Lawrence Azerrad

Title: The Power of Wonder

40 years ago, we sent Voyager 1 and 2 out to explore the galaxy. On board are some records – if they’re played, it won’t be a human listening. 40 years later, Lawrence looks at the wonder that caused us to launch the spacecraft, and these records, and has some questions for us. What does it mean to communicate and, maybe more importantly, what is the power of wonder?

Lawrence Azerrad is a Los Angeles based Graphic Designer and Creative Director. Azerrad founded LADdesign, a graphic design studio dedicated to elevating our cultural experience through design excellence.

Iris Angelopoulou

Title: The Embrace of Discomfort

We encounter adaptation every day (culture shock is an example of adaptation). Sitting next to someone at work you don’t really know. Trying to understand someone speaking a different language.  You are always being asked to adapt, and the thing that differentiates us as humans is that we can consciously choose to adapt or to reject. I think our next speaker will make discomfort comforting.

Iris Angelopoulou is currently studying Design Communication Arts at UCLA Extension, focusing on experience and environmental graphic design. She also holds a BA in Communication & Media from the National University of Athens and a BS in Business Management from the University College London.

Tom Krieglstein

Title: Now that you don’t need to talk to people, you need to more than ever.

Can technology do everything for us? Our next speaker thinks not. While I expect he makes a full embrace of technololy, as much as anyone in this room, he’s discovered some things that it seems to be taking away, that it turns out we really need. Let’s hear some ideas about getting that back.

Tom Krieglstein is a speaker and writer on increasing student engagement and fostering student retention. He has worked with schools worldwide through his leadership program, Dance Floor Theory.  As the founder of Swift Kick, Tom has dedicated his life to training campus leaders on how to create a culture of engagement where every student feels welcomed, connected and engaged.

Thaddeus Bullard

Title: The Domino Effect

Every day, things we do knowingly or unknowingly, affect others. Sometimes it’s a small effect, and sometimes it’s profound and causes a chain reaction. If you’re going to have an effect, why not make it a good one. What if we focused on that chain reaction, and used our innate talents and strengths to cause big changes for those that would benefit most. Using your strengths and convictions to inspire others, and to treat humans actually as humans.

A former football player for the University of Florida and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thaddeus Bullard has become a fixture on WWE’s programming, including RAW and Smackdown, as WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil. Since his debut with WWE in 2012, O’Neil has made an impact both in and out of the ring as a business and family man, motivational speaker, youth counselor and coach.

Mihir Mathur

Title: Why everyone should hack

Mihir knows the power of tinkering, and how solving a seemingly simple problem can have a massive effect. Turns out that finding innovative solutions to complex problems doesn’t take too long. What if everyone could cause a large impact by tinkering at daily problems?

Mihir Mathur is a sophomore studying Computer Science at UCLA. He is passionate about creating technology products and designing experiences. He is the newly elected President at UCLA Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), one of the largest student-run computer science organizations in Southern California. Mihir is the co-founder of UCLA Creative Labs, a digital design collaboration that connects the best developers and the best designers at UCLA.  Mihir organized LA Hacks, one of the largest and most renowned hackathons in the nation in 2016 and 2017 and have participated in top collegiate hackathons in the US.

Angela Chung

Title: Exploring your Unknown

Why dive into the deep end in areas you’re not an expert, that aren’t in your degree field, that aren’t what you think you should be doing? Turns out for Angela, taking that risk has caused some real insights into learning, opportunity and innovation.

Angela Chung is a fourth year undergraduate student at UCLA, majoring in Business Economics. She is an incoming core assurance associate at PricewaterhouseCooper’s Los Angeles office, and plans on working with entertainment and technology clients.  Her idea won third place in the 2016 UCLA FuturizeX Student Challenge.

Mihir Mathur

Title: Why everyone should hack

Mihir knows the power of tinkering, and how solving a seemingly simple problem can have a massive effect. Mihir tinkers with computers and something called “computer vision.” Some of his discoveries speak to the innate power of the embrace between humans and machines, in ways that we think you’ll find remarkable.

Mihir Mathur is a sophomore studying Computer Science at UCLA. He is passionate about creating technology products and designing experiences. He is the newly elected President at UCLA Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), one of the largest student-run computer science organizations in Southern California. Mihir is the co-founder of UCLA Creative Labs, a digital design collaboration that connects the best developers and the best designers at UCLA.

Angela Chung

Title: Exploring your Unknown

Why dive into the deep end in areas you’re not an expert, that aren’t in your degree field, that aren’t what you think you should be doing? Turns out for Angela, taking that risk has caused some real insights into learning, opportunity and innovation.

Angela Chung is a fourth year undergraduate student at UCLA, majoring in Business Economics. She is an incoming core assurance associate at PricewaterhouseCooper’s Los Angeles office, and plans on working with entertainment and technology clients. Her idea won third place in the 2016 UCLA FuturizeX Student Challenge.

Darlene Mininni

Title: Are you really here? Are you REALLY here?

What does it mean to be present in our lives, and how do you define and manage your presence? Darlene looks at moments, and thinks about how to make them useful, memorable, and healthy. With our responsibilities and life pressures increasingly complex, maybe this is something to pay attention to, and the results might be well worth being present for.

Darlene Mininni is chief learning officer at UCLA Extension and a health psychologist. She holds a PhD in clinical psychology and an MPH in public health. Darlene is author of The Emotional Toolkit: 7 Strategies to Nail Your Bad Feelings (St Martin’s Press), a book inspired by the curriculum of her UCLA undergraduate course LifeSkills.

Dana Carpenter

Title: Space Travel is Human Travel – let’s be thoughtful in packing our bags

There are some simply remarkable things we read about, on a daily basis, about travelling off this planet, and defying gravity along the way. What seems to be under-discussed is the human machine, full of curiosity, hope and wonder, vs. the rocket propelled one full of technology innovation. If it’s humans that we wish to explore other planets and distant areas, let’s give the humans a larger percentage of the equation.

Dana Carpenter is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver. His research focuses on the effects of mechanical forces, exercise, diseases, and implanted devices on the human skeleton. Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2006. M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2002. B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1999.

Wendelin Slusser

Title: The unapologetic beauty of focusing on your strengths, and being proactive with our health

Turns out, being a great student at UCLA or other prestigious schools takes far more than studying hard and being smart, and it’s bigger than you. It requires an infrastructure, a community, a campus. The result is that how we define a healthy campus and a healthy approach to learning is very different than what we think walking into that classroom for the first time.

Dr. Wendy Slusser is Associate Vice Provost at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), for Chancellor Block’s Healthy Campus Initiative that was envisioned and is supported by Jane and Terry Semel; Dr. Slusser is also HS Clinical Professor of Pediatrics in the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and Co-Founder and Academic Director of the UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight program. Dr. Slusser graduated Cum Laude from Princeton University, received her Medical Degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and her Masters Degree in Science from the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University.

Melissa Barak

Title: A Fluid Look at Gravity through Performance

Talking about our theme (gravity) is so difficult. It remains such an abstract concept, usually described by math and physics. Yet you’re feeling it right now, and we’re all feeling it, as humans. Our next speaker thinks about the effects of gravity, and has created a piece in a very different gravity (in this case, Mars). How else can we visualize gravity, and try to understand it. Maybe as dance? Maybe from a distant planet?

Melissa Barak was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She trained at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica for eight years. In the Fall of 1997 she was accepted into the School of American Ballet’s year round program in New York on the Janice Levin Scholarship and joined the New York City Ballet as a full company member in 1998. Ms. Barak has achieved a multitude of accomplishments as both a professional ballet dancer and choreographer.

Wendelin Slusser

Title: The unapologetic beauty of focusing on your strengths, and being proactive with our health

Turns out, being a great student at UCLA or other prestigious schools takes far more than studying hard and being smart, and it’s bigger than you. It requires an infrastructure, a community, a campus. The result is that how we define a healthy campus and a healthy approach to learning is very different than what we think walking into that classroom for the first time.

Dr. Wendy Slusser is Associate Vice Provost at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), for Chancellor Block’s Healthy Campus Initiative that was envisioned and is supported by Jane and Terry Semel; Dr. Slusser is also HS Clinical Professor of Pediatrics in the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and Co-Founder and Academic Director of the UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight program. Dr. Slusser graduated Cum Laude from Princeton University, received her Medical Degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and her Masters Degree in Science from the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University.

Melissa Barak

Title: A Fluid Look at Gravity through Performance

Talking about our theme (gravity) is so difficult. It remains such an abstract concept, usually described by math and physics. Yet you’re feeling it right now, and we’re all feeling it, as humans. Our next speaker thinks about the effects of gravity, and has created a piece in a very different gravity (in this case, Mars). How else can we visualize gravity, and try to understand it. Maybe as dance? Maybe from a distant planet?

Melissa Barak was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She trained at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica for eight years. In the Fall of 1997 she was accepted into the School of American Ballet’s year round program in New York on the Janice Levin Scholarship and joined the New York City Ballet as a full company member in 1998. Ms. Barak has achieved a multitude of accomplishments as both a professional ballet dancer and choreographer.

Olivia Osborne

Title: The Visualization of Science

Science is so hard to see, and in not seeing, so much is missed. Our next speaker thinks about that a lot, and knows the power of curiosity in the realm of science, as well the destructive consequences of not being curious about science.

Dr. Olivia Osborne is an interdisciplinary research scientist and artist with a forte in educational entertainment. She is a bold adventurer with a passion to spread virtue and knowledge across the globe. From guest lectures to undertaking terrestrial conservation work in the jungles of Honduras, her love for nature has made Olivia the dedicated environmental toxicologist that she is and an admirable advocate for environmental issues. Currently a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA at the multidisciplinary University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN).

Sheva Rajaee

Title: Addicted to the Answer – Anxiety in the Age of Information

Sheva knows the power of not knowing. Turns out, for centuries, we’ve done quite well not knowing, and actually thrived because of it. You all have phones near you, but can they help you answer the important questions, and how do we, in this digital age, work through what to know and what to wonder about.

SHEVA RAJAEE, MFT, is a psychotherapist licensed in the State of California, and is currently working at the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Sheva specializes in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other related anxiety disorders. She attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for her undergraduate degree, and went on to receive her Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC).

Nicolas Augustus

Title: Think Small to Go Big

For decades, humans have been leaving this Earth to explore what’s beyond. Technologies we’ve developed are letting us go places, like the moon, Mars, and even interstellar space. However, our curiosity, and maybe opportunities, stretch far beyond our current reach, and potentially imagination. Nicolas sensed this, and in order to get out of the current thinkspace, he had to step away from his profession, to re-enter it with a completely different understanding and set of rules. Nano is a term we all hear, but not often when it comes to going to distant galaxies.

Nicolas Augustus Rongione is currently a PhD student at UCLA in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow working on novel thermoelectric materials. He is also a member of the AIAA Aerospace Power Systems, as well as a volunteer at the California Nano Systems Institute.

 

Gary Li

Title: Can weak plasma rockets get us to Mars?

In space travel, people usually think that the more powerful the rocket, the further you can go. Well, Gary thinks a little bit differently. Turns out, there are some very weak rockets out there that can do unexpected things that we can barely imagine.”

Gary Li is a third year Ph.D. candidate majoring in Aerospace Engineering at UCLA. As a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow, he conducts research on miniature ion thrusters in the UCLA Plasma and Space Propulsion Lab in order to enhance the capabilities of future space missions. He has also performed research on advanced plasma thrusters at both the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Air Force Research Lab.

Nicolas Augustus

Title: Think Small to Go Big

For decades, humans have been leaving this Earth to explore what’s beyond. Technologies we’ve developed are letting us go places, like the moon, Mars, and even interstellar space. However, our curiosity, and maybe opportunities, stretch far beyond our current reach, and potentially imagination. Nicolas sensed this, and in order to get out of the current thinkspace, he had to step away from his profession, to re-enter it with a completely different understanding and set of rules. Nano is a term we all hear, but not often when it comes to going to distant galaxies.

Nicolas Augustus Rongione is currently a PhD student at UCLA in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow working on novel thermoelectric materials. He is also a member of the AIAA Aerospace Power Systems, as well as a volunteer at the California Nano Systems Institute.

Gary Li

Title: Can weak plasma rockets get us to Mars?

In space travel, people usually think that the more powerful the rocket, the further you can go. Well, Gary thinks a little bit differently. Turns out, there are some very weak rockets out there that can do unexpected things that we can barely imagine.

Gary Li is a third-year Ph.D. candidate majoring in Aerospace Engineering at UCLA. As a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow in the UCLA Plasma and Space Propulsion Lab, he conducts research on miniature ion thrusters to understand the physics of how they work and how to improve them. He has also performed research on other advanced plasma thrusters at both the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Air Force Research Lab.

Christoph Bull

Title: The Sound of Gravity

As an organist, Christoph has access to one of the most powerful sound machines in the world. If space and planets had sounds, what would they sound like? What did the big bang sound like? We’re hoping Christoph fires up this incredible organ, channels some of his favorite composers, and gives us a sense of what that might sound like.

Christoph Bull has concertized around the world, including Europe, Russia, India, Taiwan, China, Japan, El Salvador and many U.S. states. He’s performed at national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. He recorded the first album featuring the organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, entitled First & Grand. His music has been broadcast on KCRW, on Classical KUSC and the Minnesota Public Radio program “Pipedreams”.

 

Matthew Rogers

Title: A Dance of Gravity

Matthew and his dancers are World Arts and Culture Students here at UCLA. And just for this event today, decided to choreograph and perform their interpretation of gravity. This is the first time ever performed, and in the pure spirit of TEDx, an experimental talk through movement.

Matthew Rogers is a third year student at UCLA pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in the World Arts and Cultures – Dance program. His knowledge of American Sign Language and work experience with deaf people has led Matthew to pursue a Minor in Disabilities Studies. He has trained and studied for eighteen years in various dance styles, and has performed with singers such as The Pointer Sisters, Patti LaBelle, and Charice.

Gareth Walsh

Title: Rhombus

Gareth and his performers create experiences, and this an experience around gravity, space and wonder.

Gareth Walsh is a media artist, based in Los Angeles, working at the intersections of Art, Cinema, Technology and physical space. His artwork questions the boundaries of perceived reality, and plays with the creative potential found in the manipulation and recombination of its parts. Grounded in a conceptualized and experimental media arts practice; his work ranges from small photographic prints and video projections, to whole room and building sized interventions.

 

AnnMarie Thomas

Title: Playing with Creativity

Creativity can be a catch all phrase to speak to the need to see the solutions and possibilities right in front of us, but often invisible to the mind, or, like playing a tough chess game, a few moves out before hinting at its presence.  How you draw it out, and what does it mean to embrace the power of creativity in your daily life?

Dr. AnnMarie Thomas is the director of the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas, where she is a professor in the School of Engineering and the Opus College of Business. She is the creator of Squishy Circuits, and the author of “Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation.” AnnMarie and her research students explore the intersection of the arts, technology and education and are always in search of their next unusual collaboration. annmarie-thomas.com

Kelsey Manes

Kelsey Manes is a third year student at UCLA pursuing BA degrees in Communications and World Arts and Cultures/ Dance. She has trained for 15 years in various dance styles, and now focuses primarily on contemporary and hip hop choreography. She now co-directs on of UCLA’s premier hip hop teams, NSU Modern. After graduation, she plans to attend law school to study entertainment law and continue creating dances and doing what she loves

Amanda Adams

Amanda Adams is a third year at UCLA working to receive her B.A. as a double major in  Dance and Psychology. Originally from south Orange County, she received her early training from the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) as a Commercial Dance major. From seven to twelfth grade she trained in styles ranging from hip-hop to tap and was taught by Jon Bond, Chris Judd, Diavolo, Renee Baldwin, and Aaron Chavarria. From 2012-2014 Amanda attended summer trainings with Joffrey Ballet school where she auditioned for and danced with Mia Michaels, Liz Imperio, and Marguerite Derricks. A highlight of her career was performing her choreography to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition at the Sydney Opera house along side the Orpheus Guitar Ensemble. Amanda is currently training as an aerial artists, is a competitive rock climber, and is dedicated to other contemporary circus trainings such as tumbling, tricking, slacklining, and Cyr Wheel. You may have seen her this fall on the America Ninja Warrior spin of TV show: Team Ninja Warrior College Madness, where she competed for UCLA against 15 other college teams.

Madison Olandt

Madison Olandt is a soon to be graduate of UCLA, attaining her bachelor degrees in both Dance and Psychology. Born and raised in the city of Thousand Oaks, California, she began her journey as a gymnast at the young age of 4. Ranked among the top 20 gymnasts in the nation for her age group, Madison grew up in a disciplined world where rigorous training was all she knew. Her love for dance was always apparent, and eventually, she transitioned into the art form, studying the styles of modern, contemporary, ballet, and hip hop. She was awarded Dancer of the Year 3 years in a row; 2010 – 2013. Entering her career as a professional dancer while studying at UCLA in the Dance Department has been the most rewarding, yet challenging part of her process. Along the way, she trained with companies like Diavolo Architecutre in Motion, where she found a way to integrate her gymnastics skills into her understanding of movement and dance. She currently trains with the traveling professional contemporary company, Academy of Villains. Both on and off campus, Madison has worked with world renowned choreographers, just a few being Natsuo Tomita, Jacques Heim, Rennie Harris, Michele Kouakou, Jackie Lopez, Kyle Abraham, Daniel Ezralow, Jaime Rogers, and Nannette Barbara. This is her second time performing in Royce Hall, while a few other memorable performances were on the Grammy stage at the Staples Center 2017 with Katy Perry, in Pauley Pavilion for Spring Sing 2015, and in Glorya Kaufman Hall for a number of pieces she has choreographed throughout her four years at UCLA. Madison’s plan post grad is to continue pursuing her dreams of choreography and creative motion, as well as teaching and sharing her knowledge with the youth.

Sue Zhou

Sue graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, specializing in Classical Piano under the tutelage of Roza Kosrtrewska Yoder of the Chopin Academy in Poland. She received her Bachelors in Classical Piano Performance from UC Irvine under the instruction of Dr. Lorna Griffitt of Indiana University. Ms. Zhou completed her Masters in Classical Piano Performance at Azusa Pacific University, guided by Professor Yoder. She has taken part and performed in festivals all over the world including Los Angeles, France, Italy, and China. Sue enjoys playing both solo and ensemble repertoire and is a big advocate for new music. She has a growing studio in Playa del Rey and is currently the chair for CAPMT District III Contemporary Music Competition. Recent performances include the Mozart Piano Concerto K. 466 at Zipper Hall. In her spare time, she likes backpacking and hurtling down big hills with her husband on their mountain bikes.

Eric Parren

Eric Parren (NL/US) is an interdisciplinary artist operating out of Los Angeles. His practice is situated at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Using a combination of digital and analog media, he investigates our understanding of the ideas and technologies that shape the future. Eric’s works are often visceral, sensory experiences exploring modes of perception and the physics of light and sound. Informed by a deep knowledge of the histories of media arts, electronic music composition, and expanded cinema, his work makes links between the past, the present, and what is to come.

Eric is a member of the art collective Macular and hosts the experimental music show La Force Sauvage on KCHUNG Radio. He is an instructor at Art Center College of Design where he teaches courses on programming for artists and designers, virtual reality, and app development. Eric studied at the Interfaculty ArtScience of the Royal Academy of Art and Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where he received his BFA in 2009. He went on to study at the Design Media Arts department of the University of California Los Angeles, where he was awarded his MFA in 2012. His works have been shown at galleries and festivals across Europe, North America, and Asia.

Nate Mohler

Nate Mohler is a Media arts major at UCLA. His work has developed from traditional video to various forms of digital media including projection mapping and virtual reality.

Will Wharton

Will Wharton is a 3rd-year Design | Media Arts student at UCLA interested in bridging the gap between abstract thoughts/dreams and the real world. Will uses projection mapping, Virtual reality and other experiential art forms to allow others to step into this world.

Jack Turpin

Jack Turpin is a Los Angeles based media artist whose performances and videos are inspired by serendipity, emergence, flows and fun timez.