Matthew Wettergreen is a Lecturer at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University. His formal education was in bioengineering with a focus on biomechanics and 3D printing. Currently he teaches several courses that help students broadly apply the engineering design process to solve client-based problems sources from the global community. These courses include introduction to engineering design, prototyping and fabrication, digital design, and spatial visualization.
Andrew Vrana is an architect, educator, entrepreneur and co-founder of the non-profit organization, TEX-FAB Digital Fabrication Alliance. He is principal at Metalab who specialize in architecture, product design and public art project management. The firm’s work has been recognized with the Architecture Magazine R&D Award, ID Magazine Consumer Product Award and the AAFAB Prize from the Architectural Association. Technology and products developed by the firm have been patented and commercialized with industry partners Philips Lighting, NRG and Smilebooth.
He has been a regional leader in the discussion of how digital fabrication can not only augment contemporary design practice but also be driver of successful business strategies. TEX-FAB has explored for the past 5 years a series of thematic trajectories in digital fabrication that are salient to the technology, education and design audience. He is on the faculty at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston.
UP Art Studio is a Houston-based organization that facilitates art projects for urban and contemporary artists and communities, locally and worldwide. UP Art Studio specializes in mural and art commissions, public art projects, gallery art shows, photography, design, event planning, and artist collaborations. UP Art Studio is currently working on several public art initiatives in Houston, including a Mural and Public Arts program to bring more public art to the city of Houston and beyond, and Mini Murals (minimurals.org), a civic art project where traffic signal control cabinets are being transformed into works of art. UP Art Studio is run by a husband and wife team, Noah & Elia Quiles.
Teresa O’Donnell wants to live in a city with a farm in every neighborhood. She dreams of community building through bustling farm stands, farm dinners, school tours and relaxing spaces for playing checkers, talking with neighbors and connecting. She sees refugees operating these farms and becoming a bit like rock star urban farmers in their communities. And as executive director of the Houston-based non-profit Plant It Forward Farms, she is working towards these goals, one plot of land, one farm and one American Dream-seeker at a time.
Plant It Forwards Farms has been highlighted in the PBS series, “Food Forward,” on PBS Local News Hour, in the Houston Chronicle, and in Sugar & Rice and Edible Houston magazines, among other media outlets.
David Alexander is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where his primary area of research is solar physics. He also serves as the Director of the Rice Space Institute following his appointment to this position in March 2012. As Director, he is responsible for the mission and direction required to develop and achieve the goals and objectives of the institute.
He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004 and was appointed a Kavli Frontiers Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. He is author of “The Sun” part of the Greenwood Press “Guide to the Universe” Series. Dr. Alexander is a past Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomy Society, former Chair of the Solar, Heliospheric and Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) program and the inaugural Chair of the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory Users’ Committee. He has served on many national and professional committees including the NASA Advisory Council’s Heliophysics Subcommittee, the NASA Solar Heliospheric Management and Operations Working Group (SH-MOWG), ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Payload Committee and the Science Advisory Board of the High Altitude Observatory Coronal Solar Magnetism Observatory.
Dr. Alexander joined the faculty at Rice in 2003, coming from the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California where he was a Staff Physicist working on the development of advanced space missions for solar and space physics. He is currently a member of the Rice Faculty Senate.
Michelle Poler, originally from Caracas, Venezuela, is a graduate from the School of Visual Arts holding a master's degree in Branding. A few months ago, she quit her job as an Art Director to develop what started as a school project and turned into a life-changing experience.
Earlier this year, Michelle decided to face all of her fears for her project 100 Days Without Fear. She planned to become a braver person by the end of the 100 days, what she didn’t plan was to inspire millions along the way.
Patrick Bordnick envisions a world where humans interact seamlessly with technology to improve teaching, research, therapy, and aid in knowledge building. He is a professor and associate dean of research at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. A 20-year veteran of clinical and laboratory research, Bordnick is one of the foremost experts in the world on using virtual reality to explore human behavior and learning. His VR work has focused on assessing and treating addiction: cocaine, marijuana, heroin, alcohol, amphetamine, nicotine and food. Through the innovative use of technology, Bordnick has grown the college’s research to also include VR in the training of future counselors and therapists. He research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as many state and private grants.
Dianna M. Milewicz, MD, PhD, is the President George H.W. Bush Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Division of Medical Genetics and Vice-Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. She is currently Director of an NIH-funded Specialized Center of Clinically Oriented Research in Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections and Chairman of the Thoracic Aortic Disease Coalition, which is a collaboration among patient-advocate organizations, the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American College of Cardiologists to increase public awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of life-threatening acute aortic dissections.
She has been inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. She completed her postgraduate training in internal medicine, specialized further in medical genetics, and forged a career in translational studies focused on genetic predisposition to vascular diseases. She has received numerous honors and awards for her research, including the Antoine Marfan Award, the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, and the University of Texas Presidential Scholars Award for Excellence in Research. Dr. Milewicz has been the Director of the MD/PhD Program offered jointly between the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center institutions for over 10 years and is Past Chair for the GREAT MD/PhD Section Committee.
As the CMO of NRG and Reliant, Sicily Dickenson leads the Marketing and Customer Experience teams focusing on customer-centric initiatives to delight those that interact with NRG brands.
Through strategic focus, an innovative spirit and the insightful measurement of NRG’s objectives, she works with her team to get people excited about the future of energy—to change the way people think about energy.
Sicily's spontaneity and infectious personality have paved the way for well-trodden conference grounds that facilitate progressive ideas and adaptive marketing. As a result, she put NRG on the map as an innovative leader in the energy industry—an industry that is typically conservative and slow moving.
Sicily serves on the board of The Children's Museum. She is also active in a number of other organizations, including American Advertising Federation, Digital Marketing and Smart Grid User Experience.
Jason Dorsey is a pioneering iGen and Millennials researcher who has been featured on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, The New York Times and hundreds more media outlets. Jason has received over 1,000 standing ovations for his unique approach to humanizing and bridging generations. A bestselling author at age 18, Jason co-founded and is Chief Strategy Officer at The Center for Generational Kinetics. Read more about Jason's iGen research at genhq.com.
Amina Ann Qutub is an assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University. She is also co-founder of DiBS, an adaptive visualization software startup. Qutub received a Ph.D. in bioengineering at UC-Berkeley and UCSF, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Rice. She trained as a postdoc in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Qutub integrates computer science with experiments to understand the design of human cells. Her work gives insight into how to control cell behaviors and regenerate tissue for applications to treating cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. An engineer and artist “who paints with algorithms” to achieve sophisticated models of biology, Qutub’s goal is to keep humans healthy, happy and a step ahead of the machines.
Jacob Lackey bought his first DJI Phantom drone at age 14 with money earned from a newspaper route. Recognizing the lack of information and support for new drone pilots he launched thedjiguy Instagram site that soon became the largest in the industry with 2200 followers and a YouTube channel that generated 300,000 views. By age 15, Lackey was spending after school hours reviewing products and administering a Facebook group for drone pilots with over 6000 members.
Lackey partnered with family members to launch a network of online discussion forums for the leading drone platforms – PhantomPilots.com, InspirePilots.com, 3DRpilots.com and YuneecPilots.com. Now the largest forum network for drones, these sites have 250,000 monthly visitors and generate 2.5 million monthly page views. Now age 16, Lackey administers and moderates the network of sites that combined have more than 40,000 members.
Susan Rogers is a designer, educator, activist and strategist. Her work is based on the disciplinary foundations of architecture and city planning with an expanded lens to directly engage questions of justice and equity. One part demographer, one part cartographer, one part community developer, one part designer, one part educator—she believes in thinking big and acting locally.
Susan Rogers is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston and the Director of the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC). The CDRC, a Center that she founded over ten years ago, has a mission to apply design thinking to the broad spectrum of challenges that face our cities and communities. Under her direction, the CDRC has completed over three dozen projects in partnership with communities across the region ranging in scale from small temporary public art interventions to large scale community visions. She has presented her work across the globe and her writing has appeared in Urban Design International, Urban Infill, INT/AR: Interventions and Adaptive Reuse, ii the International Journal of Interior Architecture + Spatial Design, Places Journal, Cite: The Architecture and Design Review of Houston, and ArtLies, A Texas Art Journal. She is the coauthor of “An Architecture of Change,” the Introduction to Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism.
George Khachatryan is a leading instructional designer. As co-founder and senior vice president of the non-profit organization Reasoning Mind, he has built online learning platforms and conducted research on teaching and learning. Reasoning Mind now serves over 100,000 students in elementary and middle schools across the country. Dr. Khachatryan is a frequent speaker on education theory and practice and has been quoted by Forbes, The Atlantic, and other media outlets. He studied pure mathematics at the University of Chicago, the University of Cambridge, and Cornell University, where he was a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow.
William Lidwell is vice president of research and development at Avenues: The World School.
He is author of the best-selling Universal Principles of Design, which has been translated into more than 20 languages; Deconstructing Product Design, a social deconstruction engaging more than 20 experts and 100 classic products; and lecturer on topics of psychology and design for The Great Courses and Lynda.com.
Encourage the responsible use of resources and talents.
Foster an environment of sharing and embracing ideas worth spreading.
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Starting as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com.
TEDx: The x = independently organized event. 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, TEDTalks 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.