TEDxSMU Speakers Revealed

TEDxSMU 2013 speakers include dreamers, athletes and NASA scientists

TEDxSMU 2013 speakers include dreamers, athletes and NASA scientists

Devonric Johnson
Actor and athlete Devonric Johnson is one of the speakers at TEDxSMU 2013. thedevonric.com
Rachael Chong of Catchafire
Catchafire CEO Rachael Chong. Photo courtesy of Catchafire
Andres Ruzo
Andres Ruzo, a National Geographic Young Explorer and geothermal scientist, is one this year's speakers. Photo courtesy of UT Energy Forum
Patrick M. Walsh
Patrick M. Walsh is former Blue Angel pilot and four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Moody Performance Hall
TEDxSMU 2013 will be at Dallas City Performance Hall. Photo by Stevan Koye, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center
Trigg Watson Burrage and Courtney Ferrell TEDxSMU: ReThink
Trigg Watson Burrage and Courtney Ferrell had the crowd on the edge of their seats at TEDxSMU 2012. Photo courtesy of TEDxSMU
Devonric Johnson
Rachael Chong of Catchafire
Andres Ruzo
Patrick M. Walsh
Moody Performance Hall
Trigg Watson Burrage and Courtney Ferrell TEDxSMU: ReThink

Never one to disappoint, TEDxSMU is following up a banner year with yet another stellar speaking lineup. The fifth edition of the idea conference kicks off October 19 with thought leaders exploring the topic "What's next?" in the contest of a digitized, often divided world. 

The day-long conference will return to Dallas City Performance Hall for the second year. The program begins at 9 am and runs until 6 pm. Breakfast and lunch are provided, along with ample breaks conducive to conversations. Tickets, which cost $150 and include access to the after party, can be purchased online

TEDxSMU director Heather Hankamer is asking this year's speakers to take the big question of "What' next?" one step further with the theme "& then" — a challenge to ask bigger questions and dig deeper for answers.

"We have dreamers and educators who are going to take us from middle school to a new model of urban colleges," Hankamer said in a statement. "Our lineup of scientists will lift the lid on global health, robotics, cyber security and jet propulsion."

Hankamer has been an active member of the TEDxSMU team for years, but 2013 is her first time in the director's chair. Sharon Lyle brought the TEDx brand to SMU in 2009 and served as the producer and director for four years before stepping down in 2012 to become the co-interim executive director of KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth, a system of public college preparatory schools.

Enough suspense; here's the full speaker list:

Dr. Judith Allen, Psy.D.
Education innovator
Dallas Communities in Schools, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Kenneth Berry
Robot expert
Assistant Director of the Science and Engineering Education Center, UT Dallas

Dr. Eric G. Bing
Visionary global health researcher
Bush Institute Director of Global Health; SMU professor

Dr. Fred Chang
International cyber security expert

Rachael Chong
Visionary in the field of giving
Catchafire founder and CEO

Dan Goods
Master visual communicator
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Visual Strategist

Devonric Johnson
Actor, athlete, SMU alumnus and mentor
Brothers by Choice, founder

Afshan Khan
Passionate advocate for women
President and Chief Executive Officer, Women for Women International

Dave Lieber
Humorist, storyteller and award-winning columnist
Dallas Morning News

Pamela Nelson
Full-time care partner
Dallas Artist and Art Advocate

Biff F. Palmer, M.D.
Professor, physician: has conquered the world’s seven highest summits
Professor of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Rena Pederson
Journalist, author and foreign relations guru
Former speechwriter, U.S. Department of State

Vanessa Ramirez
Education game changer and champion of teachers and students
Director, KIPP Alumni Association, KIPP Houston Public Schools

Andres Ruzo
Geothermal scientist and science communicator
Ph.D. Candidate, SMU Geothermal Lab; National Geographic Young Explorer

LyAnna Johnson Smith
Former politico and foster parent
Graduate Student, Perkins School of Theology at SMU

Michael J. Sorrell
Revolutionary college president and architect of the new urban college model
President, Paul Quinn College

Katie Spotz
Adventurer, clean water champion
Founder, Row for Water

Nicole Stewart
Dallas arts leader, actress and master storyteller
Founder, Oral Fixation

Dr. Joseph Takahashi, Ph.D.
Neuroscience researcher and sleep gene genius
Chair of the Department of Neuroscience, HHMI, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Two Bit Circus
Artisanal engineering for amusement and education
Brent Bushnell & Eric Gradman

Patrick M. Walsh
Former Blue Angel pilot and four-star Admiral U.S. Navy (Ret.)
President, Strategic Programs at Academic Partnerships

DaVerse Lounge
Spoken word poetry

The University of Texas at Austin Musical Theatre Ambassadors
Musical theater performance