2016 TEDxUConn Speakers

Auna Harvey
Student, UConn

Auna Harvey, an Undergraduate Business student in the Honors program is working towards a degree in Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Currently in her Sophomore year at the University she is a Resident Assistant on campus for the Business Connections Learning Community, affiliated with the fraternity Kappa Alpha Theta, Gamma Zeta chapter, and a member of the Women’s Club Soccer team. She also been involved in UConn’s Undergraduate Student Government, Leadership Workshop Series and Asian American Cultural Center. Auna strives to challenge herself by seeking opportunities within the community and helping those around her achieve their goals.
Watch Her 2016 Talk

Dev Dalal
Assistant Professor, UConn

Dev Dalal, PhD, an industrial-organizational psychologist, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Connecticut. He is also a Senior Research Affiliate with the Industrial Psychology Application Center, and the principal member of Workplace Research and Application Partners. He has focused much of his research on the development of valid measures of psychological constructs as decision aids for personnel decision making, and on how to convince decision makers to use these tools to help when making decisions in organizations. In pursuit of these goals, his focuses on the basic nuts-and-bolts of pre-employment test development; understanding why decision makers resist these helpful tools; and developing interventions to help decision makers understand how decision aids can be helpful when making decisions.
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Dillan DiGiovanni
Lifestyle and Leadership Coach

Dillan DiGiovanni, a credentialed educator and coach, helps create healthier workplace cultures with conscientious people and companies. Dillan combines his expertise with lifestyle habits and leadership skills to help people become happier and healthier via his blog, social media and live presentations. A self-described “change theory geek”, Dillan has changed virtually every aspect of his identity, from his career path to nutrition and even his gender identity well into his adulthood, and he shares those stories to inspire people. He received his B.S. in Education from The College of New Jersey and MEd. from Lesley University, with a specialization in Leadership, Wellness and Cultural Change. Dillan lives in Boston, MA and consults with clients all over the globe. He consumes bacon and green smoothies in equal amounts and is an avid film fan.
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Kendra Thomas
Graduate, UConn

Kendra Thomas is a graduating senior at the University of Connecticut as a Marketing major and a Woman, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor. Due to her concentration in Digital Marketing and Analytics, she was able to obtain an internship at Apple, Inc. in Cupertino, CA. Upon her graduation, Kendra will be moving to Boca Raton, FL to begin wor her four years at the University of Connecticut, Kendra has a made a large impact on her community as the charismatic, outgoing, determined leader of the Black Student Association, a Resident Assistant for Social Justice Education, Co-Founder of Sisters Inspiring Sisters, a member of the Voices of Freedom Gospel Choir, and a dedicated member of the African American Cultural Center. Through her work, Kendra has created and coordinated protests off campus, demonstrations on campus, new programs, facilitated dialogues, and advocated for both students of the Black community and the UConn community at large. She is most pointedly known for challenging those around her to be better and for the investments she makes into improving her community. Kendra is most proud of being able to energize, awaken, and cultivate the potential of each person she encounters.
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Mark Urban
Associate Professor, UConn

Mark C. Urban, Ph.D., is an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UConn. His research addresses fundamental and applied questions in biology by integrating ecology, evolutionary biology, behavior, and genetics. By taking a multi-disciplinary and systems-oriented approach, his work repeatedly uncovers new principles with wide-ranging applications. His research has challenged the ways in which we understand biotic responses to climate change, how evolution influences biodiversity, the spatial scale of adaptation, the importance of adaptation in influencing ecosystems, and the reason for autoimmune disease.
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Michael Mallery Jr.
Office of Diversity and Inclusion, UConn

Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, and College Instructor are just a few titles of distinction used to describe Mr. Michael Mallery., who is known today as one of the most influential young-leaders around. As the Founder of the internationally recognized I’m So Educated Company, Michael has inspired over 40,000 students across the country and internationally through seminars and lectures. In 2012 Michael was awarded as 30 under 30 in his home state of Louisiana, and his work has been featured in the Hartford Courant and CBS New York. In 2015 Michael was recently awarded as a 2015 Education Game Changer and a 100 Men of Color Honoree by the Mayor of Hartford, CT.
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Nicholas Piscatelli
Student, UConn

Nicholas Piscatelli is a student of the UConn School of Business pursuing a degree in marketing with a minor in Spanish. Nick’s love for entrepreneurship manifests itself in projects such as his eBay business, which caters to students around campus. Nick lives by the motto: There are two types of people in this world: People that watch it happen, and people that make it happen.
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Penny Vlahos
Associate Professor of Marine Sciences, UConn

Dr. Vlahos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences. She is a chemical engineer by training and her research is in biogeochemistry and the thermodynamics of how molecules move in the environment (both natural and man-made). She is a fellow of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fulbright Specialist and member of the International Panel on Chemical Contaminants.
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Tanisha Akinloye
CEO, Empowering Through Beauty, Inc.

Beauty visionary and expert, mindset coach, author and women’s and girl’s advocate, Tanisha Akinloye is the founder and CEO of Empowering Through Beauty, Inc.—a nonprofit organization that helps women and girls create pathways to employability and self-sufficiency. The program offers cosmetology services, education, outreach, and empowerment opportunities. Tanisha also oversees the Empowering Through Beauty Expo each year, which raises funds for the program.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Tanisha’s success with women and girls empowerment has garnered nationwide attention. Her activities have been featured in Modern Salon, Essence, Madame Noire, Connecticut Magazine, Sheen Magazine, Midwest Black Hair Magazine, Connecticut Post and Hartford Courant, among other media outlets. In addition, she has been recognized and honored by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, the National Black Professional Women Association, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Watch Her 2016 Talk