Sophomore Business Administration Student Leading TEDx Team at Carnegie Mellon

TEDx jpgArnav Tayal, BSBA ’18, feels fortunate to attend what he considers one of the most inventive and inclusive universities in the world, and he recently felt compelled to give back to the Carnegie Mellon community by relaunching an event that fits so naturally, so instinctively with this campus.

“From its famous computer science program to its world-class drama school, Carnegie Mellon promises to offer the best in everything… in a sense, the university has become synonymous with innovation and creation,” Tayal said.

“Seeing this creativity and diversity, I knew that I wanted to get involved and help foster innovation on campus. So I decided to revive TEDx at Carnegie Mellon.”

TEDxCMU, at its core, is an attempt to foster innovation. To be held during the spring 2016 semester at Carnegie Mellon and expected to bring in approximately 100 attendees, this conference aims to unite some of the most innovative, curious and fascinating people from the university, Pittsburgh, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the country.

The TEDx Program was designed by TED to help communities, organizations and individuals to coordinate TED-like experiences. TEDx events involve screenings of TED Talks videos and/or live presenters who foster intensive conversations and connect in true TED fashion, but at the local level. Speakers at TEDxCMU will include:

  • David Selverian, DC ’17;
  • Rubini Naidu, DC ’16;
  • Scott Sandage, associate professor of history, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • Cameron Tonkinwise, Director of Design and Doctoral Studies, College of Fine Arts;
  • Christopher Olivola, assistant professor of marketing, Tepper School of Business;
  • Louis-Philippe Morency, assistant professor in the Language Technologies Institute, School of Computer Science;
  • Rajiv Gandhi, associate professor of computer science at Rutgers University-Camden;  
  • Debi Gilboa, M.D., Squirrel Hill Health Center; and
  • Carolyn O'Donnell, professionally certified English and Social Science educator based in Florida

To bring this program back to campus, which last occurred in the spring of 2014 at the Cohon University Center, Tayal leads a staff of 13 fellow students. “Some are as new to Carnegie Mellon as freshman Tanvi Bajpai,” explained Tayal, a sophomore in the Tepper School of Business’ Undergraduate Business Administration program from Mumbai, India. Since September 2015, the team has been focusing its efforts on securing speakers, fundraising and event planning – including designing various aspects of the event  and launching a strong online and on-campus marketing campaign to spread the word about the event. Tayal’s team includes:

  • Yash Maheshwari, DC ’18; Hyderabad, India;
  • Jai Kanodia, A ’19; Kolkata, India;
  • Tushita Gupta, E ’18; Boston, Massachusetts;
  • Jackie Singer, BSBA ’19; Austin, Texas;
  • Emily de Grandpe, A ’20; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
  • Melody Ting, CMU ’18; Princeton, New Jersey;
  • Kishan Patel, DC ’18; Boston, Massachusetts;
  • Domenico O. Barbieri, DC ’18; Cape Coral, Florida;
  • Tanvi Bajpai, CS ’19; West Windsor, New Jersey;
  • Caroline Hermans, E ’18; New Preston, Connecticut;
  • Doo Won Kang, E ’18; McLean, Virginia; and
  • Apeksha Atal, S ’18; Bangalore, India

TEDxCMU 2016 features the theme 2+2=5, chosen to allow many different interpretations. For Tayal, it is all about breaking the mold. He hopes that the event will allow participants to reinterpret Carnegie Mellon’s existing strengths, creating something new from the old through a process of regeneration.

“TED’s motto is ‘ideas worth spreading,’ and Carnegie Mellon is a hotbed of ideas,” Tayal said.

“My vision for the event is to find, spread, and hopefully promote some of these ideas, and give them and their creators the platform to be able to promote discourse and further innovation.”

As President of TEDxCMU, Tayal is responsible for securing funding, generally guiding the team toward a successful conference, and execution of the event.

The team is currently planning several smaller events throughout the year that ultimately culminate in TEDxCMU 2016 on March 26, 2016 in the Rashid Auditorium, located in Carnegie Mellon’s Gates Hillman Center.