Shuna Sun - 2015
Being deeply buried inside busy daily lives, people sometimes just forget to dream and they don’t even realize that they have the right to dream. Inspired by a four-word question, Shuna Sun realized her right to dream and started to work towards her dreams, which transformed her teacher’s life. She hopes to pass on the spark and inspire others to dream together with her. Shuna Sun has been a world language language teacher for over 20 years. She was born in China and moved to Singapore in 2001, where she served as a Chinese teacher at Singapore American School for 8 years.
Nicole Weinrauch - 2015
Nicole Weinrauch, an American born in Singapore, is a freshman at the Singapore American School. Growing up overseas not only provides Nicole insight into the current diversity of global culture, but also a deep appreciation for the historical evolution of societies that cooperate and conflict with each other today. Nicole strives to combine her passions for twentieth century history and non-fiction writing. Observations on global political controversy are a steady theme in her writing, stimulating firm opinions that find expression in various formats like TEDx.
Jon Ronson - 2015
Jon Ronson is a writer and documentary filmmaker who dips into every flavor of madness, extremism and obsession.
Sunita Srivatsan - 2015
Sunita Srivatsan first started exploring the intriguing concept of memory manipulation in her AP Seminar class last year. Since then, she has delved deeper into the issue to uncover the many ethical and philosophical implications that it poses. In her talk, she hopes to encourage audience members to reflect on the countless possibilities associated with memory manipulation. Currently a junior, Sunita has taken the opportunity in her past nine years at SAS to engage in a variety of extracurricular activities that have contributed to her interest in this topic. Her passion for STEM fields has led her to become an officer of the Science National Honor Society, Math Club, and Geek Girls, and she loves evaluating various viewpoints on global issues through public speaking activities like Debate and Model United Nations. Sunita is extremely excited to speak at an officially licensed TED conference, especially since she has been inspired by TED talks from a young age, and was part of the Executive Team planning the event last year.
James Diebley - 2015
James Diebley has been teaching for 23 years at the college, high school, and middle school levels. He grew up making, breaking, tinkering, and up-cycling nearly everything around the house with his industrial arts teacher father. James is an active PADI SCUBA diving instructor and enjoys introducing people to the wonders of the underwater world.
Rhea Jain - 2015
Rhea Jain is a junior at the Singapore American School with diverse interests, ranging from STEM to humanities. Furthermore, as a student involved in the robotics program at her school, she has a growing fascination with technology and innovation. Through the AP Capstone program, she has had the opportunity to combine these interests in a unique way by exploring the effects of social media. Rhea’s exposure to multiple perspectives of the world, through not only activities such as debate and MUN, but also through her experiences growing up in different international schools globally, have made her question some essential assumptions surrounding social media.
Dan Ariely - 2015
Despite our intentions, why do we so often fail to act in our own best interest? Why do we promise to skip the chocolate cake, only to find ourselves drooling our way into temptation when the dessert tray rolls around? Why do we overvalue things that we’ve worked to put together? What are the forces that influence our behavior? Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to answering these questions and others in order to help people live more sensible – if not rational – lives. His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom. He holds appointments at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics, the School of Medicine, and is a senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke. He is a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. In 2013 Bloomberg recognized Dan as one of Top 50 Most Influential thinkers. He also has a bi-weekly advice column in the Wall Street Journal called “Ask Ariely.” Dan can be found at www.danariely.com.
Barbara Harvey - 2015
Barbara Harvey is the Head of High School Visual Arts at Singapore American School. This is her twelfth year at SAS and her seventeenth overseas. While teaching art is a great passion of hers, her two children are her greatest earthly joy. Barbara is a keeper and teller of stories. She is grateful to have a bucket to share from her journey thusfar and excited to see how that bucket will be filled.
Vanessa Smiley - 2014
Vanessa Smiley joined TEDx because she saw it as an opportunity to challenge the status quo and present an opinion that runs contrary to twenty-first century values. In her talk, Vanessa will argue that although people should exercise tolerance towards different cultural and moral views, in terms of the legal code, certain cultures are superior to others. In addition, she will scrutinize both the dangers and the hypocrisies of moral and cultural relativism. Vanessa enjoys studying psychology and philosophy in her free time, and she has integrated her passion for philosophy into her TEDx talk. Aside from psychology and philosophy, Vanessa likes reading books about Area 51 and has compiled all the eyebrow hairs she has ever lost into a small notebook which she calls “her Eyebrow Book.”
Justin Peterson - 2014
In his senior year, Justin Peterson has taken note of the cultural components serving as the framework for thriving diversity at SAS. As he realizes this global exposure is nearly unparalleled in the North America, Justin analyzes diversity’s impact on “Third Culture Kids.” He answers questions pertaining to the roles of TCK’s in a world-wide community and sheds light on the unique experiences familiar to TCK’s which are especially prevalent in an international school setting. Additionally, Justin adds a personal touch while addresses misconceptions and prompts listeners to think about their personal conduct while away from home. Justin’s perspective has been molded through experiences he has had while living in Bangkok, Ohio, New Jersey, Malaysia and Singapore. In his free time, he enjoys reading plot summaries to scary movies, helping his dog lose weight, and finishing homework tomorrow.
Tanvi Dutta Gupta - 2014
We are members of an age dominated by the World Wide Web. Tanvi Dutta Gupta examines the impact our online presence has made on the Earth’s biodiversity, and argues the expanded role that we, as humans, can play in shaping it – and its future. Aside from writing about birds on her nature blog, Somewhere Up a Tree, she is regularly found in the depths of MacRitchie Reservoir examining wildlife and chasing after butterflies. Tanvi, although only fourteen, has had photographs featured on National Geographic and Project Noah, as well as receiving recognition from NParks and BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Samantha Daynes - 2014
Samantha Daynes is a storyteller, and so is everyone else she has met. In her TED talk she discusses how storytelling, a barrier-breaking form of communication, is far more prominent and important in our lives than we realize. Stories allow us to make sense of the world and our place in it, to create a sense of wonder, and to build an emotional connection with others. Her knowledge of this topic comes from years pursuing her passion for books as a voracious reader and from telling stories throughout her teenage years in the forms of theatre, writing, and music. She is an avid writer who finished her second novel this May and a musical theatre enthusiast with a love for singing, especially when other people don’t want her to.
Kartikye Mittal - 2014
Kartikye Mittal found his passion for STEM through SAS robotics and realized the possibilities for innovation were endless. After watching Interstellar, he was inspired to embark on his own mission of building a satellite. After four months, he is getting closer to completion. Additionally, Kartikye argues the importance of Nanosatellites in making space exploration possible and discusses the our role in breaking the barrier of the vast darkness looming above our Earth. Kartikye has been fortunate to participate in multiple international robotics competitions, serving both as team captain and a mentor to the less experienced. He has led the team bronze in Taipei and Hong Kong regional competitions.
Shreya Shankar - 2014
As a senior who passionate about math, science and art. Shreya Shankar has discovered the importance of developing connections between these seemingly unrelated fields. In her talk, Opposites Attract, she explores the reasons as to why it is necessary for our global community to realise that these fields are more interwoven than is commonly acknowledged. As an avid artist, she has been able to identify areas where art overlaps with math and science in her own life and imagines the possibilities that may arise if this correlation is more commonly used as an advantage. Because she has wanted to be an architect since she was young, she has constantly seen where the clearly defined barrier lies, and she believes that this barrier is must come down to achieve greater success in our quickly changing world. In her free time, Shreya enjoys exploring cafes in Singapore and baking.
Bart Millar - 2014
Bart Millar is a generalist who is fascinated with history, science and psychology, and the results when they intersect. On many occasions, especially while watching the news, Bart has wondered “How can people be so dumb?” The wall between ‘being trusting’ and ‘being a victim’ is thin and in his talk, Bart explores how and why people fall prey to bad ideas, leaving themselves or others to suffer. Being a teacher for psychology, economics and robotics at SAS has afforded him unique insight into this topic.
Paige Freeman - 2014
Paige Freeman has not yet uncovered her ultimate goal in life, and is just fine with that. She does, however, have some problems she’d like to fix along the way. As a person struggling with multiple mental disorders, she vividly illustrates the consequences they have on everyday life, the stigmas society places on mental illness, and speaks out about her own experience for the first time. Paige moved from Brooklyn to Singapore in 2006, where she has attended SAS for the past nine years. She enjoys writing, making art, and singing — in 2013, she sang a solo at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Paige is partial to rainy afternoons and listening to good music.
Fred Crawford - 2014
The sheer size of the known Universe is staggering. Because of its immensity, we are constrained by the known laws of physics in a dilemma: although the possibilities in the Universe are nearly infinite, we can only hope to ever know a small portion. So, how many extraterrestrial civilizations exist that are capable of radio communication and are actively trying to do so? Is the number more than one? Fred Crawford has been teaching physics for the past thirty years, having taught in India, Thailand and Singapore. Although an American citizen, Fred was born and raised outside of the US. When not pondering physics, Fred likes to cook.