Speaker Biographies

2020 speakers will be announced soon.

2019 Speakers

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Hoon Choi

Professor Choi is a Korean American scholar of theological ethics and World Christianity. He teaches, researches, and publishes on the relationship/intersection among race, gender, and (Christian) theology. He has spoken at many professional conferences and community workshops on this topic. He was recently selected as a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics.

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Chasiti Gaines

Born and raised in Louisville, KY, Chasiti believes that by diversifying our storytelling and representation in media and communications—we transform the world and our future for the better. She has worked in marketing in the hospitality industry and at The Tempest, a global digital media company for diverse millennial women, as head of Audience Development and Engagement. Before starting her career in digital marketing, she obtained a Masters in Communication at Bellarmine University. During that time, she studied digital media and the effects of social media on promoting health behavior changes.

Andrea Helton

Andrea Helton

Andrea Helton is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. Before settling in Louisville, Andrea completed her collegiate education at the University of California, Irvine where she studied health psychology, ran the university’s meditation club, and worked as a research assistant. After, Andrea completed a master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at South Baylo University, where she graduated with honors and served as valedictorian. Today, Andrea and her husband co-own and operate AcuBalance, an acupuncture and integrative medicine clinic here in Louisville. Together, they bring healing and education to their community while working to build bridges between Integrative and Western Medicine to support the evolution of healthcare.

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Kayla Martin

Kayla Martin is a senior at Bellarmine University and plans to attend graduate school for Theology abroad in the fall. She is a passionate student of both Theology and Political Science and focuses mainly on interfaith/ecumenical dialogue and world religions. Kayla aspires to be a Theology professor so that she can help others understand their neighbors better. Outside of her studies, she is a big fan of U2, works at a no-kill animal shelter and enjoys traveling.

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Trenton Mattingly

Trenton Mattingly is currently the director of Nazareth Retreat Center, a non-profit based just outside of Bardstown, Kentucky. He holds a B.A. in English from Bellarmine University and an M.A. in Theology through the University of Notre Dame's McGrath Institute for Church Life. He is a regular contributor for Valiant Magazine, LifeTeen International, and William H. Sadlier, Inc.

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Josh Miller

Josh Miller is the co-founder and CEO of IDEAS xLab, where he and his team leverage the power of arts and culture to support community health transformation. He is an artist with a background in business, art administration, and editorial production - and explores the world through photography (and a lot of running), documenting his journey through joshmiller.ventures. Josh is an advisor for the Derby Diversity & Business Summit, was selected for Louisville Business First's Forty under 40 in 2018, and serves as the co-chair of the Louisville Health Advisory Board's Communications Committee.

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Nick Reinhart

Nick Reinhart, a 2015 graduate of Bellarmine University, lives in Evansville, Indiana. In 2017, Nick was diagnosed with kidney cancer. After the initial surgery to remove the cancer, complications arose resulting in seven operations in May 2017 and an eighth in December 2017. That diagnosis and its aftermath is the foundation of Nick's TEDx talk. He is adamant that his experience with cancer gave him far more than it took from him. He calls it the best learning opportunity he’s ever had.Nick grew up outside Indianapolis and went to school at Guerin Catholic. He is the son of Nick and Kim and has one brother, Nate.

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Allie Roberts

Allie Roberts is a 17-year-old student at Spencer County High School in Taylorsville, Kentucky. In her small amount of free time away from her AP classes at school, she enjoys being involved in the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association’s Youth and Government Programs, political campaigns, activism, childhood cancer advocacy, and community service. Allie is also serving as a Constitutional Page for the 2019 Kentucky General Assembly in Frankfort. Allie dreams of going to college to study Communications and Political Science to one day become a Civil Rights Attorney and work to end gender-based discrimination.

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Dr. Eric Roorda

Dr. Eric Roorda grew up in Michigan and Ohio, then fled South to The College of William and Mary to study History. Eric received his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, and studied in Florence, Italy, and in the Dominican Republic. He’s taught at the Hopkins Center in Nanjing, China; on a schooner in the Caribbean for Long Island University; Williams College; Ohio University; and for the last 22 years, Bellarmine College/University. He’s published six books, most recently Twain At Sea (JHU Press, 2018). He and his partner Dee Doyle have two daughters: a graduate of DePauw University, and a Senior at UK.

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Caitlin Simpson

In 2015, Reverend Caitlin Simpson became the first openly gay clergy ordained with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kentucky Region. Her training in trauma informed care and her role as an advocate shapes her ministry. She focuses on marginalized communities, specifically, survivors of violence and trafficking; LGBTQ+ adults/youth; children; and current/formerly incarcerated women. She is currently an Education and Social Change Ph.D. student at Bellarmine University, focusing on how intersectionality and trauma informed care can be utilized by church leaders to promote/sustain inclusion. Rev. Simpson is an associate minister for First Christian Church and adjunct faculty at Bellarmine in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Dr. John Stemmer

Dr. John Stemmer is the Director of Library Services at Bellarmine University. He has more than 25 years of experience in academic and research libraries. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Ohio University and holds an MLS from Indiana University. Dr. Stemmer’s professional activities have included fostering collaboration among academic libraries by helping create the Federation of Kentucky Academic Libraries (FoKAL) consortium and serving in the the Kentucky Virtual Library and developing library assessment abilities to highlight academic libraries and their support for student learning. He is currently focusing on university archives and their development.

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Dr. Michael G. Strawser

Dr. Michael G. Strawser is an assistant professor and Director of Graduate Programs for the School of Communication at Bellarmine University. He researches instructional and organizational communication as well as generational differences in both education and corporate contexts. Michael is also the owner/lead consultant of Legacy Communication Training and Consulting, L.L.C. 

John Walczak

walczakJohn Walczak came to the Louisville Zoo in 1985 to design and build the HerpAquarium. Named Director in 2004, Walczak led the successful $26 million Glacier Run Capital Campaign growing the Zoo’s attendance to a record 900,000 guests in 2012. He has served on local boards including the Partnership for Creative Economies, the Arts and Cultural Attractions Council and Indiana University Southeast. In addition, he has served in numerous leadership positions with the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Walczak is passionate about animal welfare and dedicated to inspiring young people to find creative ways to live in better balance with nature.

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Thomas Wójcicki, Ph.D.

Professor Wójcicki (AKA “Dr. T”) is an assistant professor of exercise science in the School of Movement & Rehabilitation Sciences at Bellarmine University. His area of expertise lies within the field of behavioral kinesiology, where he employs a social cognitive framework to examine and promote physical activity behaviors across the lifespan. Dr. Wójcicki also serves as a local advocate for walking and walkable communities, with a particular focus on improving access and mobility to support sustainable neighborhoods and population health.

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Mary Wurtz

Mary Wurtz is a third year student of Foreign Languages and International Studies and Theology at Bellarmine University. Mary is an aspiring Korea expert and is currently working on her undergraduate Honors Program thesis on illicit consumption of foreign media in North Korea. As a lifelong student of foreign languages, she is fluent in Spanish and has recently begun Japanese coursework at Bellarmine. Her goal is to gain proficiency in one language from all seven continents. In 2019, Mary was selected from a nationwide pool as one of 20 Emerging Leaders by Global Ties US, a national foreign exchange organization.