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USciences Students Host First TEDxUSciences Conference

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on September 24, 2019


Each with their own big ideas, eight speakers graced the first TEDxUSciences stage on Sunday, September 22, 2019 in the Science and Technology Center to share their thoughts on everything from working to end poverty, finding your purpose in life, the need for safe injection sites, to recovering from substance use disorders.

The inaugural TEDxUSciences was established and organized by a group of USciences students who wanted to see this conference come to the University. They gathered an audience of USciences students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members. TEDx offers individuals the opportunity to independently organize their own conferences modeled after TED, a format conceived in 1984 with the mantra “to share ideas worth spreading.”

Speakers at TEDxUSciences included Shubhi Maheshwari PharmD’21; Barbara Kellar, DPT, assistant professor of physical therapy at USciences; Pablo Garron, executive program director  of Global Brigades, an organization dedicated to lifting communities out of poverty; Ken Dickinson P’68 and founder of SARPH, the Pennsylvania Recovering Pharmacist Program; Christa Hayburn, Founder of the Empower HER Voice movement; Kenda Istanbouli Ph/Tx’19; Laura Waite, PharmD, associate professor of clinical pharmacy; and Jeffrey Hom, policy advisor for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The day-long event also included two breakout sessions where attendees met with the speakers to discuss their points of view and big ideas in a more personal setting. 

“TEDxUSciences created a personal and enriching experience by providing a stage for the University’s own students, faculty, and community to share their ideas,” said Neil Shah PharmD’20, the chief organizer for TEDxUSciences. “This conference was born out of our desire to do something different at USciences. Something that would bring us together unlike any other event on campus.”

The idea came in June 2018 when the Honors Student Association executive board discussed upcoming activities. Despite some bumps in the road, 16 months later the group made the idea a reality. 

“It has been a long and incredible journey to plan TEDxUSciences, and we are so honored to have the opportunity to feature our speakers and their ideas on our stage,”said Shah. “The ideas we curated, we think, have the power to change attitudes, lives, and promote positive changes in our community, and ultimately the world.”

Categories: News, Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, USciences, Student Life, Honors Program, Event