Lessons Beyond the Learning Edge

September 27th, 2014 at South Campus

TEDxFSCJ made its triumphant debut to a sold-out crowd at the Wilson Center for the Arts at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus.  Over the course of six hours, nine speakers taught us how to look past the classroom to find the important life lessons that happen beyond the learning edge.


Talks from the Event

Amanda Cherie Payton is an Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduate student concentrating in Occupational Health Psychology at Touro University Worldwide. Her studies of workplace science and busy schedule as a human resources practitioner make eating on the go sometimes inevitable, but with food allergies, metabolic glitches, and healthy living goals, eating on the go does not always give her the fuel she needs to sustain her highly energetic mind and meet her wellness needs. As both a thinker and a foodie, she believes in the ability to use nutrition as an energy source to fuel her busy life. However, most fast food meals aren't designed with energy in mind.

To solve her own problem and the problems of numerous other busy scholars, practitioners, and wellness advocates, Amanda, along with colleague Lyubov Sakara, is in the embryonic phase of co-founding Robust, a fast super food organization that offers convenient yet flavor-filled, nutrient-rich meals designed to boost energy.


Angela TenBroeck is the Founder of the Center for Sustainable Agricultural Excellence and Conservation (CSAEC) and Farm Operations at Traders Hill Farms. She is passionate about her work, and believes we can live in a world where no one goes without food.  Her vision is to use a very simple process known as Aquaponics to change the way we view agriculture in the 21st century.

Her work is focused on helping people see the value of using sustainable agriculture techniques to change the way we “do” farming, where we not only farm but also increase the amount of food we can produce. She has been fortunate to be able to research and design systems at a farm in North Florida known as Traders Hill Farms. The farm is a large community service project that repurposes former chicken farms into aquaponic grow spots. Traders Hill Farms continues its commitment to the community by offering an apprentice program.


Dr. Mike Reynolds has been gazing at the stars since he was seven years old, even creating his own backyard observatory. Reynolds is perhaps best known for his astronomy and science education efforts, from the classroom to informal education to astronomy and space exploration outreach.

Reynolds has 37 years in astronomy and space sciences in the gamut of a high school and university instructor, planetarium and museum director, researcher, writer, and lecturer. He was director of the Chabot Science Center in California from 1991 to 2002, and currently Director Emeritus. Dr. Reynolds has written several astronomy books and writes and serves as a corresponding editor for Astronomy (magazine). In addition to leading expeditions worldwide, Dr. Reynolds is also an invited speaker, engaging audiences in things astronomical, as well as doing book signings as often requested at many of his talks. More recently, Dr. Reynolds has served as the Dean of Natural Science and Mathematics and Professor of Astronomy at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Dr. Reynolds' astronomical research has been primarily focused on Solar System objects, as well as meteoritics. He has led expeditions around the world for numerous total solar eclipses, meteorite crater research, and meteorite recoveries. He worked with Meade Instruments in 2005 to develop and create Meade’s MeteoriteKit, a special set of meteorites, tektites, and impactites.


Danielle Kendrick is a graduate student of history at the University of North Florida. With a love of history and the embrace of technology, Danielle explored her profession to find ways to teach and learn history, and hopes to bridge the gap between academic historians and the local public. She believes that by using digital technology, we can foster a participatory history culture. Danielle has spent time during her research at UNF to bring this concept to the Jacksonville Historical Society and the Jacksonville Fire Museum.


Luis Mejia is an undergraduate student at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Originally from Mexico, Luis is one of the thousands of people who were granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival by President Obama’s direction. Growing up between American and Mexican cultures, Luis has discovered how valuable an education is in each. As a college student, activist, and community volunteer, Luis is working to change our perspective on the undocumented immigrant youth of this country.  


Jeff Smith is a consultant and music director with a passion for arts and education. He has developed many partnerships with community organizations, artists, arts organizations, and schools throughout Northeast Florida. Currently, he supports the growth of nonprofits as Founding Principal of Smith Creative Consulting. Through his work with The ARTery he is helping to lead the effort to transform The Armory, an abandoned and historically significant building in Jacksonville, Florida, into a visual and performing arts center. 

Smith earned a BFA in music education from Long Island University Post, and a MS in music education from Western Connecticut University. He served as Associate Director for the Cathedral Arts Project for three years, leading the program staff and 50 teachers and teaching assistants. During that time he oversaw program research, faculty development, strategic partnerships, and led the expansion of after school, summer, and school day arts programs. More recently he served as Executive Director of City Year Jacksonville during its Founding Year. 


With over fifteen years of experience in Leadership Development, Rachel Stromberg specializes in instructional design and facilitation for talent management and employee engagement.  She has launched a Corporate University for front-line managers, Directors and VPs and has experience working with leaders in a variety of industries.  Rachel has served on the Board of Directors for the North East Florida Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development (NEFL ASTD) for over ten years, and has performed the roles of Chapter President, Vice President of Programs, and Vice President of Public Relations.  

In addition to volunteering, Rachel's biggest passion is improvisational theater.  She began performing improv in 2004 and instructing in 2006.  She is a founding member of the Mad Cowford Improv Comedy Troupe.


Dr. Kathleen Ciez-Volz is the Executive Dean of Academic Foundations and Adjunct Professor of English at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Dr. Ciez-Volz earned her doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Through her years as a student, mother, teacher, and administrator, she has observed the importance that taking risks and making mistakes have as essential components of the lifelong learning process.


Steve Piscitelli has been a Professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville for more than two decades, and a teacher who has taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels for more than three. Besides his classroom and programs, Steve has carried his teaching to his weekly blog (5 years old) and YouTube Channel. As a facilitator, Steve is energetic, humorous, and relevant.  He knows how to connect with his audiences, which have included students, secondary and post-secondary faculty and administrators, and corporate managers and their team members. He is also the author of ten books.