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Speaker Spotlight: Genna Duberstein

Genna Duberstein, Lead Multimedia Producer for Heliophysics at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, brings art and science together and has been doing commissioned artwork since she was 12 years old. This October, Genna will be speaking at TEDxPeachtree.

Is this your first time speaking at a TEDx event? What are your thoughts on presenting on October 17th?

Yes, this will be my first TEDx event. I’m very excited and honored to be a part of such an amazing group of speakers.

This year’s theme is “illuminate.” What does “illuminate” mean to you?

To me, illumination means finding a new way of understanding. In the most literal sense, my work with the sun is all about illumination. This is not only because the sun is the ultimate illuminating source, but also because my project invites the viewer to experience our very own star in a new way.

Genna Duberstein

Genna Duberstein

At the end of the day, what is it about your work that keeps you going?

I like that science media is mostly happy news. It’s about how we are solving problems and making the world a better place. I like helping people have access to that.

What is your passion?

I love storytelling. I love doing the research and interviews, and deciding what medium is most appropriate for the story. I enjoy the challenge of synthesizing all of that into something someone else can experience.

What is one place you’ve visited that you’ll never forget?

It’s hard to pick just one place!

The Redwood National Park: It is very humbling to walk among living things that are hundreds of years old and over 300 feet high. When you are surrounded in the center of what appears to be circle of trees, it’s actually one tree with a shared root system underground. If you keep that in mind and look up, it’s like standing in the palm of a giant.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be bilingual. I enjoy learning languages, and I can stumble through reading in a number of alphabets, but I still only feel in English.

What is your motto?

“If not now, when?”

 

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Where Are They Now? Kerry Ressler Is a Fear Chaser.

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Kerry Ressler graced the TEDxPeachtree stage in 2012. You may remember his illuminating talk on the neuroscience of emotions, particularly fear, and the possibilities of transcending into new possibilities.

Where is Kerry now? According to a recent article by the Emory Medicine Magazine, Kerry continues on the front lines of fear-disorder research. In his work at Grady Hospital, he is surveying the problem of inner city intergenerational violence. This endeavor, called the Grady Trauma Project, will bring new light to resiliency found in trauma survivors and potentially the means to serve those who have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

We know almost 1/3 of people will at some point in their life have an anxiety disorder which includes PTSD. Kerry’s work may illuminate why some people naturally seem to cope with disaster, while others are overwhelmed with fear. Genes on the neurobiological level could have everything to do with resiliency and could then be passed on generationally. That would mean that fear is inheritable, and that may shed a new light on how we approach it. Kerry is passionate about helping cure and illuminate hope for those suffering now, so that their children won’t have to.

At TEDxPeachtree, we are grateful to have featured speakers like Kerry that continue to illuminate the possibilities for a better world. Watch his 2012 talk below to learn more about his work and stay tuned for more updates on past speakers throughout the summer.

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 Nia Baker has lived in Atlanta almost ten years, the longest she’s lived anywhere, and has worked in the nonprofit sector for the last five years, focusing on effective systems and creative communication. Nia enjoys Atlanta street art, french press coffee, and a really good adjective.

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Rethink Changing the World and Illuminate Generosity

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I have spent many work days and late nights dreaming of how I might leave my mark on the world — maybe ending disease, creating a profound work of art, or starting the next great social movement. Whatever it is, my daydreams are always grandiose and complex. Jeff Shinabarger of Plywood People has different daydreams about changing the world, though, and I want to take a page from his book (literally, check it out here).

In Jeff’s TEDxPeachtree talk in 2013, he described what he sees as a practical way to change the world — give out of your excess.

He turns the idea of generosity on its head, and follows the same spirit as fellow TED veteran Chris Abani:

“The world is never saved in grand messianic gestures but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft almost invisible acts of compassion.”

So go illuminate the world in your own quiet, profound way today — but first, learn from Jeff about how it can look below:

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Molly Heacock is the Community Relations Director at CARE for AIDS, an Atlanta based non-profit that works with men and women affected by HIV/AIDS in Kenya. She lives in Ormewood Park with her husband and dog, and cannot get enough of TEDxPeachtree.

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Eventbrite - TEDxPeachtree 2014 "Illuminate!"

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