This year's TEDxBinghamtonUniversity lineup includes a physicist who is passionate about natural disasters, an alumnus who believes that collaboration takes precedence above all, a psychotherapist and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, a comedian who values representation in media, a student who understands the importance of his own memories, a CEO who wants to bring cryptocurrency to the masses, and an early childhood expert who passes her multicultural learning on to others. All of our speakers have a passion to make a difference in the world and spread their ideas.
So what's 2020's theme? Audiences and speakers around the world come to TED and TEDx events to engage in provoking conversations. Our stage is a platform for unearthing new ideas, excavating deep conversations and discovering an individual's passion. Dig up jewels of thought from deep below and celebrate the power in ideas worth spreading at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity UNEARTHED.
Abby Govindan is a comedian and recent graduate of Fordham University. She is an aspiring television writer and advocate for diversity in TV and film. She got her start in comedy at the young age of 20 and made her debut in New York City. Her comedic ingenuity was bolstered when she went viral online seemingly overnight. Today, she continues to perform comedy all over the country.
Founder and CEO
Russell Korus is co-founder and CEO of EZ365, a digital ecosystem that combines aspects of online gaming, cryptocurrency trading and blockchain education. He has been a blockchain visionary and cryptocurrency evangelist since first discovering this groundbreaking and innovative space. He is also an angel investor focused on emerging markets and start-up incubation for new tech ventures.
While his career began in the financial services and insurance industries, Korus noted the rapidly growing influence of the internet in the late ’90s and switched careers to begin building e-commerce platforms in a Java environment. After several years of development work, he moved into sales engineering, eventually branching out into venture capital investment and incubation.
His vision is to bring cryptocurrency to the masses in an easy and secure way, to help this technology realize its vast transformational potential in society.
Teacher and Volunteer
Lissarette Nisnevich was born and raised in the Dominican Republic with a full bilingual education. She started her career as an assistant teacher at the age of 15. Over the years she was blessed with opportunities to travel the world teaching English as a Second Language, designing curriculums and doing volunteer work in local communities. These opportunities not only helped her enrich her understanding of the world, but also widened her horizons as an educator.
With over a decade of experience in 30+ countries, and a master’s degree in early childhood education, Nisnevich chose to open a daycare center and a preschool of her own right after settling down in New York to start a family. As a director, she tested her ability to plan, design and implement curriculums in different regions of the world. She passionately loves her work and wishes to utilize her skills to educate her own son and help others in her community.
Prior to joining the education field, she worked as a performer, artist and model in TV, journals, radio as well as Broadway shows. Her journey in the entertainment industry began when she was only 3 years old, and eventually led to having her own TV show in the Dominican Republic when she turned 16.
Founder and CEO
SSAM Alternative Dispute Resolution
Binghamton University alumnus William H. Groner ’77 is founder and CEO of SSAM Alternative Dispute Resolution, which embodies a holistic approach to litigation resolution. Prior to founding the firm, he spent 35 years as a trial lawyer with verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 billion.
Groner was a lead attorney in the decade-long 9/11 mass tort litigation, representing over 10,000 Ground Zero responders exposed to toxins post 9/11. The case was the most complex mass tort in United States history, with a settlement of $816 million. He co-authored the Amazon best-seller 9/12: The Epic Battle of the Ground Zero Responders (Potomac Books, 2019), and is donating proceeds to create a national social studies program for students that will focus on empathy, respect, communication and compromise, and fostering a greater sense of community.
He has lectured extensively on topics ranging from the mysterious medical consequences of Ground Zero dust to proper safety techniques for environmental catastrophes and recently has been an adjunct faculty member at Boston University School of Law.
Junior, Integrative Neuroscience
David Mathews (yes, like the band) is a Binghamton University junior studying integrative neuroscience. He came into Binghamton relatively undecided about his career, but is now working toward becoming a psychiatrist. What has stayed constant over the years is his love of ideas and self-improvement; lectures and podcasts have fueled his passion. Mathews is originally from New Hartford, a small town in Upstate New York, just outside of Utica. Growing up in sleepy Upstate, he developed a love of nature and the outdoors. Here at Binghamton University, Mathews is an active member of the Scholars program, where he serves as a freshman peer mentor.
Psychotherapist, speaker, author and activist
Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R (pronouns: she/he/they/none) is a trans and genderqueer psychotherapist, speaker, author and activist specializing in gender and sexual diversity including transgender, gender nonbinary and LGBTQIA+ issues more broadly, as well as kink/BDSM, nonmonogamy and sexworkers. They serve as chair of the Board of Directors for the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Jacobs has been featured multiple times in The New York Times as well as other print media, and on NPR, MSNBC, NBCNewsOnline, SiriusXM, CBSNews, Mic.com, and has spoken at countless organizations, conferences and universities.
Jacobs founded the Gender Dysphoria Affirmative Working Group and co-authored “You’re in the Wrong Bathroom!”: And 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People,” published by Beacon Press (2017), and has contributed chapters to several other books, including three published in 2019. Jacobs is a member of the Kink Clinical Guidelines Workgroup and serves on several editorial boards. They were recently presented the 2019 Standard of Excellence Award by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
Geophysicist, disaster researcher and sci-fi scientist
Canadian Mika McKinnon is a geophysicist, disaster researcher and sci-fi scientist. As your friendly neighborhood geoscientist, she offers tasting notes on rocks, tweaks party planning to enhance disaster preparedness and obsesses over impending doom. Along with her research into landslides on asteroids, McKinnon scrawls equations and establishes plausibility for shows like Stargate and Star Trek. Her writing appears in Wired, io9, VICE, Vox and more.
Flynn Anderson is a junior at Binghamton University studying biomedical engineering. His work on kidney-on-a-chip microfluidics and neural implants have helped shape his pathway through college and provide insight into disease treatment. When he's not researching, he enjoys spending time in the Hinman College residential community, sewing clothes, running and trying not to make a fool of himself. In the future, he sees himself producing low-budget medical technology available to all populations.