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InnovateUA hosts series of TEDxLive talks

More than 700 students signed up online to attend UA’s TEDxLive throughout the day, according to Robert Johnson, senior director of InnovateUA and africana studies junior.

“InnovateUA organized this TEDxLive event as part of our plans to host a UA TEDx conference this fall with live speakers from across the UA ecosystem,” Johnson said.

The event featured six segments, each centered around a broad theme. The first four themes—Connection, Community; Bugs and Bodies; Mind, Meaning and Planet, Protection—were streamed live to the first floor of the UA Bookstore.

“The unique opportunity we offered with this event was we were one of the two communities in Tucson that was licensed by TED to broadcast TED’s Vancouver conference,” Johnson said.

The event provided students the opportunity to discover the newest, freshest and brightest ideas developing around the world, Johnson said.

Many of the talks will not be available until summer, Johnson said.

“You can’t rewind it; you are in the moment,” Johnson said.

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“The Student Union Memorial Center also played a big role in covering the food trucks, and the library was a big part of providing the space,” Johnson said. 

The Under the Stars portion of the event featured a series of speakers focused on the themes Our Robotic Overlords and The Human Response.

Johnson said all the themes were really broad, but it all boiled down our impact on the world.

Becca Rogers, a neuroscience and cognitive science senior, attended the event to support UA’s efforts to host a TEDx event on campus.

“I watch a TED Talk every single day,” Rogers said. “You can learn so much from them, and I really like to see women in technology.”

Rodrigo Savage, a doctorate student in electrical and computer engineering, said, “I had no idea that the technologies TED are showing this year existed and that people are working on these concepts.”

Savage and Rogers said they are both inspired by TED Talks and hope to give one of their own one day.

“I hope students learned something new,” Johnson said of the event. “I hope students get inspired to share their own ideas.”

Johnson said students can get involved in planning UA’s own TEDx event by reaching out on social media, visiting InnovateUA’s website or attending Monday TEDx planning meetings.

“I am really thankful for the students who came out and were committed to sitting down for these talks,” Johnson said. “There are big questions, but there are better answers, and we are the ones who deliver them.”


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