TEDxFSCJ Adventure: Safe to Drink?


Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Kent Campus, D120, from 6 - 8 p.m.

How much do you know about the water you drink? The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has prompted widespread concern about the quality of local water sources, including right here in Northeast Florida. But distinguishing fact from fiction, and determining the true levels of risk to public health, is often difficult for the ordinary consumer.

Join TEDxFSCJ for an adventure exploring the current safety and future health of Jacksonville’s drinking water. The evening will feature several local experts, including JEA Laboratory Compliance Director Kevin Holbrooks, environmental chemist Lisa Saupp, and UNF environmental history professor Charles Closmann. Moderated by award-winning Jacksonville writer Lisa Grubba, our speakers will address what chemical levels are safe for drinking water, whether Jacksonville’s infrastructure is at risk for Flint-like contamination, and what causes First Coast sprinkler water to emit that off-putting odor.



Dr. Charles Closmann is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of North Florida. Closmann specializes in the histories of Germany, Europe and the environment. In 2010, he was awarded a grant from UNF’s Environmental Center to develop an oral history-based course on the St. Johns River.  Closmann’s students interviewed over twenty environmentalists, journalists, fishermen and artists, and the resulting oral histories are being archived in the UNF Library as part of a special collection on the St. Johns River. Closmann is the editor of War and the Environment: Military Destruction in the Modern Age (Texas A&M Press, 2009) and is currently writing a book on the environmental history of water in Hamburg, Germany.


Lisa Grubba is an award-winning freelance writer in Jacksonville.  She founded and edits the digital magazine, Florida Field Notes – Northeast Florida’s Outdoor Journal.  Grubba earned a bacchelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Central Florida and was a business analyst and portfolio manager.  She began magazine freelancing 22 years ago, first writing business articles and later branching out into feature, book review, essay, memoir and news reporting.  In 2006, she was faculty-nominated at UCF to the Associated Writers and Writing Programs Best Non-Fiction awards.  After obtaining a Florida Master Naturalist certification from the University of Florida, Grubba has focused on environmental and nature writing.  Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in journalism from Harvard University Extension School.


Kevin Holbrooks is Director of Laboratory Compliance at Jacksonville Electric Authority. With 25 years’ experience at JEA, Holbrooks leads a staff of 36 employees whose responsibilities include analyzing drinking water, wastewater and electric generating stack emissions. The laboratory performs approximately 210,000 analyses a year to ensure permit and regulatory compliance at 36 water plants, 11 wastewater facilities and 5 power plants.  Holbrooks graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Chemistry and is certified by OSHA as an Incident Commander and by the United States Coast Guard as qualified to respond to environmental incidents. He serves on numerous utility committees and boards, including the Florida Electric Coordinating Group and the Air and Waste Management Association.


Lisa Saupp is an environmental chemist who has worked in the water and wastewater industry for more than 30 years.  Saupp is the Laboratory Director for Aqua Pure Water & Sewage Service, Inc., which tests water and wastewater systems for municipalities in Marion, Lake, Citrus, Gilchrist, Putnam and Volusia counties, providing compliance monitoring and reporting for their EPA and DEP requirements. She holds an MBA in Environmental Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University, a BS in Chemistry with a minor in Environmental Science from the University of Florida, and a BA in Business Administration from St. Leo University.  Saupp has volunteered with various organizations, including the Florida Springs Institute, to promote community awareness about the Floridan Aquifer and springs.

TEDxFSCJ Salon: Duval Eats, Lettuce Grow

Thursday, March 9th, 2017, at the FSCJ-Deerwood Center Performance Theatre, Room G1709, from 6-8 p.m.

The “eat local” movement is thriving across Northeast Florida. From local farms and food producers to farmers’ markets and farm-to-table restaurants, Jacksonville offers a vibrant locavore culture to consumers concerned about the origins, nutrition and sustainability of their food.

TEDxFSCJ will host a salon exploring our community’s local food culture. The evening will feature two speakers steeped in Jacksonville’s food movement, Dr. Leslie Kaplan and Don Justice. The speakers will address the benefits of the local food system and opportunities for community members to get involved. The evening will also include the viewing of select TED talks.



Don Justice is a personal trainer and a 4th Dan black belt Master instructor at United Tang Soo Do Federation. Don is also a life coach and farmer for The Food Park Project and Clara White Mission's White Harvest Farms. He received his bachelor’s in International Business from San Francisco State University in 1986. He currently owns Paks Karate and Fitness in historic Springfield, and operates spring, summer and winter break camps for youth in urban areas that include farming and gardening practices that inspire sustainable living.


Dr. Leslie G. Kaplan is Associate Director of the Hicks Honors College at the University of North Florida. Leslie holds a BA from Tufts University in English and Philosophy, an MA from Oxford University in Middle English Literature, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Folklore and Folklife. She is involved with several community organizations focused on food, education, culture, and community, including Children’s International Summer Villages, the Jacksonville Obesity Coalition, and the Slow Food Movement. She has taught classes on food and culture since 2003 and developed a nutrition education program at a local public elementary school that has been running since 2006.

Photos: Duval Eats, Lettuce Grow


TEDxFSCJ Salon: Lift as We Climb: Women, Race & Politics


The salon will be held Thursday, February 16th, 2017at FSCJ-Downtown Campus, Building A-1068, from 6-8 pm.

Jacksonville boasts a rich history of electing African-American women to political office. In fact, the first women elected to the Jacksonville City Council after Consolidation in 1967 were African American.  Breaking the glass ceiling in the world of politics is a legacy women of color proudly leave to our community; it is a bold testament to their resilience and resolve to protect the rights of all.

TEDxFSCJ will host a salon exploring how race and gender intersect along the path to elected political office. The evening will feature a panel discussion with women of color who will share their first-hand experiences working within the political process.  The panelists will address how others may enter the political arena, what it takes to run a campaign, and the challenges and triumphs of a life lived in public service. Rounding out the evening will be the viewing of select TED talks and opportunities for audience participation.



Former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll has a long and distinguished career in the civil, military and private sectors. As Lt. Governor, Carroll sought to increase military operations in Florida and protect the state’s military bases.  As a member of the Florida House of Representatives, she sponsored a jobs package that provided tax credits to encourage companies to hire out-of-work Floridians. As Executive Director of Florida Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Carroll helped Florida secure two national veterans’ cemeteries, three veterans’ nursing homes and funds for the state’s World War II monument in Tallahassee. And as Chairperson of the Florida Council on Homelessness, she sought to provide enhanced services for solving homeless problems across the state, particularly within the veteran community.



Current Chief Executive Officer of AGAPE Community Health Center, Inc., Mia L. Jones plays a vital role in Duval County’s health community. Prior to assuming her current position, Jones served as Director of Boards and Commissions and the first Health Commissioner under Mayor Alvin Brown. As a proud representative of the state’s 14th District, she spent eight years in the Florida House of Representatives and served as the Ranking Member on the House Select Committee on Health Care Workforce Innovation and Health and Human Services Committee.  Jones is a statewide and national thought leader recognized for her commitment to expanding healthcare for the uninsured and maximizing access to telemedicine in community health centers and in school-based care for children.



CEO and President of the Clara White Mission, Ju’Coby Pittman has spent the past 24 years serving the Jacksonville community. Under her leadership, the Clara White Mission has expanded from a soup kitchen to a one-stop community development center designed to support job training, job creation and housing for the less fortunate. Through her vision and the support of staff and board members, the Mission has developed a Social Enterprise Service for job creation on-site called Ashley Street Catering and Project Clean City. Pittman’s innovative training programs have been featured on the “Today Show” and she is the proud recipient of numerous accolades, including the Leadership Jacksonville Award, The Tillie Fowler Leadership Award and the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund Award.


TEDxFSCJ Salon: Vaccinating The FUTURE



Recent advances in vaccine research have laid the groundwork for addressing many of the key public health issues of the 21st century.  Yet vaccines have also proved a source of popular misunderstanding, and ever-new outbreaks of infectious disease challenge researchers and practitioners alike to keep pace with a globally interconnected health environment.

TEDxFSCJ will host a salon exploring the critical role vaccines play in promoting public health.  The evening will include a panel discussion with Dr. Keith Knutson, a leading cancer researcher at the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Pauline Rolle, the Medical Director of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County.  Co-hosted by FSCJ professors Dr. Dianne Fair and Dr. Lourdes Norman-McKay, the salon will provide insight into how a vaccine is brought to market, how vaccines are tested for safety, the challenges of getting vaccines to the public, and new hope for using vaccines to fight cancer.  Join the conversation with cutting-edge researchers and dedicated public health workers, committed to growing healthy communities. 




Dr. Pauline Rolle is the Medical Director for the Florida Department of Health in Duval County (DOH-Duval).  She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and Public Health.  A native of Miami, she is a graduate of Fisk University and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and she completed her Pediatric residency training at the University of Florida Health Science Center in Jacksonville. Before joining the Department of Health in 2003, she was a community pediatrician at West Jacksonville Family Health Center. As Medical Director, Dr. Rolle oversees the clinical, dental, pharmacy and behavioral health programs for DOH-Duval.  She enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor activities, and shopping.  She is married to Harold Rolle Jr. and they have 2 children.


Dr. Keith L. Knutson PH.D.

Dr. Keith L. Knutson is Professor in the Department of Immunology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and Director, Mayo Clinic Florida Cancer Research Program. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 1995 and completed two post-doctoral fellowships in immunology, one at the University of British Columbia and the other at the University of Washington. Dr. Knutson’s research focuses on the immunology and immunotherapy of breast and ovarian cancers, and he is currently a member of the Tumor Microenvironment Study Section at the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health, a member of the Integration Panel of Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program, and a Susan G. Komen Scholar.

Panel Hosts



Dr. Fair is a professor of natural sciences at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Since 1986, she has taught biology and chemistry in its various forms from elementary to middle school, high school to college. Dr. Fair earned her baccalaureate degrees in biology and in chemistry from Jacksonville University and her doctorate in biological sciences/microbiology from Florida State University. Her primary academic interests stem from her dissertation on soil microbial ecology; however, plants, animals, gardening, chocolate, beer, wine, cheese, Hawaiian volcanoes, Star Trek and martial arts all play a role in her wonderful life. 



Dr. Norman-McKay, a biological sciences professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville, earned her doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. During her postdoctoral training, she specialized in microbiology and immunology, with a primary focus studying the role of viruses in cancer. In addition to her 13 years teaching at the collegiate level, she has experience as an administrator of STEM programs and is a signed author with Pearson for her own Microbiology textbook. Dr. Norman-McKay is especially interested in enhancing the quality of STEM education and in promoting the recruitment, retention, and success of students in these areas.

TEDxFSCJ Salon: Our Digital Leaders of Tomorrow


Today’s instant-knowledge generation is already using emerging technologies, and tomorrow’s digital leaders are already mastering new apps and new knowledge to boldly go where no one has dared to go before.

Join TEDxFSCJ for an evening with these digital leaders of the future!  The evening will feature Management Information Systems (MIS) students from FSCJ partnering with local middle and high school students to showcase their experiences developing new technology projects and exploring the latest digital devices.  The event will include brief presentations from these college and youth leaders as well as TED talks, audience participation, and moderated break-out sessions.

ENGAGE Event Postponed due to Hurricane Matthew

As you may have noticed, there's this obnoxious jerk named Matthew who's who's invited himself to our TEDx event. Given that Matthew is planning on bringing his friends high winds and flooding with him, we've decided to postpone and reschedule this weekend's TEDxFSCJ. This means that the main event this week on Saturday, 10/8, has been cancelled. Please do not show up at the Downtown Campus on Saturday morning - stay home and stay safe.

Once Hurricane Matthew has passed us we'll work on rescheduling our event, and we hope you'll be able to join us on our new date and time, which we should announce sometime next week. We recognize that postponing this event is frustrating and disappointing, but as Floridians we all know that there is simply no arguing with Mother Nature. She always wins. 

Take care of yourselves over the next few days. We want you safe and well and in the audience for TEDxFSCJ once Hurricane Matthew has ceded center stage and we can turn our attention back where it belongs - on you and our fabulous speakers.

TEDxFSCJ Salon: Art (Re)Defines Us


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 FROM 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Art (Re)Defines Us: From the Host

Great art transforms the lives it touches.  That’s why we look to art to illuminate who we are, to challenge comfortable fictions and speak uncomfortable truths, and to inspire us to think, see, and hear anew.

TEDxFSCJ is partnering with OneVoice and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA Jacksonville) to host a salon that addresses how art in its many modes—painting, poetry, spoken word, and historic neighborhoods—contribute to the flourishing of communities.  The evening will include music by Mal Jones, creator of the Lyricist LIVE, an open mic street party held the first Wednesday of every month during the downtown Art Walk, as well as TED talks, audience discussion, and four expert panelists who have made lasting contributions to Jacksonville’s artistic community.

The salon will be held Wednesday, September 14th, at the MOCA Jacksonville, from 6-8 pm. Check-in and live music begin at 5:30.




Recording artist, Founder of The Lyricist Live, emceee, award winning Jacksonville Hip-Hop/Folk artist, educator and documentarian Mal Jones hosts The Lyricist Live at downtown vision’s monthly “Jacksonville Artwalk.” A Bronx Born, 23 year resident of Duval County, Mal is a pioneer of the Jacksonville indie Hip-Hop scene and creator of Hip-Hop education based school programs that use hip-hop culture as an educational tool. In 2013 Mal  became the first Hip-Hop artist in Florida history labeled a “Folk Artist” by The Florida Folklife Program and Division of Historical Resources for the traditional skill of improvisational freestyle rapping. In addition to hosting a number of Hip-Hop workshops that focus on writing and literacy, Mal runs a state funded apprenticeship program awarded by The Florida Folklife Program that teaches the traditional skill of freestyle rapping. He's currently in his 2nd year of curating the folk apprenticeship program.




Tiffany is a poet, performer and graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars. An educator as well as artist, she teaches poetry workshops, magazine production and oral interpretation at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has most recently appeared in Compose Journal, Coda Quarterly, Bridge Eight and on Swamp Radio, a live radio and podcast experience celebrating the culture, art and history of Northeast Florida, where she is both occasional co-host, interviewer and frequent contributor. She recently completed an audio chapbook for Eat Poems and was previously featured in The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens' exhibit, Reflections: Artful Perspectives on the St. Johns River.



Ebony is a writer, performer, educator, and human rights activist from Jacksonville, where she is a board member of The Performers Academy. She is the first woman to establish her own chapter of the international poetry organization, Black on Black Rhyme. Ebony is a 2015 Southern Fried Poetry Slam double finalist as well as the winner of Florida Urban Culture’s 2015 award for Most Influential Artist.  Her 12 years of professional experience include performances at the New Orleans House of Blues, Essence Festival, Nuyorican Café, and the Denver Mercury Slam. Her discography comprises three critically acclaimed poetry albums, and she is the author of a nationally accredited, artistically centered K-12 STEAM curriculum and children’s book series in use in some 48 programs nationwide.



Christina is a long-time advocate for Jacksonville’s urban neighborhoods, with significant experience in historic preservation and the use of arts and culture as tools for community development.  A resident of Historic Springfield, she recently retired from a twenty-year career as an attorney specializing in real estate law and now serves as Executive Director of Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council, Inc.  She is a founder of Jacksonville PorchFest, an annual music festival that brings thousands of people to Springfield to enjoy dozens of performances on porches and in parks throughout the historic district.  A board member or chair of several other civic organizations, Christina recently completed her goal of visiting each of the fifty United States and believes Jacksonville is poised to end its reign as America’s most underrated, unappreciated, and misunderstood city.



Roosevelt is a painter working in surreal, abstract, and figurative modes. A native of Jacksonville, he received his BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (now the Savannah College of Art and Design), and his work is currently on display at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens exhibit, LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience.  he was awarded the Savannah Individual Arts Assistance Grant and has twice placed first in the Jacksonville-area Beaches Fine Arts Series.  His work has been commissioned by the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum in Jacksonville, the Emmanuel Church in Tampa, and the Boys and Girls Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and his paintings have been featured on the covers of Savannah Scene, Folio Weekly, and Contemporary Arts Today.

Main Event Speaker Preview

It's been a busy week for the TEDxFSCJ Design Strategy team!  We've been interviewing our main event speakers to learn more about what they'll be sharing with us on October 8th.  We'll be sharing these interviews with all of you on social media in the coming weeks, but we thought we'd give you a little sneak peek at a few of the fascinating people we've met so far.  (Travis Pinckney even brought his own adorable audience!)

Photos: Art (Re)Defines Us

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Art (Re)Defines Us: From the Host

Why is the topic of this event important to you?

Art exercises a tremendous influence over our personal identity and public values.  Learning to understand, appreciate, and strengthen that influence enriches our lives as individuals, but also and equally important, it helps us take greater responsibility for the character of our communities and determine whether and to what extent our public artistic and cultural spaces embody the principles we profess.

This is what initially sparked my interest in hosting a salon on art and community, but my interest has been spurred on by many of the fascinating, provocative conversations that have taken place in Jacksonville over the past year.  On WJCT’s Community Thread with Melissa Ross, for example, I saw some great conversations about downtown development and arts education.  This summer, I attended the opening of the Cummer Museum’s exhibit, LIFT: Contemporary Reflections on the African American Experience.  I also had the opportunity to attend several public conversations about the exhibit and the subject of race and art, most notably the conversations hosted by Nyah Vanterpool of UNF’s OneVoice.  All of these conversations generated such passion, such engagement, such thoughtful exploration of injustice and hope, inequality and courage, that I simply felt compelled to explore this topic myself.  Continuing this ongoing conversation about how art embodies our shared democratic values seems to me to be a kind of debt we owe to our forebears and fellow citizens, a great unfinished work requiring renewed dedication and engaged devotion.

I’m especially excited that TEDxFSCJ will be partnering with MOCA Jacksonville to host this salon.  This partnership signals the first in what will ultimately be many examples of collaboration between TEDxFSCJ and the wider community.  The spirit of TED and TEDx thrives when it engages real communities, real people, and real issues with passion, dedication, and rigor, and that’s what I hope this salon will help to further.

- Paul Hendrickson