Looking for inspiration? New ideas? Innovative ways of seeing the world? You can check out one of over 1,600 TED talks online. Better yet, come to Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown on September 19 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to see six of the Lehigh Valley’s big thinkers deliver their presentations of a lifetime in person.

TED Talks present innovative ideas from various fields and reflect a particular theme. This year's TEDxLehighRiver theme is "Why Not?" These short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances are idea-focused, and cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder. All TEDx events rouse conversations that matter, while presenting multiple issues and a diversity of voices from many disciplines.

The TEDxLehighRiver 2015 Organizing Committee is pleased to announce its six speakers and their topics.

  • Michael Brolly, an artist, woodworker, environmentalist, and teacher at Moravian Academy, will present "How Do We Say We Are Sorry: Singing to Whales.”  About his TEDx Talk, Michael says: "I started out wanting to say that I was sorry for what we had done to the whales, but that quest has led me to realize that we have to re-frame one of our most basic stories."
  • George Hrab, a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, composer, and heliocentric is considered one of the preeminent skeptic/science/atheist/geek-culture music icons currently living in his apartment. George’s talk is entitled “Rethinking Doubt: The Value and Achievements of Skepticism.” George’s talk addresses how doubt and skepticism, often wrongly confused with cynicism, have helped humanity achieve its most impressive and lasting accomplishments.
  • Elizabeth Jordon is a certified yoga teacher through the Chopra Center and the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta International Center.  Her TEDx Talk is “Chaos to Cartwheels: Sexual Trauma and the Light through the Cracks.”  Liz and her sisters facilitate The Days of Healing Workshop through their business, Clear Path Wellness of the Lehigh Valley.  ‘The Days’ offers a safe and loving environment for individuals who have experienced sexual trauma.
  • Lauren Villaverde is an engineer who fused her technical background with entrepreneurial studies to answer the nation’s call for more STEM workers.  Her TEDx Talk “Across. Behind. Next To.” will address the overlooked alphabet for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning.
  • Joyce Marin is executive director of Renew Lehigh Valley, the region's voice for smart growth and governmental cooperation. She has extensive experience in downtown revitalization and traditional neighborhood design from her academic background and service in government.  Joyce’s talk, “Our Lives Depend On It,” will highlight the need for Smart Transportation, or more robust “multi-modal” transportation planning in the Lehigh Valley.
  • Dr. Catherine Moore is a Moravian Academy Upper School English Teacher and has taught at Moravian Academy for ten years. She has an extensive educational background in English Literature and Theater.  In her talk, “The Story Laboratory,” Catherine will explain how she has transformed the short story anthology course with its traditional narrative study to an experiential one, filled with blended learning, collaborative activities, and story fieldwork in our community.

A community-based volunteer initiative, TEDxLehighRiver is an independently organized TED event that brings together a diverse group of speakers and audience members to participate in a program of engaging and thought-provoking presentations and conversation. The first TEDxLehighRiver was held in April 2013 with the Allentown Symphony Association, Lehigh University, and PBS39 as the founding partners. The three organizations continue to lead the TEDxLehighRiver effort this year.

TEDxLehighRiver is modeled after hundreds of other TEDx events worldwide. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science and business to global issues and personal development — in more than 100 languages.  More than 1,800 TED presentations logging hundreds of millions of views are available at www.ted.com.

Those interested in attending TEDxLehighRiver can purchase tickets online at www.allentownsymphony.org/tickets.  Tickets are $35 until September 1 with the promo code EARLYBIRD.  After September 1, tickets will cost $40.  Student tickets for attendees age 25 and under are available for $15 in advance and at the event.