TEDxFSCJ 2018: Barriers


Whether we embrace them or break them, build them up or tear them down, barriers exert a tremendous impact on us all.

On Saturday, April 7, 2018, join TEDxFSCJ for Barriers, its fourth annual conference to be held in the Main Auditorium (F128) at FSCJ's Kent Campus. Nine speakers will explore the many, even contradictory elements of barriers—personal and political, natural and artificial, empowering and constraining.

Check-in begins at 1 pm; our event will begin promptly at 1:30 pm. Tickets are free and open to the public, but all attendees must register. Be sure to arrive early so you can meet new people, explore “ideas worth spreading,” and sample our Ethiopian food and refreshments!


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Jose Alvarez
Talk: Simple Encounters Lead to Profound Moments

Jose Alvarez is a youth advocate, mentor and speaker. Growing up in a single-parent, low-income home in one of the poorest counties in the state, Hamilton County, Jose understands the challenges facing at-risk youth. As a first-generation college graduate from the University of Florida and college success coach for the Take Stock in Children Program, he is part of a wider movement seeking to break the cycle of poverty through education. Jose enjoys working with students in the FSCJ TRiO Program as well as mentoring students, facilitating workshops, and assisting with UF college tours.

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Fatimah Awad
Talk: Healing Humanity

Fatimah Awad is a Divisional Director of Health and Wellness for SLC Global where she oversees some 20 Clinical Operations sites across Washington, Oregon, Arizona and California. As a Palestinian American who has lived her entire life in the United States, Fatimah’s passion and calling lies in helping people in need. For the past three years, she has organized medical and humanitarian missions to the Middle East, and she recently founded her own nonprofit, United in Humanity. After completing her master’s degree in Nursing Practice and Leadership last year, Fatimah is now pursuing a doctorate in Nursing.

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Katie Chorbak
Talk: Ending the vicious cycle

Katie Chorbak is a Jacksonville native and Bishop Kenny graduate. Soon after graduation, Katie joined the United States Army. After serving for seven years as a chemical and biological weapons specialist, she was medically retired. Upon her return home, she faced many struggles readjusting to the world outside the military. It was during this time, while facing the greatest struggle of her life, that she committed herself to the service of others. Currently Katie is working on her General Contractor’s license and is in the process of starting her own business to fund her philanthropic work.

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Lauren Hutchison
Talk: Agile: Develop change in the world

Lauren Hutchison is a project manager at Web.com and honor student at Florida State College at Jacksonville in the IT Management B.A.S. program. While practicing software development methodologies daily—in the industry and when studying—she found a non-technical way to apply “agile” concepts to goals outside work and the classroom. Hutchison is owner of the blog womenwholovetech.com, an aspiring entrepreneur, mentor to peers and other students, volunteer in the education department for the St. Johns Riverkeeper nonprofit organization, member of the STARS Computing Corps and recipient of the 2018 Unsung Heroines Award (FSCJ Student category).

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Gabrielle Magid
Talk: The Stigma is Real

Gabrielle Magid is the Founder and Executive Director of Stronger Than Stigma, Inc. a nonprofit organization dedicated to mental health advocacy for millennials. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gabrielle majored in women’s studies and double-minored in business administration and nonprofit organizational leadership. An aspiring social entrepreneur, she is passionate about using business for social good. In addition to her nonprofit work, Gabrielle is a member of the Community Advisory Board of WJCT. You can also see her perform regularly around Jacksonville as a member of the Mad Cowford Improv Comedy Troupe.

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Lourdes Norman-McKay
Talk: The love affair with hating science

Dr. Lourdes Norman-McKay earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. She is a fulltime professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville where her peers and students recognized her with the Outstanding Faculty Award in 2016.  Dr. Norman-McKay has extensive STEM program development experience that ranges from developing STEM programs to serving as a curriculum designer and subject matter expert for the Florida Space Research Institute and Workforce Florida. She was recently invited to serve in the U.S. Department of State’s speakers program to promote STEM education and women in STEM. Her textbook, “Microbiology: Basic and Clinical Principles,” was released this January.

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Amy Oestreicher
Talk: Reweaving loss into memory: our responsibility as survivors

Sharing the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, original music, mixed media art and performance, Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD specialist, artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, global speaker, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress, and playwright.  As the creator of “Gutless & Grateful,” her BroadwayWorld-nominated one-woman autobiographical musical, she's toured theatres nationwide and is part of a program combining mental health advocacy, sexual assault awareness and Broadway Theatre for college campuses and international conferences. To celebrate her own “beautiful detour,” Amy created the #LoveMyDetour campaign to help others cope in the face of unexpected events. She has contributed to over 70 notable publications, and her story has appeared on NBC's TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, among others.  Learn more: amyoes.com

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Brian Wiley

Finding common ground

As the Executive Director of the Average Party, Brian Wiley is committed to bringing accountability back to political systems. He is also an instructor of psychology at Florida State College at Jacksonville, a management consultant and photographer. A graduate of FSCJ, the University of North Florida and the University of Florida, Brian has graduate degrees in psychology and business management and has completed research in situational leadership, cognition, and multicultural problem-solving strategies. In his free time he enjoys participating in triathlons and ultramarathons.

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Nikesha Elise Williams

Representation Matters: The conversation you’ve always wanted to have with a Black woman

Nikesha Elise Williams is an Emmy award winning news producer and author. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Nikesha attended the Florida State University where she graduated with a B.S. in Communication: Mass Media Studies and Honors English Creative Writing. In addition to winning an Emmy, Nikesha won the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters award for Best Breaking News in 2014. Nikesha lives in Jacksonville, Florida, but you can always find her online at www.newwrites.com, Facebook.com/NikeshaElise or @Nikesha_Elise on Twitter and Instagram. 


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Tina Kappel

Tina Kappel is a student at Florida State College at Jacksonville and plans to transfer in the spring of 2019 to the University of North Florida, where she hopes to major in English and minor in Deaf Education. Tina currently works at FSCJ as a tutor in both Writing and American Sign Language, helping students communicate on paper and in silence. When Tina is not busy working or studying, she participates in deaf events around Jacksonville to help people new to ASL and further her own signing skills.


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Lacey Neikirk

Lacey Neikirk is the oldest of six children, a pharmacy technician, and a student at Florida State College at Jacksonville.  Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she considers herself a Florida native, having lived in Jacksonville for over 20 years. Lacey’s trips to Africa and Costa Rica fostered her keen love and compassion for people of all cultures. She plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Counseling with the long-term goal of one day running a nonprofit of her own focused on rehabilitative services.