TEDxUniversityofMississippi is excited to showcase ideas worth spreading. We invite a diverse group of speakers to share innovative, creative, and thought-provoking talks on a different theme each year.


2022 Speakers

Michelle L. D. Hanlon

Co-Director of Air and Space Law, University of Mississippi

Michelle’s work is focused on building the bridge to a future where humans become a multiplanetary species, living and thriving both on Earth and throughout the Universe. Michelle received her B.A. in Political Science from Yale College and her J.D. magna cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center. She earned her LLM in Air and Space Law from McGill University.  Prior to focusing on aviation and space law, Michelle was engaged in a private business law practice.

Michael Fagans

Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and New Media, University of Mississippi

A working photojournalist and documentary filmmaker, Michael’s journey has taken him to to the Navajo Nation, Malawi, India, Austria, Afghanistan, Scotland, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Belize and Guatemala. He is also the author of three books on iPhone photography with Amherst Media. His documentary film ‘The Trafficked Life’ helped raise over $50,000 that was donated to ten nonprofits working to combat human trafficking in California’s central valley.

Maria Brito

Art Advisor, Curator & Writer

Maria Brito knows the business of creativity inside-out. After a successful career as a corporate attorney, in 2009 she launched and grew a seven-figure art advisory from scratch. Since then, she’s worked with some of the world’s top artists, including Chinese activist Ai Weiwei and incognito street sensation Banksy. She has also advised hip-hop moguls, Oscar® winning actors. Tony® winning producers, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and many more.

Sharde Thomas

Lead Vocalist and Manager of Rising Stars Fife & Drum Band

Born in North Mississippi, Sharde Thomas is the granddaughter of the late Otha Turner, a highly recognized and studied fife player. Sharde is the heir of her grandfather’s musical legacy and serves as the lead vocalist, fife player, and manager of the Rising Stars Fife & Drum band

Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons

Assistant Professor of Classics, University of Mississipp

Dr. Dibiase-Sammons was the 2021 recipient of the Dr. Mike L. Edmonds New Scholar Award in Humanities. Her current research investigates the aesthetics of ancient graffiti and graffiti made using charcoal. Jackie has also pioneered the application of several digital technologies to record and visualize ancient Roman graffiti. For the past several years she has included students in this research as part of the Ancient Graffiti Project, for which she served as Field Director.

Richard Balkin

Interim Department Chair and Professor of Leadership & Counselor Education , University of Mississippi

Richard Balkin is the author of Practicing Forgiveness: A Path Toward Healing, published by Oxford University Press, which focuses on a new model and measure for working through issues of forgiveness and conflict. Rick has over 95 publications, which include textbooks, tests, technical manuals, peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, and conference proceedings.

Stephanie Showalter Otts

Environmental Attorney

Stephanie has been co-leading a Mississippi-based interdisciplinary team of researchers doing community-engaged research and outreach to raise awareness of the risks of lead exposure through drinking water and address data gaps in the state. The team’s innovative approach seeks to understand the problem by overlaying different disciplinary “lenses”: public health, civil engineering, law and policy, and population and development. The team’s research has revealed multi-faceted challenges that will require new policy and outreach approaches to address.

Meagen Rosenthal

Associate Professor of Pharmacy Administration, University of Mississippi

Meagen Rosenthal research focuses on developing systems to integrate health research evidence into practice. She is excited to share her experience with community driven research design, which generates new data and information she believes will be more quickly adopted by communities and the people in them.