x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Entropy: Attraction to Disorder

This event occurred on
February 14, 2020
Ann Arbor, Michigan
United States

This year, we chose “Entropy: Attraction to Disorder” as our theme. Entropy represents the idea that life often pulls us in unpredictable directions. Life is not linear; it ebbs and flows, and out of this chaos emerges innovation. We aim to cultivate an attendee experience that reflects the many meanings of this theme. As always, we hope those who attend our conference will leave having discovered their own interpretations of our theme.

Power Center
121 Fletcher Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Uof­M events


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

David Zinn

World Renowned Street Artist
David Zinn is a renowned street artist who specializes in chalk art and is most known for his trademark chalk creatures. His work has taken him everywhere from Ann Arbor to Taiwan, and it is always improvised based on unique locational elements like cracks in the sidewalk. He’s super excited to share his perspective on street art, artists and more on the TEDxUofM stage this year!

Desmond Howard

Football Legend & College Gameday
Desmond Howard is one of the greatest athletes to ever attend the University of Michigan. Winning the Heisman his junior year, Howard led Michigan football to new heights in every way imaginable. However, Howard is much more than just a football star. Graduating from U of M with a B.A. in Mass Communication, Howard was a leader on the field and in the classroom amongst his peers. Although some might attribute Howard’s success to natural ability, he would tell you that his coachability is what set him apart from his peers.

Devin Lytle

Digital Producer, Buzzfeed
Devin Lytle began her digital journey at the University of Michigan as a 19 year old musical theater student. To amuse themselves one day, she and her friends put together a parody act dubbed “A Very Potter Musical,” that ended up going viral, her first foray into the digital world. As a prolific digital producer for Buzzfeed, Devin is a creator and star of over 100 videos, helping to pioneer BuzzFeed’s first unscripted all-women show, LadyLike. She seeks to redefine what it means to be ladylike in 2019. To see Devin and more amazing speakers like her, purchase your ticket to the TEDX UofM 2020 conference.

Jason Mars

CEO of Clinc, Inc.
Jason Mars, cofounder of Clinc and professor of Computer Science at the University of Michigan, has showcased his talents in the natural language processing field by becoming one of the leading entrepreneurs in conversational AI. His mission is to help solve complex, real world issues through artificial intelligence that learns on the go.

Phillis Engelbert

Activist & Restaurant Entrepreneur
Phillis Engelbert is the owner of three vegan restaurants in Ann Arbor: The Lunch Room Diner, The Lunch Room Bakery & Café, and Detroit Street Filling Station. Prior to becoming a vegan foodie and restaurateur, Phillis worked for 25 years as a community organizer, writer, and nonprofit administrator. Phillis cut her activist teeth as a student organizer at the University of Michigan in the 1980s. After graduating with degrees in biology and natural resources, she coordinated a national anti-war march, worked as a union organizer, and wrote several volumes of reference books on science and social science topics. In the early 2000s she was a founder and the first executive director of Michigan Peace-works. She is interested in growth, change and empowerment on individual and societal levels.

Raymond Kethledge

Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
Judge Raymond Kethledge received his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Michigan and now works as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He often travels to a barn in northern Michigan where he is completely alone, with no access to the internet or the outside world. This has allowed him to realize the importance of solitude in maintaining inner-directed approval and being tied less to external praise. Raymond has focused on using solitude and has honed his understanding of what solitude is and how it can enrich our lives, culminating in a book about the subject. Analyzing the importance of solitude has shown that it enhances moral courage, clarity, creativity, and emotional balance, and provides a way to block out entropy and create order in our everyday lives.

Sean Ahlquist

Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan
Sean Ahlquist is a professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. His work connects architecture with material research, behavioral science and the arts. Currently, he is developing a participatory theater project with sensory-rich environments that enable children with autism to express themselves and practice social interactions. Sean was inspired to start this line of research in order to better engage with his daughter, who is on the autisic spectrum. He is interested in fostering a child’s ability to adapt environment towards sensations that open their full potential and ultimately promote inclusivity and social activity through architecture.

Somya Bhagwagar

Founder of Students of UMich & UX Designer
is the founder of @StudentsofUmich, a storytelling blog on Instagram and Facebook. Inspired by Humans of NY, she aims to use technology to build human connections. With passion for storytelling and technopolitics, Somya lives with the mindset that ‘even missing the tiniest bit of a story can completely change the narrative.' This extends to political opinions and world perspectives. As people become more polarized in their views due to filter bubbles, algorithms, and echo chambers which we encounter on social media, it is important to step out of our comfort zone and step into another person’s perspective. She seeks to show that there is always more than one side to the story. To hear what Somya has to say, make sure to purchase tickets to conference!

Organizing team




Ann Arbor, MI, United States