2017 Organizers

2017 TEDxUConn Organizers

Aiden Ford

President, Curation

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.

Hanna Soucie

Vice President, Curation

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.

Shaharyar Zuberi

CFO, Funding

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

CFO, Funding

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.

Hamsa Ganapathi

Secretary, Logistics

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.

Gabriela Koc

Curation, Social Media

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.

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.

Himaja Nagireddy


Helen Nguon


I love stories – listening to them, telling them, and being a part of them. Growing up, I loved to read, and my curiosity in learning more about the world is what led me to pursue an engineering degree and take part in organizing this year’s TEDxUConn Conference. Listening to people explain their passions and ideas about the world in any given TED talk is an instance of storytelling that I enjoy. I’m so excited to for this year’s conference and for us to become catalysts of our own adventures.

Van Augur


Emily Wadas


A sophomore from Marlborough, Massachusetts, I am studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with aspirations of law school. I have always loved Ted and ideas worth sharing and find working with the UConn team has only fed the love. When I am not working on Ted work I’m playing rugby, running or working on something artsy!

Halle Barber


Diante Felton


A freshman management major at UConn. Being from Chicago, I have always been one to have informed, thought-provoking conversations. TED has provided a way of having a positive impact on people around me. By stimulating conversation on interdisciplinary topics, the minds of the audience can be motivated to reach their full potential. TEDxUConn is an institution for the UConn community where others can learn and cultivate ideas for future endeavors. That I see as the purpose for TEDx.

Judi Li


Taylor Wade


Alexis Dziubek


Jillian Devine


Silvanna Moran-Vargas


Hey, my name is Silvanna, which in latin means “of the forest,” but I take that more as a sort of spiritual connection to nature instead of a literal one. I am a movie addict (Netflix, too) and I also enjoy a captivating book when I can find the time. I am a freshman and my major is Management and Engineering for Manufacturing because it combines the principles of business with the critical thinking of engineers. I am super excited to be part of such a fun and collaborative team at TEDx UConn and cannot wait to share the experience of this year’s conference with everyone.

Caroline Sekel


A freshman from Maplewood, New Jersey, I plan to major in computer science and engineering. I have always been obsessed with TED talks, and was immediately drawn to the idea of helping organize a conference here at UConn. Outside of TEDx, I can be found napping, listening to music, or searching for the world’s greatest milkshake.

Armando Dominguez


Future Goals: I plan on going to medical school after college and eventually opening up my own practice after I graduate from Medical School.
Why TEDxUconn: I had watched numerous ted talks when I was younger, and when I had the opportunity to attend last years Uconn TEDx event, I made sure to take advantage of it. I had a great experience at the event and when I found out that I could be apart of the team that had set it up, I immediately decided to join.

Callista Love


Evan Cohen

Website Admin

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. Though there is always a particular subject that one finds mundane, there is often at least some aspect of the topic that is interesting and relevant to oneself 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.

Riddhi Dave