It’s hard to not hum the theme to Indiana Jones when you listen to Professor Tudor Parfitt. His adventures involve the Arc of the Covenant and tribes in far off lands. Sit back and enjoy his TEDxFIU talk and try to imagine yourself in a classroom with Dr. Jones.
On thursday, November 7th TEDxFIU kicked off with the world’s first TEDx talk to feature a speaker who was 60ft underwater in the world’s only underwater sea lab. We were treated to a stories straight off the introduction to an Indiana Jones movie. We discussed chemical weapons by reimagining our concepts of them. A pair of glasses that helped a blind man read a book to his daughter were demoed live on stage and we were shaking in our seats to an instrument which came from Japan well over 2000 years ago.
In our second session, we learned that a postage stamp size piece of paper and a bit of nail polish remover could help law enforcement tell the difference between sugar and some white powder that could explode on impact. We merged art and science in a talk about the God Particle and the amazing artwork that a scientist and an artist can make together. And then a butterfly took the stage and we witnessed the struggle some of us are going through but the inspiration we can all draw from it. Before the night was over we got to see one more scientist and another group of artists. The scientist is working on reintroducing diverse traits from wild plants in order to breed climate resistant crops for future generations. And the artists, well you know them as Black Violin. They got the entire to audience up off their seats and out of their mental boxes by fusing two very unique forms of music and telling us the tale of their band’s origin.
Last but certainly not least, our host kept the audience laughing and learning while making all the transitions and connections to keep our eyes glued to the stage.
We are hard at work on the videos which will be posted here as they are produced. In the meantime, here is a larger collection of photos.
Don’t have tickets to the university’s event of the year – TEDxFIU? Don’t fret. You can still get the TEDx experience at a live simulcast event.
The Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) will be hosting a watch party in their main gallery at 420 Lincoln Road, South Beach. Co-sponsored by the College of Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) and the TEDxFIU club, the party is free and open to the public. Guests will be treated to appetizers and refreshments during the show. And professors from CARTA will be available after the talks to discuss the presentations.
Use this South Beach map to plan your trip. MBUS is located on the fourth floor of 420 Lincoln Road. Parking for $1 an hour is available across the street.
Doors open at 5 p.m. Talks are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
At the Biscayne Bay Campus, the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management will host a live simulcast at the Carnival Student Center starting at 5:30 p.m.
At Modesto A. Maidique Campus, TEDxFIU fans can watch from the GC Pit. Chairs will be set out so you can sit and relax while you Reimagine Possible.
The FIUinDC Alumni Chapter is hosting a TEDxFIU watch party in Washington D.C. Visit the event page for details and to RSVP.
You can also watch the TEDxFIU talks on your computer. The event will be streamed live at TEDxFIU.com.
This year’s TEDxFIU lineup includes:
This year’s TEDxFIU speakers will take the audience to an underwater sea laboratory, a remote village of Papua New Guinea and a newly imagined America with world-class public transportation. With “Reimagine Possible” as this year’s theme, the event will feature 11 talks – including two musical performances – that will make you reexamine your thoughts, question your identity and motivate you to do more for others.
With more than 100 applicants vying to speak at this year’s event, the competition to secure a spot was fierce. The selected students, faculty and alumni will challenge and inspire you by exploring topics like biological and chemical weapons, the re-domestication of wild plants and the fusion of classical violin and hip hop.
This year’s speakers are:
Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester ’03 is the violin half of the classicial-hip hop duo Black Violin, along with violist and childhood friend Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste. Sylvester picked up the instrument at age 9, and he recalls it was “love at first sight.” He studied at Dillard Center for the Arts before earning a full scholarship to FIU’s music program. Sylvester and Baptiste combine an array of musical styles to produce a signature sound that is part maestro, part emcee. Black Violin released its first studio album in 2007, and has performed all over the world at such venues as the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem and the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Ball. In addition to their own studio work, they have collaborated with artists including P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Center, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and The Eagles.
Mike Heithaus is the director of the School of Environment, Arts and Society at FIU. Known internationally for his research on the ecological role of large sharks both in Australian and Florida waters, Heithaus has been with FIU since 2003. Prior to joining FIU, he was a staff scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research, where he worked with National Geographic’s Remote Imaging Department conducting studies using their “crittercam.” Marine sciences professor Deron Burkepile is an aquanaut who has completed two research missions at FIU’s Aquarius Reef Base. He studies marine community ecology, trophic interactions and herbivore ecology.
Dr. Aileen M. Marty is a professor of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. She is also an anatomic and clinical pathologist with a certificate in forensic medicine. Marty served in the U.S. Navy for 25 years specializing in tropical medicine, infectious disease pathology, disaster medicine, and in the science, medical response and policy involving weapons of mass destruction. She attended the Navy War College, where she trained in strategic studies, diplomacy, joint military operations and the art of war. The Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) recognized her as an expert on chemical, biological, radiation and high-energy weapons and called on her to develop plans, training and policy for government agencies including the White House and the National Security Administration. Marty is one of only 403 people listed in the international roster as a member of the United Nations Monitoring and Verification Team for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Known as the “British Indian Jones”, Tudor Parfitt has traveled to the world’s most remote regions in search of the lost tribes of Israel. Earlier this year, Parfitt joined FIU as a research professor in the School of International and Public Affairs. In March, he led an educational mission to Papua New Guinea with four FIU students. Parfitt was invited to Papua New Guinea by the Gogodala tribe to receive a gift. Parfitt had visited Papua New Guinea on two occasions to do DNA tests on tribe members to test whether they were part of the lost tribe of Israel. The results were inconclusive, but the Gogodala have nonetheless continued to embrace a new identity as Jews. Parfitt has spent his career studying the Sephardi/Mizrahi communities of the Muslim world, Jewish-Muslim relations, Judaising movements, Jewish genetic identity and attitudes toward Jews and Zionism. He has authored or edited 26 books and presented seven documentaries for the BBC, PBS, Channel Four and the History Channel. His latest book is Black Jews in Africa and the Americas.
Maria Pia Celestino ’13 is one of the co-founders of EyeTalker, a project that developed a pair of glasses with a camera that captures printed text and delivers it as audio to the visually impaired. EyeTalker was created in 2012 for a social entrepreneurship business plan competition. The glasses help visually impaired citizens “hear” printed text on books, newspapers, magazines and menus. Earlier this year, EyeTalker won the Miami Herald Business Plan Competition. Celestino started her career as an entrepreneur at age 18 working in the design and marketing fields. She is also the founder of South Florida-based Crea7ive.com, an award-winning digital marketing agency that has garnered national recognition for web design, branding and social media. She has held seminars on social media and marketing and collaborated on Bruce C. Brown’s 2010 book How to Build a Website with Little or No Money.
Alexa Rae Chavarry, 19, is the creator of butterfly-project.tumblr.com, an anonymous blog that has helped thousands, including herself, recover from self-injury, eating disorders, addiction and suicide. On her blog, Chavarry asks her readers who are thinking of hurting themselves to instead draw a butterfly on themselves and name it after someone they care about. The goal is to focus on the butterfly, in the hopes that even after it fades, the individual is strong enough to continue on the road to recovery. Chavarry came across the idea in high school after she searched the Internet for different coping mechanisms for self-harm. In 2011, she launched the blog to share her recovery method with the world. Today, the blog has more than 14,000 followers who have submitted their stories of struggle, hope and recovery.
Percussion runs through Aneysi Fernandez’s ’12 blood. Her father, Pedro Fernandez, was a trained musician and percussionist who influenced her love of music. Fernandez remembers receiving her first set of drums at age 7, and recalls playing music with her father from childhood to her college years. Today, the 24-year-old plays in a Taiko drumming group that she discovered while visiting the Museum of Discovery in Ft. Lauderdale. When not performing or practicing with the Taiko drumming group, Fernandez divides her time between working in the pet hospitality industry and at a local science museum. She is also pursuing a degree in aviation at Broward College. Fernandez graduated from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science.
Pete E.C. Markowitz is a physicist with expertise in the electromagnetic production of quarks (especially strange quarks), exotic forms of matter and physics at the limits of the standard model. As a researcher, he’s involved in Jefferson Lab and the CERN accelerator in Switzerland. There, Markowitz leads FIU’s team in one of the largest scientific experiments in the world. Earlier this year, the world was captivated when scientists at CERN confirmed the existence of the elusive Higgs boson particle, the subatomic speck often referred to as the “God particle.” As a result, Markowitz collaborated with FIU artist Xavier Cortada on an art installation that will forever mark the historic occasion: five banners at Point Five at the Large Hadron Collider. Cortada has created art installations around the world, including at the Earth’s poles. In 2007, he used the moving ice sheet beneath the South Pole as an instrument to mark time; the art piece will be completed in 150,000 years. He has also been commissioned to create art for theWhite House, the World Bank, the Florida Supreme Court, General Mills, Nike, and Hershey’s. His work has been featured on National Geographic TV and the Discovery Channel.
Kelley Peters is a doctoral student in chemistry at FIU, where she is developing new methods for on-site detection of explosives utilizing simple, rapid and inexpensive technology. Her research focuses on designing presumptive and confirmatory methods for the rapid analysis of multiple explosive compounds. The end goal is to prevent terrorist attacks by revolutionizing on-site forensic detection of explosives. She seeks to show the simplicity of these new devices that can be easily taken into the field and provide faster analysis. Peters has presented her research on the analysis and detection of multiple explosives at conferences nationally and abroad.
Biology professor Eric Bishop-von Wettberg studies how reductions in population size and loss of genetic diversity affect tolerance of stressful soils in crops and endangered plants. He aims to use that knowledge to breed crops that are more tolerant to climate change and to protect declining plant populations. Bishop-von Wettberg’s current research focuses on chickpeas, pigeonpeas, mangos and rare cacti. He and his students use a mixture of genomic, quantitative genetic, greenhouse, and field approaches to study genetic diversity and stress tolerance of wild relatives of crops and rare species. His work has been published in over 20 journals and recognized with a Fulbright fellowship.
Get ready for a night of riveting talks by remarkable people.
The theme for this year’s TEDxFIU is “Reimagine Possible.” We’re looking for eight speakers – students, alumni or faculty, from any discipline – who do this on a regular basis.
“Our speakers this year will have to demonstrate not only a great idea, but they will need to take the audience on a journey and have them reimagine their own sense of what is possible,” says TEDxFIU organizer Eduardo Merille, who is also the FIU director of marketing and new media.
“TEDxFIU is the stage for the free thinkers and the innovators among us,” says TEDxFIU organizer Deborah O’Neil, who is also the editor of FIU Magazine and associate director of News and Communications.
Do you have what it takes to be a TEDxFIU speaker?
We are looking for eight dynamic students, alumni and faculty members to present their big ideas on Nov. 7. To be considered, first, you’ll need a story worth sharing about an experience, project or idea that has the potential of taking us beyond the world we know. Then, you’ll need to be able to connect with a discerning audience. And, finally, you’ll need to inspire organizers.
“Blow my mind. That’s what I want our speakers to do at TEDxFIU,” says O’Neil. “Share an original idea about an unoriginal topic. Dazzle us with a world we’ve never imagined. Speak from the heart so authentically that we want to rush on the stage and hug you.”
If your idea is ready for primetime, apply by Sept. 13. Don’t forget to include a video of your talk. Speakers will be announced Sept. 30.
This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.
This year’s TEDxFIU has a date and a location. The event will take place at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on November 7. Next week we will announce the theme and begin accepting the applications to speak. Ticket information will be available in September.
This facility will open later this year. A full press release is coming in the next month. Stay tuned.
An increased demand for organ transplants and donations has complicated the lines between life and death while making the judgment more crucial than ever, Elizabeth Price Foley explains.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” While our bank accounts are reliable indicators that tax time has come and gone, indicators of death aren’t always so clear.
Declaring death is important for several reasons, including for the purposes of organ donation. As transplants become easier, demand for organs has increased faster than supply. To meet this growing need, the industry must find transplantable organs beyond willing individuals indicating their post-death wishes – typically after cardiopulmonary death.
The other option, based on current legal definitions, is donation upon brain death. The definition is clear – brain death is the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem ¬– but the application much more fuzzy.
Foley points to two main ambiguities in the real-world setting – testing and training – that need to be standardized for us to have complete confidence in the practice of using organs from brain dead patients. Until then, we’re left to the judgment of the jurisdictions where we die.
Watch Foley’s full talk here:
Philip Koenig started his nonprofit, Leading Miami, in 2009, when he was in high school. Three years, 300 workshops and 600 middle school students later, he shares his formula for teaching leadership at TEDxFIU.
Being engaged and feeling empowered can motivate any adult to new heights. Those same keys in the hands of a 12-year-old – or hundreds of 12-year-olds – have the power to change a city and more.
His five-part curriculum is familiar – it is not only what he teaches, but it is how he got to this point in the first place. Every step he teaches is one he’s been through before, whether or not he was conscious of it at the time.
Koenig’s favorite part of the program is the small-scale project that allows students to “ignite their passion,” as Koenig puts it. Passion projects that students have taken on so far include re-launching a defunct after-school arts program and initiating a school-wide recycling effort.
Some leaders may be born, but Leading Miami shows that leadership can also be learned.
Watch his full talk below:
Ileana Rodriguez shares her unique perspective on disabilities and devices and inspires us to pursue our goals despite perceived obstacles.
What do you see when someone enters a room? Their physical traits? Their clothes?
When Ileana Rodriguez enters, many people notice her wheelchair first. She has been in a wheelchair since the age of 13 and since then she has achieved heights most walking folks can only imagine. Still, many people still see the device first.
Rodriguez learned early on that, while her wheelchair set her apart from the crowd on land, in the water she was like everyone else. Her device “disappeared.”
Her desire to be seen for who she is, not where she sits, inspired the design of a dress for one of her FIU architecture classes. Unlike her classmates, who aimed to protect themselves from physical elements like rain and heat, her creation protected her from people – people who couldn’t see beyond the wheelchair.
Rodriguez has certainly proved herself. She and her fellow athletes in the 2012 Paralympics Games are as dedicated to their sport as their Olympic counterparts.
Though the American Record-holder didn’t place in London, Rodriguez did fulfill a dream that nearly every athlete holds: to represent her country on the world stage. And she did it without her wheelchair.
Watch her full TEDxFIU talk: