x = independently organized TED event

Theme: "A Whirlwind of Opportunity"

This event occurred on
February 17, 2012
5:30pm - 8:30pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
Knoxville, TN
United States

At TEDxUTK, we will explore "A Whirlwind of Opportunity" and the various ways each of us can view the world around us with a fresh perspective. TEDxUTK will highlight the members of our university and community who can educate and inspire our diverse group of students, faculty, and surrounding community members, showcasing those who have a voice to be heard. Our goal is to engage our audience, broaden their intellectual horizons, and ignite a passion in them to create sustainable change within our world, possibly in a way they may have never considered before.

Room 111
Art and Architecture Building
1715 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN, 37996
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Alex Lavidge

Alex Lavidge founded the 100% volunteered-powered nonprofit organization Knoxville Overground (KO) upon returning to his hometown of Knoxville, TN in 2008 from the San Francisco Bay Area. During its first year of operation, KO either launched or helped organize over 144 different various endeavors and events as well as spearheaded Knoxville’s first entrepreneur community center and coworking workspace for startups, the self-employed, social entrepreneurs and the surrounding creative class community. His community relations and business development firm, Lavidge Unlimited, is headquartered at Technology 2020 where he works primarily with web-based and cleantech startups in the East Tennessee region.

Chris Cherry

Dr. Chris Cherry is an assistant professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He is interested in a number of research areas, including transportation planning, economics, and sustainability. He, along with a team of professors within the Bioengineering Department, is currently piloting an electric bike sharing system for the UTK campus, the first project of its kind nationwide. Dr. Cherry also recently received the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation in Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) to study motorization and sustainability in China.

Derek Craker

Derek Craker is a sophomore double-majoring in Psychology and Spanish. He is a mentor in the fUTure program at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and works for Maxim Healthcare Services which provides assistance to adults and children with intellectual disabilities. He plans to research language learning and bilingualism, and pursue a graduate degree in Psychology. Derek hopes to one day influence policy-making against discrimination and hate crimes in the United States, as well as advocate for Human Rights internationally.

Gawan Fiore and Yoni Kalin

Gawan Fiore and Yoni Kalin are social entrepreneurs who strive to find active ways to benefit their community, whether through their main organization, the Color My World Project, or their other organizations, Mealtime Melodies and Fishing 4 Success. The Color My World Project recycles crayons from family style restaurants across the country and donates them to underfunded or nonprofit schools and early childhood care centers. In everything they do, they hope to inspire others to take an active stake in their community and help create a more socially conscious society. Both Gawan and Yoni are seventeen-year-old high school seniors in Washington, D.C.

Savan Kharel

Savan Kharel is a fourth-year doctoral student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the Physics Department. His research interest focuses in understanding matter and interactions by investigating underlying physical and mathematical structures of quantum theory of particles and gravity. He intends to continue working in aspects of fundamental physics and cosmology as a postdoctoral researcher.

Stephen Levy

Stephen Levy spent thirty years in army research and was the Army project engineer responsible for the design, construction, and promotion of the Army Pulse Power Center, a $25 million advanced 30 megawatt testing laboratory for developing directed energy weaponry. Steve was hired by the Electronic Power Research Institute (EPRI) to be the Director of the EPRI Power Electronics Applications Center in Knoxville, appointed by the Ballistics Missile Command to their technical advisory board, and appointed an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Textiles Center. He is now co-teaching solar energy at the UTK in the Materials Science Department and presently serves as Technical Director of the Tennessee Solar Energy Association.

Alex Parris

Alex Parris is a senior double-majoring in Psychology and English with a minor in French at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is involved with multiple organizations on campus, including the Black Law Students Association, the Minority Achievement Program, and the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature. She is passionate about education reform and hopes to someday open a charter school in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Tyler Rowe

Tyler Rowe is a first generation college student majoring in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He is an Ambassador for the College of Engineering and has participated in the department’s co-op program; he has also agreed to work in a series of internships with Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant in Augusta, Georgia. He plans to pursue graduate degrees in either Nuclear Engineering or Nuclear Physics and obtain a career working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Organizing team


Knoxville, TN, United States