Fourth Annual TEDxCMU on March 3rd

Feb 19, 2013

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On Sunday March 3, Carnegie Mellon will host its fourth annual TEDxCMU conference. TEDxCMU, an independently organized TED event, is planned and run entirely by CMU students. This year’s theme is “Spark,” representing spontaneous creativity and the “a-ha!” moment of sudden inspiration. Each year, over 400 people come together in McConomy Auditorium to witness this dynamic event and experience new “ideas worth spreading.”

Like all TED events, TEDxCMU features bold and innovative thinkers, makers and doers, who give inspiring and thought-provoking talks about their experiences and ideas. Each talk is about 15 minutes long, and hence conciseness is an integral part of each talk’s brilliance. This year’s speakers come from as far away as New York, New Jersey, Washington, DC, and Texas, and as close as up the street in Pittsburgh and from the CMU campus. Their backgrounds include medicine, entrepreneurship, scientific writing, education, photography, criminology, design, urban development, biology and stage directing. All of the presenters were chosen for their groundbreaking work, insights and stories they have to share, and the relation of those experiences to the “Spark” theme.

As a CMU organization, TEDxCMU not only brings national and local luminaries to campus, but presents CMU to the TED community, and the world at large, via live webcast and the TEDx YouTube channel. The TEDxCMU speaker lineup consistently includes at least one CMU professor—this year, professor of photo history Linda Benedict-Jones—and at least one CMU student. 2012 saw the advent of the Student Speaker Competition, where CMU students auditioned to speak at TEDxCMU along with the other invited speakers, and the talk given by that year’s competition winner, Ardon Shorr, was reposted on the front page of the national TEDx blog. This year, the number of students who auditioned skyrocketed from around 18 to over 50, and two students, freshman Rebecca Alford and senior Stephen Tonti, were chosen to speak at TEDxCMU.

Additionally, the event’s performances will also be presented by CMU students. MBA student and accomplished dancer Chinmayi Bhavanishankar will give a lively Indian dance performance, and CMU’s premier all-male a cappella group The Originals will perform the set that recently won them the ICCA quarterfinals. Two other students, senior Brian Groudan and junior Caroline Record, will showcase innovative projects during the event’s lunch break. And the TEDxCMU emcee this year is Steven Das, a recent alumnus of the ECE program. For additional information visit


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