In its fifth year, TEDxVirginiaTech will bring together Virginia Tech faculty, students, alumni, and members of the local community for a night of inspiring and thought-provoking ideas.

The event takes place 6 p.m. on Nov. 10, at the Moss Arts Center. In the tradition of TED events, each of the 10 speakers will focus on a theme. This year, the theme is Spark, as in the moment of inspiration that sets one on course to research a certain topic, question a set norm, create or perform a piece of art, or start a journey. TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design.

TEDxVirginiaTech will also include two TED Talks videos and special performances. Now on sale, tickets are $10 for Virginia Tech students and $20 for the general public.

This year’s speakers and their topics are:

Faculty speakers

Student speakers

  • Narges Dorratoltaj, of Tehran, Iran, doctoral student in the Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences Graduate Program, part of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “Social Media to the Rescue: Raising Awareness about Sexual Health in Iran.”
  • Alex Gagliano, of Ashburn, Virginia, a senior in the computational modeling and data analytics program within the College of Science’s Academy of Integrated Sciences. “Why Do the Stars Really Matter?”
  • Siddhartha Roy, of Varanasi, India, a doctoral student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, part of the College of Engineering.Science as a Force for Public Good.”

Alumni speakers

  • Reggie Stroble, a master’s graduate of the School of Education, part of  the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and now assistant director with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The Inspiration of No.”

Community speakers

  • Lee Sandstead, marketing and communications manager at BioTherapeutics in Blacksburg, art historian and author, and host of Travel Channel’s "Art Attack with Lee Sandstead." “Art: My Spark” 

Started as a four-day conference nearly 30 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, TED Talks live speakers and video combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

Student Elizabeth Galbreath on stage at TEDxVirginiaTech 2015

Student Elizabeth Galbreath on stage at TEDxVirginiaTech 2015
Elizabeth Galbreath, a student with the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, spoke on stage at TEDxVirginiaTech 2015.

“TEDxVirginiaTech Spark is going to be an exciting event,” said Danielle Lusk, associate director of the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research and chair of the TEDxVirginiaTech organizing committee. “With our theme, we hope our speakers spark inspiration in all of our attendees to take action and pour their energies into solving complex social, cultural, and personal, as well as economic, scientific, and strategic problems, all focus points of the Beyond Boundaries movement at our global land-grant research-based university. Our speakers bring a wealth of knowledge on numerous topics that are pertinent to today’s society, close to home here in the Blue Ridge Mountains and around the world, touching on technology in health care, design of our homes, and the joy of experiencing art.”

More than 75 people were nominated by themselves or others to present talks. Nominations were reviewed and potential speakers interviewed by TEDxVirginiaTech committee members. 

TEDxVirginiaTech talks will be streamed live online. Talks also will be recorded, with the resulting files becoming part of the larger TEDx Talks archive. Previous TEDxVirginiaTech speakers have later spoken at TEDGlobal, been featured on and in national publications, and received honors for their work.

More than 800 people attended TEDxVirginiaTech 2015, with hundreds more watching online.

The event is being presented by Virginia Tech’s Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research.

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

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = 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, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Monica Lewinsky, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan, and Daniel Kahneman.

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

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