October 13, 2022, 6:30 pm


Tickets: $42
Plus $3/ticket processing fee

TEDxStCloud celebrates curiosity. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxStCloud, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxStCloud event, speakers will spark deep discussion and connection. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized by an all-volunteer team.

Speaker Bio’s

Grace Leapaldt

Grace is in her junior year at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is studying toward her bachelor’s degree in both Communications and Chinese studies. She plans to work for a company that does business with China and to work on the communications side between the American and Chinese departments. Her dream would be to work for the U.S. embassy in China, spreading American culture.

Grace was born and raised in Saint Cloud, MN. She attended the Guang Ming Academy Chinese Immersion Program, grades 1-12 through the Saint Cloud area school district. As a result, she is fluent in writing, reading, and speaking Chinese. Grace enjoys writing and working in collaboration with others. She took a trip to China during her freshman year of high school, staying with host families and attending

schools. She is excited about this opportunity to return to her community and share her story.

Ettien Koffi and Mark Petzold

Ettien Koffi earned a BA in linguistics from the University of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and a Ph.D. in linguistics from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. He is a professor of linguistics at Saint Cloud State University, MN.

Mark Petzold received his Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Originally from Idaho, he is now a Professor of Computer Science at St. Cloud State University. He also is part of the leadership team for Huskies Invent, a hackathon style event that allows students to solve problems for local industry, as well as a Co-Principle Investigator for the ACCESS STEM scholarship program, a 5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation.

Doctors Koffi and Petzold are working collaboratively to develop a Text-to-Speech synthesis to help document and revitalize Betine, a critically endangered language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. They hope that the technology that they are developing will help document and revitalize some of the 2,923 languages out of 7,111 languages worldwide that are on the brink of extinction.

Heather Weems

Born and raised an #Iowa Child” (see poem of the same name by Sarah Hall Maney), Heather grew up in the farm fields and small town spot light of rural communities. She observed and learned compassion and wisdom from her English teacher Mom, work ethic and doggedness from her agrarian Dad, and toughness, resiliency, and humor from her five brothers.

Heather spread her wings at the University of Iowa, majoring in Psychology while competing as a Hawkeye rower. It was at Iowa as a resident assistant in the halls that she developed an affection for the campus environment, completing her M.A. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Denver. Combining her love of athletics and competition with a passion for college student development, she is entering her 23rd year as an intercollegiate athletics administrator transitioning from ten years as Director of Athletics at St. Cloud State University to her new position as Commissioner of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Heather lives with her four sons and husband in St. Cloud, MN and endeavors to help them thrive in chaos as they develop their own goals and aspirations.

Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman

Dr. Kari-Shane Davis Zimmerman (nicknamed KSDZ by her students) is an associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. She has served as the co-director of the First Year Experience and implemented the roll out of the College Success Course for all first-year students.

East-coast by background and temperament, KSDZ never fails to ask probing questions and does not accept soul-less answers. She asks all her students to engage their moral compass and stand up for what is true and just.

Kari-Shane earned her doctorate in Theological Ethics from Marquette University, her masters from Duke University Divinity School, and her Bachelor of Arts from the College of the Holy Cross. Her scholarly work examines the influence of hookup culture on college students’ views and formation of intimate relationships. KSDZ lives in Maple Grove with her partner, Ben, and their three children, Sarah, Kathryn, and James.

Mateo Mackbee

Matéo Mackbee owns Krewe Restaurant, Flour & Flower Bakery, and The Land by Model Citizen. He describes his cooking philosophy as creating technically driven, elevated comfort food using great ingredients with minimal manipulation.

Mateo and his partner Erin Lucas leverage their restaurant, bakery, and farm to provide opportunities for urban youth to learn about growing food and and potential food and hospitality careers all while promoting diversity and racial justice in central Minnesota.

Mackbee has a depth of experience in the culinary world including training with multiple award-winning chefs across many cuisines in Minnesota. While raised in MN, Mackbee’s childhood summers always included several hot steamy weeks in his mother’s hometown of New Orleans visiting relatives and experiencing Creole and New Orleans style food while learning to love its local foods, culture, music, and sense of community.

Santo Cruz

Santo Cruz grew up in rural Stearns County before embarking on his legal career. He currently serves CentraCare as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer after previously being Associate General Counsel and Vice President of Community and Government Relations. Prior to joining CentraCare, he was a prosecutor for Hennepin County, Assistant Commissioner and General Counsel for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Attorney for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Santo and his family currently live in rural Minnesota.

October 13, 2022, 6:30 pm

Paramount Center for the Arts

913 West St. Germain StreetSt. Cloud, MN 56301United States
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