x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Unknown Knowns

This event occurred on
January 25, 2014
1:00pm - 4:00pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
Boston, MA
United States

TEDxNortheasternU brings a number of diverse professionals in the Boston community together to share their ideas with Northeastern University students in a forum designed to encourage discussion and enlightenment. The inaugural theme of Unknown Knowns promoted exploration of ideas attendees may not realize they know.

Raytheon Amphitheater
120 Forsyth Street
Boston, MA
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Marquis Cabrera

Marquis Cabrera is the Founder and Chairman of Foster Skills – an award-winning social enterprise dedicated to empowering foster children to become successful, productive citizens. He is the youngest to win the Massachusetts Innovator of the Year (Boston Globe) and Massachusetts Young Nonprofit Professional (Massachusetts Nonprofit Network).Earlier in his career, Marquis conceptualized and engineered a computer program that produced IDs used to increase school district security in Middletown. He interned in the White House Chief of Staff’s Office under President Obama, served as a judicial intern at the Massachusetts Appeals and Supreme Judicial Courts, and helped to manage City Year’s national recruitment process. Later, Marquis joined Wayfair – the largest online retailer for home in the United States – and consulted in areas from talent management to strategic partnerships to retail operations. He also worked for Wefunder – a Y-Combinator, Paul Graham-backed startup– and helped to champion the Startup Jobs Act. He has coached WHITESPACE, Black Startup, and startups at his alma mater, Northeastern University. Marquis was selected as The Case Foundation’s Finding Fearless Grantee and Microsoft’s YouthSpark Changemaker. He was a plenary speaker at Harvard Law School and the 2011 Opportunity Nation Conference. Marquis has been featured in publications like Reuters, NPR, and The Boston Globe.

David DeSteno

David DeSteno is a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, where he directs the Social Emotions Group. A Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and Editor-in-chief of the American Psychological Association’s journal Emotion, he is the author of the forthcoming book The Truth About Trust. DeSteno earned his PhD from Yale University and has written for publications including the New York Times and Boston Globe. Dr. DeSteno’s research centers on the role of emotion in social cognition and social behavior. His lab takes a multilevel and multiprocess approach to examining the psychological functions, phenomenologies, and sequelae that are associated with discrete emotional states. Current projects focus on the effects of emotions on several types of social judgment (e.g., moral decision making, risk assessment, prejudice) as well as on behaviors fundamental to social living (e.g., trust and cooperation, prosocial action, organizational behavior, altruism, aggression).

Nick Dougherty

Nick Dougherty is a computer engineer by trade, a social entrepreneur at heart, and a man of many mottos. He lives by one in particular, "if I am not making your life better, then I am not doing my job." While in school at Boston University, he co-founded Project Mailbox, a non-profit whose mission is to grow the next generation of social entrepreneurs and philanthropists. After graduating Boston University he co-founded Verbal Applications Inc, a company that makes healthcare communication about improving the lives of patients. Their mission is to give a voice to the voiceless. He is a healthcare blogger for the Huffington Post and is a guest speaker and lecturer on mHealth and entrepreneurship.

Justin Dowd

Justin Dowd will be one of the first and youngest civilians to fly to space next year. He won the Metro International Race for Space in 2012. Justin will fly aboard an experimental shuttle with private company Space Expedition Corporation (SXC). The Race for Space contest was held in 22 countries worldwide. Justin created a one of a kind animated video using specialized chalkboards explaining Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. He will cover training missions and spaceflight in Metro International as a journalist and space ambassador for SXC. Justin is a senior physics and math major at Northeastern University. He worked as a science writer for Metro U.S. after winning the flight to space. Justin also created animated videos using specialized chalkboards to visually explain the concepts in his columns.

Dr. Peter Furth

Dr. Peter Furth has been a Professor of Civil Engineering at Northeastern University since 1981 and is now the leader of Northeastern’s program in Transportation Engineering. He earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees at MIT and has published more than 50 papers and book chapters. His bicycle-related research projects include studying the safety of cycle tracks in Montreal, planning and evaluating a potential greenway network for the Boston area, network analysis of low-stress bicycle routes in San Jose (CA), and analyzing the operational characteristics of different bike lane configurations. He is the inventor of the Bicycle Priority Lane marking used in Massachusetts and in Minnesota. He has studied transit priority practices in European cities including Zurich and Brussels, and helped introduce the now-popular concept of conditional priority (priority to late buses only) as a means of improving service reliability. He is currently leading a project for the National Science Foundation looking at flexible traffic signal control logic that helps facilitate transit signal priority. Dr. Furth is active with the Transportation Research Board, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Boston Cyclists Union, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, and Boston’s bicycle advisory group.

Emily Green

Emily Green is a long-time technology sector executive and thought leader, currently the CEO and Chief Lunch Lady of Smart Lunches, Inc., a rapidly growing startup bringing fresh nutritious meals to children away from home with an award-winning online ordering and delivery platform. Emily was granted a B.S.L. cum laude in linguistics from Georgetown University and an M.S.E. in artificial intelligence and computer graphics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Engineering. From 2005 to 2011 she led Yankee Group, a storied technology research firm she helped acquire, leading a transition to exploring the connected future it calls Anywhere. Prior to joining Yankee Group, she had been the President and CEO of Cambridge Energy Research (CERA). She is a past Chairman of MITX, the nation's largest Internet advocacy association, and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Mass Technology Collaborative, and as a Director on the Board of Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASD: CWST). ANYWHERE, her book on the business impact of global connectivity, was published in 2010 by McGraw-Hill. She was named a Mass High-Tech All-Star in 2011. She lives in Boston with her husband, Jack, and daughter, Lydia.

Amy Henion

Amy Henion is a performer, artist, designer, blogger, and current senior at Northeastern. She studies communications and holds minors in theatre and East Asian studies. Her passions for design and sustainable living came to fruition after discovering the tiny house movement last winter. Amy seeks to build her own tiny house within the next five years in order to attain housing security, lessen dependence on material goods, and diminish her impact on the environment. In the meantime, she is working to network with others in the tiny house movement and to help the movement grow. Amy currently works as a marketing intern for Northeastern University Career Development. After graduation, she aims to work in the arts administration field as well as freelance as a performer.

Sean Patrick Mulroy

Sean Patrick Mulroy has performed his work in art galleries, literary festivals, concert venues, and universities in 10 countries and on 3 continents. He is a 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow, currently residing in Boston while working on multiple projects in music, literature and television media. He co-hosts the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge, and co-curates the monthly LGBTQ reading series, Moonlighting.

John Pepper

John Pepper is the Chairman and former CEO of local burrito chain Boloco, which he founded 17 years ago. They have 22 restaurants and over 400 team members serving globally inspired burritos, bowls, smoothies and shakes. The company aims to positively impact the lives and futures of our people through bold and inspired food and practices by building a culture that goes above and beyond to delight its guests. Boloco is 2 Star Certified by the Green Restaurant Association and continually strives to improve its environ-mentality. He is a founding investor and board member for other local food chain, b. good. Pepper is currently exploring new professional opportunities, including writing his first book.

Organizing team


  • Mary Tobin
    Head Organizer
  • Brandon Isaacson
    Head Speaker Coordinator
  • Lucy Schachter
    Speaker Consultant
  • Kristin Seidman
    Marketing Manager
  • Alexandra Duplin
    Speaker Coordinator
  • Chirag Kulkarni
    Sponsorship Coordinator
  • Andie Hyatt
    Operations Manager