x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Future of X

This event occurred on
February 24, 2014
8:00am - 4:00pm PST
(UTC -8hrs)
Palo Alto, CA
United States

2014 marked TEDxPaloAltoHighSchool's inaugural year. With over 10 speakers covering multiple disciplines, "The Future of X" inspired the Paly students and staff.

Palo Alto High School (Haymarket Theater)
50 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, CA, 94303
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Palo­Alto­High­School events


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

Katherine Watts

A West Texas native with a broad interest in natural products chemistry. She obtained her doctorate degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying molecules from marine-derived microorganisms. As a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, she studies how soil bacteria create antibiotics and other drug-like molecules. This knowledge allows for the engineering of new bacterial strains to produce novel antibiotics and drugs. Katharine will begin her independent scientific career as an assistant professor at California Polytechnic State University in the fall of 2014.

Emily Freund

Dr. Feund grew up in Palo Alto, California. She left the state to earn her B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She returned to California in 2005, where she enrolled in graduate school at UC Berkeley and began training as a geneticist with Dr. Barbara Meyer. She studied the connection between gene expression regulation and chromosome structure, earning a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology in 2011. She is currently a NIH IRACDA postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, which allows her to do research while also teaching as a visiting professor at San Jose State University. At Stanford she works in Dr. Jin Li’s lab, where she is currently setting up a screening system to look for regulators of RNA editing. Dysregulation of RNA editing has been linked to neurological diseases and cancers, and its complete loss is lethal. Emily is passionate about the rapidly expanding field of personal genomics, which will soon be an indispensable resource for improving patient health.

Mark Jacobson

Dr. Jacobson teaches at Stanford University where he is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy. In a TED sponsored debate: Does the World Need Nuclear Energy? Dr Jacobson debated Stuart Brand arguing the merits of solar and wind energy and the environmental and political threats posed by the expansion of nuclear power. His recent appearance on David Letterman highlighted his research into the great potential of alternative energy resources for healing the planet.

Marc Berman

A Palo Alto High School graduate who currently serves as a Palo Alto City Councilman. In his campaign in 2012, Berman supported ideas such as revitalizing Palo Alto’s infrastructure, maintaining a substantive budget, and building the Palo Alto community, by welcoming diversity and creating more opportunities for youth in Palo Alto. Berman’s experience as senior class president, advertising manager of The Campanile, and goalkeeper of his champion soccer team at Paly, will enrich his speech about leadership with personal experiences and insights.

Susan Ee

Susan has eaten mezze in the old city of Jerusalem, surfed the warm waters of Costa Rica, and played her short film at a major festival. She used to be a lawyer but loves being a writer because it allows her imagination to bust out and go feral. Her debut novel was the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days series).Angelfall has been translated into 19 languages and the film rights have been optioned by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Good Universe. The second novel in the series, World After, was published November 2013.

Daniel Russell

A senior research scientist at Google. He investigates and analyzes Google users’ habits and practices in an effort to improve the search experience. His innovative Google-A-Day encourages users to flex their searching skills to find answers to such intriguing questions as: When Maurice Sendak first pitched the idea for the book that would eventually become “Where The Wild Things Are”, what was the title?

Nahid Alam

Nahid loves building all things hardware and actively involved with DIY Maker movement. Earlier she proposed & co-led Intel’s strategy of Maker Movement – Intel Galileo. Being a Sr. Design Engineer, she worked on designing the World’s 1st 14nm SoC and low power microcontroller technologies at Intel. She organizes a monthly hardware hack Meetup, a strong advocate of STEM education- volunteering in various STEM robotics workshops.

Steve Bono

A former professional football player (NFL), volunteer coach for the Paly Vikings.

Sylvia Targ

Sylvia Targ discusses biracial identity and revolutionary ideas regarding how we view ourselves and others. Sylvia is an avid intern at Stanford Behavioral Sciences & Psychology, and she will conduct research to test her hypotheses as a part of her internship.

Cathy Rong

A student at Palo Alto High School ('14). She has started her own photography business and has won several awards for her photography including the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. She will attend New York University majoring in Media, Culture, and Communications and Business Entertainment in the fall.

Will Robertson

Hello. I’m Will ‘Steve’ Robertson, a junior at Paly. My life until this point has been one of computer games and reading the news. Looking at the world as it now stands and thinking about the impact I will leave on the world, however, I want to change that.

Stephen Ou

A high school student by day and an entrepreneur by night. He has built a successful online business which comprises of eight popular web applications with 500,000 users total. His work has been recognized by Forbes, Business Insider, TechCrunch, Mashable and more. He was also named one of the ten most inspirational entrepreneurs under 21. He is currently a senior in Castro Valley High School ('14).

Srinivas Mandyam

The co-founder and CTO of Tynker, a company that develops interactive curriculums online to teach students beginning in kindergarten computer programming. He has previously worked with Plusmo and Covigo, both technology companies that are now associated with AT&T and Motorola. Now, As Tynker verges on 5,000,000 participants, Mandyam has effectively shared his innovative passion for computer science with children from all communities.

Elizabeth Pollom

Dr. Elizabeth Pollom is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She began studying virology while obtaining her B.A. in Biochemistry from DePauw University. Working with ebolavirus throughout her undergraduate studies, she developed a strong interest in viruses, particularly viruses with ribonucleic acid (RNA) genomes. This interest was amplified as she worked with the RNA secondary structures of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses while earning her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina. Currently, she is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University studying RNA structure and function of the poliovirus genome during viral replication. Her current research hopes to provide insight into the shape and structure of replication complexes of positive sense RNA viruses.

Organizing team


Palo Alto, CA, United States


Palo Alto, CA, United States
  • Andrew Lu
    Lead Curator
  • Fabian Garduno
    Asst. Curator
  • Annie Chen
    Head of Design
  • Yumi Temple
    Head of Treasury
  • Jonathan Kosaka
    Head of Marketing and Technology
  • Cameron Aishin
    Co-Head of Speakers
  • Rachel Price
    Co-Head of Speakers
  • Rachel Kellerman
    Staff Advisor
  • William Friebel
    Staff Advisor