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'From Ashes We Rise' TEDxIU talk to feature six speakers



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A student holds an information card for an upcoming TEDxIU event. The event is titled “From Ashes We Rise” and will take place Oct. 12 in the IU Auditorium. Sam House Buy Photos

“From Ashes We Rise” is the theme for this year’s TEDxIndianaUniveristy talk. It is centered around rising from struggle and overcoming obstacles in one’s life, according to the IU Auditorium’s website.

The TEDxIU event will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 in the IU Auditorium. There will be six different speakers on the agenda, such as Dr. Giada Arney and Jeffrey Mittman.

Arney graduated from the University of Washington with a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrobiology. She currently works for NASA researching astrobiology, exoplanets, organic hazes, Venus and planetary habitability in the Goddard Space Flight Center. Arney received the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal in 2018.

Justin Phillips is the founder and executive director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc. Overdose Lifeline is an Indiana nonprofit for helping individuals, families and loved ones with the struggle of overcoming addiction. 

One of Phillips’s sons died in 2013 due to a heroin overdose and now spends her time advocating and educating others about drug abuse. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, nominated Phillips for the White House’s “Champion of Change” initiative in 2015.

Jonathan Jones, the executive director of Motivate Our Minds is a graduate of IU’s The Kelley School of Business and will be present at TEDx. Motivate Our Minds is an educational program that serves children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Dr. Anima Anandkumar, director of machine learning research at NVIDIA and a Bren Professor at the California Institute of Technology, will also be speaking at the event. Anandkumar has developed algorithms that allow computers to process dimensional data using mathematical concepts called tensors, according to the TEDxIU website. 

She has received several awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, NSF Career Award and faculty fellowships from Microsoft, Google and Adobe.

Trevor Paetkau was a graduate of the University of British Columbia and earned a degree in creative writing. He owns a canoe company called Ashes Still Water Boats, where he designs and creates canoes. Paetkau is also a philosopher and storyteller.

Jeffrey Mittman is the Chief Operating Officer at Bosma Enterprises. He received a master’s degree in business administration from Ball State University in 2013. He enlisted in the Army in the 1990s and stayed in the service for around 20 years. 

Mittman reached the rank of a Master Sergeant. In 2005, he was wounded in Baghdad by a roadside bomb. In July 2013, he started working for Bosma Enterprises, a nonprofit helping the visually impaired in Indiana find jobs and find independence. 

All tickets for the TEDxIU event are $14 through the IU Auditorium. Visit the IU Auditorium’s website or the official TEDxIU website to learn more.

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