TEDxLancaster 2014


The theme for TEDxLancaster 2014 was Break New Ground.  It was fitting because this was the very first public TEDx event ever held in Lancaster.  On May 3, 2014, the pioneers below had the distinction of breaking new ground by being the speakers at our inaugural event.  To see pictures of TEDxLancaster 2014, click here.




We raise up those who stumble, those who fail, and those who try again – for they are the ones who create, imagine and plow through obstacles. They see the fertile ground – the possibility of what could be – and work, toil, sweat and make something out of nothing. Without their passion and drive we would never know what lies just below the surface. We honor those who break the mold, the traditions, and remind us to delight in the unexpected.

Lauren TEDx 6.jpg


Graduate Researcher, Pennsylvania State University

Lauren Chaby, a Lancaster native, is a Neuroscience PhD candidate at Penn State.  She is studying the impacts of developmental stress on behavior and neuroendocrinology.  Her research findings were published in Frontiers, and she was featured in the Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition. She believes that her work can reduce stigma and encourage support of those with mental illness.


Author, artist and consultant

Dr. Teman Cooke holds a PhD in theoretical physics from Georgia Institute of Technology. His firm belief that science can be both accessible and fun has permeated his research, teaching, and writing. He is the author of a textbook –- the First Semester Physics Guide: A Lifeline for the Reluctant Physics Student – based on his experiences as a professor


Motivational Speaker

Craig Dietz was born without limbs, but has learned to live life to its fullest. He believes that everyone is capable of much more than they think they are, and that the only thing standing in their way is themselves. Despite his physical challenges, Craig earned a law degree and has become a celebrated distance swimmer, recognized as an ESPN featured athlete.


Associate Professor, Millersville University

Stacy Irwin is Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Theatre, Millersville University. Among the classes she teaches, are Public Speaking and Leadership. She believes that in a world of new technologies, online communications can’t replace the need for face-to-face interactions. Her first book — Digital Media: Human Media Relations will be published in early 2015.


IT Director, Penn Manor School District

Charlie Reisinger is passionate about providing students with the learning opportunities that technology can provide. As IT Director for Penn Manor School District he has recently implemented the largest open source student 1:1 laptop program in Pennsylvania. Charlie is also a contributing author to the opensource.com online community.


Assistant Professor, Lebanon Valley College

Michael Schroeder is a historian, carpenter, environmental activist, and licensed residential builder that came to Pennsylvania by way of Minnesota. He is most notably an Assistant Professor of History at Lebanon Valley College, as well as Co-President of the Quittapahilla Watershed Association, and the Executive Director of the Quittapahilla Creek Garbage Museum.


Executive Director, Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization a community-based prisoner reentry coalition

Melanie Snyder serves as Executive Director of the Lancaster County RMO. Ten years ago, Melanie had a radical mid-life career change into the fields of restorative justice and prisoner reentry work. Her focus is on our criminal justice system and how it impacts victims, offenders, families, and communities. She is the author of the book Grace Goes to Prison.


Pianist and Author

Robin Spielberg has performed in concert halls throughout the United States and South Korea, where she earned fame for her music on a hit television show, A Winter’s Sonata. Performance highlights include her three concerts at Carnegie Hall, a guest spot on the PBS Special, “The Soul of Christmas”, a concert for factory workers at the legendary Steinway Piano Factory, and a month-long tour through rural Montana and Idaho with Steinway in tow. Robin Spielberg is the National Artist Spokesperson for the American Music Therapy Association and often gives lectures and workshops on music therapy in schools, nursing homes and community centers while on tour.


Medical Director, Clinic for Special Children

Dr. Strauss holds a medical degree from Harvard University and is board certified in pediatrics. As Medical Director, Dr. Strauss oversees clinical services and research at the Clinic for Special Children and has helped to publish over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers. The Clinic helps pave the future of genomic medicine, where primary care practices can harness genetic information to prevent and treat disease.


Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Mark Yim is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering at UPenn. He has been engineering modular robots for 20 years. His work includes self-reconfigurable robots that can transform their shape, jump, climb, ride tricycles, and reassemble themselves. His group at Penn has also developed flying robots and self-assembling floating platforms. He is working on an innovative elbow-less robotic arm.