(no, this is not zombie related)

Wed. Jan. 16, Alton Ballroom at Pachamama’s (8th and NH)

Doors at 7:30, Presentations at 8:00.

RSVP on Facebook

we’ll dive into the relationship between brains, tech and the world around us – how big data is being used to create new art, how driving is adapting to modern technology, and how being smart is way different than it used to be.


Meta Nerdery: Being Smart about Being Smart by Erin Bennett and Chris Niileksela

Intelligence is commonly discussed in everyday life, but rarely well-defined. People have pondered differences in intellectual abilities and searched for ways to measure and explain these differences for centuries. The study of intelligence has become an enormous and multi-layered topic. In this presentation, we want to talk about what intelligence is and isn’t, discuss the historical underpinnings of intelligence theory, and provide information on theoretical advances and current research. With this information, you too can be a meta-nerd.

Erin Bennett is currently on her third tour in Lawrence after stints in Madison, Los Angeles, and most recently, Seattle. Erin completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at KU, fostering a fervent love of KU basketball.  She currently works as a school psychologist and special education facilitator in the Auburn-Washburn school district. In her non-psychologist life, she enjoys travel, eating and drinking, generally having fun, and hanging out with her husband, Brad, and her very intelligent cat, Otis.

Chris Niileksela left his former life as a semi-professional trombone player to join the real world in 2006, and after the colossal project commonly referred to as a dissertation, he graduated with a PhD in School Psychology from the University of Kansas in May of 2012. He currently works for the University of Kansas and Topeka Public Schools, trying his best to make a small impact on the education of young people in Kansas.

Google you can drive my car: The Future of the Automobile by Amy Mihalevich

Remember when a reliable car used to be one that started every morning? Well it still is…but what we expect from our vehicles is rapidly changing. Today, cars include sensors and cameras, our cars sync with our phones and on-board computers ask us “Where would you like to go?” We are moving toward the culture of the iPad and not the T-Bird. Amy will explore how technology is changing the face of the automobile from what we drive today to what someday might drive us.

Amy Mihalevich got her degree in Industrial Design from the University of Kansas. That is where she learned to apply a human-centered approach to solving design problems. Today she works with automotive industry partners as a User Experience Designer at Garmin International. It still blows her mind that she works works with cars because she doesn’t know the first thing about them…or even like them that much. But what she does like is making them safer and making other people enjoy them more. When not thinking about cars she is probably decorating, destroying, or repairing something with her boyfriend in their fixer-upper house or taking a nap with her Great Dane.

Framing Information: The Fine Art of Big Data by Becky Harpstrite

Like so many others, Becky first discovered her love for art while watching Bob Ross on PBS channel 8 in the country outside of Andover, Kansas.  After many attempts to paint like Bob, she decided to become a graphic designer.  She has a bona fide degree from the Art Institute of Colorado, and also studied Art History at The University of Kansas.  When she’s not designing, Becky enjoys cultivating an appreciation for the finer things in life, and documenting the daily habits of squirrels with her BDF (best dog friend), Jack.