2022 Annual Conference
February 26th, 2022

Thank You For Coming To Our Conference!

Recordings are available at tedxrutgers.com/speakers

What is rhythm? To a poet, it’s the way of shaping the flow of their writing; to an architect, it’s the repeated designs that create aesthetic appeal; to a chronobiologist, it’s the internal clock that lies within living organisms. And for you and me, it’s the nature of our existence, the knowledge that time moves on, that we will wake up tomorrow, that we will do it all over again.

But what happens when, for better or for worse, the rhythms of our everyday lives change? Using this theme, we have the opportunity to confront the pandemic and long overdue racial reckoning that has radically changed the status quo— the very patterns and rhythms that have shattered throughout the past year.

And on a more hopeful note, we can also celebrate those rhythms that make life more beautiful– the music that moves our feet, the biological hardwiring that keeps our hearts beating, and the habits that we construct to become better and brighter people

Event Details



This event is open to the general public, not just Rutgers students! Everyone will need to show proof of vaccination!


Impactful Speakers

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


Livingston Student Center

The conference will take place in the Livingston Student Center Auditorium on Livingston Campus.


February 26th, 2022

We will be unveiling on February 26th, 2022 @ 10 AM.

Meet the talented speakers


Lisa S Kaplowitz

Finance Professor & Gender Advocate

Lisa Kaplowitz is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Women in Business, and assistant professor of finance at Rutgers Business School, where she leverages 25+ years of experience as an investment banker and CFO. Lisa is also a restless champion for gender equality and her work has been featured on Bloomberg TV and in Forbes, CFO Magazine and Bloomberg.com. Lisa’s advocacy began as a scholar-athlete at Brown University, when she was part of a landmark Title IX case that added more varsity athletic opportunities for women. Today, she continues to champion gender equity at work and in the home, alongside her husband and teenage sons.


Camilla Townsend

Professor at Rutgers University

Camilla Townsend is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University. She is the author of seven books, including Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs (2019), Malintzin's Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (2006), and Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma (2004). Her work has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Philosophical Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and her publications have received numerous prizes. In 2020, she received the prestigious Cundill Prize in History.


Hakki Akdeniz

Philanthropist & Business Owner

Hakki Akdeniz is the founder/CEO of Champion Pizza and many other businesses based in New York. As a former homeless man, he spreads awareness and inspirations to never give up on life, and to be kind to others around you. He is an enthusiastic philanthropist who has donated thousands of pizza slices and other necessities to homeless shelters and struggling people on the street.


Kaila Boulware Sykes & Raymond Sykes

Non-Profit Co-Founders, Artists & Community Builders

Raymond Sykes and Kaila Boulware Sykes are the co-founders of Hidden Gems Literary Emporium, a non-profit, community bookstore with a goal of distributing thousands of free books per month. Raymond and Kaila fell in love at Rutgers University--New Brunswick where Raymond studied Journalism & Media Studies, and Kaila studied Public Health. The couple are professional photographers and film makers at their family-owned company 2OliveTreesStudio.com. Raymond and Kaila are co-authors to two books, 'Fruit: Poetry, Prompts & Photography' and 'Trojan Horse', a story of their experience surviving police brutality. Raymond and Kaila volunteer with Tree House Cares, where they started a weekly food distribution program in New Brunswick, NJ, serving over 1 million pounds of food since its inception. Their pride and joy is their 1 year old son, Truth Imanu'el Sykes. They give all praise to their Creator, Yoheweh, for their accomplishments, and for saving their lives.


Kameelah Janan Rasheed


A learner, Rasheed grapple with the poetics-pleasures-politics of Black knowledge production, information technologies, [un]learning, and belief formation. She is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts and a 2022 Creative Capital Awardee.

Meet our Student Speakers


Eesha Vijayakumar

Rutgers Student | Aspiring Equitable Physician

Eesha is a freshman at the Rutgers Honors College, majoring in Leadership and Management and pursuing the pre-med track. She is an aspiring global equitable physician, philanthropist, and motivational speaker, who firmly believes in the power of people in shaping reality. Eesha has always enjoyed the opportunity to express powerful and esoteric ideas to the public, ever since performing plays with the Susan O’dell Taylor (elementary) School and, especially, after hearing Dr. Jane Goodall speak at the United Nations Student Peace Conference of 2017. She looks forward to uplifting humanity, exploring the Earth’s natural beauty, and embarking on inward journeys in the present and near future.


Rohini Deivasigamani

Rutgers Student

Rohini Deivasigamani is a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University studying political science and sociology. Rohini grew up with a passion for various cultural arts, training in an Indian classical dance form called Bharatnatyam, as well as carnatic music. After dancing for a significant portion of her life, she noticed a growing bump on her leg. Rohini suddenly struggled with her movements and lost her confidence with something she truly loved. After several doctor appointments, MRIs, and scans, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a childhood cancer, at the mere age of 14. However, through her journey, Rohini learned that through vulnerability and weakness comes perseverance. The past six years have taught her the fundamental importance of resilience as she gained a new perspective on life.

Meet the Team behind the magic

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 26, 2022 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.

COVID-19 Guidelines

As per Rutgers University COVID-19 policy, all conference guests, speakers, and staff must provide proof of full vaccination (including booster) or a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before the event. Masks must also be worn at all times during the conference (unless speaking on stage) regardless of vaccination status, with the exception of the allotted lunch break. "Proof of vaccination" may come in the form of a physical vaccine card (picture works too) and must be accompanied with ID.

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

Sponsor Acknowledgements

Rutgers New Brunswick (RU-NB) School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and the Class of 1954 support TEDxRutgers February 2022 Conference. SAS houses thirty four departments and thirteen programs in four divisions, offering more than 70 majors and minors. The Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) Division in SAS hosts world class research and educational programs in six academic departments: Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Computer Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and Statistics. MPS is proud to share a new Data Science Minor and transcripted Certificate program open to ALL students in any RU-NB program, designed to equip students with the basics of data science. For more information, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can attend?

The conference is open to any idea seeking person as long as they are fully vaccinated (including booster) or willing to show a negative covid test taken within the past 72 hours!

Can I attend if I am not Rutgers affiliated?

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

I have a ticket, but can't attend anymore :( What should I do?

Please cancel your ticket on Eventbrite to allow for those on waitlist to purchase them.

It says that tickets are sold out. Is there any way for me to get a ticket?

If you are a Rutgers Student, please sign up for the waitlist on Eventbrite and we will release more tickets as they become available!

Where can I park?

Visitors may park in the Yellow or Green Lot on the Livingston Campus during the weekends between Friday 5:00pm till Monday morning at 6:00am without a permission. Map available here.
For more information on parking on campus, please click here.

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 2023 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