x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
February 25, 2023
Durham, North Carolina
United States

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Page Auditorium
402 Chapel Dr
Durham, North Carolina, 27708
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Alana Jackson

Artist + Speaker
Jackson is a multimodal artist-visionary and speaker at the intersection of art, entertainment, and public health. As a lecturer with the University of Florida’s Center for Arts in Medicine, Alana prepares students to be catalysts for change. Her work in arts engagement empowers patients and communities from juvenile justice to hospitals and schools. She found and directed a dance for Parkinson's program based on Dance for PD. She co-directs a collaborative initiative engaging community-city-university partnerships to promote healthy, thriving communities. She advocates for the power of art for agency and resilience in her work around arts and recovery, and in youth empowerment programs. Alana has experience forming organizational visions for community engagement and organizations to build sustainable programs. As a songwriter, dancer, and spoken word performer she inspires individuals to be agents for joy, wellness, and transformation in their lives and communities.

Brett Ries

Law Student & LGBTQ+ Activist
Brett Ries (a.k.a. Vinny Vidi Vici) was born in Watertown, South Dakota, and grew up loving theatre and activism. While attending the University of South Dakota for undergrad, Brett could be seen on the theatrical and political stages: he starred in several theatrical productions and, at the age of 21, ran for the South Dakota House of Representatives, a campaign that was featured on CNN. Brett has continued his interest in theatre and activism while attending law school at Duke University: his paper on LGBTQ+ discrimination in jury trials placed runner-up in a national writing competition and will be published this spring, and he began performing in drag as Vinny Vidi Vici. His legal, political, and theatrical backgrounds give him a unique way to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Dana Torpey-Newman

Clinical Psychologist and Political Activist
Dr. Dana Torpey-Newman is a licensed clinical psychologist and political activist specializing in couples therapy, mood disorders, and how societal values contribute to psychological distress. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania, then worked for Dr. Kevin LaBar and Dr. Timothy Strauman at Duke University in the 2000s before attending Stony Brook University for graduate school. She completed a clinical internship and her postdoctoral fellowship at University of California at San Diego/San Diego Veterans Administration Medical Center consortium. She trained and practiced in many clinical settings with diverse populations nationwide. In her limited free time she ruminates societal inequities and laments the insistence on relying on the charity of individuals to compensate for failing to address systemic inadequacies; attempts to educate elected officials about the poor, inhumane design of our healthcare; and encourages her two children to develop empathy.

Dominic Tanzillo

Duke University Medical Student
Dominic Tanzillo is a first-year medical student at Duke. As an undergraduate at Duke, he worked as an EMT around helicopters which sparked his interest in aerospace medicine and started working for NASA. While at NASA he built a course and podcast on Space Medicine to help more people find the intersection between these two extraordinary fields. He now continues to explore how solving problems relevant to space travel provides benefits for people on Earth and evangelizes the necessity of investment in science.

Jothi Gupta

Duke Student + Robertson Scholar
Jothi Gupta is a Robertson scholar and freshman at Duke. She plans to study neuroscience, psychology, and journalism. Jothi is a staff writer for The Chronicle focusing on student life and features stories as well as a senator for the Equity and Outreach committee of the Duke Student Government. She is also involved in the Duke Justice Project, which focuses on helping incarcerated individuals reintegrate into the community. For the past 5 years, she’s been an outspoken youth voice in the ALS community–the founder of a non-profit, “The RG Foundation for ALS Awareness” and a student leader for the Texas ALS Association–in honor of her dad who was diagnosed with ALS 7 years ago.

Linsey Hughes

Executive in Residence at Duke Financial Economics Center
Linsey L. Hughes is an Executive in Residence with the Duke Financial Economics Center and approaches student advisory with her hybrid experience in both academia and the “real world.” She is a 15+ year Wall Street veteran, with an expertise in the investment alternatives space. She spends a significant amount of time mentoring and advising finance-track students, drawing on her professional experience and network of financial professionals to help students navigate their career path.

Rowan Haffner

Duke Student, Advocate, & Athlete
Rowan is an advocate and athlete who is currently studying Neuroscience and Philosophy at Duke University. A member of TEAM USA for Triathlon, Ironman Finisher, and World Record Holder, Rowan has set out to prove that despite getting diagnosed with epilepsy, anything is possible. Rowan focuses on how with the right perspective adversity doesn’t inhibit your greatness, but rather can allow you to become the best version of yourself.

Sloane Tilley

CEO and cofounder of E-Sentience, Inc.
Sloane Tilley is CEO and cofounder of E-Sentience, Inc. She has a BS and MS in Environmental Health Science and Engineering from University of Carolina, Chapel Hill and graduates with a Global Executive MBA from Duke Fuqua School of Business in May 2023. She has 6 years experience in business development, product management, and sales in startup and scaling biotechnology companies. As an elite triathlete, she started her wearable sensor company–E-Sentience–after a bike accident resulted in a broken back and leg, PTSD, and no way to measure bodily response to cognitive/physical stress. She is driven to create innovative wearable technology to help people understand and cope with mental/physical trauma. E-Sentience has raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding. Sloane continues to compete in triathlons as a member of GRIT USA, a triathlon team in Washington, DC committed to raising access and diversity in sport. She completed her first Ironman in May 2022 and qualified for World Championships.

Wanghley Soares Martins

Duke Student, Inventor, & Entrenpreneur
As a Karsh Scholar, aspiring engineer at Duke and an inventor/entrepreneur, Wanghley is deeply passionate about using technology to solve real-world problems. His "magic" lies in his ability to design and develop solutions that are not only technically sound, but also focused on the needs of the people they serve – from research & dev to startups. In a nutshell, he is a citizen of the world looking forward for next adventures.

Organizing team


Durham, NC, United States


Durham, NC, United States
  • Anabella Buckvar
  • Rachel Kamis
  • Sarah Gorbatov