TEDx University of Waterloo showcases alumni ideas
CTV Southwestern Ontario
Published Saturday, November 12, 2011 6:50PM EST
Alumni from the University of Waterloo took part in the school's first TEDx conference on the weekend.
The student organizers of the one day event wanted to give current students a chance to connect with successful alumni by bringing the world renown series to campus.
Safwan Choudhury was a speaker at the conference. Now an engineer, Choudhury and some classmates had a vision during their days at the University of Waterloo to design a thought-controlled wheelchair.
"At UW you're just surrounded by some of the smartest and brightest people doing some amazing things, and it really inspires you," Choudhury says. Now Choudhury wants to inspire that next generation of students.
Other speakers included local entrepreneur Natalie MacNeil, physicist Krister Shalm from the Institute of Quantum Computing, economics professor Larry Smith and the founder and CEO of Desire2Learn, John Baker.
TEDx talks have been around since 1984 as a way to bring together people from three worlds: technology, entertainment and design.
Chair of the TEDxUW Prashanth Gopalan says some of the speakers at the event are some of the smartest minds around.
"We embarked on a journey to bring the TEDxUW experience to campus because we knew it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for uWaterloo students to engage with some of the top minds our community has produced," Gopalan says.
Students Isabelle Lam and Angela Biskupovic were at the talk. Both were excited to mingle with some of the bright minds.
"I feel there's a sense of exclusivity with education, and knowledge and I don't think that's fair. I like that TED talks opens that up to anybody," Lam says.
"I think it's really important that people know that they personally themselves can make a change," Biskupovic says.