x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Blurring Boundaries

Tucson, AZ, United States
May 3rd, 2013

Watch video from the event

Please install flash player to see this video.

More videos from the TEDx YouTube Channel »

View photos from the event on Flickr

About this event

This is the first annual TEDxUniversityofArizona event, curated by Honors Composition students.

This event asks us to blur boundaries: between the rational and non-rational, between the outcast and the accepted, between sleep and waking, between the US and other nations. As a TED community committed to spreading ideas in the Borderlands, may we continue to question boundaries wherever we encounter them.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Dr. Pat Willerton
    Russia’s glorious history and rich culture have intrigued Pat Willerton all his life. His Russian odyssey began when his dad gave the ten-year-old a Red Army Chorus record, followed by his mom taking him to see the 8-hour Soviet film of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It was in the 1980’s USSR that Moscow friends helped him begin the search for the “Russian soul,” and his years as a University of Arizona professor have entailed publications and teaching focused on this end. Even if authoritarian, Russia was never an “evil empire” for Pat, whose talk challenges cartoon-character stereotypes and misleading common wisdom as he encourages others to seek the elusive Russian soul.
  • Daniel Wendler
    How can we make sure everyone has a community where they feel accepted ? For many people -- the awkward, the shy, or the simply misunderstood -- life is a lonely experience, and good friends are hard to come by. Daniel Wendler experienced this firsthand. He has Asperger's Syndrome, which is a neurological condition that prevented him from learning social skills naturally. Without the social skills to make friends or defend himself from bullies, Daniel grew up an outcast. However, Daniel did not let his challenges define him. When he realized that his struggles were due to his lack of social skills, he decided to study social interaction like a foreign language. Over time, he manually taught himself the social skills that he was unable to learn automatically. He used his newfound skills to reach out to other "outsiders" and discovered the power of close relationships and genuine community. Today, he works to share what he learned with others. He works as a social skills coach and runs an online resource -- -- that has been read by over 180,000 people. He believes that everyone deserves a place where they belong, and that all of us have something in common with the awkward kid sitting alone in the cafeteria.
  • Lynn Konrad
    Lynn Konrad is a freshman pursuing a double major in Accounting and French with a minor in International Business. Active within the University community, Lynn is involved in both artistic and business activities, and has spoken at the New Directions in Critical Theory Conference. A self-declared agnostic, Lynn is fascinated by different attitudes toward religion, and believes that faith can extend beyond doctrine to personal and artistic realms.
  • Brian McElroy
    Brian is a freshman studying NSCS (Neuroscience & Cognitive Science) and Creative Writing. He has been employed previously at the U of A as a lab intern in the department of neuroscience but is presently a research assistant at the Higgins Sleep Lab, which is also in the department of neuroscience. On the side he is employed at the local theater company Live Theatre Workshop as a stage manager, actor, and teacher. His passions include the brain, fantasy RPGs, classical guitar, politics, and absurdist theatre.

Venue and Details

Integrated Learning Center Room 150
1500 East University Blvd
Tucson, AZ, 85721
United States
More about the venue »

Event Type (what is this?) University

This event occurred in the past.
See more TEDxUniversityOfArizona events »

Organizer 219288

Rachael Wendler
Tucson, AZ, United States

View Profile »


Nina Wheeler
Graphic Designer
Lauren Niday
Development Coordinator
Lynn Konrad
Programming Co-Chair
Jack Carlson
Programming Co-Chair
Amy Allen
Registration Director
Theo Jones
Web Designer
Conor Miller
Social Media Coordinator
Sami Wood
Marketing Specialist
Jimmy Dolan
Jinny Huh
Pre-Conference Programming Co-Chair
Brian McElroy
Pre-Conference Programming Co-Chair
Dillon Manzanares
Program Designer