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Masters

From Trauma To Activism

Aalayah Eastmond + Dr. Pelin Kesebir

Friday, 2.21.20
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Trauma can crush the human spirit or inspire it to create a better world. For Aalayah Eastmond, the unspeakable tragedy of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, drove her to become an activist speaking out against gun violence. She joins in conversation with Dr. Pelin Kesebir, a social psychologist studying happiness, to explore the transformation of states of mind that occur when trauma translates to grief and then to activism.

This program is presented with the .

Aalayah Eastmond is a 2019 graduate from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On February 14, 2018, she was in the third classroom attacked by a gunman who murdered 17 students and staff. Aalayah has since stepped up to speak out on gun violence in America. She is especially vocal about chronic gun violence that affects young African Americans daily. This issue is particularly important to her because her uncle was shot and killed in Brooklyn 16 years ago. She has spoken at March for Our Lives and testified before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. Aalayah is 18 and currently a freshman at Trinity Washington University. She is a congressional intern and nonprofit organizer.

Pelin Kesebir, PhD, received her doctoral degree in social psychology and personality psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. Currently she works as a scientist at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In line with the Center’s mission of cultivating well-being and relieving suffering through a scientific understanding of the mind, Dr. Kesebir studies various aspects of happiness and their relation to character strengths and virtues. Her research has also focused on existential psychology—especially how the awareness of mortality shapes our psychological dynamics. Dr. Kesebir is originally from Istanbul, Turkey.



Lead support for Brainwave is provided by , an initiative of Simons Foundation, and by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Major support is provided by Gerry Ohrstrom, Rasika and Girish Reddy, and Noah P. Dorsky.

Program support is provided by Eileen Caulfield Schwab, Eva and Yoel Haller, Cheryl Henson, and Heather Beth Henson.

Free with Registration


This program is free thanks to generous support from , a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to inspiring a deeper interest in science.

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