x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Break Through

This event occurred on
March 26, 2011
11:00am - 7:00pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
Chicago, IL
United States

TEDxIIT was organized by a group of undergraduates who wanted to bring a TED experience to their university. Part of their motivation was to give the members of the university community a place to share their ideas with each other and the world. They believed that the point of a TEDx event should be to honor the spirit of TED as well as the place that follows the 'x.' As such the speakers were all members of the IIT community, in on way or another. The theme of the day was "Break Through," fitting for an inaugural event, but also chosen to emphasize another motivation: to find speakers who have yet to break through onto the world stage, as well as those who have broken through before.

565 West Adams Street
Chicago, IL, 60616
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­I­I­T events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Marshall Brown

Marshall Brown is an assistant professor at IIT College of Architecture. He lectures widely on the topic of mash-up urbanism, the idea of using and combining data, presentation, or functionality from two or more sources to create new services. The basis of Brown’s mash-up lies in the indeterminate nature of cities, which he sees as changing minute by minute and year by year.

Jeff Chiles

Jeff Chiles is a current student at Illinois Institute of Technology. From Plymouth, Minn., he recently completed his undergraduate courses for a double major in electrical and computer engineering, and is now a research assistant with the High Performance Integrated Circuits and Microsystems Lab in the ECE department at IIT. During his undergraduate time, he became closely involved with the Camras Scholars Program. As vice president of the Camras Student Executive Board in 2009, he led the initial development of the Intuitive Modules in Engineering Education program, and he continues to see it through its initial deployment in Chicago Public Schools.

Arthur DiVito

While serving as a graduate teaching assistant in the mathematics department at Illinois Institute of Technology, Arthur DiVito, a Chicago native, discovered a passion for teaching, eventually earning a Distinguished Professor Award from Harold Washington College for the teaching of mathematics. In 1986, he was approached by IIT to head the mathematics division of the IIT Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enhancement (SMILE). SMILE is a nationally funded and recognized program for K–12 teachers that works to develop outstanding pedagogical practices in physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics.

Mike Hettwer

Over the last decade, Mike Hettwer’s travels have taken him on seven expeditions to more than 60 countries. He has photographed dinosaur and archaeology expeditions to the Sahara and Gobi deserts, working with renowned Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno. He also shot a photography book with Meave and Louise Leakey, on their hunt for human origins in the Lake Turkana area of Kenya. His photos have appeared in more than 2,500 magazines, newspapers, books, and websites, including National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic TV, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, the United Nations Yearbook, CNN, BBC, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, PBS, NPR, Science, Nature, Discover, Wired, New Scientist, Scientific American, and USA Today. In addition to his photography, he is also a serial entrepreneur who has built several web / consulting companies. Mike is also co-organizer of TEDx Midwest and has attended the TED conference for 10 years.

Laura Hosman

Laura Hosman is assistant professor of political science at Illinois Institute of Technology. Prior to joining IIT in fall 2009, Hosman held two postdoctoral positions, at both the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Southern California, where she began researching information and communication technologies in the developing world—ICT4D—particularly in terms of its potential effects on socio-cultural factors, human development, and economic growth. Presently, she works on ICT-in-education projects, researching the role of public-private partnerships in bringing technology to the developing world, and urging an interdisciplinary, multi-industry, collaborative approach to the study and implementation of ICT4D in general. Her in-the-field ICT4D research has taken her to Macedonia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Haiti.

Mark Jones

Mark Jones works as the head of service design at IDEO Chicago. A thought leader in the Health Services practice at IDEO Chicago, Jones is committed to designing memorable services that humanize the health care experience, recognizing that positive patient outcomes can and should be combined with positive service experiences. He has worked closely with such industry giants as the American Red Cross, Blue Cross/Shield, and Geisinger to create innovative offerings that extend the continuity of care and address the unmet needs of everyone from patients and doctors to insurers and pharmaceutical companies. He is especially interested in bridging the physical-digital divide by integrating new ideas and technology—electronic medical records, the Medical Home care model, and convenient self-care services—into current practices.

Tom Tresser

Tom Tresser is a consultant, producer, educator and trainer works with individuals, companies and communities to leverage and amplify their creative assets in order to solve problems, create economic value and trigger civic engagement. In 2007 he designed and produced training programs for the provincial government of Saskatchewan on how to use the arts and creativity for local economic development. He was director of cultural development at Peoples Housing, in north Rogers Park, Chicago, where he created a community arts program that blended the arts, education and micro-enterprise. Tom has acted in some 40 shows and produced over 100 plays, special events, festivals and community programs. He has taught a number of classes on art, creativity and civic engagement for Loyola University, School of the Art Institute, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and DePaul University. Tom also consults with arts organizations on strategic planning, audience development and peer-to-peer marketing.

Adam Flynn & Jeff Kantarek

Adam Flynn began his career in the United States Navy’s elite Nuclear Propulsion Program specializing in the power plant and emergency propulsion systems of the USN’s Los Angeles Class nuclear fast-attack submarines. Jeff Kantarek co-founded and was the second Vice President of Pumping Station: One, a Chicago area not-for-profit dedicated to DIY innovations and hands-on technical education. It was at PS:One that Adam met Jeff and together they founded ForeLight, LLC, a collacboration of forward-thinking individuals founded on the belief that although the challenges facing our communities today are many,the number of potential right answers is limited only by our collective ability to innovate and imagine new paths. From community outreach and education to cutting-edge R&D, ForeLight is actively making good on the company’s promise that everything is going to be okay.

Organizing team


Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • Anthony Scatchell
  • Phil Monday
  • Dmitriy Vysotskiy
  • Celeste Wegrzyn
  • Henri Idrovo
  • Jun He
  • Vikram Ramanathan