Talks & Info

February 20th Event

Ford Center for the Performing Arts

February 19

Speaker/Sponsor Reception (invitation only)

February 20

Illuminate Art Gallery, 6:15 pm, lower lobby

The Mississippians Jazz Band 6:30 pm, stage

Main Event with TEDx Speakers, 7:00 pm, stage

The Talks

Jason Bouldin seeks a broader interpretation of the term “artist” and wonders how a reimagining of that label might inspire us all to find more meaning in our personal and professional lives. Nationally regarded for his portrait work, Jason Bouldin is a past awardee of the Portrait Society of America’s Grand Prize at its International Portrait Competition. He obtained his BFA in Art History from Harvard University, and received his studio training directly from his father, renowned artist Marshall Bouldin III. Although working professionally as a portraitist, he avidly pursues landscape and still life studies. Learn more at Jason Bouldin | Mississippi Encyclopedia.

What is the boundary line separating curiosity from insensitivity? How do culture and history contribute to those boundaries? Jaylin R. Smith delivers a love poem for black women everywhere while inspiring all people to become more interculturally competent. Jaylin R. Smith is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi and a graduate student at the University of Mississippi matriculating in Journalism and New Media. Being a black woman raised in the Mississippi Delta has given Jaylin a host of experiences that have molded her values of community, social activism, self-identity, and cultural awareness. Smith received two bachelor’s degrees in mass communication and speech communication from Mississippi Valley State University.

Male students are graduating college at much lower rates than female students, and that’s not the only data demonstrating a need for change in higher education. Jazmine D. Kelley calls on schools and businesses to align their strategic planning and decision-making processes with the success of all their students and workers. Creating climates where all can succeed begins with recognizing we all have different needs. Jazmine D. Kelley is a Diversity Education & Strategic Initiatives Director at the University of Mississippi. Kelley is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Higher Education from the University of Mississippi and explores the relationship between student success and institutional effectiveness for systematically excluded groups. In her studies she found a reciprocal relationship between how institutions make decisions and the ultimate success of students. Kelley has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as well as a Master of Science in Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion from Mississippi State University.

Remaining Talks arriving soon!


Bryn Loftness is passionate about addressing the existing gaps in current pediatric and family-care mental health resources. She develops machine algorithms integrating wearable sensors, health records, and off-body sensors to unlock insights into human behavior and well-being. She envisions the application of these new technologies revolutionizing the modern mental health care system, starting at the crucial early stages of life when children have the greatest potential for long-term success. Loftness is a PhD candidate in the Complex Systems and Data Science program at University of Vermont and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She also holds a Visiting Researcher position in the Sabeti Lab and the Brown University MAPPS Center through her affiliation with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Learn more at BRYN LOFTNESS – Home.

Photo of Bryn Loftness, speaker for TEDxUniversityofMississippi's 2024 event: IllUMinate.
Photo of Alisha Rai, speaker for TEDxUniversityofMississippi's 2024 event: Illuminate.

Dr. Alisha Rai, a mother, disability advocate, and family physician practicing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, seeks to inspire hope by sharing her unfiltered journey to and through motherhood. She calls on us to address infertility issues openly, in an informed and aware manner. Together with her husband, Liam, Rai founded Hope for Cerebral Palsy – a non-profit providing access to private early intervention therapies for children with cerebral palsy.

David James Hamilton is the founder of Anubis Improv in New Orleans, LA and Oxford, MS. He uses improvisational performance to help people tap into their creativity and develop communication skills. Hamilton has been creating improv (improvisational performance) curriculum and coaching since 2014. He performs with the dupe troupe Kinross Kasunick and is a member of the film collective Windbreaker. He believes anyone can harness the power of improv to develop active listening skills and enhance communication capabilities.

Photo of David Hamilton, speaker for TEDxUniversityofMississippi's 2024 event: IllUMinate