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11/4/2015 - Jackson, Miss.

TEDxJackson will launch another round of "Ideas Worth Spreading" on Thursday, November 12 with a day of inspiring speakers from Mississippi and beyond. Now in its second year, the independently organized event carries the theme "Liftoff" to reflect Mississippi's contributions to space exploration and the desire to help Mississippi "lift off" to improve the quality of life and opportunities available for all Mississippians. The program will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m.

While the event will be held in the Jackson Convention Complex, located at 105 E. Pascagoula Street in Jackson, it will be livestreamed so citizens across the state can participate by viewing the event on computer, tablet or phone devices.

TED is an annual event where some of the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. "TED" stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design - three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping the future.

Mississippi Public Universities are well-represented among the speakers, with Dr. Robert Blaine, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning at Jackson State University, Dr. Scott Milroy, Assistant Professor of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Alysia Burton Steele, a photojournalist and assistant professor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media, joining the roster.

Dr. Robert Blaine is the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning at Jackson State University. Blaine serves as Director of GEAR (Global Education through Analytical Reasoning), Artistic Director of the Mississippi Youth Symphony Orchestra, host of the television program, "Music Art" broadcast on the COLOURS Network in Jackson, Mississippi, and Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies at Jackson State.

Active as an international conductor and soloist, Dr. Blaine has led ensembles in performances in China, Central America, the Caribbean, and throughout North America. An active soloist, Robert has premiered several works for trombone. Holding degrees from Indiana University, the Catholic University of America, and the Eastman School of Music, Robert is an Apple Distinguished Educator and an endorsing artist of the C. G. Conn Company.

Dr. Scott Milroy is Assistant Professor of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a Ph.D. with an emphasis on Biological Oceanography from University of South Florida and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University. Dr. Milroy completed his Bachelor's Degree at Occidental College, majoring in Biology with a Marine emphasis.

Dr. Milroy's current research includes a NASA-funded project to explore the possibility of fostering life on another planet by studying whether microscopic algae that thrives in Antarctica can survive in the Martian climate. His research is being conducted with marine science majors and high school students from the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.

Alysia Burton Steele is a photojournalist and assistant professor at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. Born in Harrisburg, Penn., Steele holds a degree in journalism from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and a Master of Fine Arts from Ohio University. In 2006, while working for the Dallas Morning News, she joined their photography team in winning a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Her 2015 book, Delta Jewels, chronicles the lives of over 50 Mississippi Delta women - church elders, including civil rights activist Mrs. Myrlie Evers - who have shared poignant highlights of their lives during the Jim Crow era. Ms. Steel's photography has been featured in The New York Times, NBC.com, USA Today, Southern Living, Chicago Sun-Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Garden & Gun, The Commercial Appeal and The Clarion Ledger.

Jackson native Cherita Brent will serve as Master of Ceremonies. A graduate of Jackson State University, she serves as a weekday local radio show host and producer for Mississippi Public Broadcasting. She hosts and produces four weekday shows at 10 a.m.: Now You're Talking with Marshall Ramsey, In Legal Terms, Everyday Tech, and Next Stop, Mississippi. She also founded "Rita B. Entertainment," a media hub that offers music, radio, and comedy services.

The speakers and topics include:

  • Jim Barksdale: Disruptive Innovation

    • Jim Barksdale is chairman of the board and president of Barksdale Management Corporation, a private company that manages his investments and philanthropic activities.

  • John Bielenberg: Design for Good

    • John Bielenberg is a designer, entrepreneur, and advocate for creating a better world through the application of creativity and ingenuity.

  • Dr. Robert Blaine: Education Technology

    • Dr. Robert Blaine is the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning at Jackson State University.

  • Ezra Brown: Musical Performance

    • A multi-talented musician in a number of genres, Ezra Brown uses his musical style to transform a mere story to a lyrical moment. As saxophonist, keyboardist, music director, and arranger, he has collaborated with a broad spectrum of industry greats.

  • Tim Fielder: Afrofuturism

    • Tim Fielder is an Illustrator, concept designer, cartoonist, and animator born and raised in Clarksdale, Miss.

  • Brad Franklin: Hip Hop and Community Building

    • A hip-hop artist, entrepreneur, writer and activist, Brad Franklin's extensive career spans several mediums, including music, TV, and radio.

  • Tom Martin: Space Exploration

    • Tom Martin is a Project Manager in Aerojet Rocketdyne's Advanced Space & Launch Business Unit.

  • Dr. Scott Milroy: Colonization of Mars

    • Dr. Scott Milroy is Assistant Professor of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi.

  • Seth Misenar: Cyber Security

    • Seth Misenar is a Cyber Security Expert who serves as a Senior Instructor with the SANS Institute and Principal Consultant at Context Security, LLC.

  • Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi: Interstellar Travel

    • Hakeem Oluseyi, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized astrophysicist, science TV personality, and global science education activist whose research interests span the fields of astrophysics, cosmology, and technology development.

  • Marshall Ramsey: Creativity

    • Marshall Ramsey is Mississippi-based editorial cartoonist, author and media personality.

  • Latina Rivers: Women in STEM

    • Latina Rivers serves as CEO Liaison at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., while pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in Material Science and Engineering.

  • Katy Simpson Smith: Writing

    • The Jackson native is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835 and The Story of Land and Sea.

  • Alysia Burton Steele: Photojournalism and Oral History

    • A photojournalist and assistant professor at the University of Mississippi, Alysia Burton Steele is the author of Delta Jewels, which chronicles the lives of over 50 Mississippi Delta women.

  • LaVita Tuff: Open Data

    • LaVita Tuff is a Policy Analyst with the Sunlight Foundation, where she works with their local policy team to improve online access to government information.

Please note that speakers and times are subject to change. For tickets and more information on TEDxJackson, visit tedxjackson.com.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

About TED and TEDx
TED was first held in Monterey, California, in 1984. In 2001, Chris Anderson's Sapling Foundation acquired TED from its founder, Richard Saul Wurman. In recent years, TED has expanded to include an international conference, TEDGlobal; media initiatives, including TED Talks and TED.com; and the TED Prize. To learn more about TED, visit ted.com. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized and subject to certain rules and regulations.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where "x" indicates an independently-organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized and subject to certain rules and regulations.

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