Making Waves black and red theme graphic

About This Year's Conference

Life is static without movement. Together, with inspiration, ideas, and passion, we can generate powerful waves of any amplitude and embrace the chance to change our lives and the world around us. With the constant currents life sends us to battle, we can stand with confidence in one another, to better ourselves and our world one wave at a time. 

This year we want to celebrate the movers and shakers, those who can’t be made still and create real change in their communities. We can’t wait to showcase some incredible folks whose ripple effect has made the world a better place. 

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All Hands on Deck!

Every year, we look for passionate and driven volunteers like you to help bring this effort to life. Applications are now closed for this year's conference, but make sure to apply next year!


Asia Croson


Asia is a San Luis Obispo professional photographer and founder of Girls Who Handle It, an exhibit highlighting the resilience of women dealing with hardships behind the curtain of social media. Through her work, Asia is on a mission to show everyone that they're beautiful.

Nadia Ghulam Dastgir


Nadia was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her life, like many other Afghan women, has been marked by the aftermath of a cruel civil war, hunger, and the Taliban regime. Nadia managed to move forward, living as a boy for ten years in order to feed her family. We are honored to have her with us and hear her story.

Dr. Kristen Meisenheimer


Dr. Meisenheimer, a distinguished Associate Professor of Chemistry at Cal Poly, draws from her knowledge of neurochemistry and passion for teaching to challenge people’s perception of positive versus negative thinking. Kristen will teach us about rewiring the brain's negative habitual thinking patterns to improve mental and emotional health.

Lori Butterworth


Lori is dedicated to ensuring that every child with a life-threatening illness receives compassionate care that allows them to live well and die with dignity. She has helped countless grieving parents pen the most difficult document imaginable: their child’s obituary. Lori is the founder of Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services and the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, and has won several awards including  Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life Award.

Jimmy Wong


Driven by his passion for the culinary arts, Jimmy Wong came to Cal Poly to learn about the molecular science behind food. Jimmy opened up his own pop-up restaurant, DENCH., in his apartment during his junior year. Featured on outlets such as NowThis Food, FoodBeast, and the Cal Poly Magazine, Jimmy Wong wants to share his journey of self discovery through food and culture.

Daria Lamb


Daria is currently Director of Future Research Design at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto. She studied theoretical economics at the University of Chicago and received an English Speaking Union fellowship to study at Adcote College in Shrewsbury, England. In 2017, she was named a Fellow of the World Innovation Society. She introduces people and organizations to future forecasts and teaches how to use systematic futures thinking skills to radically inform decisions. 

Quinault Childs


From the Institute for the Future’s Food Futures Lab, a young exuberant entrepreneur and research manager steps up to the TEDx stage. He has worked with large food industry companies around the world to reveal the directions of future change that will influence the way we produce, process, distribute, and enjoy food. He will share this insight with us and what he believes to be the origin, the first ripples of this change to come. This talk will be centered around the predictive power of science fiction.

David Morrisset


David is a graduate student at Cal Poly studying Fire Protection Engineering. He is passionate about applying both his experience and scientific principle to improve public safety. Apart from his studies, David is active in the world of fire research. His current projects range from characterizing timber combustion, to developing innovative protection schemes for Lithium-ion battery fire hazards.

Karlos Balderas


Born and raised on the Central Coast, Karlos is first generation American and felt the struggles that many recently immigrated families encounter in regards to finances, education, and language. He channeled his frustrations and setbacks into his passion for boxing, encouraged by his grandparents. This passion carried him all the way to the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016. Karlos will discuss the intersection of passion and sacrifice necessary to find one's purpose.

Leilani Hemmings Pallay


Leilani is pursuing Ethnic Studies at Cal Poly with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Her extraordinary involvement includes her campus positions as an Ethnic Studies Teaching Assistant, a Student Assistant for the Gender Equity Center (GEC), and as the Student Producer for the GEC’s 2019 production of Original Womxn’s Narratives (OWN). She is a member of Black Student Union, the Cross Cultural Centers, the Women’s and Gender Studies Honor Society, and the Comparative Ethnic Studies Student Association. Leilani will speak to the ways that the marginalized and their allies are surviving and resisting in academia, in our country, and around the world.

Conference Itinerary

Start of Show: 4:00 pm 

Levity Academy 

Kristen Meisenheimer 

Asia Corson 

Daria Lamb 

That’s the Key 

Leilani Hemmings Pallay 

Quinault Childs 

A Taste of San Luis Obispo: 5:30 pm 

Start of Session Two: 6:30 pm 

Urban Movement 

Nadia Ghulam Dastgir 

Jimmy Wong 

Karlos Balderas 

David Morrisset 

Lori Butterworth 

Closing: 8:00 pm