Virginia Tech faculty, students, and alumni will spearhead the third annual TEDxVirginiaTech as part of a special evening event on Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Moss Arts Center.

In the tradition of TED events, each of the 10 speakers will share inspiring and thought-provoking ideas worth spreading. Each talk will focus on this year’s theme of “Illuminate,” a play on words of not only the after-sunset event, but also shining a light on new approaches to world problems such as poverty or deforestation of the Amazon.

TEDxVirginiaTech After Dark will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., and include several videos of previous TED speakers, in addition to a technology expo at the Cube, featuring the works of various Virginia Tech student groups and local entrepreneurs. Tickets are now available for sale at $10 for Virginia Tech students and $20 general public.  

Faculty speakers

  • Akshay Sharma, associate professor of industrial design with the School of Architecture + Design, “Culturally-Relevant Design.”
  • Wornie Reed, professor of sociology and African studies with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech. “A Framework for Civil Discourse about Race and Racism.”
  • Roop Mahajan, director of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, will speak about sustainable technologies.
  • Brook Kennedy, associate professor of industrial design with the School of Architecture + Design. “Undark and the Firefly.”
  • Aki Ishida, assistant professor of architecture with the School of Architecture + Design. “Attention and Deceleration through Light, Communal Making, and Interaction.”
  • Joycelyn Wilson, assistant professor with the School of Education, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “Outkast’d and Claimin’ True: Autoethnographing Hip Hop Scholarship.”

Student speakers

  • Austin Larrowe of Woodlawn, Virginia, a senior and dual major in applied economic management and agricultural sciences, both in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Agricultural Development and War.”
  • Kelly Donoughe of Lake Mary, Fla., a doctoral student with the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a part-time transportation engineer at Leidos. “Technology: Illuminating the Road Ahead.”
  • Art Conroy of Dulles, Virginia, a doctoral student with Virginia Tech’s Adult Learning and Human Resources Development, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, located at the university’s National Capital Region. “Draw Aloud: The Power and Peril of Illuminative Thinking.”

Alumni speakers

  • Mohsin Kazmi, a 2012 graduate of the Department of Human Development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and a conservationist photographer and a travel guide with Tamandua Expeditions. “Photographers are Architects of Change”

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, TEDTalks live speakers and video and combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

“The faculty, students, and alumni featured at this year’s TEDxVirginiaTech embody the spirit of this year’s theme ‘Illuminate,’” said Peter Doolittle, assistant provost for teaching and learning and director of the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, and a member of the TEDxVirginiaTech organizing committee. “Their drive to motivate others, ignite passion, and promote change are at the core of TEDxVirginiaTech’s mission to share ideas worth spreading, while representing the innovation, talent, and heart of Virginia Tech. We are excited for this year’s event and know that attendees will leave inspired and ready to ask themselves what they can illuminate.”

More than 150 people were nominated by themselves or others to present talks. Nominations were reviewed and potential speakers interviewed by TEDxVirginiaTech committee members. 

The event is being presented by Virginia Tech’s Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, the Institute for Creativity Arts and Technology, and University Relations.

Again this year 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 night’s talks. All the events will combine TEDTalks videos with live speakers to spark deep discussion and connection in small groups.

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 four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast event in nearby Whistler. The annual TEDGlobal conference will be held this October in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED.