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Live from USF, it’s TEDx

A select group of USF community members will share their unique perspectives in the live event that concludes a week of TED-related activities.

By Barbara Melendez

     USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (March 27, 2015) – Thirteen people – two undergraduate students, four faculty members, a dean, a research associate and six alumni – made it out of the nearly 60 USF faculty, staff, students, alumni and Tampa Bay Community members who applied to take part in 10 talks at TEDxUSF this year.They represent an interesting cross-section of topics and perspectives on the theme: “A World Beyond Ourselves.”

“TEDxUSF is an exciting event for USF because it brings together and highlights the great work and energy of our own USF community working on research and ideas that have the possibility to make real change and impact in our world,” said Justin Fitzgerald, assistant director of the Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement.

Dean Robert Bishop, M.D. will talk about the “Interface of Creativity at the Edge of a Dream.” Faculty members Daneil H. Yeh, College of Engineering, Jill McCracken, USF SP, and Deby Cassill, USF SP will talk about bio recycling engineering, the selling of sex and the rich inner lives of fire ants respectively. Alumni Carissa Caricato ’08, Ryan Swanson, ’13 and Gloria Munoz, ’13, leading an alumni team made up of Mark Feinman, ’12, Alejandro Arenas ’08 and John O’Leary ’13 will present “Art for a Cause.”

Undergraduates Jonathan Burroughs, ’17 and Rhondel Whyte, ’16 take on quantum mechanics and learning how to backflip respectively. USF Research Associate Parmvir Bahia’s topic is “Cheers to Science! Bringing everyday science to everyday people.”

Strict Guidelines

The talks take place March 28, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Very strict guidelines apply to who will get to see the live version of TEDxUSF, which is an officially licensed event by the nonprofit TED organization ( Each speaker is allowed up to 18 minutes to share their ideas.

“Under the license agreement, TEDxUSF is limited to an approved audience size of 100 for the live event and a second 100 audience members in a simultaneous live-stream event,” explained Justin Fitzgerald, assistant director of the Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement (CLCE). “The live and live-stream events will both take place in the beautiful new School of Music Concert Halls, and both audiences will join together for an intermission-reception between sessions to engage with the presenters and each other. It is going to be an amazing event!”

TEDxUSF is a student-run and operated event within CLCE and is solely funded by the Activity and Service fees from all USF students.

“Because of this, a commitment to USF students is our top priority,” says Fitzgerald.

Student involvement is paramount throughout the process. Six students comprise the TEDxUSF Talk Affairs Team. “They carefully reviewed each application and selected our ten speakers based on their idea worth sharing, its application to our theme, the speakers’ presence and ability to honor the spirit of TED,” Fitzgerald said.

Meanwhile, all of USF’s colleges, departments, student organizations, in fact, all campus entities have been invited to engage with TEDxUSF throughout the week of March 22 – 28 by showing an existing Ted talk or host a discussion, develop a classroom assignment or create a performance that speaks to the theme, “A World Beyond Ourselves.”

Watch Parties and More

Two March 28 watch parties have been scheduled outside of the main live stream event. One will be hosted in JPH 1319, with additional seating – once the100-person limit has been met – in JPH 1317. The second watch party will be hosted off campus by an MGC organization.

“Both of these watch parties have been planned in order to support TEDxUSF and plan to make sure the conversations are meaningful and that the impact of this event is felt,” Fitzgerald explained, and added, “We have students who have been working very hard in planning and organizing the additional watch parties and the main live stream event. During the second half of the lunch break our students will be airing interviews with the TEDxUSF speakers. This video will also highlight the USF community and their reactions and excitement surrounding TEDxUSF.

All USF students must have a valid USF student ID.USF students will form their own line for TEDxUSF live-stream starting at 9:30am in the USF School of Music, and 80 per cent of the seating for the live stream will be allocated for students.

USF faculty and staff and Tampa Bay community member guests will wait in a second line starting at 9:30 a.m. where 20 tickets for the live-stream event will be allocated for them. If USF student seating does not reach 80 per cent for the live-stream event by 10:15 a.m., guests will be allowed to overflow into this allocation until 100 per cent capacity is reached.

The first TEDxUSF took place in February of 2013 at the USF School of Music led by a team of faculty, staff and students on the inaugural planning team. Click here for those talks and this year’s talks will be posted within the next month.

Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563

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