photo of Gould on black speckled background

Building Blocks at TEDxQuincyStudio

May 26, 2022
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Livestream at

Three area speakers were selected to present at TEDxQuincyStudio, based in Quincy, IL, this May. TEDx Talks are world-renowned for their informative, engaging and educational topics presented by experts to spark conversation, discussion and connection. The virtual TEDxQuincyStudio event was broadcasted via WebEx for free on Thursday, May 26 beginning at 6:30 pm and featured 10 amazing speakers from around the world.

  • Nicholas Stewart, Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist (Cedar Rapids) “Science Made for You!” Nicholas is an avowed science nerd and uses his enthusiasm for weather, space and the natural world to educate and engage the public on these topics. From chasing tornados to photographing satellite launches, Stewart takes viewers behind the science to create understanding and engagement.
  • Ryan Hesseltine, MSE Senior Aerospace Systems Engineer (North Liberty) “GPS on the Red Planet.” Deploying a GPS array on Mars will stretch engineering capacity and expand the horizons of what’s possible in our solar system and beyond. It’s also a precondition of human exploration of Mars and is among the biggest obstacles between us and setting foot on the red planet.
  • David Gould, Professor of Instruction at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center (Iowa City) “Life Design.” Professor Gould designed a curriculum to challenge students to create strategic plans for their lives that are aspirational but achievable. How can we apply these concepts to make better decisions and steward our lives toward our goals?

 “Studio TEDx events featuring pre-recorded talks were really a response to the time during the pandemic that we couldn’t gather together indoors,” explains lead organizer Laura Sievert, “but organizers quickly realized that the creative potential of prerecording talks was something we wanted to keep even as venues reopen. The studio event will be able to feature multimedia integration, animated images, footage from television and so much more. We are excited to feature these three talented speakers from the Hawkeye state, and hope Iowans will tune in to the free event and enjoy these big ideas.”

The theme for TEDxQuincy was “Building Blocks,” and represented how knowledge, passion and creativity build momentum for the future. The program was divided into topic blocks featuring individual TEDx Talks that range from 7 to 10 minutes long. Blocks included Arts in Action, Science for Life, Inspiration + Goals, Philosophy + Insight and Building a Better World.

Some featured speakers and topics included:

  • Latoya Flowers Senior Multimedia Creative for the Field Museum and Director of “Still Searching” documentary and Damon Reed Artist, muralist, activist
    Still Searching is a powerful documentary following Damon Lamar Reed, a Chicago hip-hop artist and muralist, creating a vivid series of portraits titled “The Searching Project” of missing Black women and girls in the Chicagoland area for the past two decades.
  • Ben Simms (he/him,) Award-Winning Director, Exec. Producer and Photographer “Creativity on the Edge.” Ben Simms clients include Netflix, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, Nat Geo, Disney+, Discovery, Showtime, NFL Network, Fox Sports, Facebook, Nike and more. He is currently directing and executive producing a new season of Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Nat Geo. Ben will take us on a journey to the edge of our seat to learn how we can transform fear into focus and amplify our creative potential.
  • Lysne Tait, Executive Director of Helping Women Period “Access Period: Menstruation Matters.” When we create access to menstruation products for low-income people, we give them dignity. Tait explores the barriers to access that exist and gives actionable ways we can help.
  • Pres Maxson, Award-Winning Author, Professional Copywriter “Breaking Down Boxes: Creativity & Authenticity for Life.” This talk will explore how you can show up as your authentic self at work, with family and with friends by breaking down the walls you create for yourself in each space.

Additional speakers were humanitarian Bekka Ross Russell recording in Tanzania, Moth Storytelling Champion Charles Scheinblum and philosopher Roger Breisch.

The event in its entirety, including all of the speakers, biographies and session descriptions were streamed at and TEDxQuincy on Facebook.

About TEDx:

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

About TED:

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.


Follow TED on Twitter at, on Facebook at or Instagram at


For press inquiries, contact:

Laura Sievert, Organizer

On Facebook at and

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Dragana Petic at