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TEDxLaf 2011: Why not…

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TEDxLAF believes that Cur Non (“Why Not?”), Lafayette’s new motto, is the ultimate epitome of progressive thinking and believes it is amongst students, faculty and administration interest’s to spread this radical idea. TEDxLAF, going along with this philosophy, seeks to Involve the students, faculty, administration and members of the Lafayette Community as well as the city of Easton and the Lehigh Valley in this thought-provoking experience with the hope that they will learn how to Love and Evolve, intellectually and emotionally, as separate entities in a collaborative system. TEDxLAF promises radical new ideas that will stretch the boundaries of your thinking to the extreme and will inspire and empower you with the tools needed to change the world.


The Secret System – What is Your Secret System?

With a unique blend of classic and modern rock sounds, the Secret System blends ambient and progressive elements with thought-provoking lyrics that appeal to a wide variety of audiences.

Formed in 2008 and hailing from the Lehigh Valley, the Secret System has produced two albums and is involved in the local music scene as well as benefits and music festivals.

Troy Reynard – Changing the World One Cup at a Time

Changing the world, one cup of coffee at a time…

Many people start their day with a cup of coffee.  Have you ever thought about the global economic impact of that small purchase?  Compassionate and concerned specialty coffee importers, roasters and retailers are working to make a transformational difference in communities in the origin countries from which they source their coffee.
Troy Reynard is the owner of the Cosmic Cup Coffee Company in Easton. PA.  His passion for great coffee is infectious.  His vision of coffee is not only as a beverage, but as a culinary art, a facilitator of community, and a vehicle for global social change.
A former barista competitor and Lafayette’s prestigious Aaron O. Hoff community appreciation award, Mr. Reynard sits on the board of several local business organizations and strives to run his business with the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit in mind.

Jane Golden – Philadelphia Mural Arts Program


Since the Mural Arts Program began in 1984, Jane Golden has been its driving force, overseeing its growth from a small city agency into the nation’s largest mural program, a catalyst for positive social change and community development. Under Golden’s direction,  in partnership with communities, grassroots organizations, city agencies, schools and philanthropies, the Mural Arts Program has created over 3,000 landmark works of public art, earning Philadelphia international recognition as the “City of Murals.”

Golden holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and degrees in Fine Arts and Political Science from Stanford University.  In addition, Golden has received honorary PhDs from Swarthmore College, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Widener University, Haverford College, and Villanova University.  Most recently Golden received a scholarship through the Social Enterprise Initiative to attend the Harvard Business School Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management Program.


Ben Towne – Connecting Knowledge Needs With Resources


Ben Towne ’09 earned a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a BA in Community Development, combining sociology, psychology, economics, and related fields. He studied abroad in Germany and [Interim] South Africa, and traveled to over two dozen countries in the time between. While at Lafayette, Ben was very active in student groups especially in the area of sustainability, and served as chair of the Solar committee through a number of efforts at the college. He won the Udall scholarship, a national award for student leaders in environmental or native American healthcare and public policy. Ben was a Lafayette nominee for the Rhodes, Marshall, and other scholarships, and a national Honorable Mention recipient in NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship program. A month before graduating, he represented the youth of the developed nations at the World Telecommunications Policy Forum in Lisbon. Days before graduation, he presented similar concepts at a workshop, his first research publication on a continuing interest in “how computers are changing society.”

He combined his undergraduate majors as a PhD student in Computation, Organizations, & Society at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science. His recent work examined ways to enhance the work of large multidisciplinary teams doing novel or complex work, such as designing a moon rover or setting policy for healthcare information technology. The January before the conference, he won Pittsburgh’s first Industry Academic Clinicians Together entrepreneurship contest, in the field of healthcare technology innovation.


Bryan Fox – A Tribute to Those Lost in a New York Minute


Bryan Fox is a Lafayette Alum part of the graduating class of 2010. He was born and raised in The Bronx New York, and he strives to represent his home town to the fullest. His best memories of Lafayette include conversations with people from all over the world, and poetry nights.

He learned a lot about how other people live and how their home environments helped shape their views on life. In turn, his own views on his hometown changed quite a bit and he recorded his changing perspective via poetry. He plans to be a poet for the rest of his life to give other people a glimpse into his world and where he comes from. He also wants to get his Master’s in creative writing, followed by a Doctorate in Black masculinity so he can become a Professor. He thinks it would be great to be able to help young men coming from urban areas, while also incorporating his poetry.

Brandi Porter – Music, A Silhouette of my Soul


Brandi Porter was a highly involved sophomore at Lafayette College. Performance is her passion in life.  Whether it is singing, acting, or dancing, as long as she is on the stage or in front of a camera lens, Porter feels right at home.

She loves to express herself through music or dance or take on the personas of other characters because every time she does so, she learns about herself in the process, expanding her imagination and creativity. Porter has performed in over 14 musicals and aspires to one day be on Broadway.

Jim Toia – Knee Deep and Risin’

Residing in northwestern New Jersey, Jim Toia has developed a symbiotic relationship with the flora and fauna that graces his landscape.The inherent fecundity of his surroundings is his constant reminder of the cycles of nature, an ever-present affirmation of the cruel and splendid impartiality of life and death.

His work, which has appeared in more than 85 solo exhibitions and group shows around the world, is a direct response to observation, forces us to step closer in order that we may see. Toia also played a key role in developing Lafayette’s Community-Based Teaching program in which Lafayette faculty, honors students in art, and visiting professional artists work with area high school and adult art students and has served as its director since its founding in 2001. He is the founding coordinator of the Maggin Family Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship program.


Kathleen Nasti – The Enter Demeter Project

Kathleen Nasti is founder and Director of the Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange (LVDE). The mission of the Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange (LVDE) is to create a strong professional dance presence in the Lehigh Valley by utilizing the dance talent of various Lehigh Valley arts programs, organizations and facilities and engaging the community of this area in the creation and performance of new works that speak directly to the people, culture, and issues of the Lehigh Valley. LVDE gathers professional level dancers, choreographers and companies of the Lehigh Valley in order to facilitate dance collaborations and performances using Lehigh Valley arts venues. LVDE serves as a liaison for individuals and groups to share performance costs, locate dancers, show work, host master classes, network, and explore professional dance in the Lehigh Valley.

Kathleen holds a BA in Classical Studies from Dickinson College and an MBA from Lehigh University. In addition to directing LVDE, she is a faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Dance Muhlenberg College. She is a former professional dancer and worked with many NYC based companies such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, American Dance Machine, and Alyce Finwall Dance Theatre among others.

Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange Website:

Jenn Bell – Connect Yourself

Jennifer Bell grew up in a small town called Purcellville, Virginia. She was a senior pursuing a B.S. in Geology and Environmental Geosciences with a minor in Religious Studies at Lafayette College.
Jenn has always been interested in the environment and environmental issues, and was involved with both the environmental activist club, LEAP, and the environmental research club, SEES, at Lafayette. She’s been involved with starting and expanding the campus composting program and starting the campus organic vegetable garden with the help of many faculty members.
Jenn was also involved with research in the geology department including leaf taphonomy in the field of paleoecology and has been a teaching assistant for introductory geology courses. She enjoys yoga, hiking, running, and camping and spreading the word about sustainability.

Kameisha Hodge – Human Downgrade 1.0


Kameisha Jerae Hodge is a writer, but mostly a poet who is taking a stand against poverty, educational disenfranchisements, and misleading cultural ethnographies by being a youth advocate. Having published a collection of poetry in her book Atlas of Consciousness, she thought that she would work on her versatility. Little did she know, there was no versatility to work on.


Berrisford Boothe – Love Pattern, Passion & Genetic Aesthetic Memory

Berrisford Boothe, born in Jamaica, graduated from Lafayette in ’83, and is an associate professor of Art at Lehigh University. He has been well known in the local, regional, national and international scene for over 20 years, while he has been developing a career as a painter, digital artist, printmaker, photographer, installation artist, art/ design lecturer and curator. A former member of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and The Banana Factory / ArtsQuest council, his works are part of public and private collections, nationwide, in South America and the U.K.

He has taught all drawing and painting studios, and has offered courses in a wide variety or areas. Boothe, along with Professors Todd Watkins and John Ochs was one of the founding members and a product design lecturer for the curriculum award winning Lehigh program: Integrated Product Design Program. IPD is a cross-disciplinary, deliverables based, sponsor funded program of product and process design teams across the disciplines of engineering, business and design.

Bryan Hendrickson – B Home: A Hexagonal Shelter System


Bryan Hendrickson is a recent Civil Engineering grad from Lafayette. He has been living and working in Trenton, New Jersey at a metal fabrication and sculpture studio, working in primarily reclaimed and salvage materials. He has also been bringing interactive art to the streets of Trenton in an effort to engage the public in the creative process. He is also a huge advocate of locally grown foods, and is coordinating efforts with City and County Officials, as well as other local non-profit organizations toward a number of public improvement projects including community gardens, public art installation, and educational and vocational enrichment opportunities for local high school students.

He is a member of a community of artists, which has been in the process of forming the Trenton Atelier. Their non-profit application was pending review, and should have been submitted for governmental review within the few weeks after the conference. The Trenton Atelier is an eco-arts workshop offering the resources, knowledge, and tools necessary to experiment in the creative industrial arts. Their mission is to foster a self-sustaining community of collaborative artists that engage people through transforming ideas to artistry: experimenting both in a cooperative workshop space and bringing art to the streets and communities within Trenton and beyond.

Helen Martin – The Emperor’s New Sound

Helen Martin, violinist and teacher, grew up in Philadelphia where she studied with Jasha Brodsky at the New School and Jani Szanto at the Philadelphia Musical Academy. She continued her studies at The Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, where she joined the class of Josef Gingold.

Her repertoire includes solo as well as ensemble works, but teaching is her primary focus. She has worked with students in both public and private schools as well as in conservatories here in the U.S. and in London (UK). She taught String Techniques at Moravian College and was Head of the String Department at the Community Music School in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Martin’s teaching based on the respected research of Edwin Gordon – highlights the language aspects of music while building a balanced, flexible technique.

Helen Martin has also lived and worked in Tel Aviv, Montreal and San Diego, California.


Joaquin Indacoceha – Passionate Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Joaquin Indacochea Beltran is from Arequipa, the second largest city of Peru. He was raised in an environment in which culture and knowledge were greatly valued and fostered. His best childhood memories are at the beach where, ironically, he was saved from drowning with his grandfather at the age of 7. This event marked the rest of his life and taught him the importance of being grateful and living intensely.

He studied at the same school for 11 years and then gained a two-year scholarship to study at the United World College of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy. This has been the most life-changing experience of his life because he lived in an international community of 200 people from more than 70 different nationalities. In 2007 he came to the USA to study Civil & Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College. He graduated in May 2011.

At Lafayette he joined Engineers Without Borders (EWB) where he learned the most important aspect of engineering: Sustainability. At EWB he found that his passion is carrying projects looking at the big picture from many different social, technical, environmental and economic perspectives.

He has learned more from his experiences and curiosity than from any book. He strongly believes that every person and situation have something good to offer and learn from.

Shrutarshi Basu – Teaching Technology

Shrutarshi Basu is an engineer, programmer, writer and sometimes artist. He has degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Lafayette College. In recent years his projects have involved bringing the power of computation to art professors and students. At Lafayette he created Metaphor — a software system currently being used by the computer science and art departments to explore the aesthetic nature of evolving systems. His project is entitled “Art in Code” — a part tutorial and part online gallery of computer generated art.
He believes that computation and programming can be used as tools to explore all areas of human knowledge and creativity, not just science and technology. After graduating Basu went to graduate school to study programming languages — both as a technical subfield of computer science and as a medium for expressing our thoughts to our machines. He also plans to keep working on his writing skills which he has honed at Lafayette by writing for the college’s “Voices” student blog and his own technology-centric blog at The ByteBaker.

Marc Tancer – Promoting Love with Principles of Self-Ownership

Hailing from the suburbs of Montville, New Jersey, Marc Tancer was a senior mathematics-economics major at Lafayette College. Marc has developed a keen interest and understanding of both economics and libertarian political theory in his time at college. He is well known for his fierce defense of individual liberty and his opposition to collectivism, often challenging the established norms of the college setting. These prevailing attitudes manifested during Marc’s sophomore year when he founded Lafayette’s College Libertarians Club. Having served as both President and Treasurer, his leadership has brought such speakers ranging from the local Congressional candidate Jake Towne to potential Presidential candidate Governor Gary Johnson to Lafayette. Marc has worked for the Foundation for Economic Education, the Institute for Humane Studies, and precious metal traders, exemplifying his dedication to his principles.

Aside from his academic endeavors (which included a stint with school’s Fed Challenge Team), Marc enjoys running, skiing, attending concerts and baseball games, and acting as DJ for the college radio station.


Steve Kurtz – Altering Your Perception of Beer

Steve Kurtz grew up on the same family farm on which his mother grew up, in rural New Jersey (please forgive the oxymoron). His childhood was immersed in the hands-on work of farming, whether it was working with machinery, repairing buildings, or herding cattle. His young adulthood was similarly immersed in hands-on work, as his summers were spent as a full-time laborer for his father’s construction company, beginning at the age of fourteen. Entering Rutgers College in 1988, he initially intended to study history, but soon realized that his background and interests were ideally suited for Civil Engineering. At Rutgers, he received a BS in Civil Engineering and a BA in Economics. From there, he worked as a construction manager for several years before a strong desire to teach drew him back to Rutgers for an MS and a PhD in Structural Engineering.

After two years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri, his dream of working at a student-centered institution was fulfilled when he was offered a faculty position at Lafayette College in 2002.
His teaching philosophy and methods are the direct results of his life experience. In the classroom, he places great emphasis on hands-on physical demonstrations of engineering problems, with the belief that physical, tactile experience is among the most efficient ways of understanding engineering problems. More than that, however, his passion for teaching is fueled by a life-long dissatisfaction with formal education. From Kindergarten to the PhD, he was continually disappointed by the lack of passion in the classroom. He believes that formal education, in the context of human history, is an exceedingly rare gift that should be greeted with great enthusiasm, daily. In the words of Johnny Unitas: ”You’re a long time dead. Why not enjoy every day?”

Manuel Fresnada – Bienvenidos a los EEUU

Manuel Fresnada moved from Bogota, Colombia to Easton, PA with a dream of eventually buying a video camera so that he could make movies. Fresnada wanted to make movies about relevant social issues, telling the stories of the marginalized and voiceless people of Colombia. Fourteen years after his first trip to the US he is now an official Eastonian. He is both a father and an entrepreneur, but his goals have not changed. He strives to make small changes in the world and to document the stories that need to be told.

Today Fresnada owns Cafe Terra, originally located in downtown Easton and with a new location in the south side of Bethlehem.


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