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TEDxVermilionStreet Speakers

  • 2015
  • 2016



Carlee Alm-LaBar graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University in Illinois and holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from LSU. She made her way to Louisiana through the Teach for America program. She is currently the Chief Development Officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government. She is responsible for the coordination of development issues across departments and for the implementation of PlanLafayette, the comprehensive plan of Lafayette Consolidated Government. One of her first tasks in the role was the completion of the Unified Development Code, which the City-Parish Council adopted this spring. She is involved in several volunteer activities including acting as a board member for the Leadership Institute of Acadiana, the Junior League of Lafayette, CASA of SoLA, Lafayette, Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm, and the Lafayette Youth Soccer Association.

Katherine McCormick, a Lafayette native, received her Bachelor’s Degree from Louisiana State University in 2002. Her graduate work reflects her desire to combine her business sense with her passion for community. Katherine has both her Master's in Business Administration and Masters in Social Work from Tulane University. She has been serving as the Assistant to City-Parish President, Constituent Services Coordinator since early 2014. Along with her coworkers, Katherine launched and implemented the Project Front Yard Initiative in Acadiana and is currently serving as the head coordinator of Project Front Yard. Katherine currently serves as a board member for the Leadership Institute of Acadiana and is an active member of Junior League of Lafayette. She is a graduate of Leadership Lafayette Class XXII, a founding member of The United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council and a past board member of Miles Perret Cancer Services, Downtown Lafayette Unlimited and Saint Thomas More High School Foundation. Katherine and her husband Todd have three children, Andrew (8), Amelia (5) and Elizabeth (3).



Jacob Broussard is a visual artist based in Lafayette, Louisiana. Jacob received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a concentration in painting. He studied painting at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. He was honored as the Outstanding Graduate of the College of the Arts, along with graduating as Summa Cum Laude of his class. Upon graduation, he has participated in various artists’ residencies, including the River Oaks Square Arts Center in Alexandria, Louisiana, and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. His work has been widely collected and he has donated work to various organizations, including the Council of Development of French in Louisiana and the American Cancer Society. Jacob recently finished the notable 8-week Summer Studio Program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He will be an artist-in-resident at The Residency League at Vyt in Sparkhill, New York, this coming October. Through his artistic practice, Jacob explores the correlations between landscape, abstraction, and self-invention. He is interested in expanding upon the concept of home, and has developed an interest in regional identity and its value in relation to history and an overbearing sense of place.



James Dent grew up in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri at Rolla and obtained a PhD from Texas A&M University doing work in string theory related cosmology. He then worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher for three years at Vanderbilt University, followed by another three year Postdoctoral stint at Arizona State University. In 2012, Dent was hired as an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Dent is a theoretical physicist, and his research areas include dark matter, dark energy, and gravitation.



Joey Durel has a background as a small businessman. Before holding political office, he served as the Chairman of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. In 2010, he was named CEO of the Year by a local weekly newspaper for his leadership. Durel is a graduate of Leadership Lafayette and Leadership Louisiana and in 2015 was named the Distinguished Graduate of the Leadership Institute of Acadiana. Most recently, Durel was inducted in to the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame as the recipient of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, B.I. Moody, III College of Business Award. Durel took office in January 2004 and will conclude his third and final term as Lafayette’s City-Parish President on January 4, 2016. He has been instrumental in several initiatives aimed at strengthening Lafayette now and in the future, including Lafayette’s Comprehensive Plan (PlanLafayette) and spearheaded establishing LUS Fiber. During Durel’s term, Lafayette has been named the happiest city in the U.S. and for the sixth time in seven years, and Lafayette ranked in the top 25 metro areas in the Best Performing Cities Index of the 200 largest metros.



Joshua Neil Jackson is a 22 year old senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette majoring in Public relations from Shreveport, LA. In 2014 Joshua created a new student organization called Collegiate Fashion Association. He will graduate in the fall 2016. Upon graduating he plans to move to New York to further his career in fashion PR and Marketing. Then go on to get his Master's Degree in Mass Communication.



Beth Middleton obtained her PhD in Botany from Iowa State University and is currently a research ecologist at the National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. Her research focuses on the effects of climate change by examining patterns of function along latitudinal gradients in baldcypress swamps, monsoonal wetlands, mangrove swamps, northern peatleands, prairie fens, and floodplain wetlands. She has organized symposia, written three books, and edited three special journal volumes, which support multidisciplinary comparisons and research analysis of wetland function. Other research topics include the effects of hurricanes on coastal wetlands, flood pulsing in restoration, and biodiversity loss in fens of Europe, Asia and North America. She has developed a research network in baldcypress swamps (North American Baldcypress Swamp Network) and invites other researchers to work in these study sites dedicated to the study of long term function of swamps in the southeastern US.



William Plummer is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he conducts the UL Chamber Singers, Chorale and Women's Choir, and teaches courses for the graduate degree in Choral Conducting. In demand as a clinician, he is frequently invited to conduct honor choirs in Louisiana and surrounding states. He has given lectures at the American Choral Director's Association conferences in Louisiana and Mississippi. Plummer is the founder and artistic director of the Baton Rouge Early Vocal Ensemble, the only choral ensemble in the state to specialize in the music of the Renaissance and Baroque. Over a dozen articles by Plummer on the subject of metal detecting have appeared in publications such as Western & Eastern Treasures and American Digger Magazine, both of which have an international distribution. Plummer has been interviewed via live podcast for Relic Roundup concerning his recent metal detector recoveries in Louisiana.



Andy Rivière is a PhD Candidate in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Louisiana State University. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health while at LSU. Andy has interests in nonmainstream dialects of English, specifically Cajun English, specific language impairment, and Cajun identity. Andy has presented his work at the Louisiana Speech-Language Hearing Association Conference and the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders. He also has experience in teaching at the collegiate level in communication disorders and French as well as guest lecturing at the University of North Texas. For the past three years, Andy has been doing clinical work with adults who speak Cajun French and English in Avoyelles Parish..

Shayne Kimble is currently a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist for Moreau Physical Therapy. He has given departmental presentations on African American English in the media to the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at Louisiana State University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He currently diagnoses and treats the pediatric population, including differentiating between dialect and disorder.



Butch Roussel, MS, CCRA, is the owner of Vivo Research, a consulting company that manages clinical trials for government and small biotechnology companies. He is also the founder of the recently launched community crowdfunding website, After completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from University of Louisiana, Mr. Roussel went on to graduate from Johns Hopkins University with a Master’s in Biotechnology Business. Mr. Roussel has spent the last eight years in the biotechnology industry managing and designing clinical trials. In May 2014, Mr. Roussel launched Acadiana's community crowdfunding website, Since then, civicside has helped successfully fund eight projects totaling nearly $35,000 through over 320 backers. Mr. Roussel, along with civicside, seeks to empower citizens to pursue ideas for the community



 Charles Taylor received his bachelors in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego during which he interned at Stanford Medical Center’s Biomedical Engineering Department. He would pursue his doctorate degree at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the fall of 2008. Drawn to the medical device field, he joined Dr. Gerald Miller’s Artificial Heart Laboratory in the Biomedical Engineering Department. After completing his doctorate in Biomedical Engineering, he would join the UL Mechanical Engineering Department and form the Cajun Artificial Heart Laboratory. The research mission of his laboratory is to development safety, risk and reliability practices for medical devices targeting the cardiovascular system. This involves investigating the effects of anatomy and circulatory function on the devices using computational and experimental methods. At UL, he has taught Engineering Analysis, Advanced SolidWorks, Computer Aided Engineering, and Artificial Organs. Charles currently is a member of American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), American Heart Association (AHA), and American Society of Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO).



Shea Trahan, Lafayette native, is paving an atypical path across the practice of architecture.  Through a body of research and design he explores the interrelated nature of architecture and sound.  His work, entitled Resonant Form, focuses on the ability of the built environment to manipulate sonic phenomenon in order to induce changes in mind and body states.  Shea has degrees in architecture from both the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Tulane University.  He has practiced architecture with firms in Dallas, Lafayette, and currently New Orleans.  His professional work includes master planning, civic buildings, multifamily/mixed-use, hospitality/entertainment, as well as a current focus on historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse.  Shea has been the recipient of the Malcolm Heard Fellowship, multiple AIA recognitions, and the winner of IdeaVillage's 3D Printing Design Competition.  He was also the co-founder and administrator of the Zombie Safe House Competition, a tongue-in-cheek international design competition.