia Amoah is a spoken word artist who started her artistry through national poetry recitation competitions and motivational talks. An activist in her own right, her literary pieces often highlight the forgotten stories of the world, while transcending the often times marginalized groups that she delineates in her work. It sounds, in fact, like a large part of what she believes God put her on this Earth to do; to use words, whether written or spoken, to breathe life into spaces, and moments, where silence has masqueraded itself as king. Cynthia aspires to leave an indelible mark on the way in which we discuss race, gender and classism through her literary works.




An improvisation: Chess and Manculich construct reality on stage by combining improvised piano and dance performances.

Dr. Susan Chess received her Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Arts in Piano Pedagogy, and PhD in Music Education from the Ohio State University. Her graduate studies include work in music technology, harpsichord, composition, and piano. She studied contemporary harmony with David Wheeler in Columbus, Ohio and Improvisation and Composition for modern dance with Charles Rybacki and Hazel Johnson in New York. She has presented for The Ohio Dance Festival, Music Educators National Conference, Ohio Music Teacher Association, and others. Dr. Chess has played dance master classes for The Martha Graham Company, Dance Theater of Harlem, Columbus Ballet Metropolitan, Merce Cunningham company, and many more. She received her Certification in Dalcroze Eurhythmics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. Dr. Chess released a CD of her original music entitled "Light from Light" and has performed in numerous dance concerts.





Kristina is currently a third year MFA student in the Department of Dance at The Ohio State University, where she is the recipient of an Ohio State University Fellowship and a Career Development Grant. In 2013, she received a Columbus Dances Fellowship award for choreography. Kristina graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.F.A. in dance where she studied on a scholarship. While in college she danced as a member of the Tulsa Ballet II and the Louisville Ballet. She has also performed as a guest artist with the Dayton Ballet and Kentucky Ballet Theatre. After graduating she danced for three years with the Festival Ballet Providence in Rhode Island while also working with Colleen Cavanaugh’s contemporary dance company, Part of the Oath Dance Theater, as a performer and instructor in her outreach after school program.

Choreography: Kristina D'Onofrio

Music: "Psalm Twenty-Three" by Jacob Reed

Dancers: Tess Gilbert & Maggie Wagner with Michela Carter, Sarah Chan, Lisa D'Onofrio, Kayleigh Feldkircher, Rode Krige, Brianna Rhodes, Kat Sprudzs




A combination of the Filipino Martial Art, Arnis, and a modern interpretation of the Filipino warrior spirit through the use of modern hip-hop beats and bamboo sticks. The Suman Brothers and Halaya Sisters present the original dance of "Kawayan" - a hybrid form of rhythmic beats combined with elements of Arnis, modern stomp, and cultural flair. Established at the University of Cincinnati circa 1997, the Kawayaneros and Kawayaneras re-emerged in 2011 at the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans conference with an all new cast at the Ohio State University bringing a high-energy performance dedicated to the fighting spirit of our people.

The Filipino Student Association (PSA) was re-established for the essential purpose of providing our members a “home” while at The Ohio State University. We satisfy this purpose by striving to preserve, foster, and celebrate our Filipino and Filipino-American heritage. We preserve by continually remembering our history and culture; We foster by eagerly learning and teaching our language and traditions; And we celebrate by enthusiastically hosting events that promote Filipino and Filipino-American awareness. In addition, PSA mutually collaborates with other Filipino and Asian student organizations, in order to reach out to non-Filipinos and non-Asians alike and to promote cultural awareness to further diversify The Ohio State University.



Dr. Elaine Richardson re-enacts her journey of being ensnared into human trafficking as a young teen, to a cycle of abuse, addiction and prostitution, to recovery through earning her Ph.D. supported by the undying love of her mother and caring professionals.

A survivor of human trafficking and addiction, Dr. Elaine Richardson (Dr. E) is an inspirational university professor, performance artist and speaker. She shares her story of sexual exploitation and other forms of bondage to bring awareness to the plight of those entrapped in human trafficking and hopelessness, and to promote healing and empowerment through education.





Jonathon Sun ties together beatboxing, piano, and storytelling in order to reflect on personal identity.


Jonathon Sun is a fifth-year senior studying sociology with a minor in Chinese. His research interests in sociology are leadership, Asian Americans, and religion. Jonathon is an Undergraduate Research Assistant on the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project, that studies pastors of Multiracial Churches. He is currently working on a thesis studying Asian American pastors and how they lead their congregations. Aside from academics, he has been beatboxing seriously for about 2 years and playing piano for 15 years. He has performed at the Midwest Asian American Students Union spring conference and leadership summit in addition to the Society of Asian Scientist and Engineers. Jonathon is passionate about creating change through development of culture-friendly leadership.

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