Monday, March 17, 2014

[437] Two MTSU professors lend expertise to cutting edge conference March 22

MURFREESBORO — Two MTSU professors will join other accomplished leaders at a conference based on progressive visions of the future.

Drs. Cliff Ricketts and Bethany Hoppe will be among the featured speakers at TEDxNashville 2014 Saturday, March 22, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Polk Theater, 505 Deaderick St., in Nashville.

“Distinguished leaders in technology, entertainment, design, science, art, education, government, public policy, health care and other areas will share their remarkable thoughts and ideas focused on creating positive changes in our society,” states

The gathering is described as “a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together.” It stems from TED, a nonprofit organization that started in California 25 years ago to support “world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.”

Ricketts, a professor in the MTSU Department of Agribusiness and Agriscience, has been involved with alternative fuel research since 1978. He has run engines off ethanol from corn, methane from cow manure, soybean oil and hydrogen from water, and he has a solar/electric truck.

He is working on a plug-in flex-fuel hybrid system using a solar unit to generate electricity which is banked and from which hydrogen from water is generated through electrolysis to run an internal combustion car engine.

Hoppe, a professor in the MTSU Department of Speech and Theatre, is an advocate for women and girls with disabilities. Born with spina bifida, she delivers presentations that educate women to use technology and social media for their educational, professional and personal advancement and empower them to transcend disabilities.

In addition to her academic and speaking career, Hoppe is the author of the lifestyle blog “Raspberry Vogue” and “Molly B. Golly’s Wonderful Dancing Debut!,” a children’s book about a child whose world is expanded through wheelchair dancing.

Former speakers at TED conferences have included Microsoft founder Bill Gates, anthropologist Jane Goodall, Virgin Airlines founder Sir Richard Branson, author Isabel Allende, and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

For more information about the conference, go to To contact Ricketts, call 615-898-2430, or send an email to To contact Hoppe, call 615-898-2739, or send an email to

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