TEDx Virginia Tech presents


at the Moss Arts Center

Join us tonight for TEDxVirginiaTech: Spark!


The show starts at 6:00 pm. We hope to see you there!

Unable to attend, but still want to watch? The event is livestreamed. Please see the Livestream link on our homepage.

What did the TEDx experience mean to you? Spotlight on Elizabeth Galbreath.


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Elizabeth Galbreath shared the stage as one of our brilliant and creative minds at TEDxVirginiaTech 2015. As the only VT student participant last year, we asked her a few questions about her experience and what advice she has for other students who may be interested in nominating themselves or others.

Why did you nominate yourself to be a speaker?
Well, I was pretty nervous at first, and I didn’t tell anyone because you almost feel embarrassed because no one else is nominating you. But I thought, “Hey. Why not?” This is something that I really wanted to do. It’s a dream of mine to be able to say that I did a TED(x) talk, and I didn’t want to take the chance of not going for it, so I nominated myself. This is an experience that I don’t want to miss out on just because someone doesn’t know that it’s a dream of mine.

Why did you choose that topic?
Oh my gosh – I love 4-H. I could talk about it for 10 years of my life. I think what I’ve learned the most at Virginia Tech is what it really means to be a part of a community, which goes so well with 4-H’s motto. Here at Tech, you see that picturesque view of service and we have a phenomenal view of what it means to serve others. I wanted to highlight the difference between Ut Prosim and Service. Ut Prosim is making that decision to serve everyday, not just the big service programs, but making it a lifestyle. And the people in Tanzania deserve credit in showing me that there are different ways to serve and embody Ut Prosim.

What did it feel like being on stage at TEDxVirginiaTech?

It was….wow! Honestly, an incredible group of speakers. The showering of support from my family and friends, and from the Virginia Tech community was overwhelming. I really felt like I could do anything because of them. I’ve grown up in 4-H, and the 4-H Program is something that is really close to my heart. I wanted to be able to share my story with others about how it has influenced me as a person. But one thing I did was really prepare for this talk, and that preparation showed. I would recite my speech in the car on the way to Tech (I had 8 minutes to talk and my car ride was 8 minutes – it was perfect timing!). It is always better to be over prepared. I actually messed up on the stage, but it doesn’t show in the video, and people said they didn’t notice. I’m really proud of myself because I worked really hard. Honestly, it is the best day I’ve ever had.

What opportunities has this experience offered you now that you’re done?
This is the opportunity that keeps giving back to me. It’s really cool to think that my talk is available to anyone all over the world. In fact, the people I mentioned in my talk have said, “I saw your video online!” It is such a unique thing, and that’s a really great feeling. It has fueled my fire to keep speaking about Ut Prosim and its meaning and importance.

As the only VT student last year, how would you encourage your fellow students to participate?
Be confident that your story is something to be told. Nothing can be lost in sharing a story that can impact one person. You don’t have to be a world-changing scientist to take the stage, you just need something that people can relate to and possibly inspire them. Another thing is that people will support you like they did me. They will be proud of you and will make you proud of yourself.

Elizabeth’s TEDxVirginiaTech talk “Redefining Service” can be found here.

TEDxVirginia Tech will be held Thursday, November 10, 2016 at the Moss Arts Center. Nominations for speakers are being accepted until April 22!

TEDxVirginiaTech announces 2016 theme of ‘Spark,’ seeks speaker nominations


Speaker Elizabeth Galbreath of Street, Maryland (a junior and major in agricultural sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), giving her talk titled “Redefining Service” during the TEDxVirginiaTech 2015 “Kaleidoscope” event at the Moss Arts Center on November 19, 2015.

TED enthusiasts and great speakers, thinkers, and performers are invited to “give the talk of a lifetime” at TEDxVirginiaTech 2016 on Nov. 10 at the Moss Arts Center.

In its fifth year, TEDxVirginiaTech 2016 will focus on the theme of “Spark,” as in the moment of inspiration that sets one on course to research a certain topic, question a set norm, create or perform a piece of art, or start a journey. The TEDxVirginiaTech committee invites university faculty, staff, students, alumni, and New River Valley community members to submit nominations for speakers.

Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged. Deadline for submissions is April 22. The committee is especially interested in making the talks as diverse as possible, both culturally and by topic.

As with years’ past such as “Beyond Boundaries and “Illumination,” the broad theme is meant to inspire multidisciplinary and transformative ideas in line with the principles of TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading. Questions to consider in selecting speakers and topics include:

• How can interdisciplinary collaborations spark new discoveries and creativity?
• How does going beyond our disciplinary boundaries spark stimulate new research?
• What encourages us to go beyond the ordinary?
• How can we implement more creativity into our lives?
• How does service foster community and growth?
• How do the arts enrich our lives?
• What events inspire us to do more?
• How do complex problems challenge us to think in new ways?

“Spark captures the moment when vision gives way to action, when difference coalesces into energy to solve complex social, cultural, and personal, as well as economic, scientific, and strategic problems,”
said Peter Doolittle, director of Virginia Tech’s Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research and a member of the TEDxVirginiaTech organizing committee. “As a global land-grant research-based university, Virginia Tech is uniquely positioned to move beyond boundaries; to collaborate, integrate, and synthesize across frontiers; and, to instigate, generate, and employ pioneering research for the benefit of humankind. TEDxVirginiaTech Spark will highlight the exciting ways in which Virginia Tech is having an impact — personally, locally, and globally.”

Nominations will be accepted at the TEDxVirginiaTech website until April 22, with a short list of prospective speakers being invited to pitch their talks to selection committees in May.

Final speakers will be publicly announced in August.

Nominations should include: the potential speaker’s name, affiliation with Virginia Tech, email address, description of idea worth spreading, how the idea relates to the event theme, and information about why the nominee is a credible speaker. Video submissions are encouraged.

Speakers at the event will be allotted up to 15 minutes to address a topic that has broad appeal, relates to the event’s theme, and is an idea worth spreading — a central principle held by the nonprofit organization. Dynamic, highly visual presentations coupled with a storytelling speaking style are encouraged. As with TED guidelines, speakers are disallowed from addressing political and/or religious agendas, or promoting a company, and also precluded from using podiums or notes during their talk.

TEDxVirginiaTech talks will be streamed live online. Talks also will be recorded, and the resulting files will become part of the larger TEDx Talks archive. As a result, allotted times will be enforced. To assist with the requirements of speaking at a TEDx event, speakers will receive mentoring in the development of their presentations and their presentation delivery by the TEDxVirginiaTech steering committee.

More than 800 people attended TEDxVirginiaTech 2015 at the Moss Arts Center. Previous TEDxVirginiaTech speakers have later spoken at TEDGlobal, been featured on TED.com and in national publications, and received prestigious honors for their work.

About TEDx, 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, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. 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. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia. TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter, or on Facebook. You also can follow TEDxVirginiaTech on Twitter and Facebook.

Your Guide to TEDxVirginiaTech 2015



It’s almost here, and our speakers are getting excited to share with you the incredible things happening in their pieces of Hokie Nation.

To prepare you for TEDxVirginiaTech 2015 “Kaleidoscope”, here’s a complete guide to your evening.



Free parking will be provided in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street (map it). Limited free street parking is also available (map it).


Live Stream

Whether you’re in Blacksburg, or thousands of miles away, join us tonight at 6 PM EST on the live stream.


Vote for the 2016 Theme!

Help us pick the theme for our FIFTH TEDxVirginiaTech! Cast your vote in the poll, and we’ll announce the winning theme at the end of tonight’s event.

TEDxVirginiaTech Kaleidoscope Coming November 19th


We have an exciting lineup of speakers for TEDxVirginiaTech! In addition to our ten speakers, we will have performances from a capella group Mixed Emotions and a special opening performance with host Willie Caldwell. You will not want to miss this!

  • Nicole Abaid, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics; “Do Bats Listen to Each Other?”
  • Elizabeth Galbreath of Street, Maryland, a junior and major in agricultural sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; “Redefining Service”
  • Kurt Hoffman, senior instructor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Psychology; “At First Glance”
  • Nathan King, assistant professor, School of Architecture + Design, Center for Design Research; “Process Matters”
  • Sharon Landesman Ramey, professor and distinguished research scholar, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute; research professor, Department of Psychology; professor of psychiatry, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine; “Reaching Beyond Expectations”
  • Steven Poelzing, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute; “New Solutions”
  • Jill Sible, assistant provost for undergraduate education; “A Million More”
  • Patricia Smith, director, Intercultural Engagement Center; “White Bred, White Noise”
  • Artist Jane Lillian Vance, a 1983 graduate of the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, former instructor of The Creative Process in the Department of Religion and Culture, and vice president of Help Save the Next Girl; “Catalytic Compassion”
  • Marina Vance, research scientist, Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, associate director of the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology; “The Good, The Bad, and The Tiny”


Tickets are available for sale at $10 for Virginia Tech students and $20 for the general public. Click on “Purchase Your Tickets Today!” to place your order.

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED. TEDxVirginiaTech is coordinated by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER).

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