George cicci speaks at ted x wvu

George Cicci speaks to the crowd about ADHD at last year’s TEDxWVU event.

After a successful inaugural event last year, TEDx WVU will be returning this spring with a new venue, a new theme and new speakers.

Vice President of Neuroscience and Associate Dean at WVU

The theme for this year is “Bridging the gap.”

“We want to show the diversity in Appalachia,” TEDx WVU president Noelle Forde said. “The theme is [bridging the gap] between different cultures and generations. To show how people are more similar than different is the idea we were going with.”

Forde, a graduate student, said last year’s event was very successful and they were excited to make changes for this year.

“I think it was a really positive reaction [last year],” Forde said. “I think it’s something really good to bring to the University.”

This year, the event will be held on March 2 in the Gladys S. Davis Theater in the Center for Creative Arts. Like last year, the event is capped at 100 tickets sold for $12 each, but it will be live streamed on Facebook and at Tickets will go on sale in the Mountainlair and the CAC on Monday.

“We wanted to get a really good mix [of speakers],” Forde said. “I think it was really good that we were able to get students because it gives them a voice and they wouldn’t usually have this kind of voice. So I’m really happy that we got some students.” 

The students who will be speaking are seniors Emma Harrison and Shannon Cawley. 

Harrison is a Morgantown native studying political science with an emphasis in Africana studies, women’s and gender studies and leadership studies. A 2018 Truman Scholar, Harrison is also a part of the West Virginia Innocence Project and was named one of the DA’s Most Influential people of 2018.

Cawley is an English major from Weirton, West Virginia. She has had two poetry books published, “depression is a thunderstorm and i am a scared dog” and “kingdom now.” Cawley was also named one of the DA’s Most Influential.

The other speakers include Dr. Ali Rezai, the vice president of neuroscience and an associate dean at WVU, Amanda Messer, the co-founder of because I said I would, a nonprofit and social group, and Anthony Zolezzi, the CEO of Twinlab Consolidated Holdings. Full biographies of each of the speakers can be found at

Culture Editor