Comstock Memorial Union
Speak Up Speakers

Speak Up Speakers

Speak Up is happening this week, and we couldn’t be more excited. By now, hopefully, you’ve seen some posts introducing the speakers. Since it might take some extra scrolling power to go through our Instagram to find each bio, we’re releasing a collective list right here on our blog. Get ready to hear these amazing people speak about their experiences this Wednesday. For more info on the event, visit DragonCentral.

Nicole Bentley

Topic: Nicole will challenge us to think differently about mental health and the connection we make with others when we share our struggles.

Bio: My name is Nicole Bentley and I grew up in Hawley, MN with my mom, dad, and younger sister. I am an Art Education major, and this is my second year at MSUM. I am currently working at the Wellness Center on campus, teaching an after school art club at Osgood Elementary, and in the process of planning two art camps this summer. Though I maintain a busy schedule, I try to make time for things I enjoy like watching movies, working out, or cuddling with my cat. I look forward to working closely with high school students in my own art room once I graduate.

Linsey Culkins

Topic: Linsey is going to share how trauma links generations of people and how we can break that connection to create a better future for survivors of childhood abuse.

Bio: Linsey was born and raised in East Grand Forks, MN.  She moved to the Fargo area immediately after graduating high school in 2005.  She was a stay-at-home mom for over five years and has also worked in accounting & business administration.  She is now a full-time student majoring in psychology while continuing to raise her two children.

Clara Derby

Topic: Clara’s talk will challenge you to think about what it really means to have an open-mind and be connected with yourself in order to grow.

Bio: Clara Derby is a senior double majoring in Project Management and English and works as the Assistant Program Manager for Graduate and Extended Learning. She loves the simple things in life: good food, good views, and good friends. After returning from a semester studying abroad in Norway, Clara has plenty of stories and misadventures to share in her talk about open-mindedness and how to take yourself less seriously.

Trey Bechley

Topic: Trey will help us think about “ability” in a new way as he shares the connections he’s made through the Special Olympics.

Aridasee Tisland

Topic: Aridasee will help us explore our connection to ourselves in order to move beyond our circumstances and create a brighter future.

Ralf Mehnert Meland

Topic: Ralf’s talk will challenge us to consider the connection between men’s shame and sexual violence prevention, and how we can create a better solution.

Whitney Fear

Topic: Whitney will take the Speak Up stage to give us a nudge so we reconsider the idea of who we think we’re connected to, challenging us to see how we are all bound to one another.

Ponny White

Topic: Ponny will help us consider how race is connected to so many aspects of our lives – both in visible and invisible ways. She’ll challenge us to see how we are connected to this problem and that together we can work toward a solution. 

Bio: Ponny White is a Senior at at MSUM Double majoring in Political Science and Multimedia Journalism with an emphasis in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is a reproductive rights activist, the codirector at Cultural Diversity Resources and a member of the Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet for Governor Walz and Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan.