TEDxBrownU 1012: Team

TEDxBrownUniversity 2012 Organizing Team

Vanessa Ryan

Assistant Professor of English

Faculty Coordinator


Vanessa Ryan's work centers on debates over the status of literature and humanistic inquiry in relation to other forms of knowledge. TEDxBrownUniversity 2012 has emerged from her work as a Fellow at the National Forum for the Future of Liberal Education, where she has been engaged in considering the future of higher education. She is also the author of Thinking without Thinking in the Victorian Novel (Johns Hopkins UP, 2012), a book about how scientists and novelists worked together in the Victorian period to rethink the concept of “thinking.”

Kimberly Takahata

Class of 2014

Undergraduate Coordinator


Kimberly Takahata is a junior concentrating in English. Her summer work on TEDxBrownUniversity was sponsored by the Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award, which supports student and faculty collaboration. This year, Kimberly will be contributing to the organization of an English Departmental Undergraduate Group as well as continuing her work as a Writing Fellow.

Jessica Tabak

PhD Candidate in English

Graduate Student Coordinator


Jessica Tabak is a 3rd year student in Brown's English PhD program, where she studies gender, sexuality, and impairment in English Renaissance poetry and drama. She will be studying at the Folger Institute in Washington, D.C., this fall. 

Joel Simundich

PhD Candidate in English

Graduate Student Coordinator


Joel Simundich is a 3rd year student in Brown's English PhD program, with interests in Victorian literature and science studies. He is currently working as an Assistant Editor for NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction.

Tracy Steffes 

Assistant Professor of Education and History
Faculty Team Member

Rashid Zia 

Manning Assistant Professor of Engineering
Faculty Team Member

 Brown Media Production Group 

 Filming, Webcasting, and Editing Videos

  • Giovanna Roz Gastaldi
  • Tara Cavanaugh
  • Nick Allain
  • Adrian Randall
  • Paul Rochford


  • Peter Cooper  -- Technical Event Team Leader and Stage Manager 
  • Manuel Contreras  -- Promotional Materials Team Leader
  • Elizabeth Sturr  -- Social Media Advisor
  • Rahel Dette  -- Photography Team Leader 
  • Dani Grodsky  -- Pre-Event Planning and Ticketing
  • Victoria Kung -- Event Planning and Ticketing

We are grateful for the support of Brown Conversation, a group of students brought together by the belief that education can and should be engaging, flexible, and relevant.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact us.

Special Thanks

We are grateful for the support of the Brown Office of University Events and Conference Services and the Brown Office of the Dean of the College.