x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Be Rebellious

This event occurred on
April 3, 2015
9:00am - 5:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Washington, District of Columbia
United States

On April 3rd, 2015, over 1,500 people from around the Foggy Bottom and DMV community will gather for a full-day experience of 20 live presenters and performers, interactive exhibits, and collective collaboration. All talks and aspects of the conference will be centered around this year's theme of "Be Rebellious."

What started in 2011 with a few students and a big idea, TEDxFoggyBottom has quickly become one of the largest student-run TEDx events in the United States. Each year, TEDxFoggyBottom is brought to life by over 40 undergraduates at The George Washington University in Washington DC and aims to bring together some of the world’s incredible innovators, thinkers and doers to inspire and collaborate with the Foggy Bottom community. TEDxFoggyBottom attendance has more than quadrupled since its beginning, and its talks have been featured on Upworthy, as TEDx Editor's Picks, and have gathered over half a million views on YouTube to date.

Lisner Auditorium
730 21st Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20052
United States
See more ­T­E­Dx­Foggy­Bottom events


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

DC Youth Slam Team

The DC Youth Slam Team uses spoken word poetry to teach and empower teens from the DC metropolitan area to speak up about issues of social justice. With free weekly writing workshops, monthly open mics, poetry slams, and annual travel to regional and national competitions, the team provides training and a platform for talented district youth to develop their poetry and public speaking skills with guidance from mentors and peers. They are the 2014 Champions of the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam, the 2011 Champions of the Ill Quill Youth Slam, and won the 2013 Sister Cities International Arts Award.


Wytold plays an electric cello with two extra strings, allowing him to capture the depth and power of a stand-up bass, the rich tonal timbre of the acoustic cello, and the bright crispness of violin solos and harmonies. Wytold creates his own rock-orchestral accompaniment through live-looping, often accompanied by bass, viola, violin, flute, saxophone, guitar, banjo, and/or percussion. Accompanied by: Jerry Tolk and Christopher K. Morgan & Artists. Jerry Tolk is a talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with roots in rock, blues, and jazz. He has formed and collaborated with many DC bands on guitar, banjitar, bass, and drums. Christopher K. Morgan & Artists is a professional contemporary dance company founded in July 2011 as a vehicle for Morgan’s choreographic exploration of social and cultural issues. The company provides a creative outlet for its artists through virtuosic and expressive dance performances that give audiences an opportunity for self-reflection.

Adam Levner

Adam Levner is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Critical Exposure, a nonprofit that teaches low-income youth how to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change. Since its founding in 2004, the organization has served 1,800 students, providing them with the tools, skills, and opportunity to become change-agents in their schools and communities. Previously, Adam worked as a fifth grade teacher, a community organizer with Stand for Children, an education consultant for the Center for Community Change, and a freelance photographer. Adam attended Tufts University and received a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University. Adam is a member of the Board of Directors of Leadership Greater Washington.

Alex Thier

Alex Thier leads policy development, strategic planning, learning and evaluation at the U.S. Agency for International Development – the lead development agency for the US government and the world’s largest bi-lateral donor. Prior to that, Alex was responsible for USAID’s multi-billion dollar investment portfolio in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Alex has previously held leadership positions at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Genocide Prevention Task Force, and directed the Project on Failed States at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law. He spent years in the field as a humanitarian, community development organizer, and legal advisor for the United Nations, Oxfam, and the International Crisis Group, among others. After the fall of the Taliban, he worked on the process of making a new constitution and reestablishing Afghanistan’s judicial system.

Aniekan Udofia

Aniekan Udofia achieved local notoriety for his towering murals of Duke Ellington, Fredrick Douglass, George Washington and Marvin Gaye as well as his solo and group shows and live painting events around Washington DC. He garnered national attention with his photorealistic illustrations for urban publications nationwide including XXL, VIBE, FRANK151, DC Pulse and RIME magazines, to name a few. Aniekan's current focus is on his three part series 'Reloaded','Return of the Shaolin Pencil' and 'The village B-boy'. He currently lives and works in Washington DC were you can find many of his mind blowing, captivating and colorful murals.

Be Steadwell

Be Steadwell is a singer-songwriter from Washington DC. Redefining the love song in a modern context, Be's unapologetic content focuses on love between women. Be describes her music as "queer-pop", inspired by vocaldriven performers like Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bobby McFerrin and TuneYards. In her live performances, she utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be has performed at AMP by The Strathmore (2015), The Apollo Music Cafe (2014), toured internationally with the Revival Poetry Tour (2013 and 2014), performed at Toshi Reagon's "Word Rock & Sword Festival" (2013-2014) and composed music for the feature film "Stud Life" (2013).

Catt Small

Catt is a game maker, product designer, and developer. She is currently making awesome things at SoundCloud. She has done design work for companies of all sizes including Bedrocket, NASDAQ OMX, and Scholastic. She started coding at the age of 12, designing at the age of 15, and graduated from SVA with a BFA in Graphic Design in 2011. Catt also makes video games with Brooklyn Gamery and Buttered Toast Studios; organizes events for Tech Under Thirty; teaches game development with The Code Liberation Foundation; and draws comics. She is currently completing an MS in Integrated Digital Media at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. You can follow her @cattsmall on Twitter and read her blog at

Christi Hay

Dr. Christi Hay is a native of California, who now calls the Washington Metropolitan area home. Dr. Hay has worked in academia for The George Washington University as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. In this capacity, Dr. Hay taught pediatric residents, medical and physician assistant students. Dr. Hay also worked in private practice in the Spring Valley area of Washington, DC for several years. In 2011, Dr. Hay started Palisades Pediatrics in Washington, DC. Palisades Pediatrics is an intentionally small practice where families have direct access to the provider via phone, text, email, home and office visits and expanded after-hours. Dr. Hay enjoys all aspects of pediatrics but she has special interests in developmental delays, early childhood literacy, breastfeeding, reactive airway disease/asthma, nutrition and fitness.

Danny Metcalf

Cofounder of November Project DC, Danny Metcalf is a community builder in a nontraditional way. Dubbed the flash mob of fitness, November Project is a grassroots, free fitness movement based on getting out of bed Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and showing up to a group of smiling, sometimes chanting, faces. His drive to build healthier communities extends into all facets of work and life. Danny also cofounded Mission Bars, a nationally distributed nutrition bar centered around using ingredients you know to sustain a healthy lifestyle. He was part of the USA Olympic development team for triathlon competing in races across North America. He is passionate about making healthy lives attainable to all shapes, sizes, incomes, and ages. All you have to do, is #JustShowUp.

Fitzhugh Mullan

Fitzhugh Mullan is a physician, a medical educator, a writer and a contrarian. Although he is the product of traditional institutions (Harvard College and the University of Chicago Medical School) and has worked in traditional institutions (the US Public Service, the policy journal Health Affairs, and the faculty of George Washington University), he has often been a critic of business as usual. He went to Mississippi as a civil rights worker during medical school and wrote a book about it -- White Coat, Clenched Fist. In his life as a pediatrician, administrator, writer, Assistant Surgeon General, and as a teacher of medical and public health students, he has worked against complacency in the medical system and for health equity as the foundational principle of the healing arts.

Frank Sesno

Frank Sesno is director of the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) at The George Washington University. He is an Emmy-award winning journalist and creator of, a user-driven web and television project that highlights innovations in sustainability. As SMPA director, Sesno leads a faculty of nearly two dozen world-class professors and teaches classes on environmental multimedia reporting, ethics in journalism, documentary and ‘the art of the interview.’ Sesno's diverse career spans more than three decades, including 21 years at CNN where he served as White House correspondent, anchor, and Washington Bureau Chief. He has interviewed five U.S. presidents and literally thousands of political, business and civic leaders — ranging from Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and broadcast legend Walter Cronkite.

George Rice, III

Energetic, Unconventional and Engaging, Coach George Rice, III, also known as “Mr. Rebound 4 Success” believes that everyone has been created with at least one gift and that gift alone makes us great. He believes that by cultivating and maximizing our gift(s), we are able to overcome adversity and become champions in countless fields of human endeavor. As the Associate Director of The Multicultural Student Services Center at The George Washington University and CEO of Triple Threat Enterprises, LLC Coach Rice is a triple threat whose message is fueled by his dedication, commitment to and passion for coaching, training, mentoring and empowering young people to surpass their own expectations. With more than 15 years of experience as a basketball coach, educator and mentor, Coach Rice is intense in his commitment, interactive in his delivery and ready to put you in the game.

Ikumi Kayama

Ikumi Kayama is the founder of Studio Kayama, creating images that combine science and art to make modern medicine and science relevant and accessible to everyone. Ikumi is currently working with surgeons and researchers to create educational illustrations on neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery procedures. When not illustrating, Ikumi is working with medical interpreters from all over the world, teaching basic human anatomy. Otherwise, she is walking about drawing, counting, and painting birds. Ikumi holds a MA in Medical and Biological Illustration from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a BFA in Scientific Illustration from the University of Georgia. Her work has appeared internationally in juried shows, exhibits, textbooks, scientific journals, presentations, and websites. She is a recipient of Frank Netter Scholarship in medical art, and her first solo art show is scheduled for spring of 2016 at Patuxent Wildlife Refuge Research Center.

Jeff Steitz

Social entrepreneur and travel junkie, Jeff Steitz launched Serengetee out of his dorm room three years ago. His mission was to create a different kind of clothing brand - one that incorporates global fabrics into every product while supporting partner causes and fabric makers around the world. Sourcing these fabrics has taken Jeff on a world tour, to 60 countries in South & Central America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Since launching, Serengetee has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for partner causes and artisans in over 30 countries while becoming one of the fastest growing brands in America. Without any corporate offices or 9-to-5 schedules, Serengetee has flourished as a lifestyle brand dedicated to traveling and giving, becoming a multi-million dollar company despite breaking all of the rules.

Jessica Lawrence

Jessica Lawrence is the Executive Director of NY Tech Meetup (NYTM), the largest Meetup group in the world, and a non-profit organization working to build a thriving and diverse technology sector in New York. In 2013, she co-founded The Work Revolution Summit, a conference on the future of work. Prior to her work with NYTM, Jessica was the CEO of Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council in Southern California, where she supported a community of 75 staff, 5,000 volunteers, and 15,000 girls. Jessica was one of only 15 women selected to participate in Seth Godin’s Female Entrepreneur MBA (FeMBA) in 2010. She writes and speaks frequently on organizational development and culture, the future of work, non-profit management, tech startups, the New York technology community, and women in tech.

Lady Olson

Lady Evelyn Booth, a New York-licensed tax lawyer, holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1985), an LL.M. Masters in Taxation from New York University (1986), a B.S. in Mathematics with High Honors from the University of Kentucky (1982) and was a Rotary International Scholar, Strasbourg, France, from 1986-87. After graduation, Lady practiced law for a number of years in New York, NY and Kentucky. In the 1990's she co-founded Meridian Home Medical, LLC, a multi-state medical services company. She later founded LEB, LLC, a business and legal consulting firm for start-ups, based in Chicago. Lady served as co-chair, with Ted Olson, David Boies and Mary Boies, of the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Judicial System. In recent years, Lady joined forces with Ted in support of the marriage equality movement, from the start in 2009 of the landmark Perry case challenging Proposition 8.

Mary Ellsberg

Mary Ellsberg is the Founding Director of the Global Women's Institute at George Washington University. As a public health researcher and life-long activist, she is committed to conducting research that shines a light on social injustice and contributes to improving the lives of women and girls worldwide. She left college during her senior year to join the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, and stayed there for the next 18 years, working in community health and women’s rights programs. Dr. Ellsberg carried out the first prevalence study on violence against women in Nicaragua. Since then, she has authored more than 40 books and articles on violence against women and girls globally and was a member of the Core Technical Team of the WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women. She continues to speak out and is proud to have been arrested twice last year with immigrant’s rights activists protesting the breaking up of families through deportation.

Nick Gray

Nick Gray loves museums but hates how most museum tours are given. He founded Museum Hack, a company of private tour guides offering unconventional museum tours. Nick has lived in New York City for the past seven years, with his favorite place being the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is interested in self-improvement and loves hosting dinner and cocktail parties for new friends.

Noor Tagouri

Since launching the viral #LetNoorShine campaign in 2012, Noor Tagouri has gained international attention as one of the country’s most talked about young adults. She has become an associate journalist for CBS Radio in Washington D.C, graduated from a top journalism school at 20, become a reporter in the DC metro area for CTV News and has traveled the globe as a motivational speaker. Noor has gained support for her efforts to break stereotypes and encouraging others to tackle their own potential. As a first generation Libyan-American, her passion for storytelling stems from the desire to expose cultural injustices and combat the challenges facing women. Tagouri’s extraordinary rise as a young journalist and budding cultural figure is proof of what can happen if we dare to ask the right questions.

Priyanka Wadgaonkar

Priyanka Wadgaonkar and Zainab Mahmood are the team winners of the 2013 National Siemens Competition in Math Science and Technology as well as semi-finalists in the International Cleantech Global Ideas competition. Under the mentorship of Dr. Terrence Bissoondial, the two conducted research identifying and characterizing a plant gene with the potential to protect against several types of environmental stress such as salinity, drought, cold and ozone. As freshmen at the George Washington University, Zainab and Priyanka are members of the Women’s Leadership Program and hope to pursue careers in biomedical engineering and medicine respectfully. The two were thrilled to begin research under the mentorship of Biomedical Engineer Professor Matthew Kay this fall, and hope to continue working under him for the duration of their undergraduate years at his Cardiac Electrophysiology Research Laboratory.

Rick Altizer

Rick is a believer in the power of positive communication and pro-active change management. As a communicator and change agent, he now leads the Elevation Burger franchise as CEO following the visionary founder Hans Hess. Elevation is the world’s first and largest grass-fed organic hamburger chain and is committed to promoting healthy food for families through their elevated burger offering. Prior to joining Elevation, Mr. Altizer served in executive leadership roles across three industries but has spent most of his career leading retail franchise organizations. Rick began his franchising journey with McDonald’s Corporation in 1989 and spent 14 years in various finance and operational leadership roles including VP and GM of two US regions. After McDonald’s, he served as VP of Operations and Training for Midas International and later as President of Jiffy Lube International until 2011. Before joining Elevation Burger in 2014, Rick served as the Marketing GM for Shell Retail Fuels.

Ted Olson

Selected by Time magazine in 2010 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Theodore B. Olson is one of the nation's premier appellate and United States Supreme Court advocates. He has argued 61 cases in the Supreme Court, including the two Bush v. Gore cases arising out of the 2000 presidential election, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which the Supreme Court cemented the overturning of California’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriages. He is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and a member of the firm's Executive Committee, founder of the Appellate and Constitutional Law Group and Co-Chair of the firm's Crisis Management Team. In addition to his near 50-year tenure with Gibson Dunn (starting in 1965), Mr. Olson was Solicitor General of the United States from 2000-2001, serving President George W. Bush. From 1981-84, he was Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan.

Zainab Mahmood

Organizing team


New York, NY, United States
  • Deepa Shivaram
    Community Relations Director
  • Eli Rudy
    Creative Director
  • Kevin Connell
    Technology Director
  • Lauren Lamb
    Operations Director
  • Raj Shah
    Content Director
  • Ian Tang
    Experience Director