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2015 TEDxColumbusWomen: The Power In Our Story

Liz Balk

Liz Balk is a PhD candidate in The Ohio State University’s Kinesiology program, with expected graduation in August 2015. As an academic, she works with overweight and obese populations to develop diet and exercise intervention programs for healthier lifestyles, with a dissertation focused on education programs for bariatric surgery patients. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Florida State University. Prior to her doctoral work, Liz designed the exercise science program for junior and senior high school students at C-TEC in Newark, Ohio, where she taught for three years.


Outside of her academic career, Liz is a seasoned performer in Columbus. Assuming the stage name, Mr. Cool Ethan, Liz is one of the city’s most well known drag kings. The former Creative Director of The Royal Renegades, Cool Ethan now performs with Nina and Virginia West at Axis nightclub. Cool Ethan won Nina West’s first cycle of “So You Think You Can Drag” in 2012, and is one of several Columbus drag performers featured in the upcoming documentary, “Kings, Queens, and In Betweens.” Prior to her drag king days, Liz was a founding cast member of the variety show, “Sunday Night Live,” which ran at Wall Street Nightclub for about five years. She and her wife live in Grandview with their 8-month old daughter, Lilah, and their dog, Gabbie.

Teacher, Performer, Mom