2016 TEDxUConn Organizers

Sarah Moessner
I’m originally from the fine state of Pennsylvania (you know, the place with guns and bibles). Looking for an exciting and exotic experience, I moseyed my way up to the mysterious land that is Connecticut. In addition to TED, I keep myself busy as a member of the UConn Free Press and the UConn branch of Lawyers Without Borders. I am currently still trying to figure out my calling in life, though the allure of running away with the circus continues to become more and more appealing as graduation draws nearer.

Shaharyar Zuberi
From Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the small town of Rocky Hill, CT, I try to take the most out of every opportunity I encounter. As a (hopeful) future physician-scientist, I am interested in what makes humans tick and want to play my role in the betterment of society. TedxUConn is an excellent opportunity to introduce fresh novel ideas into the lively UConn community to not only cultivate an enriching learning environment, but to also act as a catalyst for future discoveries.

Tasneem Ahmed

Currently a sophomore student studying Economics and Human Rights, I hope to work on international development in my future. I have a fascination with different cultures and languages – learning Arabic is my latest language endeavor – and a passion for traveling. I believe that every conversation provides an opportunity for learning and the random “hellos” to strangers on a train that turn into two hour conversations are my absolute favorite. It is this curiosity of peoples’ experiences and TED’s interdisciplinary approach to learning that brings me to TedxUconn. I love coffee, music, New York City, warm weather and the outdoors.

Aiden Ford

I’m a listener at heart, which is what drew me to the global TED organization and the opportunity to hear students and faculty explain their passions and be a part of the tangible process is what drew me to TEDxUConn. This year we want our speakers and audience to engage with ideas that ask them to reevaluate and re-experience their surroundings. Outside of this TEDx realm, I am your average lover of snow, science, naps, road trips, and personal dance parties.

Hamsa Ganapathi

Professional dreamer, amateur renaissance (wo)man, and situational chameleon. Baby girl to her parents and daring superhero to her fans. A miracle worker under stress and super chill under lack of stress. Searcher of the positive in everything and lover of great socks. Skilled dancer in public and Grammy award-winning musician in the shower. Aspiring doctor by day and inspiring hot chocolate maker by (late) night. A young woman who’s just trying to do her best every day, and smiling while trying.

James Curley

I am a junior chemical engineering major at UConn. I am very interested in chemistry and studying the interactions between things in our world. TED has always inspired me to reach into the world and explore new things. I am happy to be a part of TEDx UConn to extend this inspiration to others.


Hanna Soucie

TED is a unique organization that translates groundbreaking research and professional expertise into a tangible talk to a global community. I’m most interested in the translating process. I seek out UConn professors who have advanced deeply into their field in order to make sense of some part of the scientific world. My ambition is to tap into these wells of knowledge and share them with the audience through this opportunity presented by TEDxUConn.
My passion is in fact the theme of this year’s event, Systems and Surroundings. How the world reacts on different time- and mass-scales is what chemical engineering teaches its students, and I hope that this conference inspires everyone to be cognizant and curious of the world. To fill my free time, I enjoy photography, playing cello, rowing, and exploring the world.

Evan Cohen

I’ve always loved to learn; I believe knowing even just a little bit about everything greatly increases a person’s marketability as a member of the world community. Of course, there is always a particular subject that one finds mundane (for me, it’s always been history), but I almost always attempt to find at least some aspect of the topic that is interesting to me on a personal level – it’s much more difficult to be bored that way. When I’m not studying or working with computers, I greatly enjoy music performance and composition.

Rebecca Pranger

I am a current sophomore in the honors program majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and minoring in Bioinformatics. One of my goals is to bridge the gap between the public and scientific community through community outreach during my career. TedX assists in this goal by making new topics accessible to people around the world, particularly students here at the University. My life is also entertained by my undergraduate research of epigenetics, my positions as rush chair and regional delegate/conference registration coordinator for UConn’s chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, my job as a Bodywise SPINNING rookie instructor, and working out in the gym training for a future powerlifting competition. Last but not least, I love skiing, traveling, playing and listening to music, and trying new things!

Lina Salameh

I am from right outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and originally from Palestine. I am a freshman Pre-communications major. I am genuinely interested in how communication has evolved and how it is used to support our lives. TedxUConn is exactly what I was looking for when I came to UConn. Organizing events is what I love to do after working in technical theater for seven years of my life. TedxUConn provides a platform for our faculty and students to express ideas that they may not be able to share in the classroom. Outside of this, I am the average theater-loving, cupcake baking, occasional gym-going Girl Scout.

Leila Shwayhat

A sophomore from Windsor, the first town in Connecticut, I am an aspiring environmental engineer at UConn. With this major, the theme Systems and Surroundings fits right in with what I am passionate about. I enjoy anything from musicals to soccer to chocolate, and love that TEDxUConn embraces and embodies well-roundedness. TEDxUConn helps spread important ideas and messages that the community needs to hear, because ideas like these can help change the world, something I hope to contribute to in my career.

Gabriela Koc

Currently a sophomore majoring in Biology with a pre-med track and a minor in Woman’s Gender and Sexuality studies. Outside of TedxUconn I like to indulge myself with the many forms of art, from music and reading to admiring paintings and photography. From a young age I would always venture from my small hometown and get involved in many programs and community services that help inspire, heal and change the lives of people from various backgrounds. As a self-proclaimed advocate for change looking to pursue my passion for people, joining TedxUconn this year was only natural allowing me to be part of a team that provides anyone with a voice, the opportunity to share their stories and novel ideas.

Riddhi Dave