down arrowMenu

Previous Events

TEDxUNI banner

Amit Sood, MD, MSc, FACP, is a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic. He is also director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine program and chair of the Body-Mind Initiative at Mayo. He has authored and co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, as well as editorials, book chapters, abstracts, letters, and books, including The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living and The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness. He is one of the most sought-after speakers at Mayo.

He received several NIH and foundation awards to test and implement integrative and mind-body approaches within medicine. Dr. Sood received the 2010 Distinguished Service Award, the 2010 Innovator of the Year Award, and the 2013 Outstanding Physician Award from Mayo Clinic. The Intelligent Optimist Magazine nominated him as one of the top 20 Intelligent Optimists helping the world become a better place.

After excelling in sports and graduating high school in 2007, Taylor Morris joined the Navy with hopes of making it into Special Operations. Taylor ultimately found his passion as a Navy EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Technician trained in high explosives as well as disposal of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. After completing rigorous training and additional education throughout the United States, Taylor was deployed on his first tour to Afghanistan in January of 2012 with the Army's Special Forces, tasked with protecting his team from all explosive impediments. He was set to return home in August of 2012.

On May 3, 2012, an IED detonated while Taylor was clearing a path into a building to provide his team cover from enemy fire during a mission in Kandahar. Taylor’s injuries were profound, but he stayed conscious—assessing and communicating the possibility of additional live explosive devices to his Team Leader and a combat medic as they cleared the area and attempted to reach him to render aid.

He sustained injuries to all four limbs, entailing loss of both legs above the knee, his left arm from the bicep down, and his right hand. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star with Valor as well as a Purple Heart.

After two years of rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C, Taylor and his fiancé Danielle live in Cedar Falls, where Taylor is a full-time student at the University of Northern Iowa. They are looking forward to getting married, building their forever home, Taylor's graduation from the University of Northern Iowa with a business degree, Danielle's graduation from her Masters program, and building a new life together, different than previously planned, but exciting and passionate nonetheless.

Keevin O'Rourke is a junior marketing major at the University of Northern Iowa. Early in his college career, he found that he had a strong passion for entrepreneurship. His passion led him to becoming a founding partner at Monday Creations, a creative agency based in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Additionally, he sits on the advisory board for One Million Cups Cedar Valley, led the organizing team in the first ever Startup Weekend held in Cedar Falls, and helped spearhead the creation of the meetup group Open Coffee. In his free time he helps run UNI's Entrepreneurship Club, where he currently holds the seat of Vice President.

Keevin has future aspirations of growing his company out of the current space it occupies, while still having time to spend with friends and family. When he's not working, he enjoys listening to business development podcasts and books. A quote he tries to live by is "The best way to predict the future is to create it!" (Peter Drucker).

David Gould is the University of Iowa’s first Obermann Center Public Scholar and a member of its adjunct faculty.  His courses explore higher education’s role in helping students find meaning and purpose.  

Mr. Gould recently returned from spending 14 months working with the Downtown Project, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh’s organization dedicated to transforming Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world.  Previously, Mr. Gould served as the Associate Director of Professional Student Development in the University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. As a filmmaker, Mr. Gould’s credits include Freestyle: The Victories of Dan Gable, The Checker King, and Two Sides of the Moon.  These films have premiered on HBO Signature and HBO2, enjoying favorable reviews from publications such as the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, and Newsweek.  Mr. Gould is currently producing the feature film Diane’s Room, based on the life of legendary wrestler Dan Gable.

Hannah J. Shaffer is a senior Languages and Literatures: Writing major at the University of Northern Iowa.  In her four years at UNI she explored multiple fields of study before finding her passion in writing. She is now an award winning, published poet. Currently, she works as an editorial intern at the North American Review and is in the process of finishing her first full collection of poetry, which she hopes to publish. She also has performed at many poetry slams and readings and was the opening act for professional slam poet Neil Hilborn.

When she is not writing, she participates in many musical ensembles including UNI’s Panther Marching Band, West African Drum Ensemble, and Kaji-Daiko Taiko. Additionally, she enjoys nature, playing the guitar, eating at Pancheros, traveling, slacklining, and wandering.

Ultimately, Hannah is fueled by the idea that every moment is an opportunity – you need only to grasp it.

Nate Trainor is an advocate for acceptance and belonging of persons with disabilities. Although non-verbal, he is a powerful "voice" for inclusion. Nate has experienced firsthand what rejection, exclusion, and assumed incompetence feels like.  He volunteers his time to help others understand that everyone has many abilities and many ways to communicate and belong within a community. He is currently living with two roommates, is employed at the "W" Wellness Center at Wartburg, volunteers for a fifth grade class, visits the elderly through his church, and delivers many presentations throughout the country to advocate for persons with disabilities.

Jean Trainor is a Cedar Falls, Iowa native. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) with an Accounting Degree and earned her Certified Public Accountant designation. Jean is known for her commitment to her community. She presently volunteers her time and expertise to the Inclusion Connection Board, UnityPoint Health Systems Board, and many other local organizations. Her proudest accomplishment is being Nate's mom.

Jordy Brown grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is majoring in Elementary and Middle Level Education at UNI. He played sports, did extracurricular activities in school, and attended summer camp. He considers those to be pretty normal activities for a young boy in the state of Iowa; however, they played a huge part in shaping who he is today. It was during the baseball season that he learned about working hard, even when playing center field, the most boring position to play during a game. Summer camp is what he looked forward to all year, especially sitting around a fire eating marshmallows and sharing stories with complete strangers. He is now a senior about to gradate college and looking forward to student teaching internationally. His goal is to experience something completely different from Iowa, and then to come back and share his experience with his own students.

Colice Sanders is an Advising Specialist for the University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) Student Support Services (SSS), which is a federally funded TRiO program. SSS serves first generation students, students with low incomes, and students with disabilities by providing the academic and supportive services necessary for their retention and ultimate graduation.

Receiving both her Bachelors of Arts (2004) and Master of Arts degree (2009) in Communication Studies from UNI has given Sanders the tools to continue her commitment to underrepresented populations.  

Sanders has dedicated herself to motivating and empowering underrepresented populations through public speaking and workshop presentations since 1998.

As an academic advisor, Sanders has used her experiences as a former foster youth, teen mother, and first-generation college student to advocate for and support students. As an adjunct instructor, Sanders teaches a first year student success course called Strategies for Academic Success and a section of Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies.

Teri Trask, better known as Mrs. T, has been the Principal of Orange Elementary for the past four years. One of Orange’s points of pride is the school’s three year journey building the Leader in Me program and Orange’s strong partnership with Leader Valley. Teri is a certified Covey trainer.  She believes strongly in paying it forward and can frequently be found working with students, supporting other schools, and facilitating sessions to educate the public on all aspects of leadership.  Teri received her BA and MA from the University of Northern Iowa and has served as an adjunct professor for education classes at UNI, Wartburg College, and Viterbo College. She is also the owner of T2 Training, where she enjoys wearing the hats of speaker, trainer, consultant and facilitator. She has been dubbed an “Enthusiologist Extraordinaire” by her peers for her no-nonsense approach and the passion, energy, and optimism she brings to the table.

Mike Fisher is the principal of Hoover Middle School in Waterloo, Iowa, leading a diverse learning community of over 800 students in grades 6-8. He has served at Hoover Middle School since 2012. Prior to this position, Mr. Fisher was a band director and music teacher at West Marshall Community Schools. Mr. Fisher’s mission statement in life is “Making the world a better place from having walked through it.” As he has lived this motto, he has been blessed to lead the transformation of Hoover Middle School into a Leader in Me learning community that infuses leadership and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into everything they do. With Hoover’s mission statement of “Influence the world, serve others, and save lives,” there has been a tremendous surge in student and staff motivation to positively impact other people’s lives. Mr. Fisher appreciates the privilege of serving a school that has become a model for leadership and character education in the community. He holds a degree in music education from Simpson College and advanced degrees from the University of Northern Iowa in educational leadership.