Tickets are now available for the 10th annual TEDxNSU, an event that features a series of short talks from students and faculty, on March 12 from noon to 5 p.m. in the Don Taft University Center Performance Theatre.

TEDxNSU, hosted by the College of Psychology, will showcase NSU community member’s ideas and inspire intellectual analysis. Nine NSU faculty members and students from different colleges and departments will speak on this year’s theme, “time.”

Stephen Rafferty, junior communication studies major, is presenting a spoken word piece titled “The State of Time” on how time impacts the human psyche. Rafferty said he is looking forward to interacting with the TEDxNSU audience.

“I want to get them motivated and inspired to do whatever they want to do in terms of goals, dreams and aspirations,” he explained. “I want people to realize that even though they’re not the best at everything, they have the tenacity and experience and work ethic to do what they want to do. Time is everything, and all decisions are affected by time.”

To prepare for his talk, Rafferty said he practices verbally every day and tries to simulate the feeling of presenting in front of a large crowd. He studied performance-based TED talks when creating his own.

“Spoken word has a lot of elements of rap,” he said. “There’s a lot of rhymes and lyrical transitions, so you can’t really mess up, or you’ll affect the speech as a whole.”

Rafferty heard about TEDxNSU his sophomore year of college and applied online this year to speak.

“I thought this would be a cool opportunity, and it’s not something you do every day,” he said. “TED’s a pretty big organization and it will be a very unique experience.”

Rheanna Rutledge, a visiting professor in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, heard about the event through The Current.

“I’ve watched a lot of TEDx events on YouTube, and I’ve always been inspired by them,” she said. “I thought it was important to put myself out there in the same way I ask my students to.”

Rutledge plans to use her experiences as a lead social scientist with the U.S. Special Forces to talk about the importance of living in the moment.

“We have to live in the now,” she explained. “We’re not guaranteed any moment in our life, and at any moment our lives could end, so we need to find meaning in what we’re doing with our lives. It’s ironic that I’m talking living in the now, but, in writing the speech, I have to go back to past events in my life.”

Rutledge said she sees her TED talk as an opportunity to encourage people to break out of their routines and open themselves up to new opportunities. Writing the presentation has been challenging for her because she wants to make her personal experiences, especially her religious experiences, helpful to an audience who doesn’t have the same experiences.

“I’m speaking about something so deeply personal,” Rutledge said. “It’s a lot more challenging than talking about something that you can disconnect from.”

Qaas Shoukat, freshman biology major, is speaking about how technology makes people impatient and affects people’s perception of time.

“Technology is so quick and so instant, and all sections of our society are moving in that direction,” he explained. “For some things, it’s great, but in some situations you can’t control how much time something takes, you get impatient and that’s not good. You become angry and make wrong decisions because you’re not thinking right.”

Shoukat said in Pakistan, the technology isn’t as advanced as it is in the U.S. He believes that this makes Pakistanis more patient.

“I hope my speech makes the audience think,” he said.

To Rafferty, a comedian and YouTuber, TEDxNSU isn’t traditional entertainment.

“It’s more of someone telling their stories and giving opinions and a different perspective from what someone might normally consider,” he said. “The speakers are from all walks of life, so you get something unique from each speaker. Someone who wants to learn different things from different people should attend.”

Words are powerful, Rafferty said.

“You get to control the crowd based on what you’re saying,” he said. “You can make them pumped up, you can make them excited, you can make them interested, you can make them inspired.”

Tickets are $10 for NSU students and $25 for non-NSU students. To get tickets for TEDxNSU, visit

Photo Credit: L. Boucher Gill



Speakers will include:

video producer Brendan Eldom

professor Steven Gold

graduate student Robert Hayward II

undergraduate student Stephen Rafferty

scholar in residence Isabel Rimanoczy

alumna Michelle Rozen

visiting professor Rheanna Rutledge

undergraduate student Qaas Shoukat

assistant professor Malav Trivedi.