TEDx at Binghamton University logo

Speaker Biographies

Adam Eskin

Adam Eskin

A former investor, health enthusiast and self-proclaimed foodie, Adam Eskin is founder and CEO of the New York City based restaurant chain Dig Inn Seasonal Market. Now with 10 restaurants throughout Manhattan (and soon growing to 15), he and his team at Dig Inn are pioneering the Farm-to-CounterTM movement by serving delicious, healthful, high-quality food that is sustainably sourced, freshly prepared and accessible to all who care to enjoy it. Prior to his foray into the restaurant business, he worked for investment firm Wexford Capital and also Merrill Lynch. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Brown University. While not working, he enjoys yoga, Thai boxing and spending time with his wife, Amanda, and their Yorkshire Terrier, Max – the Dig Inn mascot.

Talk: Fast Food Revolution

Chipotle and Shake Shack have blazed the path. Now chefs and financiers are, more than ever, racing to jump in and take a bite out of this "fast-food revolution." I'll talk about the changing restaurant and food landscape in the U.S. and what we can expect to see unfold over the next 10 years.

Sunny Hostin

Sunny Hostin

Attorney and journalist Sunny Hostin is a CNN legal analyst and host, regularly appearing across CNN programming including New Day, Newsroom, OutFront, AC360 and CNN Tonight. She is also the host of the HLN franchise, News & A Movie. A 1990 Binghamton University graduate with a degree in communications, she holds a JD from the University of Notre Dame Law School. Hostin is a former federal prosecutor and has covered many of the major legal stories in the news, including the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and the Eric Garner case; the George Zimmerman, Casey Anthony and Conrad Murray trials; the Bernie Madoff, Elliot Spitzer and the FLDS polygamy cases; the Michael Vick dog-fighting ring; OJ Simpson's civil trial; Britney Spears' custody and mental illness battles; the Duke rape scandal and many more. Hostin was also an ABC News anchor and appeared on the Fox News Channel.

Talk: A Possibility Model

Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." However, Sunny Hostin will tell you that the most important day in your life is the day you decide who you will not be. Sunny will detail how an early trauma in her life defined who she would not become and led her on the path of discovering her possibilities.

Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout, associate professor of law at Fordham University, is a former anti-corruption candidate for New York governor who won 34 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary against Andrew Cuomo. She is also the author of “Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United.” Previously the first national director of the Sunlight Foundation, Teachout was also a non-resident fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and the director of internet organizing for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. She holds a bachelor of arts from Yale University, as well as a JD and masters of arts in political science from Duke University.

Talk: What is Corrupt?

According to the majority of the current Supreme Court, if an action isn't punishable by a bribery statute, it’s not corruption. Corruption is a funny word, and this is a reasonable mistake to make at a dinner party. But it’s a disastrous mistake to make for American democracy, when the stakes are so high. Essentially, Roberts used a criminal law term—of recent vintage and unclear meaning—to describe a constitutional-level concept. It is as if he used a modern New York statute describing what “speech” means to determine the scope of the First Amendment. To hear Roberts—or his fellow justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy—tell it, corruption isn’t corruption if there isn’t a quid pro quo. In this talk, I'll trace the meaning of corrupt, corruption, and corruptly in American law, and show how we are in a crisis of corruption right now--just not the kind that the Supreme Court recognizes--and how we can get out of it.

Christopher Fix

Christopher Fix

Binghamton University alumnus Christopher Fix ’86 has been CEO of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange since Aug. 2012, following a highly successful career spanning 20 years with the global bank, BNP Paribas. With a wealth of experience, he has developed the exchange’s engagement with shareholders and stakeholders and continues to focus on business efficiency, actively fostering a world-class energy platform for the clients of the group and expanding the DME Benchmark footprint in both the Middle East and North African and East of Suez markets. Under his leadership, DME received the “Exchange of the Year’’ 2013 Award for Energy Risk from Asian Magazine; and the 2012 FOW Award for “Exchange of the Year for Australasia + MENA.” At Binghamton, he majored in history and political science, specializing in Soviet, Russian and Chinese history and political science. Following graduation, he was selected to participate in one of the first exchange programs with Beijing Teachers College in China, and studied Chinese language/history while also teaching English to 12 classes of 300 students.

Talk: Oil in the Middle Eastern markets and what it means to the rest of the world

Jack Fischer

Jack Fischer, student speaker

Sophomore Jack Fischer, a Binghamton University Scholar majoring in computer science and math, is passionate about public education, data and technology, and has coded a motivational panic button used millions of times a year by those participating in NoFap. He has worked at The New York Times and while there demonstrated differences in how public and private universities are publicized. He loves hackathons and is an active participant in Binghamton’s own HackBU, also working with its leaders to coach students learning how to code. He is a leading developer for Binghamton startup ResearchConnection, revolutionizing communication and hiring in academic research, and when not programming enjoys running, solving Rubiks cubes, Binghamton’s Newman House and Peace Action.

Talk: Porn: The New Tobacco

Pornography has quietly taken the world by storm in one of the fastest moving and most profound accidental experiments ever conducted. A growing body of research is shedding light on the destructive effects that widespread consumption of porn may be having, with disturbing parallels to realizations about tobacco use a generation ago. An online community called NoFap has sprung up in response and is a rapidly growing open forum for those struggling with and speaking out against pornography, epitomizing the power of community – and the double-edged sword of technology.

Maria Santelli

Maria Santelli

Maria Santelli is executive director of the Center on Conscience & War (CCW). Founded in 1940, CCW has worked for 75 years to extend and defend the rights of conscientious objectors to war. Originally from the east coast, Santelli spent many years in the high desert of north-central New Mexico, where she worked for disarmament and accountability of the two nuclear weapons laboratories in that state. As coordinator of the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, she organized Another Side: Truth in Military Recruiting, bringing the voices and experiences of combat and other veterans to thousands of students across the state and in Indian Country. It was during her time at the Center for Peace and Justice, at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that Santelli began providing counseling, support and advocacy for members of the military and their families.

Talk: Witnessing the Power of Conscience: Conscientious Objection in a Voluntary Military

Embedded in the roots of injustice is a misguided belief that humanity is predisposed to violence and war. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence that humanity is naturally predisposed to peace; conscience tells us that cooperation with others is right and that violence against others is wrong.

Look no further than basic military training: a scientific method which is expressly designed to circumvent the human conscience and condition a soldier to kill reflexively, without thinking – without filtering the action through the conscience.

Training to kill requires constant reinforcement. If killing was natural it would come easily for us, be good for us and allow us to thrive. Thousands of veterans struggling with the trauma of moral injury – wounds to the soul caused by a transgression against the conscience – are poignant proof of our tragic misunderstanding of human nature.

The conscience will always be heard, in various ways and with various effects on each individual. What is shared in common is a personal transformation, and contained within each conscientious objector’s personal journey are guideposts that can help steer our collective passage from a culture that glorifies militarism and the “warrior,” to one that honors moral conscience and our natural human tendency toward peace.

Lisa Lottie

Lisa Lottie

Lisa Lottie was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, started hula hooping at 21, and has never “worked” a day in her life since. She began her career in a traditional circus in India, studied at the Brazilian National circus school in Rio de Janeiro and holds a degree in circus from London's National Centre of Circus Arts. Based now in London and Melbourne, Australia, her hula hoops, contortion, style and beauty have been seen in over 30 countries around the world. Having received millions of views and global praise for her award-winning YouTube videos, she continues to perform in circuses and on stages worldwide; on camera for film, TV and the Internet; and has no plans to ever break up with her great love affair with street performing.

Talk: My weapon of choice

In a world where we are consistently pressured into adapting to a role that makes us fit into society, many people struggle to find a balance between work and play. But don't we only start to love living life when we find a reason to get out of bed in the morning, not because we have to, but because we want to? In this talk I'm going to share with you my biggest passion − the Hula Hoop.

Binghamton University logo

© 2015 Binghamton University - State University of New York