Only Students Could Have This Kind of Impact


TEDxWakeForest Student Ambassador Christina Oelsner had tough shoes to fill. Last year’s Student Ambassador Lucy Lan rocked the campus with a sold-out first-ever TEDxWakeForest to share ‘ideas worth spreading’ and infuse innovation and entrepreneurship into the dialogue at Wake. Not only was Christina tapped on the shoulder to be a Student Ambassador with two other co-organizers, but her brother Billy was NCIIA’s first Wake Forest Student Ambassador back in ’10-’11. Well, Christina and her colleagues are killing it! Conference registration opened on January 1st for the February 25th event, but relative to this time last year the team has double the registration figures at 375.

*THIS* Is Why We Believe Students Can Change the World

Students are the customers of the educational experience Colleges and Universities are providing them. They know what other students need to hear and who they need to hear it from. That is why our Student Ambassador Program is so successful. Students can leverage their peer-to-peer marketing abilities to create a movement on campus and create a climate for innovation and entrepreneurship.

This bodes well for the event which drew nearly 1,100 participants last year… unless, of course, there is a maximum capacity for the Wait Chapel space… in which case you better hurry up and register. Check out the awesome video (above) produced by the co-organizing team of three. You can also check out the event website and Facebook page.

Sign up to have a Student Ambassador on your campus by the March 21st deadline.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Manager of Student Programming, T: @ihumera

UTHSC Hosts TEDMEDLive Simulcast

From April 10 to 13, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center hosted a TEDMEDLive Simulcast on its Memphis campus, inviting about 250 local health care professionals to participate in each day’s events.  TEDMED gathered 1,200 adventurous thinkers and doers from a wide array of medical and non-medical disciplines at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.  For three and a half days, the uniquely diverse community explored the ideas, innovations and challenges that will shape the future of health and medicine for 300 million Americans and the world.

The live simulcast included 11 sessions, featuring 50 presenters and topics.  Each speaker took the stage for about 15 to 18 minutes, with very few slides, no PowerPoint and no panel discussions.  Speakers shared stories and experiences from their lives that connected the participants to topics in a personal way that was surprising.  Described as Cirque du Soleil for the mind, the HD simulcast of TEDMED gave the audience an opportunity to interact directly with the TEDMED stage and to communicate with TEDMED speakers after the conference.

Speakers for this year’s TEDMED conference included: Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health; Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street,” and Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer to The White House.  TEDMED featured entertainment from a variety of performers including singer Jill Sobule, spoken word artist Sekou Andrews, and urban acrobatics group Traces.

“I am very excited that UTHSC joins more than 2,000 simulcast locations to host this one-of-a-kind event to spark inspiration, innovation, and imagination,” said Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD.  “This is just another way for us to fulfill our research mission by constantly learning and communicating with our partners in the community and our health care constituents nationwide.”

~Dee Helton, Student Ambassador at UT Health Science Center

Hindsight: Successes and Mistakes

Everyone who attended TEDxBU “Students Startup America” said is was great – informative and inspirational. However, as an organizer I could tell you everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. The 150 attendees witnessed a sliver of the chaos, but luckily our strong lineup of speakers saved the day.

Looking back, I now understand SO much more about what it takes for an event like this to be successful. The three things I wish I had done a better job on were:

  1. More central location – The engineering building was a great location, but it did not attract as large a range of students as we had intended. The venue I picked was not common knowledge among the BU student population. Next time, the Entrepreneurship Club will check out a larger and more central location.
  2. Start with a bigger team – I cannot stress this enough. I wish I had reruited more team members early on. We had 3 very talented people on our team, but the workload was still too large for us to execute it effectively. I wish I had recruited 6 people.
  3. Raise more money – Having seen the costs associated with this project firsthand, I would like to raise much more funding for the next event. This would allow me a better venue, more food, and a better technical staff.

Despite having been warned about these pitfalls during training, there is nothing like experiencing them firsthand to really understand them.

On a positive note, there has been support at BU for sending me and perhaps one other student to a TED Talk so that our next TEDxBU can be larger and more influential. Very exciting!

– Joseph McMahon, Boston University

Columbia University – TEDxColumbiaEngineering

TEDxColumbiaEngineering focused on the theme of “Innovating Social Change” will be held on November 29th, 2011.

It will be a day devoted to spreading great ideas and inspiring innovation at Columbia University. We are planning for a crowd of more than 1,500 attendees for the three sessions. Although registration is not open yet, we are inviting interested students to add their email address to be notified about our publicity events and when registration is open:

Also, please like and follow us!/TEDxColumbiaEng.

– Dmitriy Timerman

TEDxEuclidAve at UC Berkeley


Cal students are spreading the word about how to positively transform the world through entrepreneurship. In this trying times, it seems like all we ever hear is negative news. We are pummeled with the debt crisis, the decline of public education, the spread of HIV aids and so forth. It is enough to make you want to run for cover and give in to nihilism.

Well, I am crazy enough to believe that this moment with all its accompanying woes presents a unique opportunity for us to craft new solutions that are both economically sustainable and social redeeming. Sometimes things have to fall apart so that we can build it anew.

TEDxEuclidAve speakers are examples of people who are well aware of the problem and have crafted various solutions to ameliorate it. All of them have done this through entrepreneurship, some through non-profits and others through for profit.

Hopefully this event empowers the attendees by displaying tangible examples of what happens when science, engineering and technology meets entrepreneurship and social good. TEDxEuclidAve hopes to change the metaphor “Business is War,” to “Business is Community.” Lets go forth and invent the future.

Omoju Miller, UC Berkeley

BU eClub is raising up a storm

The Boston University eClub really has its act together. I met with president Max Veggeburg to discuss TEDxBU “Students Startup America” and he was all for it. He and other eClub board members have organized the Boston Startup Weekend, to be hosted at BU! For a small fee, students spend the weekend meeting influential entrepreneurs and working in teams to push a product towards market. Any full time Boston student can pay $25 for 7 meals and a 54 hour crash course in entrepreneurship.

Check it out:

Aside from that, there are plenty of opportunies hosted by the club to learn and grow. Last night I met with COO over pizza to discuss VC funding. There I ran into several underclassmen who are ready to start their own businesses and were eagerly taking notes. Before I knew it, Ryan Durkins and I were talking about a mutual friend and are scheduled for dinner Friday night. I cannot express the amount of opportunity there is for entrepreneurs here.

There is also a talk this Thursday: “10 Mistakes First-Time Founders Make, But Don’t Have To”. Highland Capital’s Alexander Taussig will be speaking. What a fantastic chance for Boston students to learn.

The other remarkable thing about the BU eClub is the amount of interconnectivity they have with other similiar student organizations: the Graduate Entrepreneur’s Club, Engineering Entrepreneur’s Club, etc. The advisors to the eClub are known far and wide and they are constantly hosting great events.

I have noticed, however, there is little to no attention paid to businesses and technologies with social impact. The more I talk about NCIIA grants, the more eyebrows I see being raised. Before we know it, the NCIIA will be well intertwined with BU and its brilliant student organizations.


Joe McMahon – NCIIA BU Student Ambassador

Wake Forest University Surgeon Prints Human Kidney

An unmet need exists in the insufficiency of available organs transplants. In response, an entrepreneurial, medical mastermind is revolutionizing the face of transplant science.  Dr. Anthony Atala and his research team at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine focus on the growth and regeneration of over 30 tissues and organs. They engineered the first lab-grown organ to be implanted into a human and are currently developing novel technology to “print” human tissue on a modified desktop inkjet printer. Watch the following TED talk and get inspired!

[ted id=1088]

Dr. Anthony Atala is the Scientific Co-Founder, Chairman, and Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Tengion (TNGN:NASDAQ GM). This venture performs R&D and subsequent commercialization of neo-organs and tissues to address unmet medical needs in urologic, renal, gastrointestinal and vascular diseases.

“Anthony Atala bakes things that will make you feel good inside, but we’re not talking cakes and muffins.” (PBS)

– Lucy Lan, Student Ambassador at Wake Forest University