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TEDxSalemStateUniversity Speakers

Brad Austin 2

Brad Austin, PhD

Brad Austin is a professor of history. He teaches courses in methods of teaching history and US history, including specialized courses on the Vietnam War and American sports history. He is the author of Democratic Sports: Men’s and Women’s College Sports During the Great Depression and the co-editor of Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War and Teaching US History through Sports.


Tiffany Gayle Chenault

Tiffany Gayle Chenault, PhD

Tiffany Gayle Chenault is a professor of sociology. Her scholarly work, teaching, and activism is centered around social justice, inequality and equity which relates to the intersections of race, gender, class, neighborhoods and communities. She is author of the book Unseen Politics of Public Housing: Resident Councils Communities and Social Change and blogs about the sociology of running at


Jeff Driskell

Jeff Driskell, PhD, MSW

Since his teenage years, Jeff Driskell has worked and volunteered in social service related jobs. These experiences laid the foundation that eventually led to a career as a professional social worker and eventually a professor of social work. Jeff has been practicing mindfulness for more than 8 years as a means to manage his challenges with mental health. Through his mindfulness practice, experience as a social worker, and ongoing social work education/training, he is committed to helping others find peace and resolution with whatever life challenges they may be facing.


Neenah Estrella-Luna

Neenah Estrella-Luna, PhD

Neenah Estrella-Luna is a scholar-practitioner and advocate focusing on issues related to social justice, social relations, and democratic governance. As an educator, she teaches courses related to race and social relations, Whiteness, law and society, and social inequality. As a consultant, she works with a variety of institutions to improve their policies and procedures to begin the process of creating cultures of inclusion and belonging. She also develops personal and professional development opportunities for communities and organizations interested in actively dismantling structures of bias and inequity.


Jacy Ippolito

Jacy Ippolito, EdD

Jacy Ippolito is an associate professor and department chair of secondary and higher education. Jacy's work focuses on the intersection of professional learning, literacy instruction, and leadership in schools. His recent books include Disciplinary Literacy Inquiry and Instruction, An UnCommon Theory of School Change, and Unpacking Coaching Mindsets.


Meghan McLyman

Meghan McLyman, MFA

Meghan McLyman is a professor of dance as well as a body-mind practitioner. Her dance and somatic studies have provided the tools to access clarity, power, resiliency, and joy in order to navigate through life.


Betsy Miller

Betsy Miller, MFA

Betsy Miller makes sense of the world by dancing through it. She specializes in the collaborative creation of contemporary dance works that are complex, theatrical, and thoroughly human. Betsy is an assistant professor of dance and regularly teaches and performs as a guest artist throughout New England and beyond. She holds an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University and a BA in Dance from Connecticut College.


Steven Thurston Oliver

Steven Thurston Oliver, PhD

Steven Thurston Oliver is an associate professor of secondary and higher education. Steven is a sociologist of education whose research is focused on the ways in which contemplative pedagogy can be used as a catalyst in K-12 teacher preparation and higher education programs for cultivating greater capacity among educators to engage across human differences.


Alexandria Peary

Alexandria Peary, MFA, MFA, PhD

After graduating from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Alexandria Peary suffered for years from a lengthy writing block but has become a prolific writer (using the techniques of mindfulness), with six books and over 150 scholarly articles and creative pieces published in journals and magazines. Her books include Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing. It is her lifelong mission to help alleviate writing-related suffering experienced by others.


Amy Smith

Amy M. Smith, PhD

Amy M. Smith is an associate professor of media and communication. Her research interests include community building in fiber arts spaces, family genealogy and communication, and representations of gender in the media. Her stress management tools include mindfulness, knitting, sewing, and puppy snuggles.

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