TEDxElonUniversity 'Innovation into Practice' fills Whitley Auditorium

Four leaders in technology, entertainment and design were the speakers for a TEDx event on Feb. 22, 2014.

The four innovators at Elon's first major TEDx event (from left): Eric Henry, Jim Demarest, Leanne Gluck, Jeffrey Rusick.
TEDxElonUniversity Playlist

Elon University brought TEDx back to campus Feb. 22 for a sold-out event in Whitley Auditorium. TEDx is an independently organized version of TED Talks, and at Elon, four speakers shared stories and offered new ideas for technology, entertainment and design.

The talks were recorded by the university’s Teaching & Learning Technologies office and will soon be made available online. Elon seniors Carolina Howland and Kirsten Hughes organized the event and led a TEDx student planning board.

TEDx was sponsored by the Office of Cultural and Special Programs, the Liberal Arts Forum, and the School of Communications. Anthony Hatcher, associate professor of communications, served as faculty adviser.

The speakers appearing at the event are described below, with the titles of their TEDx Talks.

Leanne Gluck
Title: “From Maker to Change-Maker”

Gluck provided insight on how 3D printing is empowering people to move from being “consumers” to being “makers” for changing the world. She explained the importance of using 3D printing by illustrating how cost and complexity, speed, and rapid iteration can change how we perceive education, art and community.

Gluck is director of social impact at 3D Systems, a leading provider of 3D printing centric design-to-manufacturing solutions including 3D Printers, print materials and cloud sourced on demand custom parts. These solutions are used to rapidly design, create, communicate, prototype or produce real parts, empowering customers to manufacture the future. In her role, she manages corporate philanthropy, youth education and sustainability initiatives, helping 3D Systems deliver on the mission of “Making Good.”

Previously she worked at the Clinton Global Initiative building cross-sector collaborations to support the future of manufacturing in the United States. She was also the national Project Manager for “uniquely ME!”, the Girl Scout/Dove Self Esteem Program, helping kids across the country discover a strong sense of self, connect with others and take action to make the world a better place. Gluck holds a bachelor’s degree in cross-cultural communications from Baruch College and an MBA with a focus on social enterprise and global sustainability from The Ohio State University.

Eric Henry
Title: “98% (the percentage of clothes we buy made overseas)”

Eric Henry, president of TS Designs in Burlington, N.C., discussed how important it is for people to start purchasing locally made products. The North American Free Trade Agreement created a massive shift within overseas apparel production industry, Henry said. He discussed how these changes have negatively resulted in regions such as Bangladesh being destroyed within their communities and businesses.

Henry is one-half of the dynamic duo that owns the Alamance County company. Alongside business partner and CEO Tom Sineath, Henry has been in the screen printing and apparel business for more than 30 years. His duties at TS Designs range from sales to R&D to marketing.

Outside of TS Designs, Henry devotes much of his time to furthering the sustainable agenda in various community organizations. He founded the Burlington Biodiesel Co-op in 2001 and has run his car on biodiesel (or straight vegetable oil) that now has travelled more than 250,000 miles. Along with Charlie Sydnor and Sam Moore, Eric founded Company Shops Market, a co-op grocery in downtown Burlington that reconnects local agriculture to Alamance County. His most recent start-up is the Burlington Beer Works Co-op.

Henry serves on the Burlington Downtown Corporation board, which works to create an environment for development that enhances Downtown Burlington as the cultural, historic, social and economic center of the community. He also serves on the board of NC GreenPower, an organization that purchases and resells renewable energy, and Green America.

Jeffrey Rusick
Title: “NASA Deep Space Exploration Challenges: Power and Radiation”

Jeffrey Rusick currently works at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland for the NASA Radioisotope Power System program that provides advanced power generators for deep space science missions, including the Mars Science Laboratory. Rusick shared information on how issues with power and radiation have created problems within NASA Deep Space Exploration, placing limits on the agency’s ability to conduct space travel.

Rusick currently works at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland for the NASA Radioisotope Power System program that provides advanced power generators for deep space science missions, including the Mars Science Laboratory, which landed the Curiosity rover on Mars in 2012. Curiosity is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, which provides approximately 110 Watts of power to the rover day and night, using heat from the natural decay of (plutonium) Pu-238.

Rusick is working on an advanced stirling radioisotope generator (ASRG), which will be four times more efficient than the current rover RTG for future NASA missions. He is also the NASA Product Assurance lead for the ASRG project. He graduated from Miami University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and went on to The Ohio State University to receive his Master of Science in nuclear engineering.

James “Jim” F. Demarest
Title: “Putting Innovation into Practice: Advancing the treatment of HIV/AIDS until there is a cure”

James Demarest, adjunct assistant professor at Duke university, joined ViiV Healthcare at its inception in November 2009 as the director of microbiology strategy. Through this opportunity he has been able to advocate the treatment of HIV and AIDs. During the TEDx talk, Demarest explained the importance of improving the health care system and treatment options for HIV/AIDs to reduce the psychological strain endured by infected patients.

ViiV Healthcare was created by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer as a global specialist HIV company dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Demarest provides global oversight for the virology and immunology associated with pre-clinical and clinical phase compounds as well as marketed products. Prior to joining ViiV Healthcare, he spent more than 10 years at GlaxoSmithKline R&D (legacy GlaxoWellcome) where he was involved in the discovery and development of novel antivirals, immune-based therapies, and vaccines for the treatment of HIV-1 infection.

Demarest earned his doctorate from the George Washington University while conducting research at the National Institutes of Health/NIAID. He did a post-doctoral research fellowship at Duke University, where he is currently an adjunct assistant professor. Demarest and his family reside in Durham, N.C.

– Information in this story was compiled by Associate Professor Anthony Hatcher and Erin Turner ’15