About TEDx, x = independently organized event
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About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

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TEDxOU: Level Up is giving the stage to OU students and community members who are encouraged to explore themes related to overcoming obstacles and exceeding expectations. We’re going to delve into the various innovative ideas that reveal pathways to the achievement of new heights with engaging and inspiring talks during the day-long conference.  The lineup of speakers and performers for TEDxOU 2019 is filled with passionate experts, community leaders, and OU students outstanding stories, research, and ideas to share.

Mike Aguilar

Mike Aguilar is the founder of the current three-year-old University of Oklahoma Esports Club aimed at debunking gamer stereotypes by creating opportunities in academic curriculum, career placement, competitive energies, research topics, and K-12 outreach. As part of his efforts, Mike has created one of the largest student organizations on the University of Oklahoma campus which is on its way towards realizing his vision and goals. About five years ago, the first collegiate esports program was fully endorsed. Since then, over a hundred more higher education institutions across the US and Canada have actively developed an esports program in some capacity.

Mike is currently an employee of The University of Oklahoma Information Technology department and does project management and business analysis. He is a US Army veteran, a photographer with 20 years of experience covering a multitude of genres, and sits on the Esports Steering Committee for Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology (SEAT), an organization that advises traditional sports executives in the NBA, NFL, NCAA, etc. In the past he’s served as a public servant in juvenile corrections, worked for Apple, and landed a job at AMD through his connections in World of Warcraft. He’s been a gamer since the Apple IIe and Atari 2600 era, and attributes his success in esports development to every single experience he’s had in his life.

Cindy Belardo & Pranav Mohan

Cindy is an environment and menstrual cup enthusiast. She is the CEO of Menstrual Mates and is dedicated to promoting sustainability to all! Pranav is a social activist and an engineer. He has a passion to eradicate poverty and create a positive impact in the world through engineering. He is a PhD student at Purdue University.

Phillip Chilson

Dr. Phillip Chilson is a Professor in the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and Director of the University’s Center for Autonomous Sensing and Sampling. He received a BS and PhD in Physics from Clemson University and an MS in Physics from the University of Florida. He has held positions at the Max-Planck Institut für Aeronomie in Germany, the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Sweden, and the University of Colorado. Dr. Chilson has been with the University of Oklahoma since 2005, where he has pursued a wide variety of research topics. His current research interests include investigations of the atmospheric boundary layer, aeroecology, the advancement of remote sensing technologies, and the development of unmanned aerial systems for atmospheric studies. Before joining the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Chilson also worked in solid state physics, ultra-low temperature physics, and aeronomy.  After receiving his BS degree, Dr. Chilson worked at a nuclear research facility in Germany on of a Fulbright Scholarship.

Caroline Cochran

Caroline Cochran cares deeply about the environment and health, which underlies her dedication to making advanced nuclear energy a reality. As the founder and COO of Oklo Inc., Caroline Cochran is leading the team towards building a very small advanced reactor generator that can be waste-negative, carbon-negative, and replace the world’s dirtiest and least reliable remote power sources. She brings with her a wealth of experience, from being a manager in 16 projects, including 10 start-up projects, to founding 5 different organizations.

Cochran is the first author of several published papers, and currently is an editor for a nuclear energy education and advocacy website. She earned her BA in Economics and her BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Oklahoma and her MS in nuclear engineering from MIT.

E’Ula Green

E’Ula’s journey began in West Africa, and her family has always been committed to social service. She will be the first to acquire a master’s degree in Social Work, although there are many social servants that include ministers, therapists, nurses, musicians, artists, historians, and financial advisers. These family dynamics have deeply impacted her perspective on life by making her highly aware of the needs of others around her. E’Ula spent spent the majority of her life traveling internationally with family on missions of service. She has participated in medical mission trips, trips to build and reinforce infrastructures and buildings, and assisted with nutritional needs assessment and fulfillment, educational camps, safety education, and a host of other types of activities directed toward individuals, families, and communities that are under-served and less fortunate.

Chad Jordan

Chad Jordan is the author of Shut Up & Give?ReThink Missions, and Three Jobs, as well as the founder & chief consultant of Cornerstone International and the co-founder & CEO of Arrow Global Capital.  He is a NextGen Under 30 award winner, a founding member of the Oklahoma Venture Advisory Council, a mentor for the Oklahoma City Thunder LaunchPad, serves as a policy advisor to the U.S. Senate, and is a self-diagnosed unconventionalist.

Chad holds a bachelor’s degree in international policy and a master’s degree in international development from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C, and though he has lived on the East Coast and traveled to or worked in more than sixty countries across the globe, Oklahoma is home.

Lachelle King

Lachelle King is a second year Graduate student at The University of Oklahoma. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, she has been a student at The University since 2014, where she graduated with her Bachelors in Communications in Spring of 2018. Lachelle currently serves as The Graduate Assistant for African American Programs & Services within The Office of Student Life. She is passionate about learning and discussing all things related to Social Structures such as Race, Class, and Gender.  Therefore, it is no surprise that she also works as a Lead Facilitator within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at OU.

Ashley Legg 

Ashley Legg is a health and wellness professional with the goal to motivate, empower and educate people to live a healthy, active & balanced lifestyle. She became so passionate about health and fitness after she went through her own transformation, having competed in multiple bodybuilding competitions, displaying incredible discipline and placing top 3 in her shows. In 2016 she left her corporate job as a Television Reporter at KFOR-TV to start her own business, Legg Day Fitness, having coached 100’s of clients to their goals through recommended nutrition/fitness programs.

A couple years ago, Ashley started to embark on quite the battle. She and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for two years and suffered three miscarriages along the way. Ashley shares her fertility journey to spread hope to women and families out there trying to conceive. She helps the incredibly strong & courageous woman trying to get pregnant, create a self care plan so that they can do everything possible in their control to conceive without feeling lost, scared or like they’re alone.

Ashley now lives on the east coast with her Husband and two doggies, Cowboy Buck & Dixie, both rescues from Oklahoma. While living halfway across the country, they still maintain a strong with the state of Oklahoma.

Erika Lucas

Erika is the Co-Founder of StitchCrew, a firm focused on growing the innovation economy in the middle of the country by democratizing access and connecting traditionally overlooked entrepreneurs with capital, resources and social networks. As part of her efforts, she runs an accelerator program backed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Google. Born and raised in Mexico, she started her career facilitating the establishment and successful operation of several international companies in Mexico. Prior to launching StitchCrew, she was Vice President of a Private Equity Firm with investments in the U.S. and Europe. As part of the leadership team, she worked closely with the firm’s partners to evaluate new investment opportunities and managed the integration of new acquisitions into the firm’s operating business model. Post-acquisition, she worked closely with the leadership team of each company to develop growth strategies along with scalable operating models to ensure governance and growth trajectory was in line with defined investment goals. Previously at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Erika served as Global Director and led the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Trade team as well as the Marketing & Communications team.

Erika currently serves as Board Director of Arvest Bank, the Oklahoma Policy Institute, the Oklahoma City County Health Department, and the Potts Family Foundation. She is also a Board Advisor to several technology startups, Leadership Oklahoma and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

Korey McMahon

Korey McMahon began his career as a professional snowboarder where he was ranked the #2 snowboarder by USASA before building and selling his company, McMahon Marketing. McMahon Marketing specialized in inbound marketing and was one of the top marketing agencies in Oklahoma that was also recognized globally for its work.

Korey McMahon is the also the founder of The Living The Dream Project where he’s on a mission to invite and inspire 1 million people to live their dream life. His Living The Dream formula depicts actionable steps to live your best life. He is an author who regularly contributes articles to, a real estate investor and an international speaker on marketing, sales and culture. Korey is currently the Vice President of Sales and Culture for WEOKIE Federal Credit Union where he is serving their 55,000 members.

Korey enjoys spending time with his wife, Autumn and chasing their two children. Korey has also been named a NEXT Under 40 Professional, OKC BIZ Forty Under 40, Achievers Under 40 and ActionCOACH ActionMAN of the Year. Korey can be found speaking at various conferences, events and contributing articles to

Janet Ward

Janet Ward, Brammer Presidential Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma, is the inaugural Faculty Director of the OU Arts & Humanities Forum, and the Vice President and President-Elect of the German Studies Association. Currently writing on memorial landscapes, Janet is an interdisciplinary scholar of urban history, visual culture, memory studies, and European cultural history. Originally from the south of England, she majored in French and German at the University of London where she received a First Class Combined Honors BA degree. After working in the City of London and then emigrating to the U.S., Janet received her MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in German Studies from the University of Virginia. Before coming to OU eight years ago, she taught in the Germanic & Slavic Studies department at the University of Colorado Boulder and in the History department at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Author and coeditor of six books and many articles, Janet has received grants and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Program, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Getty Research Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Summer Institute for Israel Studies, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Ashley West

Ashley West is bringing her IT experience from her time working for Apple Inc. to the University of Oklahoma! She is an Emerging Technologies Librarian who focuses on 360 video development, emerging technologies instruction, & community outreach. Ashley is also the project lead for the premier flexible experimentation & innovation space within The University of Oklahoma Libraries: Innovation @ the Edge.

Ashley also serves as a leader for Oklahoma Women in Technology, was a 2016 STEM award recipient for the ’30 Under 30’ program, and has presented on emerging technologies at national conferences including the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA).

Ashley is passionate about connecting people with technology & demystifying what it can do to improve all aspects of everyday life.

Kristen Partridge (Emcee)

Kristen Partridge serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and the Associate Dean of Students at the University of Oklahoma. Kristen’s focus is promoting leadership development and enhancing self-awareness in every person she meets. She speaks to thousands of students every year about becoming better versions of themselves. Her passion is helping people of all ages discover their worth.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Education from OU in 1999 and her master’s in Human Relations and Organizational Leadership in 2008. Over the years, Kristen has served as President of the Oklahoma College Student Personnel Association and the Region 4 West National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASPA).  In 2012, Kristen was honored to receive the Sullivant Prize for Perceptivity sponsored by the Inasmuch Foundation.

Her husband Casey works as Associate Director for the OU Graduation Office and Director of the Sooner Success program. They have a six-year old son named Sam who just started kindergarten, and just this past summer, met their new son Will, age 3 ,who has stolen their hearts (and a few crayons from daycare).

Erica Parker (Performer)

Erica Parker’s love of music began sitting in her Grandmother’s lap as a toddler and listening to classical music on the HIFI.  She was deeply inspired and captivated by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in g minor at that young age.  That early love of music blossomed throughout her youth and helped her to become a professional musician, making music her companion and friend throughout life.  As she became an adult she knew she wanted to share her love and passion for music with others to help build innovative programs and stronger connections for the community of Tulsa.  Through her work in Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa Community College, Signature Symphony as well as creating and developing programs for early learners and senior residents of Tulsa, she has realized that the power and depth of music can heal, educate, unify, and develop relationships across socio-economic lines helping Tulsa’s community grow together.


TEDxOU talks have been viewed more than two million times. Below is a selection of our 20 most watched talks.