TEDxUTD Compiles Array of Experts to Speak at Sunday’s Event

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Three faculty members and two students from UT Dallas will be among the presenters at Sunday's TEDxUTD event.

UT Dallas faculty members and students will join community experts as featured speakers during the University’s second annual TEDx event at 6 p.m. Sunday in the Alexander Clark Center.  

Speakers will center their talks around the theme of “Beneath the Surface,” or “digging deeper to uncover truths about ourselves and the world around us,” said the event’s founder and president Srikant Chari, a graduate student in applied cognition and neuroscience at UT Dallas.

Chari said the idea for a TEDx event on campus came to him while binge-watching TED Talks a few summers ago. He noticed that various cities and universities were starting to organize local TEDx events in their communities.

“I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be cool if we had one here at UTD? We have a lot of ideas to offer the world and a lot of cool things going on,” Chari said.

Chari helped the UT Dallas group get going in fall 2013. The first TEDx event was held last spring.

This year’s event will include three faculty members and two students from UT Dallas.

Dr. Seema Yasmin

Dr. Seema Yasmin

Dr. Seema Yasmin, a professor in practice and a staff writer at The Dallas Morning News, will talk about how the city of Dallas responded to the Ebola crisis last year.

Yasmin trained as a medical doctor at the University of Cambridge before serving as a disease detective in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has worked in Kenya and Botswana, and investigated epidemics in maximum-security prisons, American Indian reservations and health care facilities. Yasmin was interviewed frequently by national media last fall regarding the Ebola outbreak in Dallas.

Thomas Riccio, a performance artist and professor of performance and aesthetic studies, will be speaking about theater in different cultures. Riccio has directed more than 100 plays at American regional theaters and off Broadway, and researched indigenous performance and created performances in Africa, Asia, Europe and the U.S. His writings on performance, ritual, shamanism and robotics have appeared in international journals, books and magazines.

Dr. Ryan McMahan, an assistant professor of computer science and of arts and technology, will be speaking about the history of virtual reality and its potential mainstream applications. McMahan’s research interests include virtual reality, 3-D user interfaces, human-computer interaction, training transfer, modeling and simulation, and computer graphics.

Nancy Fairbank

Nancy Fairbank

Economics senior Sridhar Karra will talk about the surprising benefits of being a “nobody” and the importance of removing the ego from the self to encourage humility over entitlement. 

Nancy Fairbank, vice president for Student Government and a political science sophomore, will speak about teenage homelessness. Fairbank is a McDermott Scholar.

Community experts include Brian Roderman, president and chief innovation officer of IN2 Innovation, a global innovation design consultant firm based in Addison. Roderman will talk about his company's work using sustainability in design.

William McKnight, president of McKnight Consulting Group in Plano, will speak about how to more efficiently make sense of big data, or the volume of information available on the Internet.

The indie rock band Duo Contra, whose members include three students from UT Dallas, will perform at the event. Student organizations will offer science and game demonstrations at booths before and after the event. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

One hundred seats are available for the live TEDx event. Tickets are $5 and will be on sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Thursday in the Student Union Comet Cafe.

The campus community also can follow the event on Twitter @tedxutd or on Facebook. The event also will be filmed and posted later on the TEDx Talks YouTube channel and website. Some of the best talks from TEDx events have gone on to be featured on and garnered millions of views from audiences across the globe.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].