Kenta Asahina

Fight Club for Flies

Kenta Asahina received his Ph.D. degree from the Rockefeller University in 2008 for studies on the neural processing mechanism of olfactory stimuli. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar at California Institute of Technology. His research focus is on the molecular and neural mechanisms controlling innate behaviors of animals, mainly aggressive behaviors. The vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster has been the model organism for his research.


John Baker

The Thing About Being An Individual

John Baker is Professor of Anthropology at Moorpark College. His research interests focus on the ways in which the biological capabilities that enable human consciousness are given expression within different cultures. He is a former president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and is currently a co-editor of Time & Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture. Baker is co-author (together with Michael Winkelman) of Supernatural as Natural: A Biocultural Approach to Religion.


Jennifer Case

The Fine Line Between Failure and Success: Life Lessons from an Accidental Entrepreneur

Jennifer Case is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of New Leaf Biofuel, a San Diego biorefinery that converts discarded french fry oil to biodiesel, a sustainable alternative to petroleum diesel. Jennifer serves on the board of directors for several industry trade association groups, and spends much of her time lobbying on her industry’s behalf in Sacramento and Washington DC. Jennifer has an undergraduate degree from University of California San Diego and a law degree from Pepperdine University.


Kenny Closser

What Our Predictions for Our Technological Future Tell Us About Ourselves

Kenny Closser was born in Novato, California and has since lived in multiple states until moving to Simi Valley, California in 2005. He currently attends Santa Susana High School as a senior where his experience in clubs, including robotics and academic decathlon, has cultivated his interest in technology and engineering. His motivational leadership in these activities has also given him a broader understanding on choices made for the future, which he is excited to share in a TEDx talk.


Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

How I Lost My Voice and Found it: A Poet’s Journey

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle is a poet, playwright, peacemaker, and community activist. She is the author of Common Ancestry (Mille Grazie Press, 1999) and Black Street (UCSB Center for Black Studies Research, 2009. Her work is published in variety of literary publications and she has a body of uncollected work, some of which has been choreographed for dance presentation and performed as theater. Her most recent publication is “The Yellow Mellow Global Umbrella” (Lucky Penny Press, 2013).


Sonali Kolhatkar

My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host, Or How I Found Meaning in My Life

Sonali Kolhatkar is the host and Executive Producer of Uprising, a daily drive-time radio program produced at KPFK Pacifica in Los Angeles, and a columnist at Truthdig.com. She is also the co-Director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a non-profit organization that works in solidarity with Afghan women. She is the author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence. Sonali has a Masters Degree in Astrophysics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


Brian Mallman

Smaller Pieces

Brian Mallman is a Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based artist. He was the founder and former director of Los Angeles arts organization, NELAart. He is the Gallery Director of the 50NYork Gallery in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. He has shown his figurative drawings at Long Beach Museum of Art, Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Zaha Museum, and INSA Art Center. He and his wife, Mary Jean Mallman, also an artist, have two sons.


Daniel Seyler

Debating Extremists: Where We Go Wrong

Daniel Seyler is a student at Moorpark College, where he is a founding and active member of the newly established Philosophy Club. In April 2014, he participated in the Honors Transfer Council of California Student Research Conference at UC Irvine, where he plans to transfer. His presentation focused on the necessity of reason over the allure of common sense. He has since further developed his ideas in preparation for TEDx.


Sydney Sims

How Not to Tame Your Dragon

Sydney Sims is chair of the English Department at Moorpark College, where she has taught since 1989. She holds an M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Scandinavian and Medieval Studies. She teaches composition and literature, with special interests in medieval and Renaissance literature. She practices Zen, yoga, and martial arts. Her heroes are William Shakespeare, John Lennon, and Xena Warrior Princess.