This year I will be participating in TEDx Scranton 2020.  I will be speaking about my Direct-to-Consumer Genetics (DTCG) research, and why consumers need to approach DNA tests with caution. The event will be held on March 7 at Marywood University. For more info on TEDx Scranton, please read on.

Theme: Metamorphosis

The theme for TEDxScranton 2020 is Metamorphosis.  It is grounded in the idea that everyone transforms in one way or another. What perspectives do you come out with when you reach the other side? In this second TEDxScranton talk, 13 speakers will share those big ideas with you.

The Speakers

Matt Artz

Business Anthropologist
Matt Artz is a business anthropologist exploring the effects of technology on society. As the Head of Product and Experience at Cloudshadow, the Founder and Principal Researcher of Azimuth Labs, and the Founder and Career Coach at Anthro to UX, Matt works at the intersection of research, design, and strategy. In these roles, he advocates for the responsible development of technology. His anthropology research focuses on the benefits and risks of consumer DNA testing. Outside of work, you can find Matt writing, speaking, composing music and photographing the everyday life of people around the world.

Cole Goldstein

Director for Advanced Manufacturing
Cole Hastings Goldstein is the Director for Advanced Manufacturing at Johnson College, a volunteer for the Lackawanna Arts, Culture, and Education Council, and owns a design company specializing in bespoke manufacturing of home and office furnishings using sustainable technology. The maker movement is one of his most passionate causes – a combination of sustainability, hyper local manufacturing, and an uncontrolled evolution in the design world.

Glynis Johns

Historian & Advocate
Glynis Johns is a native Scrantonian, historian, sociologist, artist, documentarian, advocate, and founder of Black Scranton. A modern day Renaissance woman, she spends a lot of time researching Scranton in attempt to pieces together narratives of the black community. Currently, she is building the foundation of a non-profit organization dedicated to doing just that. She curates a Black History Month exhibition in Scranton – the first of its kind. She is proud to shift local perspectives on culture, inclusion, representation, and history. For Glynis, passions and projects are indistinguishable from each other.

Jack Goddard

Environmental Activist
Jack Goddard is an activist, advocating for social justice and equity. His occupation is in the environmental field, doing watershed conservation, land conservancy, and trail development work. His passions include remediation and restoration projects, which would induce a more indigenous, bio-diverse ecosystem in Scranton through the reintroduction and fostering of flora and fauna affected by the region’s industrial past, particularly the mining of anthracite coal, which is core to achieving these goals in our area.

Jamie Smith

Artist & Teacher
Jamie Smith is an artist, teacher, and the director of the Social Fabric Collective in Wyoming, Pennsylvania. This non-profit organization provides professional photography equipment, education, and inspiration to high school students who are as diverse as they are dynamic. Students who, as a whole, are denied critical access and exposure to the arts as enrichment programs are continually de-funded and deemphasized at local and national levels. Now independently producing the NYC workshops, Jamie continues to transform participants’ view of the world by working with a wide range of world-class photographers, instructors, and creative visionaries. Out of this, the Social Fabric Collective was born.

Jeremy Ciliberto

Artist & Natural Burial Enthusiast
Jeremy Ciliberto creates hyperrealistic human bone sculptures and articulates them into functional home decor. He refers to the art series or brand as “Catacomb Culture.” Over years of creating Catacomb Culture, it has given Jeremy a unique perspective on death, dying and the dead. Though his reflections and engagement with supporters, he’s discovered his passion and mission is to develop an organization that offers green or natural burials and free burials throughout the United States. Traditional burials and cremations are toxic to the environment and financially crippling to a grieving family. Jeremy wants to propose better ways to care for our dead, that are beneficial to the environment and families and allows the deceased individual to continue on life’s final metamorphosis in returning to the earth, naturally.

Jourdan Cole

Digital Media Manager
Jourdan Cole is a digital media manager and content creator for Garden Media Group, a women-owned-and-run public relations firm specializing in the home and garden industry. She currently resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where she volunteers as a Penn State Master Gardener in her free time. Her goal is to convince people that brown thumbs can, in fact, be turned green.

Laurel Radzieski

Poet & Grant Writer
Laurel Radzieski is a life-long resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a poet and a grant writer. As a poet, her creative practice goes back and forth between research-driven poetry and poems that are written in public settings for strangers. Presenting on-the-spot poetry installations has changed the way she looks at poetry. She does these installations because she wants to give the public the opportunity to experience poetry in a format that is personal, relatable, and exciting.

Lisa Reynolds

Graphic Designer & Professor
Lisa Reynolds is a professor at Wilkes University and graphic designer, born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She has been active in this market for 20 years, primarily specializing in education. She is passionate about this area and all it has to offer, and regularly encourages young people to be active in the community in which they live.

Mason Crawford

Writer & Poet
Mason Crawford is manager at his local McDonald’s and has been working there since high school. Recently, he has taken a year off of college to try and get himself mentally healthy and figure out what he is meant to do in this life. On the verge of 21, he took a long time away from writing. He went to college at Kutztown University for Professional Writing and was a steady member of the community youth run group the Breaking Ground Poets. When he took getting better seriously he started writing again and crafted stories around preexisting characters. That’s where his passion project came in – writing poems in the voice of Marvel Comics’ superheroes. This led him to start creating original poetry again. He is published in Word Fountain and Poets of NEPA. Mason can be found loving his senior cat or humming a tune from the radio.

Monica Simon

Artist & Writer
Monica Simon loves swimming in the vast pool of expansive knowledge presented to us at every waking moment of the day. Ideas hit her like microscopic bullets and therefore she has a passion for learning in order to make those ideas a reality. She loves discussing the Civil War and hanging up beautiful Sharpie-written reminders that being a good human being is something we all ought to try to strive for. Her current projects include a mural, a painting, a blog, and trying to remember that love is not a project but a way of life.

Steven Gavin

Environmental Lawyer
Steven Gavin is an NEPA-born-and-raised environmental lawyer with a demonstrated history of working in both the Federal and State Court Systems, skilled in environmental law, legal writing, trials, civil litigation, and hydraulic fracturing. He became an environmental lawyer because of the issues facing our region, particularly fracking, deforestation, and Superfund sites. As long as Steven can remember, he felt like a “good resume with an empty person behind it.” Even with clinical depression, he achieved many tangible things, but was deeply unhappy. Meditative practice changed that – but, it was a very long road. He intends to help remove some of the speed bumps he encountered so as to make it easier for the next person to pursue a meditative practice.

Suzanne Kapral

Court Appointed Special Advocate
Suzanne Kapral is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children (CASA), Big Sister mentor, and Animal Welfare Advocate. Her day job includes developing programs and raising much needed money to best serve vulnerable children and at times, adults. Transformation through trauma and grief is tough, painful, messy, and terrifying. Yet, it is critical in order to move us individually and collectively toward a happier, healthier, and more sustainable life. The trauma Suzanne experienced growing up started a long journey of self-initiated nature and animal assisted therapy. This evolved into spearheading a local Children’s Grief Camp. This camp, now in its 5th year, combines farm-based activities, farm animal assisted therapies, and grief education. Suzanne believes the term unconditional love is redundant. True love, including self-love, has no conditions.