2020 Annual Conference
February 22nd, 2020

Thank You For Coming To Our Conference!

Talk recordings will be available at tedxrutgers.com/speakers shortly

In 1826, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce captured what is believed to be the world’s first photograph. Fast forward almost 200 years, pictures have become an absolutely essential part in remembering some of the most important moments in our lives. From extravagant vacations and concerts, to the really awkward haircuts from childhood - pictures offer just one way of reflecting and reliving past moments in life. Prior to the rise of digital photography, printed photographs had to be developed carefully and individually in dimly lit rooms, known as darkrooms.

It is in these darkrooms where our images - our memories - are carefully refined, developed, and brought to life. As the photographer first creates negatives from the film and then transforms them into the photographs, they take in all of the details of the moment over and over. Every detail in the scene, each ray of light, that was caught by the camera is seen repeatedly by the photographer. As the images first transform from a strip of film into developed photographs, every detail of the moment - each element of the scene and every ray of light that was captured by the camera - is revealed to the photographer. The photographer’s work in the darkroom is critical to how the photograph will develop, cultivate, and ultimately represent that captured moment for us to view and reflect on for the rest of our lives.

The very process of how our past moments are encapsulated into our lives, will permanently define those moments. This year, TEDxRutgers is focused on the process behind how moments in our lives are given meaning. We have challenged our speakers to articulate their experiences in the darkroom of life, and consider how they developed past moments to define the path they chose.

Event Details


Students of Rutgers
This event is open to any idea seeking person on or near Rutgers University campuses.


Impactful Speakers
We will be showcasing a series of talented and creative minds from all over the country.


LSC Auditorium
TEDxRutgers will be happening in the Livingston Student Center Auditorium on Livingston Campus.


February 22nd, 2020 @ 11am
We will be unveiling on February 22nd, 2020 at 11:00am.
Hope to see you there!

Meet the Team behind the magic

Meet the talented speakers


Andrew Tjang

CTO & Co-Founder of CognitionIP

Dr. Tjang is the co-founder and Chief Technical Officer for Cognition IP, the first venture backed, tech enabled patent law firm. He oversees the development and implementation of software and AI technology products that enable attorneys to save time and produce higher quality work. As a patent engineer at Cognition IP, he has also had the opportunity to study what is at the forefront of the application of AI in the Silicon Valley startup scene. Prior to founding Cognition IP, Dr. Tjang was Assistant Teaching Professor in the Computer Science department at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.


Nadia Masri

CEO & Founder of Perksy

Nadia Genevieve Masri is a 4-time founder, Forbes 30 Under 30 headliner, and the CEO & Founder of Perksy – a next-gen market intelligence platform that conducts real-time research with Millennial & Gen-Z audiences through mobile. With a fresh take on understanding the habits, behaviors, and preferences of Gen Y & Z consumers, Nadia and her team are redefining market research for the mobile generation by making feedback the favorite form of engagement. Prior to Perksy, Nadia founded 3 other companies before studying psychology and marketing through Harvard’s continuing education program. Nadia is passionate about product innovation, design, and neuroscience.


Jon Park (aka Dumbfoundead)

Rapper, Actor & Writer

From the battle grounds to the silver screen, Jon Park (professionally known as Dumbfoundead) has built up an unbelievably impressive repertoire. Born in Buenos Aires to Korean immigrants, smuggled into Mexico, raised in Koreatown Los Angeles where he later freestyled at open-mics in Leimert Park at Project Blowed, Dumbfoundead is now a force to be reckoned with not only in the Los Angeles hip-hop scene but also internationally as a viral hip-hop ambassador.

During the 2015 King of the Dot’s Blackout 5 world renown rapper Drake praised Dumbfoundead as the highlight of the rap battle. Later, Dumbfoundead used to his platform to champion for Asian rappers Keith Ape and Rich Brian to come to the US where they formed the crew 88 Rising. Moreover, Dumbfoundead was also honored for his contributions for Asian artists with the KoreanAmericanStory.org Trail Blazer award alongside actress Sandra Oh and humanitarian Thomas Park Clement.

Dumbfoundead has also branched out as an actor with supporting roles in Joseph Kahn’s Detention(2011), Bodied (2017) and Season 3 of Starz #1 series Power (2016) and Awkwafina's 'Nora From Queens' (2019) and his currently developing his own television show.


Steve Irby

Photographer & Co-Founder of Street Dreams Magazine

Steven John Irby (a.k.a. Steve Sweatpants), co-owner, co-founder & director of Street Dreamsmagazine. With dual headquarters in NYC and Vancouver, Irby and company’s transcontinental publication showcases up-and-coming photographers and crowdsources photos via Instagram to create a physical and digital quarterly chock full of curated art for a skilled craft. His prowess for photography is immediately apparent. Born and based in Brooklyn, the majority of Irby’s work is derived from the endless source of inspiration found on his home turf with some intriguing travelogues to round out his portfolio. Shooting primarily in B/W, Irby, now an ambassador for Sony cameras, shoots poignant portraits and gritty cityscapes from unique perspectives. A street photographer with a masterful eye, creative composition and skillful lighting, his photos possess a crisp and stark contrast that makes the subjects seem like they’re about to pop out of the page. Each shot is in-and-of the moment, but captured in a way that later resonates with a truly timeless aesthetic.


Vibhuti Arya Amirfar

Social Justice, Equity, Theatre, Education

Dr. Arya is an Associate Clinical Professor at St. John's University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and serves as a Clinical Advisor to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She works to integrate pharmacists into public health initiatives, particularly among underserved areas in NYC, and advises on legislation pertinent to pharmacy practice and access to care. Dr. Arya engages her students to examine public health programs and policies through the lens of equity, applying social justice principles to reduce inequities in care. She combines her experiences in improv musical theatre, being an immigrant in Washington Heights (before it was a musical), a yoga teacher, and a generic brown woman to find ways to energize education one human at a time.


Christopher Young

Professor of Business Ethics

Christopher Young is a professor in the management and global business department and Rutgers Business School. In this role, Chris spends most of his time teaching courses in business ethics and business strategy. As an avid believer in the benefits of the free market, Chris spends most of his research time finding ways to improve social outcomes from market behavior, but realizes that many times markets go too far and create social problems not originally envisioned when markets were broadly adopted.

Meet our Student Speakers


Carl Heer

Student at Rutgers University

Carl Heer is a sophomore in the school of arts and sciences honors program and an intended neuroscience major and biology minor. Fascinated by how people interact with one another, he is convinced that in a world where technology makes connecting easier, we are actually more alone than ever. In an effort to test people’s ability to connect with each other, he has backpacked through New Mexico for a month with complete strangers, made conversation with those living on the streets, and even sat in central park for hours listening to the stories of anyone who would tell them. His goal at TEDxRutgers is to show that we are all more similar than we believe.


Sarah Pomeranz

Student at Rutgers University

Sarah Pomeranz is a senior at Rutgers University, studying Global Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Justice. She is the co-founder of Sulis, a social venture which develops solar-water cleaning technology for communities in India. Sarah led Sulis to the finals of the $1 million Hult Prize Accelerator, spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign to pilot the teams’ technology, and was selected as Entrepreneur Organization’s Top 25 American Student Entrepreneurs. Sarah believes firmly in business as a vehicle for social change and aspires to work closely in partnership with communities to foster innovation.

A few words about TEDx

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxRutgers, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxRutgers event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

About TEDxRutgers

On February 22, 2020 TEDxRutgers is bringing together world-leading thinkers, makers, and doers at Rutgers University to discuss doing the unprecedented. The audience will be composed of a diverse yet curated mix of students, professors, and thought leaders from Rutgers and beyond, for a stimulating day of presentations, discussions, entertainment and art that will spark new ideas and opportunities for all.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast event in nearby Whistler. The annual TEDGlobal conference will be held this October in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED.

Thank You To Our Sponsors

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can attend?

The conference is open to any idea seeking person!

How much are tickets?

Tickets are $10 for Rutgers Students, Staff, and Faculty and $15 for everyone else.

Can I attend if I am not Rutgers affiliated?

Of course! Just make sure to purchase a guest ticket.

Where can I park?

Attendees can park on Livingston Campus in Lots 105, Yellow and Green. Map available here.

If you will be driving and do not have a Rutgers parking permit, you must register your vehicle with Rutgers in February for Event Parking. Click here to register.

How can I nominate someone (or myself) to speak?

Unfortunately, we've filled all of our spots for this year's conference. However, feel free to submit a nomination for our 2021 conference at tedxrutgers.com/nominate!

We'd love to hear from you!


If you have any questions, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

TEDxRutgers 2017