Sixteen Virginia Tech faculty, students, and alumni, joined by members of the local community will highlight the second TEDxVirginiaTech event on Nov. 9, 2013, at the newly opened Center for the Arts.

In the tradition of TED events, each speaker will share inspiring and thought-provoking ideas worth spreading. Each talk will focus on this year’s TEDxVirginiaTech theme of moving “Beyond Boundaries.” The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.., and include several videos of previous TED speakers.

Faculty, student, and community member tickets for the all-day event will go on sale in early October. Information on ticket prices and availability is forthcoming. The event will be presented by Virginia Tech’s Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, Institute for Creativity Arts and Technology, and University Relations.

“The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech is the perfect venue to inspire ‘ideas worth spreading,’” said Melissa Richards, a co-chairwoman with the TEDxVirginiaTech executive committee and assistant vice president for marketing and publications for Virginia Tech.  “Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members will come together to hear authentic stories from people who think and do things ‘Beyond Boundaries’ out of passion -- and hopefully be inspired to take action and make a difference.”

This year’s event expands from 2012’s inaugural TEDxVirginiaTech event to include community members from the New River Valley who are not directly affiliated with the university. The organizing committee this year sought to broaden the TEDxVirginiaTech event as encompassing the university and all residents from the local area, said Richards.

Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, the nonprofit organization TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

Speakers for the 2013 TEDxVirginiaTech event and the title of their talk are, by category:



  • Chelsea Cook of Newport News., Va., and a junior majoring in physics with the College of Science. “Creating interfaces, creating experiences.”
  • Amy Elliott of Fayetteville, Tenn., and a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “The Big Brain Theory: Refostering a culture of innovation in America.”
  • Eric Hodges of Fieldale, Va., and a doctoral student in the School of Public and International Affairs, part of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “The boundary between military service and civilian life: A possible path forward.”
  • Joshua Jenkins of Winchester, Va., and a sophomore majoring in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. “Launching lemons into space: Redefining the potential for innovation.”

Alumni/Community members

  • Michael Blackwell of Blacksburg, founder of Natural Intelligence Productions. He earned two degrees from Virginia Tech, including a master's degree from the School of Education in 2007. “Forget what you know."
  • John Carlin of Roanoke, a news anchor for WSLS-10 Roanoke, and former broadcast writing professor. “Breaking news.”
  • Janine S. Davis of Charlottesville, Va., now on faculty at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg , Va. She earned two bachelor degrees, one each from the Department of Theater and Cinema and the Department of English, both part of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, in 1999. “Be who you are: Persona as mirror, window, or wall.”
  • Kaitlin Kellam Shreckise of Blacksburg, Va., and a ballet/dance instructor at Dance.Tech. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Department of English, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “Dancing beyond boundaries.”

More than 100 people were nominated to present talks at this year’s event. Nominations were reviewed and potential speakers interviewed by committee members of TEDxVirginiaTech.

Hosting the event this year will be Steve Matuszak of Christiansburg, Va., a doctoral student in the management program at the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business. Matuszak was one of the featured speakers at the inaugural TEDxVirginiaTech event, focusing his talk on “The Art of Improvisation: Preparing to be Unprepared.”

As with the 2012 event, there are many opportunities on the Virginia Tech campus, in the local community, and around the country with alumni chapters to attend a live streaming event of the day’s talks. All the events will combine TEDTalks videos with live speakers to spark deep discussion and connection in small groups.

Among Hokies that have spoken at the larger TED event are Dennis Hong, associate professor of mechanical engineering and founder/director of Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory and Regina Dugan, a two-time alumnus of the College of Engineering. Dugan served as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA for short, from 2009 to 2012, and is now senior vice president of Motorola Mobility’s Advanced Technology and Projects group.

Visit the TEDxVirginiaTech websiteFacebook page, and Twitter page for additional information.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where ‘x’ means independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized, subject to certain rules and regulations.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives.

At a TED conference, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Roger Ebert, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brian Greene, Isabel Allende and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Three major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Vancouver, Canada, simultaneous with TEDActive, in Whistler, Brtitish Columbia; and the TEDGlobal Conference takes place each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

On, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free as TED Talks videos. A new TED Talk is posted every weekday. Through the Open Translation Project, TED Talks are subtitled by volunteers worldwide into more than 90 languages. Through our distribution networks, TED Talks are shared on TV, radio, Netflix, and many websites.

 The TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. More than 5,000 TEDx events have been held, and selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos.

The annual TED Prize grants $1 million to an exceptional individual with a wish to change the world. The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED-Ed creates short video lessons by pairing master teachers with animators, for use in classroom instruction or independent learning.

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