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Say Hello to the 2018 TED Fellows



Each year TED selects 20 fellows and 10 senior fellows for the prestigious TED Fellowship Program. This diverse group of dreamers, thinkers, and doers are given professional coaching and instruction to help them share their passion projects with the world.

Yesterday, the 2018 TED Fellows were announced; the group includes an astrophysicist, a geographer and glaciologist, a clean water advocate, an infectious disease doctor, a photojournalist and filmmaker, and a regenerative tissue engineer—to name a few. All of these fellows survived the rigorous application project to join the ranks of the vast network of 453 fellows who came before them.

And, as Eillie Anzilotti writes in Fast Company, it’s perfect timing that three of this year’s fellows have made it their mission to end sexual harassment and abuse through advocacy, reporting, and technology in the spirit of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

TED 2018 Fellow Laura L. Dunn is a victim’s rights attorney; she is also the founder of a nonprofit called SurvJustice, an organization that provides assistance to victims of campus sexual violence. Another fellow, Yasin Kakande is an investigative journalist and author of the book Slave States: The practice of Kafala in the Gulf Arab Region, who worked undercover for to reveal human rights abuses of migrant workers in the Middle East. Through his work, Kakande has exposed injustices committed against women and young girls. Senior Fellow Jessica Ladd, who has been through the program once before, is a sexual health technologist and founder of Callisto, a nonprofit that provides online technology to college campuses as a platform for victims of sexual assault to report perpetrators.

As the problems of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse continue to grow, it’s safe to say that the innovation and awareness of these three fellows couldn’t have come at a better time. As part of the program, each fellow will be giving a TED Talk of their own, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they have to say.

The full list with descriptions from

Isadora Kosofsky (USA)

Photojournalist + filmmaker

Photojournalist exploring underrepresented communities in America with a characteristic immersive approach, documenting senior citizen communities, developmentally disabled populations, incarcerated youth, and beyond.

Kaitlyn Sadtler (USA)

Regenerative tissue engineer

Tissue engineer harnessing the body’s natural immune system to create new regenerative medicines that mend muscle and more quickly heal wounds.

Claire Simeone (USA)

Marine mammal veterinarian

Veterinarian and conservationist studying how the health of marine mammals, such as sea lions and dolphins, informs and influences both human and ocean health.

DeAndrea Salvador (USA)

Environmental justice advocate

Sustainability expert and founder of RETI, a non-profit that advocates for inclusive clean energy policies that help low-income families access cutting edge technology to sustainably reduce their energy costs.

Antionette Carroll (USA)

Social entrepreneur + designer

Designer and founder of Creative Reaction Lab, a non-profit using design to foster racially equitable communities through education and training programs, community engagement consulting and open-source tools and resources.

Mikhail Zygar (Russia)

Journalist + historian

Journalist covering contemporary and historical Russia and founder of Project1917, a digital documentary project that narrates the 1917 Russian Revolution in an effort to contextualize modern day Russian issues.

Faith Osier (Kenya | Germany)

Infectious disease doctor

Scientist studying how humans acquire immunity to malaria, translating her research into new, highly effective malaria vaccines.

Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil (Turkey | USA)


Astrophysicist studying the structure and dynamics of galaxies – including a rare double ringed elliptical galaxy she discovered – to help us understand how they form and evolve.

Kotchakorn Voraakhom (Thailand)

Urban landscape architect

Landscape architect and founder of Landprocess, a Bangkok-based design firm building public green spaces and green infrastructure to increase urban resilience and protect vulnerable communities from climate change.

Olga Iurkova (Ukraine)

Journalist + editor

Journalist and co-founder of, an independent Ukrainian organization that trains an international cohort of fact-checkers in an effort to curb propaganda and misinformation in the media.

Rola Hallam (Syria | UK)

Humanitarian aid entrepreneur

Medical doctor and founder of CanDo, a social enterprise and crowdfunding platform that enables local humanitarians to provide healthcare to their own war-devastated communities.

Essam Daod (Palestine | Israel)

Mental health specialist

Psychiatrist and co-founder of Humanity Crew, an NGO providing psychological aid and first response mental health interventions to refugees and displaced populations.

Adam Kucharski (UK)

Infectious disease scientist

Infectious disease scientist creating new mathematical and computational approaches to understand how epidemics like Zika and Ebola spread, and how they can be controlled.

Laura L. Dunn (USA)

Victims’ rights attorney

Attorney and Founder of SurvJustice, a national nonprofit increasing the prospect of justice for survivors of campus sexual violence through effective legal assistance, policy advocacy, and institutional training.

Paul Rucker (USA)

Visual Artist + cellist

Multidisciplinary artist exploring issues related to mass incarceration, racially-motivated violence, police brutality, and the continuing impact of slavery in the US.

Lucy Marcil (USA)

Pediatrician + social entrepreneur

Pediatrician and co-founder of StreetCred, a nonprofit addressing the health impact of financial stress by providing fiscal services to low income families in the the doctor’s waiting room.

M Jackson (USA)

Geographer + glaciologist

Glaciologist researching the cultural and social impacts of climate change on communities across all eight circumpolar nations, and advocate promoting more inclusive practices in the field of glaciology.

Yasin Kakande (Uganda)

Investigative journalist + author

Journalist working undercover in the Middle East to expose the human rights abuses of migrant workers there.

Saran Kaba Jones (Liberia | USA)

Clean water advocate

Founder and CEO of FACE Africa, an NGO that strengthens clean water and sanitation infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa through innovative community support services.

Romain Lacombe (France)

Environmental entrepreneur

Founder of Plume Labs, a company dedicated to raising awareness about global air pollution by creating a personal electronic pollution tracker that forecasts air quality levels in real time.


If you can’t wait for TED2018, check out these talks from last year’s fellows:


Grace Cooper is a senior Nonfiction Writing and Psychology student at the University of Pittsburgh. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @gracie_coo.


Trump Has a Really Big Budget Proposal

And it might hit higher education right where it hurts.



The president is feeling confident about his 2019 budget (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The White House’s 2019 budget proposal was released yesterday, with the bold headline being that the administration wants $4.4 trillion for the year. The proposal bears President Trump’s vision of an America armed for war, paid for in part by an America that doesn’t prioritize education.

The $4.4 trillion is a dramatic increase from the amount of money the Trump administration spent during 2017. Much of the added funds would go toward military spending and toward funding a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.

“We’re going to have the strongest military we’ve ever had, by far,” the president said. To “balance” the federal budget see-saw, Trump removes weight through cuts, scientific research, public broadcasting, and domestic programs benefitting the poor and middle class, such as student loans.

The proposal would also reduce funding for social programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Even with these cuts, government spending is projected to increase the federal debt by at least $7 trillion by 2027.

According to CNBC, “The proposal would sharply curtail income-based repayment plans, scratch the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and embolden the government to go after students who don’t pay their loans and cut funding for federal work study in half.”

Implementation of such changes to loans would be seen by borrowers only after July 1, 2019. 

As lawmakers from both parties digest the details, they will be arming for a potentially long struggle toward approval in the weeks ahead.

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Dunkin’ to Stop Using Foam Cups by 2020

And it’s about time, too.



There has always been something different about getting coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s a no-frill — but super tasty — alternative to Starbucks or your local brewer, with down home, no-frills feel.

And they serve their brew in those foam cups. Comforting and easy to grab, sure, but not very good for the environment.

Dunkin’ announced today that those polystyrene foam cups will be completely phased out from its stores globally by 2020, reducing the waste stream by millions.

Foam packaging of any kind decomposes very slowly, washes into waterways and can harm sea life and other creatures who depend on the water supply to live.

McDonald’s also said it will get rid of any remaining foam cups in the next few years as well, though they have already drastically reduced dependance on them.

So raise one to Dunkin’ for taking a step in an environmentally friendly direction.

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Buzzfeed and NBC Launched a ‘Millennial Parenting’ Channel Today

Playfull is aimed at parents aged 20-34, which is you, college students with kids.



NBCUniversal and BuzzFeed launched something that is being called a “millennial parenting channel” today on Facebook.

Peggy Wang, BuzzFeed’s editorial director for lifestyle brands told Digiday that the focus will be giving parents valuable and relatable information with a BuzzFeed bent. Those parents are in the age range of 20 to 34, meaning it would include some college students.

Expect to see a 15-second commercial that will air during the Winter Olympics pushing the Playfull brand.

The idea behind Playfull is to replicate the success of other lifestyle platforms like Tasty and Nifty. Together, those two channels have over 100 million followers on Facebook.

Here’s the video that appeared on Playfull’s page this morning:

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