William & Mary

TEDx ready to take audience ‘beyond’

  • TEDx
    TEDx  William and Mary's TEDx event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 29 in the Sadler Center's Commonwealth Auditorium.  Courtesy image
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Organizers of William & Mary’s third annual TEDx event are preparing to take audience members “beyond” this year.

“Beyond normal conversation and beyond your imagination,” said Chase Jordan ’15, co-president. “We’re having the speakers speak on things that defy our typical culture. One of our speakers is talking about death, but not just death, bringing people back to life … It’s kind of cool to frame these very common issues in a more expansionary light. Challenging base assumptions is good.”

The March 29 event, organized by students, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium and will include seven speakers, including members of the William & Mary community.

This year’s speakers are:

  • Mark Wood: an original member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Julliard-trained electric violinist and Emmy-winning composer
  • Dr. Zhana Vrangalova: a sex researcher who studies casual sex and non-monogamy and their relation to psychological health
  • Dr. David Casarett: a physician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who is interested in end-of-life care. He recently published Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead, and will give book signings at the William & Mary Bookstore March 28-29.
  • Marine Col. Michael Coolican: the director of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate since 2013 and a Harrier pilot who runs a task force that develops non-lethal weapons
  • John Swaddle: a professor of biology at William & Mary whose research focuses on behavioral ecology and evolution
  • Sean Tarter: an adjunct professor of economics at William & Mary and alumnus with a master's degree in applied mathematics and modeling
  • Stephanie Hanes: a freelance reporter whose work has appeared in publications including Smithsonian Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Africa Geographic and USA Today


Each of the speakers will give a talk between 15.5 and 18 minutes long, said Jordan. A light reception will be held at the end of the event so that audience members may interact with the speakers.

“So we have not just a really good monologue but dialogue this year,” said Jordan.

TED is a non-profit organization that aims to spread ideas most often through short talks. Although TED provides general guidance for TEDx events, each is locally organized.

Since its inception just three years ago, W&M’s TEDx event -- formally titled TEDxCollegeofWilliamandMary --  has grown tremendously and is now one of 15 largest, student-run TEDx events in the country, said Jordan.

“We have grown quite quickly and have definitely made a splash and presence within the TED universe, and that’s not because of anything we’re doing or previous students have been doing but because there’s such a great desire and intrinsic curiosity on this campus that needs to be satisfied in a way that only TED can,” he said.

Tickets for TEDx are $5 for students, $8 for faculty and staff and $10 for the  public. They may be purchased in the Sadler Center during lunch or dinner or online.