Below are our speakers and performers for the 2012 TEDxRedmond event:
Jack Andraka – Jack Andraka was named the Gordon E. Moore Award winner at Intel ISEF 2012 (basically the Olympics for high school science research) for his novel, non-invasive paper sensor to detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer before they become invasive, for only 3 cents in 5 minutes (no specialized training or bulky equipment needed). The sensor can also look at cancer drug resistance and how effective a cancer treatment is, and look at E.coli, salmonella, and rotavirus in food and water safety and blood borne pathogens such as AIDS/HIV and other STDs. In addition to the Moore award, Jack won the Google award for “Solving a large and seemingly impossible problem with a simple solution with broad impacts”; his prize money totals over $100,000.
“Super-Awesome” Sylvia - ”Super-Awesome” Sylvia started making and tinkering with things when she was 7, and always loved to try out new things. One year after visiting Maker Faire, she and her dad were inspired to create a web-show about making things called “Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show”, where she shows kids and adults that making things can be fun, easy and more rewarding than just buying something purpose built. Now 11 years old and nearly a million views later, she’s covered everything from hobby rocketry, to sewable soft circuits, to simple Arduino projects. The show has garnered attention from parents and educators the world over finding that something about the show gets students interested in making things and learning something along the way.
Taylor Wilson – In his own words, Taylor Wilson’s life “revolves around Nuclear Science and Radioactivity.” At fourteen, he became the youngest person in the world to create Nuclear Fusion and only the 31st person to do it privately outside of government and industry. He works at two labs, one in his house (where he conducts most of his Nuclear Chemistry work) and one at the University of Nevada in Reno (home to his reactor and neutron source development research). He has been featured in media ranging from Popular Science to CNN, and had the chance to meet President Obama at the White House Science Fair in February. In June, he was awarded the Thiel Fellowship (inclusive of a $100,000 grant over two years).
Susannah Benjamin – Susannah Benjamin first picked up a camera at age 11 when her mother gave her a point-and-shoot for Christmas. She had never considered photography an art form before then, but soon fell in love with the medium and realized how powerful it had become, particularly in the past 10 years. Since then, she has had a one-track mind for photography; the summer she turned 17 she got signed with the agency Rona Represents. Today, she shoots professionally and has been featured in magazines worldwide. She also shot the back cover of Beyoncé’s DVD, “4: Live at Roseland,” after being her press photographer for a concert at Roseland Ballroom. Susannah’s work is highly conceptual and is very centered on the interactions between people and the narrative involved. Her work explores social issues, particularly those involving teenage girls. Over time, her photos have become more and more complex as she transforms her schoolmates into entirely new creatures, ranging from thorn-covered roses to winged women. She draws from literature, mythology, psychology, and more. Her work often explores the no man’s land between childhood and adolescence, as well as themes of metamorphosis, school, and isolation.
Nikhil Goyal– Nominated by notable educator Diane Ravitch as the next U.S. Secretary of Education and lauded as an “emerging voice of his generation,” 17-year-old Nikhil Goyal is the author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School (Alternative Education Resource Organization). His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox and Friends, Fox Business: Varney & Co., NBC, and Huffington Post. Nikhil has spoken to thousands at conferences and TEDx events around the world from Qatar to Spain and has guest lectured at Baruch College in New York. He is leading a Learning Revolution movement to transform the American school system. A senior at Syosset High School, he lives with his family in Woodbury, New York.
Meera Srinivasan - “There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them” – Vicki Baum. This has always held true for Meera Srinivasan, a performer, choreographer, and mentor/teacher of Bharatanatyam (classical South Indian dance). She has studied both the theoretical and practical aspects of this art form for over nine years from her teacher, Dr. Joyce Paul. Her additional training in both classical Indian vocal and piano have led Meera to not just like art, but love it. Meera has performed at several prestigious festivals and venues, completing her solo debut recital (Arangetram) at the age of thirteen. This year, she placed in the top three at the internationally-acclaimed Bharatanatyam dance competition in Cleveland, Ohio. As a sophomore in the gifted program at Interlake High School, she finds classical art to still hold much relevance and hopes to share that sentiment. She also maintains a blog on dance – visit www.meerasrinivasan.wordpress.com.
Alec Urbach – Alec is the Founder and Executive Director of non-profit Giving from the Ground Up, which produces unique cartoon-animated film curricula and educational comic books in Science, Math and Hygiene as well as illustrated storybooks tackling difficult social issues. Bridging the learning divide for children in developing nations, it has served over 240,000 children to date in Ghana, Togo and Botswana, coming to Central & South America in 2013. An award-winning filmmaker who has studied Animation at Harvard and film-making at New York Film Academy (NYFA), Alec produces professional videomercials and documentaries for not-for-profit organizations, social entrepreneurs, businesspeople and speakers as CEO of his company, Alec Urbach Productions. He has been recognized internationally for his work. This summer, he was a torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympics, and received a full merit scholarship to study at Cambridge University. He is also a recipient of the Presidential Service Award.
Greer Gates - At 7, Greer wanted to support a friend with cancer by making bracelets to sell, raising money for cancer research. Now 15, she has sold over $48,000, developed additional products, created a business, recruited help, and managed volunteers, all while maintaining good grades. In addition, she recently completed an outline for a book that would show kids how to start their own philanthropic and business projects. Greer was named a 2012 Washington State Jefferson Award Winner for public service, also winning the national nomination to attend the Gala in Washington D.C. She has been profiled on KOMO 4 news, KING 5 Evening Magazine and New Day Northwest, Fox 13 news, and the national news show Fox and Friends.
Joshua Meier - Joshua Meier has a broad range of interests including science, history, entrepreneurship, and ancient Hebraic texts. His passion for science began at age 4 when he received his first computer game as a birthday gift. At the age of 5, he opened his first email account, and by 8, began programming. Later, Joshua’s interests expanded to cultural roots – he placed first in the world at the International Jerusalem Contest and two years later, sixth place at the International Bible Contest. He integrates science and history through entrepreneurship where he specializes in revitalizing ancient texts as modern iPhone and iPad apps. In his high school laboratory, he researched and discovered novel molecular properties of mitochondria in stem cells which could lead to improved stem cell and cancer therapies. Joshua’s contagious excitement for science has led him to win top awards at Intel ISEF and be named a Google Science Fair finalist.
Catherine Wong - Catherine is a tinkerer, a hacker, and a believer in daring to dream. A rising senior, her passion is design for the “other 90 percent”- that is, the global majority in developing countries without access to basic resources. Her current project focuses on creating diagnostic tools, including a Bluetooth-enabled stethoscope and electrocardiograph (EKG), that are compatible with mobile phones to allow for cost-effective healthcare over global cellular networks. She holds a provisional patent on the devices and has been recognized for this work at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and presented at Google headquarters as a finalist in the Google Science Fair this July. She continued research at MIT this summer. In her free time, she perfects paper airplane designs in the back of math class and tries to fix things that she’s broken, while raiding them for spare parts.
Carter Jimenez-Jenkins - After hearing that $20 dollars can save someone’s life, Carter Jimenez Jenkins started a non-profit, Students for Safe Water, that thus far has raised nearly $30,000 to build water and sanitation projects in Third World countries. He gives talks at schools to build awareness that for twenty dollars, you, too, can be a superhero, and developed a corporate matching program that magnified his profits from his fund-raising efforts. Carter also wrote a moving short story about child abuse that won a Scholastic gold medal at Carnegie Hall this year. He recently returned from New York, where he photographed Manhattan with a National Geographic photographer as his mentor. Carter has entrepreneurial dreams. He is constantly trying to figure out gadgets he can invent that will make the world better, only to find out that someone else already invented it. Currently, he is writing a book he hopes will help young people pursue their creative dreams.
Sujari Britt – Cellist Sujari Britt showed her prodigious talent and uncanny devotion to and understanding of music from a very early age. Now 11 years old, she began formal study of the cello at age five, following her study on the violin, and piano. Sujari was the 2011-12 recipient of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studies with noted pedagogue Marion Feldman. She was recently awarded a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award through From the Top; she performed on From the Top/ in Fall 2011. In November 2009, Sujari had the honor of performing with Alisa Weilerstein at the White House for President Obama, the First Lady, and their distinguished guests, where she was brought to the attention of many notables in the classical music industry. In addition to being a member of JoSunJari*, a string trio with her sister Joelle (violin), and her brother Sunnaj (violin), Sujari also enjoys a rigorous academic program through home instruction, and expresses a variety of special talents and interests including acting, running, music composition, sketching, fiction writing, and painting!
Hannah Parish and Kendrick Griffin - While they’ve only been singing together for one year, Hannah and Kendrick sound as one when on stage. They joined forces for their high school Celebrate the Arts assembly, performing a One Republic song they had practiced for merely three weeks. Since then they have appeared at open mics at the Redmond Firehouse and Soul Food Books, as well as a benefit concert for this year’s Relay for Life helping to raise over $800 for the event. Even though they are new to performing, singing has been a passion for both young ladies since childhood. Singing in her church choir, as well as around the house, Hannah has always enjoyed song. And Kendrick is a natural musician having taught herself guitar and piano, as well as playing the violin since fourth grade. This year they hope to record some of their own music and spend more time on stage in between balancing their high school AP classes and dance team practices.