TEDYouth 2013

The Spark
New Orleans, Louisiana
November 16, 2013

TEDYouth was a day-long event for students, with more than 20 live speakers -- scientists, explorers, artists (and more!). It took place on November 16, 2013, noon–7pm EST. The theme: "The Spark."

In 2013, TEDYouth moved south to the Civic Theatre in New Orleans, Louisiana.

While the conference happened, around the world more than 100 self-organized TEDxYouthDay events took place throughout the weekend. TEDYouth was webcast live, free of charge, in English, Spanish and Arabic.

At the conference, more than 20 scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, artists, performers (and more!) shared short lessons on what they do best. They dazzled us with mind-shifting stories, inspired us with creativity and made us want to dive even deeper into a broad array of topics.

The program was made up of three sessions, plus a lunch break with activities, demos, and a chance to meet the speakers. Attendance was free of charge for 400 middle and high school students from the New Orleans area.

Why New Orleans?

While New Orleans is known for its historical and cultural heritage, it is also a growing urban hub of innovation and experimentation in art, education, entrepreneurship, music and food. We were excited to invite students from the New Orleans area to participate in TEDYouth!

Speaker lineup

We are excited to share the lineup of our speakers from TEDYouth 2013! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more news and updates about speakers and talks.

  • Cynthia Bir is a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California who studies what happens to the body when it gets injured and how can we prevent injuries from happening in the first place. She's won two Emmy awards (yes, Emmy) for being one of the minds behind ESPN's TV show, Sport Science.
  • Karen Kosiba is a storm chaser and atmospheric scientist who focuses on how tornadoes and hurricanes form, and why some end up so much more disastrous than others. She is based at the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colorado.
  • James McLurkin works with "multi-robot systems" -- that is, swarm robots. As an assistant professor in computer science at Rice, McLurkin studies how small robots work together to produce large-scale group behavior.
  • Lolis Elie is an expert on all things culture in New Orleans -- not least of all, barbecue. He writes about music, food, and social change in his great city. Elie is currently a staff writer and story editor for the HBO series Treme.
  • McKenna Pope petitioned the CEO of Hasbro to ask him to promote gender equality in its advertising. Her request? Make a commercial for the Easy Bake Oven that shows boys and girls alongside each other -- because boys like to cook, too.
  • Joy Reidenberg is a well-respected researcher, who has dissected and studied a full-spectrum of animals including a sperm whale, giraffe, Burmese python, a dolphin lung and everything in between. She teaches at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
  • Jonathan Mannion is a photographer and filmmaker best-known for his portrait photography. His photographs have graced the covers of some of hip hop's most loved albums of the past 20 years.
  • Ron Finley grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.
  • Suzanne Simard studies "mother trees" -- the large, central trees in a forest that support young seedlings and the massive network of interconnected fungi that link forests underground. She's a professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
  • Erika DeBenedictis won the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search with her invention: software that makes spaceflight more fuel efficient. From Albuquerque, NM, she's now a student at CalTech.
  • Science blogger Rhett Allain writes about popular physics for WIRED. In the daytime he's an associate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana University.
  • Clayton Cameron is a legend on the drums, known for pushing the classic wire-brush technique to new heights of expression and swing. An inventor and writer, he plays in bands that tour the world.
  • Before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball, the legendary Negro League played world-class ball across America. Now, Tulane student Cam Perron helps tell the stories of these long-ago pioneering players -- and even helps them collect their pensions.
  • Tony DeRose heads up the Research Group at Pixar -- which means he thinks all day long about how to use math and technology to make animation ever more amazing.
  • At this year's Intel Science Fair, Henry Lin of Shreveport took home a $50,000 award for his work on modeling the behavior of distant clusters of galaxies.
  • Anne Knowles maps history onto geographical data -- uncovering new insights by looking at the geography where history took place. She's a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont.
  • In a work that's being called a "graffiti masterpiece," artist Brandan Bmike Odums painted portraits of civil rights heroes on the walls of the wrecked Florida housing complex, in the 9th Ward. He is the founder of 2-Cent Entertainment.
  • Bivian "Sonny" Lee grew up without a father -- his dad, Bivian Lee, a cornerback for the Saints, died when he was 3. Now, his Son of a Saint Foundation supports fatherless young men through sports and mentorship.
    13-year-old entrepreneur .
  • Maya Penn makes eco-friendly clothes and accessories -- and gives away 10-20% of the profits
  • As a little kid, Cole Plante loved to play with his parents' music equipment. Now, at 16, he's a star DJ playing clubs around the world in front of thousands of people and just about to release his first EP, Colektiv.
  • Performance poet and educator Justin Lamb is a member of the 2013 National Poetry Slam champion Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO). His live poetry album is titled However It Turns Out Is Perfect.
  • Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell studies how elephants communicate. Her book The Elephant's Secret Sense explains a new way elephants talk to each other and form family bonds.
  • Geologist Matt Kuchta studies snails -- both living ones and very, very dead ones. The fossils of Ice Age snails, he shows, can tell us a lot about how our environment has changed over time. In his spare time, he studies the physics of sand and what you can build with it. He's an assistant professor of Geology at University of Wisconsin, Stout. Check out his blog, Research at a Snail's Pace.
  • Eddy Cartaya is a ranger at Deschutes National Forest in Oregon, where he solves crimes that happen in caves -- from daring rescues, to catching people who vandalize thousand-years-old cave art

TEDYouth 2013 was generously supported by Toyota and Adobe.

TEDYouth 2013 photo highlights