TEDxVermilionStreet Speakers

  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015


Aaron Boudreaux is a 26 year old musician, audio engineer, and Lafayette native currently living in New Orleans. He has toured with the 4-time Grammy nominated group Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole for 4 years, and currently spends most of his musical energy mixing and producing some of New Orleans' finest musicians, as well as his own project "Sightsee". He has taught private music instruction for 7 years to people from ages 4 to 65, primarily on drums and percussion.

-“Music continues to amaze and baffle me with its inexplicable powers, as it seems to find a way into everybody's hearts”


Catherine Schoeffler Comeaux is an involved citizen of Acadiana, writer and homemaker mother of three. She serves on the Bayou Vermilion District Board of Commissioners and has publicly declared her obsession with waste by helping form the non-profit No Waste Louisiana. As a dabbler extraordinaire she has taught elementary school in the Mississippi Delta and high school in South Korea, practiced social work in New Orleans and founded the first hostel for travelers in her hometown, Lafayette. She enjoys baking with her kids, dumpster diving with her husband, paddling the bayou and replacing her grass lawn with more interesting flora.


Kate Durio works with the Mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana on the cultural economy, downtown development, transportation and public spaces. She is on several boards and also co-founded ReCover Acadiana to tackle beautification and blight projects through collaboration or rogue action. She is also a Tactical Urbanist and Creative Placemaker working in local neighborhoods. She believes we should all do what we can, where we can, starting on our own block. Kate is an award-winning investigative journalist and has worked in Portland, Oregon and Lafayette. She loves typewriters, snail mail and the public library, which is Downtown, of course.


Zaghloul Saad Zaghloul (Zag ElSayed) was born in Odessa, USSR; he is a computer engineering scientist specialized in the Brain Machine Interface and Digital Design. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. with Distinction degree of Honor from Alexandria University in 2005. He got his second M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from UL at Lafayette in 2016, he worked as a research engineer in Egypt, Russia, Ukraine and USA. He is fluent in nine languages, a nationally recognized painting artist and a registered Red Cross volunteer. Zag believes that the key to understanding the Universe is ciphered in human brain.


Adam Foreman is a museum professional and Public Historian with ten years of experience. He received his Masters degree in Public History from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where his research centered on South Louisiana enslaved resistance and the public memory of difficult histories. He has worked with The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area in Springfield, Illinois, and served as the Executive Director of Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Today he lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and works at The National WWII Museum.


A fiercely determined female with a strong voice is taking spoken word poetry by storm. Known as PoeticSoul, this Lafayette, La native wants to encourage others to never give up, stand up, be fearless and be heard. Poetic has worked as a teaching artist in the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home. Poetic featured as a panelist on the panel discussion, “Language of the Unheard: Rural Children of Color” during the 2016 Split this Rock Poetry festival in Washington, DC. She founded and operates spoken word poetry organization in Lafayette, La. Her debut album, Scattered Thoughts, was released in December 2015.


Aaron Lozier is the Chief Technology Officer at Potenza Innovations, managing two technology divisions: one in Lafayette, Louisiana and the other in Visakhapatnam, India. Co-founding Potenza Innovations with Frankie Russo in 2015, their focus is marketing intelligence software for businesses, especially automotive dealerships. Before Potenza Innovations, Lozier owned and operated a software company, Information ArchiTECH, for four years. He built software for dozens of businesses throughout Louisiana and across the U.S. Aaron Lozier earned a Bachelors degree in History from Southwestern University in 2002. He currently lives in Lafayette, Louisiana with his wife Brianne and two children, Poete and Lennon.


Simon Mahan has worked in nonprofit advocacy for over a decade. He specializes in policy advocacy, energy analysis and stakeholder engagement. In his current position as a Renewable Energy Manager for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Simon is responsible for overseeing the organization's wind energy and utility-scale solar power advocacy. Previously, he worked as an advocate and analyst for an ocean conservation organization in Washington, DC addressing offshore wind economics, industrial energy efficiency and mercury reduction policies. He earned his B.S. in political science at Missouri State University with minors in biology and communications.


Skyra Rideaux is a Christ-driven, community idealist trying to redefine what it means to lead and be successful as a young black woman in the 21st century.


After graduating from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Dave Sargent served more than 21 years with the Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C, from 1970 to 1991. Since 1992 he has coordinated, taught, and presented domestic violence-related sessions for law enforcement officers and other community partners in more than 32 states and the District of Columbia. Working with the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, in 2003 he began, led the development of, coordinated, and trained on the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) which has reached 36 states nationwide. He is now retired and serves in a volunteer capacity with the LAP.


Rick Swanson earned a J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1994 and then

went on to earn a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Kentucky.  In 2001, he joined

the Department of Political Science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as their pre-law

teacher and advisor.  He is currently the department chair.  Dr. Swanson has written a book, book

chapters, journal articles, and encyclopedia entries involving law and politics, including civil

rights history.  His courses also include coverage of civil rights history, and his current research

is on local civil rights history.