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IdeaFestival Bowling Green 2019

The Future Is Now

All videos produced by Vid Monster Productions

2019 Highlights

Speakers Sessions

Session 1: Art and Advocacy: Creating a Space for the Future

Brianna Harlan: Space Makers, Change Makers
The energy we give, the things that we say, and the things that we don’t say are all affecting the people around us. We're already making space. We're already using your space. So with that type of power, how can we be more intentional so that we are using our space to shape the future in ways that we want, in ways that we need, and in ways that other people need?

Brianna Harlan uses creativity and radical vulnerability for good. She works to engage and support community at Center For Neighborhoods and uses visual art as a tool to create reflective and constructive experience. Recently she has been part of the Creative Capital-affiliated CFL Hadley Creatives, served as the Artist-in-Residence at Ox-Bow School of Art, and received a Great Meadows Foundation grant and the Kentucky Foundation for Women's FireStarter Award for art and social change. The first step of her work is always to break down the barriers of performative culture to reach a place that serves collective healing.


Aria L. Byrd: The Measure of Intelligence
Intelligence is the ability to change, the ability to adjust, to refocus -- the ability to re-examine where you are right now and where you want to be in the future.

A native of Atlanta, Aria Byrd received her B.S. in biology with a concentration in biotechnology from Albany State University and her M.S. in biology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Her growing fascination with understanding how the body responds to both voluntary and involuntary environmental exposures has led her to pursue a doctoral degree in toxicology at the University of Kentucky. Aria has a passion for science communication and aspires to play an integral role in influencing national and global health policy by serving as a liaison for scientists and nonscientists.


Paige Halpin Smith: We All Have a Stake in the Outcome
It can be really hard to build consensus, to bring people together, to really listen to each other. But it has to be intentional, just like caring for the land has to be intentional. There has to be vulnerability, there has to be trust, and there has to be mutual respect.

Raised in the rural Midwest, Paige Halpin Smith was actively involved in 4-H and loved following her grandfather’s local government career. Paige moved to Kentucky to work on political campaigns after earning a Master’s degree in U.S. History at Loyola-Chicago. She previously served as the Associate Director of Development for her beloved alma mater, Monmouth College. She has spent the past three years at the Fayette Alliance, a coalition of citizens dedicated to achieving sustainable growth in Lexington-Fayette County through land-use advocacy, education, and research.


Session 1 Question and Answer Panel with emcee Brett Riley


Session 2:Entrepreneurship: Imagining the Future 

Robert Bowden III: Chasing the Dream
Sponsored by Vid Monster Productions
Maybe the chase and the hunt to accomplishing your dream is living it.

Originally from Atlanta, Robert Bowden III is a sophomore at WKU studying entrepreneurship. In 2015 he founded Spartan 4x4, a Bowling Green company involved in many areas of the automotive aftermarket industry. It offers a line of off-road lifestyle apparel, its own brand of off-road lighting and accessories, the online and physical retail and installation of automotive aftermarket parts, and personal-build consulting.


Sarah Bellos: Dreams to Reality: Creating a Better World Business through Collaboration
It’s important that we look outside of ourselves and get away from a narrow view and one solution for a problem. We need to realize that problems have many solutions. No matter what you think about your solution, it will change because other people will collaborate with you and bring their ideas as well.

Sarah Bellos developed Stony Creek Colors to help lead the sustainable transformation of the textile dye industry and build the most transparent and profitable bio-based chemical company on earth. A recognized leader in efforts to bring bio-based colorant production to farmers in the southeastern U.S., she was given the Young Entrepreneur Award by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists in 2015 and named an Inc. 100 Female Founders in 2018. A 2004 graduate of the Cornell University Agriculture School, she has over ten years of leadership experience in the textile, agriculture, and sustainability industries. 


Josiah Nelson: From Intrigue to Enterprise: What it Takes to Take the Plunge
As you build more confidence and more excitement about what you’re doing, people will see and feel that. When you’re sitting in meetings with different investors or companies or partners, learning how to project that excitement and confidence is huge.

Josiah Nelson is an engineer and entrepreneur specializing in renewable energy and emerging technologies. He studied at MIT and the Stanford Graduate School of Business before starting Trolysis, a company developing technologies to create renewable hydrogen from aluminum. He also serves as an advisor to Silicon Valley Bank and mentors founders from around the world.


Session 2 Question and Answer Panel with emcee Brett Riley


Minds-On, Hands-on Activities

Printing press American Printing House for the Blind station
Using 3D pens SPINtron
Thread House Beyond the Bin station


3-D Printing Lab. Presented by the WKU Small Business Accelerator

Adventures in Design Thinking. Presented by Kentucky’s Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs        

Beyond the Bin. Presented by the WKU Office of Resource Conservation

Black History Month Art Exhibit. Presented by WKU Intercultural Student Engagement Center

Busy as a Bee. Presented by the Warren County Beekeepers            

Comparative Anatomy and Microscopy. Presented by the BioAmbassadors the WKU Department of Biology

Dance Improvisation. Presented by the National Dance Education Organization, WKU Student Chapter

Entrepreneurship Economics. Presented by the WKU Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Exploring the World without the Sense of Sight. Presented by American Printing House for the Blind             

Idea Wall for Entrepreneurs. Presented by the WKU Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Improv Comedy Workshop. Presented by the Happy Gas Improv Troupe

Letterpress Printing Demonstration. Presented by WKU’s branch of AIGA, the professional association for design

Makerspace: Learn to Solder. Presented by Anne Heintzman and the WKU Makerspace

Makerspace: Literacy Meets Technology. How the Art of the Narrative and STEM Connect. Presented by the Warren County Public Library Idea Lab

Movie Science Magic. Presented by the Kentucky Science Center

Programming Dance Party. Presented by Matt Staggs of Franklin-Simpson Middle School

Relief Printing. Presented by WKU’s Printmaking Club

Selfie Station. Presented by the WKU Admissions Department                 

Smartphone Microscopes. Presented by Rico Tylor of WKU’s SKyTeach

Speaker Chats.

SPINTron. Presented by Newton’s Attic Engineering Education         

Take Your Chance at Poetry: Writing Aleatory Poems. Presented by Hunter Little and Caroline Sutphin, students in the WKU Department of English’s Creative Writing Program      

Thread House. Presented by IFBG 2019 speaker Brianna Harlan

Ultimate Concept Mural. Presented by Andee Rudloff 

Video Game Design. Presented by Pang and Michael Hartman of Frogdice

Painting Intention: What’s the Big Idea? Help paint a mural that explores concepts and ideas inspired by IdeaFestival Bowling Green 2018. Presented by Andee Rudloff                             


SponsorsVid Monster

The Vid Monster vision is to redefine the consumer's experience, one city at a time, through effective creative content and promotional solutions, and to capture and share the special moments that happen within our community. We are a video production and photography company that focuses on telling stories in new and innovative ways. From small business and corporate, to weddings and special moments, to music videos and documentaries, we can create it all.



Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region. 


At AT&T, we’re bringing it all together. We deliver advanced mobile services, next-generation TV, high-speed internet and smart solutions for people and businesses. That’s why we’re investing to be a global leader in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications industry.


The WKU Small Business Accelerator and Central Region of the Kentucky Innovation Network partner together to offer programs and services to WKU students, entrepreneurs, start-up and early stage companies in 21 counties across KY. With the goal of fostering and supporting a growth-focused entrepreneurial community, the programs are designed to create optimal conditions for entrepreneurs and business owners to establish and grow their businesses and ultimately be successful in a highly competitive economy. Accelerator and Innovation Network staff look for the needs of individuals and leverage strategic partnerships to help them move in the right direction. Support provided includes business development consulting, connections to local, state & federal funding options, access to rapid prototyping, mentoring, connections to critical resources, training, networking, shared office space and more. For more information, call 270-901-3490 or visit our sites: 


Making Connections to and for Entrepreneurial Students!


IdeaFestival Bowling Green Just Imagine logo

February 15, 2024

Western Kentucky University

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 Last Modified 5/1/23