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Old Main, Farber Hall


5:10 PM

Benjamin Aaker, MD FACEP

How to Save a Life


In the fast-paced world of the ER, you could be forgiven for thinking that the physicians, nurses, and staff are saving lives every day. In reality, our job in the ER is something very different. The ER is the place where people seek healing, relief, and hope, and sometimes receive it. If our job is to save lives, what are we when we cannot?

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5:30 PM

Kristin Malek, PhD, CMP, CED, DES, CHE

How to take higher education from surviving to thriving


How do you go bankrupt? Slowly over time and then suddenly all at once. Similarly, higher education in the United States has been on a steady decline that suddenly accelerated due to COVID. With over 560 institutions closing their doors in the last five years, how can higher education go from surviving to thriving?

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5:50 PM

Melissa Dittberner, PhD, CPS, PS, LMT

Sobriety is not the opposite of addiction: the peer specialist story


Peer Support and Recovery. A peer specialist is a person with lived experiences that has the expertise to help others navigate through the process of recovery based on training and their experiences. Peer support is a best practice for recovery care but is not being utilized in the ways it could be because of the stigma surrounding addiction, mental health, and recovery. As a person in long-term recovery, I have dedicated my efforts to be a voice for those who feel they cannot use theirs because they are struggling with a disease of the brain that we stigmatize so horribly as a society. I am trying hard to help people learn to help themselves, especially in the wake of the addiction crisis.

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6:10 PM

Kory Zimney, PT, DPT, Ph.D.

Understanding Pain and What to do about it


Millions of people are in pain daily, as chronic and persistent pain affects more people than those with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. The talk will explore the complexities of pain, especially when pain persists, and provide a more recent neuroscience understanding of why someone hurts. Often as pain persists, it is less about structural damage to the body, but more about the nervous system's sensitivity. Recent scientific discoveries have led to an understanding of some of the complexities of pain. When understood by the person in chronic pain, these discoveries have helped them recover to a fuller life. In addition, knowing about pain can lead to knowing what to do about it. The talk will share how these discoveries to retrain a sensitive nervous can help those in pain.


Please join us in the lobby for refreshments


6:40 PM

Jamie Wehmeyer, LCSW

Gifts from Jake: Reframing Traumatic Loss


On June 25th, 2017, Jamie’s 17-year-old son, Jake, was murdered. Since that day, her life has changed profoundly. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she was already doing extensive work with trauma and resilience when Jake was killed. Since losing him, she has had to learn about trauma and resilience in ways she never thought imaginable. She will share critical ways she has learned to keep Jake’s memory alive while also healing and finding joy again.


7:00 PM

Marcus Destin, BA

Guided Feet Don't Fail


Marcus was not supposed to be here in Vermillion... and he never thought he would be here for seven years. Then again, we end up exactly where we are supposed to be when we need it the most. Marcus talks about his journey to Vermillion as a Black man, the experiences he's gained, and what he's learned about himself during his time here. Finding purpose and passion in the unknown and unfamiliar.


7:20 PM

Kendra Gottsleben, BA

Inclusion Is Always In


So often when the word diversity is discussed, people with disabilities/rare diseases are not included. Individuals with disabilities are the largest minority group because a person can be both a minority and have a disability/rare disease. Seeing the importance of how true representation matters in all aspects of life is critical to an inclusive community. Including all means “all” in every way, shape and form, ranging from TV shows and commercials to board rooms and businesses.

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