TEDx 2021

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Sponsored by CTNext.

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading. In that spirit, TED has created TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

All TEDx Ferguson Library 2021 talks are pre-recorded and available on YouTube.

Niharika Burugapalli


Talk: How to Make Volunteering Fun?

TEDx Speaker Niharika Burugapalli

Volunteering and fun are two words that are not often paired together in a single sentence. I hope to empower youth to change their approach to volunteering by creatively integrating their personal hobbies and talents into helping others. I believe that anyone can positively impact the community around them by simply sharing what they love to do.

Niharika Burugapalli is a first-year student at the University of Toronto who enjoys finding the intersections in her passions like art, service, and science. She has had the pleasure of exhibiting her paintings in local art galleries and museums in Connecticut as well as the US Capitol Building. She uses her paintings as a form of activism, drawing attention to society's pivotal problems to enact positive change. Through art, she has been able to demonstrate that it's never too late to learn something new, challenging ageism and combating society's negative perception of the elderly by teaching guided painting sessions to people in nursing homes who may not have painted since childhood. Art's healing properties have also led her to connect with patients in rehabilitation units of hospitals. She hopes that sharing her experience and ideas can empower students to find new ways to integrate their own talents into helping others.

Dr. Marisa T. Cohen


Talk: The Science of Relationships

TEDx speaker Dr. Marisa T. Cohen

This talk explores a shift from experiencing heartache to using relationship science to better understand and learn from it. This incredible science has implications for our everyday lives and can help us reflect on the important relationships from our past and implement useful skills to strengthen and deepen our future connections.

Dr. Marisa T. Cohen is a relationship scientist, relationship coach, and teaches college-level psychology courses. She is also the Head of Couple Relationships at Paired couples app. Dr. Cohen is the author of From First Kiss to Forever: A Scientific Approach to Love, a book that relates relationship science research to everyday experiences and real relationship issues confronted by couples. She is also the author of Finding Love: The Scientific Take, a Psychology Today blog and Love Lessons, a Long Island Weekly newspaper column.

Heather Hansen O'Neill


Talk: Becoming Conscious- How Doing What You Must Can Change the World!

TEDx speaker Heather Hansen O'Neill

Freedom lies in the space created when we release judgmental beliefs. Heather Hansen O’Neill demonstrates a new process that can help reduce generational patterns that hold people back individually but also perpetuate bias and violence. What if the work you do to live a more empowered, purpose-filled life could also make a real difference in the world?

Heather Hansen O'Neill is an international speaker, author, certified success coach and always in search of a good adventure. She is also the host of the From Fear to Fire podcast and founder of L-FOCUS (Leadership For Our Children's Ultimate Success). She stimulates vibrant energy, focus, and action for those who want to collaborate effectively, lead change and achieve massive results. Her research and passion for the YouMust.Live project keeps her awake at night in the hopes of a brighter future for all our children.

Raul Villacis


Talk: The Myth of the Midlife Crisis in Men

TEDx speaker Raul Villacis

Most men will face a mid-life crisis at some point in their lives. Men have been conditioned to not reach out for help because they feel that showing emotion and vulnerability is a sign of weakness. But while this time is filled with uncertainty and self-doubt, it can be interpreted as the rite of passage or what I call the TUNNEL; Every man wants to be a warrior, to be able to provide for himself and his family, but when he enters the tunnel, he must find the wisdom to become a King.

Raul Villacis is an entrepreneur, investor and mentor. He is the founder of The Next Level Experience – An organization designed to help successful entrepreneurs and CEOs find clarity and achieve balance in their personal and professional lives. The system that he teaches is called The EDGE. And the bootcamp style mastermind gives men the opportunity to re-discover the edge they once had. His programs have been sold out and he is currently working on expanding his events to Latin America. He also owns a real estate firm and a media company that produces content for distribution. He began his journey as an entrepreneur at the age of 23 when he started his own real estate company. By the time he was 30, his real estate company had become the largest latino-owned real estate investment firm in Connecticut. Servicing major financial institutions and hedge funds, his company found a way to tap into a niche market.

He is a contributing writer for Entrepreneur Magazine as well as Forbes. In addition to his work with The Next Level Experience and other businesses, he’s passionate about helping the next generation of entrepreneurs find their message. Together with his son, they have spoken on many stages to inspire parents and kids to take the risk and find their purpose. You can find out more about him at www.RaulVillacis.com.