Medill to host TEDx NorthwesternU 2014

TEDx NorthwesternU 2014, the first event of its kind to include Northwestern University faculty, alumni and student speakers, will feature Jenny Fukumoto (BSJ09) as a host for the day of talks on everything from the fate of Pluto to childhood obesity and human rights, matchmaking and education.

Tickets to the live event held at the McCormick Tribune Center Forum have been sold out for weeks, so livestreaming will take place in nearby Fisk Hall 217 on Saturday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Medill Dean Brad Hamm is hosting a reception at the close of the event at 5:15 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center lobby.  Assistant Professor Emerita-in-Service Michele Weldon (BSJ, MSJ79) is co-director of TEDxNorthwesternU 2014 along with Nikita Ramanujam, a student in Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy.

The theme of  “Crossing Paths” features 12 speakers delivering 15-minute live talks on a variety of topics in three sessions that begin at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Each session includes three speakers plus a showing of one TED talk video.

Host Fukumoto is the Audience Development & Brand Marketing Manager for Amos Press. She received a 2013 Specialized Information Publishers Association Award for best marketing and editorial collaboration.

"When I attended TEDx SXSW in 2012, I walked out of the room inspired, energized and filled with philosophical thoughts I didn't know I was capable of thinking," Fukumoto said. "Since then I have dreamed of being involved in a TEDx event because of what the TED talks symbolize: sharing your passions and ideas wtih the world. I'm beyond thrilled to host a TEDx Northwestern session and excited to contribute to the first TED talk experience of many people in the audience."

Students groups will perform at the breaks during each session. The groups Brown Sugar, Thunk, Mariachi NU, Purple Haze and The Treblemakers are scheduled to perform. Student and alumni hosts will introduce each speaker, including Fukumoto. Other hosts include Northwestern undergraduate students Janesh Rahlan and Daphna Weinstock.

Sponsors for TEDx Northwestern include the McCormick Foundation, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Northwestern Alumni Association, National Notary Association, Office of the Provost, the School of Education and Social Policy and KIND snacks.

Here is a breakdown of each session:

Session I: 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

Eli Finkel, professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences: “What Would a Successful Matchmaking Algorithm Look Like?

Parag Gupta, PhD student in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science: “12 Years, Huh?”

Jackson Walker (WCAS17): “Finding Your Long Lost Twin: And I Am Him”

Marissa Jackson (WCAS06): “Human Rights, Sankofa and The Power of Paradigms”

Session II: 12 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.

Shane Larson, research associate professor in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences: “Pluto’s Day of Reckoning”

Aysha Chowdry (WCAS04): “Educating The Future”

Linda Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine: “The Antidote to Obesity”

Michael Silberblatt (Comm 2014): “Why Little Red Riding Hood Was Wrong”

Session III: 3-5 p.m.

Neha Reddy (WCAS16):  “Culture and Human Rights: Narratives of Ethiopian Identity”

Xavier McElrath-Bey, clinical field interviewer in the Feinberg School of Medicine : “No Child Is Born Bad”

Zack Johnson (Comm10): “Relationship Analytics Change the Way We Manage Business” 

Stephen Dowling (Bienen13):  “Schools Should Let Paths Cross More Often”

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 in a small group. 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.   

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California in 1984, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives. At a TED conference, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Roger Ebert, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brian Greene, Isabel Allende and Gordon Brown.

On, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free. A new TED Talk video is posted every weekday. Through the Open Translation Project, TED Talks are subtitled by volunteers worldwide. Through our distribution networks, TED Talks are shared on television, radio, Netflix and many websites.

The TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. Selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos.

For more information on the TEDx NorthwesternU 2014  speakers and descriptions of their talks, please visit TEDx NorthwesternU 2014. 

For more information, contact Michele Weldon,, 847-491-2064