Isenberg Faculty Members Excel in TEDx Professor Speaker Showcase

November 27, 2013

Three Isenberg professors--Anna Nagurney, Cynthia Barstow, and Ryan Wright--were among eight innovative speakers at the student-organized TEDx UMass Amherst Professor Speaker Showcase at Isenberg on November 26. The evening was one of several events that will culminate in a daylong TEDx UMass Amherst conference planned for May 3rd.  Last year's culminating TEDx event, held at Mahar auditorium and Isenberg, offered eight hours of path-breaking speakers and attracted over 400 students and members of the region's business and idea communities.


"Networks are everywhere," emphasized John F. Smith Memorial Professor of Operations Management Anna Nagurney in her talk, "The Traffic Circle of Life." Computer modeling, she noted, gives us the tools to solve interdisciplinary challenges in all sorts of networks--everything from transportation to the internet. Professor Nagurney's own Virtual Center for Supernetworks examines transportation, communications, utilities, financial, and other networks and their dynamic interactions.


Professor BarstowEvents and experiences from very different domains can come together, yielding unanticipated insights, Cynthia Barstow, a marketing lecturer, observed in her presentation, "Nurture Your Nature." Don't discount your interests; they may contribute to your own unique synthesis down the road, she said. For Barstow, research involving grasshoppers and DDT, endocrine disrupters, food marketing and merchandising, and sustainability helped form ideas for her book, The Eco-foods Guide: What's Good for the Earth Is Good for You (New Society). Barstow subsequently founded Protect Our Breasts, an initiative between students and professors in Isenberg's marketing department and the UMass biology department to help raise awareness about environmental toxins in everyday products and discover and promote healthy alternatives.


Professors Wright and NagurneyProfessors Wright and NagurneyBy slowing down and employing "mindfulness," including focused reflection and unbiased awareness, we can make more prudent decisions in our use of technology, noted operations management assistant professor Ryan Wright, in his talk, "Mindfulness Use of Tech." That includes detecting unsavory online tactics like phishing, continued Wright, whose recent work includes diffusion issues in social enterprises and information security and privacy.


Nominated and chosen by UMass Amherst students, the evening's eight speakers also featured UMass Amherst faculty members from the departments of biology, economics, journalism, psychology, and a staff physician/community organizer from the University Health Services.


(Photo source.)