Session 1: 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Brain Baker

Brian Baker, Ph.D.

Zahm Professor of Structural Biology

Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame

Dare to Imagine Curing Cancer

More than 100 years ago, New York physician William Coley pioneered methods that relied on the body's immune system to treat cancer. Although quickly surpassed by advances in surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, using our immune systems to treat cancer remained a tantalizing dream. Excitingly, the last several years have now yielded significant advances in cancer immunotherapy. These have led to remarkable new cancer therapies, including creating genetically engineered immune systems that seek out and eliminate cancer and making patient-specific cancer vaccines that may one day prevent cancer from occurring in the first place. In this talk, Brian Baker will explain the keys to these revolutionary technologies that more than a century later are helping to make Dr. Coley's dream a reality. 

Kendrick Peterson

Kendrick Peterson

Sophomore, Political Science

Business Economics and Public Policy Minors  

Dare to Differentiate

As an Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator at Notre Dame, sophomore Kendrick Peterson knows all too well how students like to portray themselves in the best light to impress future schools, employers, alumni, fellow peers, and others whom they meet. Most people, not only college applicants, seem to do the same in their daily lives. Unfortunately, this often entails hiding certain traits that are essential to one’s character in order to avoid discrimination. In his talk, Kendrick will argue that regardless of your classifications, you should always treasure what makes you unique. While daring the audience to “differentiate,” he will show the importance of celebrating diversity in all forms and encourage listeners to stop trying to fit molds set by others.

Joanna Fava, Ph.D.

Alumna, Class of 2001, Psychology and Computer Applications

Director of the Trauma Treatment Program & a Senior Staff Psychologist at Center for Cognitive & Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Joanna Fava

Dare to Exceed Expectations

As a senior in high school, Joanna’s history teacher told her she’d never graduate college. Her parents did not go to the school and complain or write the teacher a nasty letter (as she had hoped). Instead, they offered her a challenge: “You can either prove her right or you can prove her wrong.” Years later, she would graduate from the University of Notre Dame and go on to work in prisons in NY, NJ, and CT providing psychological services to inmates before entering private practice in 2012. She now provides specialized treatments to individuals in the NYC area who are struggling with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, personality disorders, and suicidal urges, and helps them create a life truly worth living. Her talk will draw upon her personal experiences and the lives of her patients to offer steps to defeat anxiety and doubt and to tap into the resilience necessary to exceed expectations.

Matthew Stackowicz  

Matthew Stackowicz

Community Member

Director of Career Development and Global Engagement, Bethel College

Dare to Be a Visual Storyteller

The photographs we take, share, print, and remember define key moments in our lives, yet they also have the potential to reshape our future. Although photography as a means of visual storytelling has gone through many iterations over the last 100 years, it now plays a part in our everyday routine. We capture the moments we deem as important. We edit these moments to enhance the narrative. And we share the moments to let others into our lives and what takes place around us. Since the advent of the smartphone camera, we have all become photographers, videographers, and visual storytellers, capturing what we consider significant and sharing it with our interconnected worlds. Local community photographer Matthew Stackowicz will demonstrate how our stories will be remembered by the visual narratives we share, and how these same visual narratives can shape our community and the future we desire.

Sophia Buono 

Sophia Buono

Senior, Program of Liberal Studies

Education Minor

Dare to Dance Hand-in-Hand

Notre Dame senior Sophia Buono has always loved dancing. It never fails to fill her with joy, she says, and it helps her have a fun time with people she cares about.  Unfortunately, the art and joy of dancing, especially partner dancing, is something that has faded in our modern culture. Nowadays, many people's only experience of dancing involves just a crowd of people in a dark, steamy room. Through her TEDxUND talk, Sophia would like to show that certain types of partner dancing can be not only uplifting experiences, but also models for strong, loving, personal relationships.  Dancing can be a great vehicle for positive culture-change and when performed certain ways, it can most certainly go “hand-in-hand” with fostering loving relationships.

William Clark 

William Clark

Freshman, Honors Mathematics

Constitutional Studies and the Hesburgh Program of Public Service Minors  

Dare to Say "No"

From trying to reject food offered by our grandmothers when we're too full, to acquiescing to others out of fear of confrontation, we are all familiar with the discomfort involved in saying “no” to others. Over time, our brains have evolved to respond much more negatively to saying and receiving “no.” Freshman William Clark will discuss the psychological processes that can make saying “no” so difficult, encouraging audience members to then affirm the liberating value that this simple word can possess. He hopes to provide a challenge for the audience to stand up for and empower themselves by becoming more comfortable with saying “no".

Martin Klubeck, MA

Martin Klubeck

Staff, Office of Information Technologies Strategy & Planning Consultant

Dare to Listen with an Open Heart

Martin Klubeck claims the message of his talk is a simple one. . . if only the audience members listen! We can change the world by simply listening. One of the best ways to share love is to listen, and love can conquer all. Listening is much more than just hearing what others say. Listening with an open mind is a powerful tool for organizational and personal improvement. Listening with an open heart is a powerful tool for improving our world. Join Martin in analyzing why we are such poor listeners, why we should strive to become more “active” listeners, and how we can succeed at listening with our hearts.

Tracy Kijewski-Correa, Ph.D.

Tracy Kijewski-Correa

Linbeck Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

Associate Professor, Keough School of Global Affairs

Co-Director, Keough School of Global Affairs Integration Lab

Dare to Discover the Innovator Within

Imagine a world in which, regardless of birth nation, level of education, or social status, you had the power to change your life and the lives of those around you. For many who find themselves in dark and hopeless situations, this seems like an unimaginable concept. Tracy Kijewski-Correa contends that innovation— the ability to conceive novel solutions to our personal and even collective challenges— need not be reserved for “experts.” On the contrary, those closest to the world’s most wicked problems are ultimately the ones who will solve them. Whether you find yourself in post-quake Haiti or post-industrial South Bend, these answers are waiting inside you, your community and yes, even within your darkest challenges. With some creative confidence and a little radical collaboration, everyday citizens can discover them and become their own agents of change.

Session 2: 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Aaron Perri

Aaron Perri

Alumnus, Class of 2002, Film, Television, and Theatre, MBA 2010

Executive Director of Venues Parks and Arts for the City of South Bend

Dare to Embrace Failure

“Failure” is a word that understandably carries a negative connotation. Considering that most of us experience “failure” at one point or another in our lives, wouldn’t it be life-altering if we could change our perspectives on this supposed disappointment? It is important to realize that embracing personal and professional failures can actually produce unexpected, positive results. Notre Dame alumnus and South Bend community member Aaron Perri uses examples from his life and work within the city of South Bend as a case study for this optimistic perspective on undesirable situations. Through his TEDxUND talk, he hopes to help the audience learn how to shift their perspective and to embrace their own “failures.”

Nick Barella and Chris Mire

Chris Mire

Nick Barella

Seniors, Finance and Economics

Dare to Unplug

In a world where people are increasingly attached to and dependent on technology, Nick Barella and Chris Mire decided to undergo a challenge and dared to “unplug.” The two gave up technology of all kinds for an entire week, seeking to illuminate both the beneficial and adverse effects technology has on our everyday lives. Through this TEDxUND talk, they will explore how technology impacts our productivity, relationships, and capacity for creative thought. Nick and Chris will share their personal experiences as well as current studies and research to provide a new perspective on technology's role in our society, challenging their audience to make helpful technology adjustments in their own lives.



Weiyang Xie, Ph.D., HSPP

Weiyang Xie

Staff Psychologist, University Counseling Center

Dare to Rewire Your Brain for Self-Compassion

When Weiyang Xie first came to the United States as an international student, she was excited to pursue her dreams, yet filled with overwhelming insecurity and anxiety. In her journey to becoming a psychologist, she dared to be vulnerable and face her fears and shame head-on. These have turned out to be Weiyang’s most helpful resources in overcoming challenges. In this talk, she will share her ingredients of self-compassion that can help audience members overcome shame in their own lives, empower them to take risks, and lead them to self-empowerment and authentic living.

Laura Kloepper, Ph.D. 

Laura Kloepper

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology at Saint Mary's College

Dare to Navigate a Complex World

Bats are creatures feared by many humans, but definitely not Laura Kloepper. Laura has dedicated her research to investigating how these animals use their sonar in large groups without interfering with one another. She believes that by studying these animals, we can improve the sonar technology that is becoming more ubiquitous in our modern world and help society in other ways, too. Join Laura as she describes what it is like to stand in a cave with half a million bats overhead, and more importantly, as she explores how bats can teach humans valuable lessons for navigating the complexities of our own world.

Marisa Lucht  

Marisa Lucht

Senior, Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics

Glynn Family Honors Program Scholar

Dare to Humanize Data

How can data be used to make better decisions? This question is central to organizational strategies and has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. As the storage and usage of data continues to grow exponentially, we have more data than we know what to do with. Drowning in data, decision-makers often forget the people behind the numbers. In an ever-evolving world, it is critical now more than ever to recognize the human dignity of each individual and to understand that no one is reducible to merely a number. Senior Marisa Lucht will remind the audience of the importance of viewing people as more than numbers in order to successfully “humanize data.”

Stephen Trzeciak, MD, MPH

Stephen Trzeciak

Alumnus, Class of 1992, Philosophy and Pre-Professional Studies

Professor of Medicine, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

Physician Scientist, Intensivist, NIH-funded Clinical Researcher

Dare to Tackle the Most Pressing Problem of Our Time

After years of experience and success in the medical field, everything changed for Stephen Trzeciak in 2016 when an unexpected question from a 12 year-old caused him to reexamine his life’s work and modify the mission of his entire research program. At a time when healthcare is undergoing a “compassion crisis,” he is on a quest to make healthcare more compassionate through science. In his TEDxUND talk, Stephen will take you on a journey through this awakening, and dare you to tackle “the most pressing problem of our time.”

Samuel Jackson

Sam Jackson

Sophomore, American Studies and Film, Television, and Theatre

Dare to Let the Arts Transform You

Sam Jackson began his theatre career at his high school, where he became heavily involved with the arts by both directing and acting in a variety of plays. At Notre Dame, he actively serves in the on-campus theatre scene and is particularly interested in using theatre as a medium to incite social change. While Sam firmly believes in the transformative power of the arts, he seeks to prove their powerful effects for people of all disciplines through his TEDxUND talk.

Amber Selking, Ph.D.

Amber Selking

Alumna, Class of 2010, Management Consulting

Adjunct Professor, Mendoza College of Business

Mental Performance Consultant for Coach Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Football Team

Dare to Think Like a Champion Today

From the locker room to the boardroom, delivering consistent performance excellence is one of the most desired yet difficult measures to attain. The human brain is an often untapped and unrealized source of energy, efficiency, and effectiveness that can help synergize people, purpose, and systems to achieve sustainable excellence. Through mental performance training, we can condition our minds to function at more optimal levels that help facilitate performance in all domains. In this presentation, Amber Selking will leverage insights from sports psychology, positive psychology, and human high performance to help listeners discover the power of the mind and the power they have to live their best lives when they dare to “Think Like a Champion Today!”


Note: Speakers, titles, and schedule are subject to change.