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TEDxColumbiaCollege Spring Conference


Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT)

TEDxColumbiaCollege Spring Conference

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Student Admission (w/ Columbia/Barnard ID) Ended $10.00 $1.54
General Admission Ended $15.00 $1.82
VIP Seating Ended $25.00 $2.37

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Event Details

TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design -- three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. In fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share in a TED - like experience.

At TEDxColumbiaCollege and other TEDx events, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. 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.


Speakers for "Why Commit?' March 29, 2014

Talk 1:

John Kirkwood


John Kirkwood has been on the front end of making complex information uniquely accessible to the general public, businesses and the government through Internet technology since 1996. He began his career with the Department of Environmental Protection as a professional engineer. A strong understanding of technology coupled with his extensive fine art studies led to visual design of Internet communications. In 1997, John became New York City’s first New Media Strategist. He designed and developed NYCLink, New York City’s first official website, which later became NYC.gov. John worked for, and with, many agencies to launch their Internet media initiatives, including the Office of the Mayor of New York City, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Administration for Children Services, and the Department of Information Technology, among others. Concurrently, he began providing technology and communications services for non-profits through his consulting company, CityMouse, Inc. Following an aneurism and critical stroke in 2006, John re-launched his business, CityMouse, Inc. as a USBLN®-certified disability owned business enterprise. CityMouse helps large corporations and government agencies ensure their Internet marketing meets international and federal ADA regulations. Since his disabling brain aneurism, John has been an advocate for the disability and brain injury community. His story has been featured on CNN Radio “Cheated Death but Brain Can't Remember” as well as on Voice of America Business Channel, Disabilities at Work Radio "The Journey of John Kirkwood".

He received a BS Mechanical Engineering from the Fu Foundation School of Engineering at Columbia University in 1992.

Talk 2:

David Sable


David Sable MD directs healthcare and life science investing for the Special Situations Funds and is portfolio manager of the Special Situations Life Sciences Fund. After graduating from the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, he trained in obstetrics and gynecology at New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center, and in reproductive endocrinology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. He co-founded and served as director of the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey, and was founder and CEO of Assisted Reproductive Medical Technologies, a private company that was acquired in 1999.

After leaving clinical medicine, Dr. Sable managed a proprietary healthcare portfolio at Deutsche Bank before joining the Special Situations Funds. Dr. Sable is an adjunct in the department of biology at Columbia University, and teaches “Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology” at Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He has lectured on healthcare investing, policy, and biotechnology business development at the Wharton School, NYU, Rockefeller University and Rutgers; has delivered keynote addresses to the American Fertility Society, the Texas Fertility Society and the Mexican Fertility Society; and appeared on the CBS Morning News, ABC World News Tonight, NY1 News and PBS’ Nova. He serves as a director for the public companies Genenews and Hamilton Thorne, for the nonprofit organization Resolve, and is a member of the clinical advisory board for Ovascience, a Massachusetts-based public company developing advanced treatments for infertility. In addition to his academic publications, he has written for the Newark Star-Ledger, Yoga Journal, Xconomy, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, Wharton Magazine, the Columbia Spectator, and for Forbes Magazine.

Talk 3: Cem Garih, student speaker

Talk 4:

Maria Konnikova


Maria was born in Moscow, Russia and came to the United States when she was four years old. Her first ever book was written in Russian. It was five pages long and had something to do with trolls. When Maria was in fourth grade, she wrote a play. It took what felt like years to complete and all of 15 minutes to perform. The audience (of proud parents and siblings) raved. Maria cried when she realized that the sounds she kept hearing were not tears but suppressed—and then not so suppressed—laughter at the dead king who couldn’t stop wriggling as he lay on top of the two chairs that were supposed to symbolize his tomb. You know how the story ends. The chairs slid apart. The deceased monarch crashed to the floor. The room erupted. It was not how Maria had envisioned her first theatrical production.

Maria is currently working on an assortment of non-fiction and fiction projects. Her first book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking/Penguin, 2013), was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 16 languages. Her second book, on the psychology of the con, is scheduled for publication by Viking/Penguin next winter. Her writing has appeared online and in print in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Slate, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, The Boston Globe, The Observer, Scientific American MIND, WIRED, and Scientific American, among numerous other publications. Maria blogs regularly for The New Yorker and formerly wrote the “Literally Psyched” column for Scientific American and the popular psychology blog “Artful Choice” for Big Think. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied psychology, creative writing, and government, and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University. She previously worked as a producer for the Charlie Rose show on PBS. She still, on occasion, writes in Russian. She no longer writes plays.

Talk 5:

Lucien Smith

Lucien Smith is an artist based in Tribecca, New York. He is a painter and sculptor experimenting with the results of amalgamating various art genres, concepts, and techniques in his work. Forbes featured Smith in its 2012 list of 30 notable individuals under 30 in the category "Art & Style."

The incorporation of ready-made materials and use of collage references Dadaist doctrine; the impasto layering of oils on canvas, with the inclusion of molding paste and detritus, flirts with Matter Painting, as his non-representational renderings nod to the Art Informel or Tachisme movements of the ’40s and ’50s. With a concentration on process, Smith investigates the outcome of allowing his ideas to develop slowly, cultivating the dialogue created between concept and physicality/thought and object.[5] Smith articulates the insecurity and hesitancy of reaching for success through demolishing the very symbol of its possibility.

Talk 6:

Shane Snow


Shane Snow is a journalist and an entrepreneur. A graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he's the cofounder and Chief Creative Officer of Contently, a technology company whose mission is to build a better media world. Shane writes regularly for WIRED Magazine and Fast Company, and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Time, and Advertising Age. His first book, Smartcuts, comes out this fall.


Talk 7:

Tim Morehouse


Olympic Fencer Tim Morehouse is a Silver Medalist and three-time Olympic Team member, as well as an entrepreneur, business consultant, speaker, TV host and author. Dedicated to spreading the power of his sport, Morehouse has spearheaded the growth and development of fencing in the USA through his non-profit foundation, Fencing in the Schools, and innovative tech startup, Morehouse Revolution. Between his school assemblies, national TV appearances and speaking engagements, Morehouse has been able to uplift and educate hundreds of thousands of children and adults nationwide.

Drawing on his experience as a Teach for America alumnus and Olympian, in 2011 Morehouse founded Fencing in the Schools, a non-profit program dedicated to bringing the sport of fencing to under-served communities throughout the country. Fencing in the Schools is currently the largest introductory fencing program in the country serving over 10,000 students with plans to double in size in the upcoming year. As a result of his work advocating for and empowering youth, Morehouse has been honored by the White House as a Champion For Change and has fenced with President Obama on the White House lawn and Fencing in the Schools.

An innovator in the schools as well as outside them, Morehouse is also an entrepreneur who is actively working to revolutionize the technology of fencing in partnership with IDEO, one of the leading design and innovation companies in the world. Morehouse is seeking to modernize the existing technology of fencing with the ultimate goal to make the sport accessible to millions of new people using modern technology that will radically decrease the cost while at the same time making the sport more visually and functionally dynamic.

Morehouse’s passion for the sport stems from his own experience learning fencing as a kid in New York City’s Washington Heights, a story he tells in his autobiography, American Fencer: Modern Lessons from an Ancient Sport. He speaks regularly about his experience and the skills and power of setting Gold Medal Goals to diverse audiences of children and adults. In the past decade, Morehouse has become one of the most recognizable faces of fencing in the media and its most outspoken advocate. He regularly appears on national TV as an entertainment correspondent and guest including The Today Show, E! News, Access Hollywood, ABC News and Inside Edition. In 2010, Morehouse founded and produced the Fencing Masters Tournament, the largest spectator fencing competition in the U.S. and first nationally televised fencing tournament outside of the Olympics, a major accomplishment for fencing awareness in the US.

In 2013, Morehouse was named one of the top fifty Most Dynamic, Demanding, and Outspoken philanthropists in America by Town and Country Magazine and is the youngest recipient of Brandeis University's Alumni Achievement Award. In 2010 Fast Company named him one of the most influential alumni of the Teach For America program. In addition to his own advocacy work, Morehouse supports various non-profits in the education and empowerment sphere and is an Athlete Ambassador for sports-centric organizations Right to Play and Laureus.

Talk 8:

Thomas Roma


Twice the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowships (1982 and 1991) and a New York State Council for the Artris Fellowship (1973), Mr. Roma's work has appeared in one-person and group exhibitions internationally, including one-person shows with accompanying books at the Museum of Modern Art NY and the International Center of Photography. In 2003 he received a New York City Council Proclamation for contributions to the cultural and educational life of New York City and in 2011 the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

He has published twelve monographs including: Come Sunday (with an introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.), Found in Brooklyn (with an introduction by Dr. Robert Coles), Sunset Park, Higher Ground (with an introduction by Ian Frazier), Enduring Justice (with an introduction by Norman Mailer), Show & Tell, Sanctuary (with and introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.), Sicilian Passage, In Prison Air (with an introduction by John Szarkowski), On Three Pillars (with text by Phillip Lopate), House Calls with William Carlos Williams, MD (with an accompanying text by Dr. Robert Coles) and his 2010 publication Dear Knights and Dark Horses (with an introduction by Alec Wilkinson).

He has two new publications due out in 2014, The Waters of Our Time with a text by his son Giancarlo T. Roma in the Spring and In the Vale of Cashmere with a text by G. Winston James in the fall.

In 2010, the Wallach Gallery at Columbia University exhibited his work and published Pictures for Books, a catalogue including work from four of his series. The show traveled to Tulane University’s Newcomb Gallery in New Orleans in 2011. He has taught photography since 1983 at Yale, Fordham, Cooper Union, and The School of Visual Arts and in 1996 became the Director of the Photography Program at Columbia University School of the Arts where he is a Professor of Art. His work is in numerous collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal. He was also a founding contributing photographer to DoubleTake Magazine. Mr. Roma lives in Brooklyn with his wife Anna.

Talk 9: Asha Rosa, student speaker

Talk 10:

Justine Zinkin


Ms. Zinkin oversees Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners and Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union. These partner organizations pursue a shared mission of economic opportunity for low-income families through a signature package of affordable financial products and financial advisory services tailored to help low-income families improve their net worth and pursue long-term financial goals.

Ms. Zinkin joined Neighborhood Trust in 2002 upon earning her MBA from Columbia Business School. Ms. Zinkin has over 20 years of experience in not-for-profit and community development work. She served as Director of Economic Independence Programs at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development from 1999 to 2001, and served as Director of Workforce Development at Common Ground Community HDFC from 1995 to 1999. Ms. Zinkin also holds a BA from Brown University and an MS in Population Studies from Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

Talk 11:

Thomas Kamber


Tom Kamber is the founder and executive director of OATS, where he has helped over 10,000 senior citizens get online, built more than 30 free technology centers, created the seniorplanet.org digital community, and launched the Senior Planet Exploration Center—the country’s first technology-themed community center for older adults. His work has been covered in major national media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Univision, MSNBC, and the TODAY Show.

Tom teaches courses on social entrepreneurship and philanthropy at Columbia University and has published widely in academic journals on topics including housing policy, crime and geography, advertising strategy, broadband technology, and technology adoption by senior citizens. He is a co-founder and board member of the nonprofit Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance, which produced a GRAMMY-winning album in 2009, and is fluent in Spanish. Prior to founding OATS, Tom worked as a campaign manager on political campaigns, a branding strategist for a French-based IT corporation, a project manager on a democracy-building initiative in Moscow, and a tenant organizer working with low-income residents in Harlem and the South Bronx. He has a B.A. in Latin from Columbia College and a PhD in Political Science from the City University of New York.

Talk 12: Annalisa Castillo Meier, Student Speaker

Talk 13:

Sasha Cohen

Alexandra Pauline "Sasha" Cohen (born October 26, 1984) is a U.S. figure skater. She is the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, a three-time World Championship medalist, the 2003 Grand Prix Final Champion, and the 2006 U.S. Champion.


We hope that you can share your commitment with us this year, learn and grow from other people's and decide upon what your own path to pursue will be!

Have questions about TEDxColumbiaCollege Spring Conference? Contact TEDxColumbiaCollege

When & Where

Low Library, Columbia University
116th St and Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT)

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