Andrew Gonzalez

Dr.Andrew Gonazales

Andrew Gonzalez is a 3rd year general surgery resident and lecturer in health policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He recently returned to clinical duties after spending two years in Ann Arbor conducting health services research at the University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy (CHOP) under a National Institutes of Health T32 training grant. His research focused on measures of hospital quality.

A true Chicagoan, Andrew is a proud 2002 graduate of Whitney Young High School. He then attended UIC where he earned a Bachelors of Science in Biology (GPPA-Medicine), a Medical Doctorate, and a Masters of Public Health in healthcare policy and administration. In between college and medical school, Andrew earned a Juris Doctor from Chicago’s John Marshall Law School where he was a member of the Law Review. An active health policy commentator, he blogs for and tweets under @DrAGonzMD.

Aparna Rao: High-tech art (with a sense of humor)


Artist and TED Fellow Aparna Rao re-imagines the familiar in surprising, often humorous ways. With her collaborator Soren Pors, Rao creates high-tech art installations — a typewriter that sends emails, a camera that tracks you through the room only to make you invisible on screen — that put a playful spin on ordinary objects and interactions.

How Simple Ideas Lead To Scientific Discoveries


Adam Savage walks through two spectacular examples of profound scientific discoveries that came from simple, creative methods anyone could have followed — Eratosthenes’ calculation of the Earth’s circumference around 200 BC and Hippolyte Fizeau’s measurement of the speed of light in 1849.

Mark Kendall: A needle-free vaccine patch that’s safer and way cheaper


If you happen to be a part of the 20% of adult population that has a needle phobia, look no further. Mark Kendall may have a solution for you!

One hundred sixty years after the invention of the needle and syringe, we’re still using them to deliver vaccines; it’s time to evolve. Biomedical engineer Mark Kendall demos the Nanopatch, a one-centimeter-by-one-centimeter square vaccine that can be applied painlessly to the skin. He shows how this tiny piece of silicon can overcome four major shortcomings of the modern needle and syringe, at a fraction of the cost.

Nikos Varelas


Dr. Nikos Varelas is a Distinguished Professor of Physics and an Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UIC. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a University of Illinois Scholar. Over his career as an experimental particle physicist, he has focused his research on studies of the strong force, the search for the most fundamental building blocks of matter, and the hunt for the Higgs boson. He is currently performing his research at the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland where he was a member of the team of scientists who discovered the elusive Higgs boson in July 2012. In his talk, he will discuss the importance of the Higgs boson discovery, how it leads to a deeper understanding of the fundamental workings of our universe, and the new questions that it raises.


Unfortunately, Dr. Varelas will not be able to speak at the TEDx Event this year

Ray Zahab Treks to the South Pole


On the cusp of a snow apocalypse here in Chicago, Ray Zahab talks about his 33 day trek to the South Pole. As he finishes his month long sprint through this snow desert, Ray explains how he realizes that every person needs to learn that nothing is impossible. If a 40 year old man can sprint through frigid cold day in and day out for a month, just imagine what a 13 year old can do if he/she put their mind to it.

Let us all keep this in mind as we fight through this snow as well as any other obstacles at school, work, or at home!

Why I make robots the size of a grain of rice


By studying the movement and bodies of insects such as ants, Sarah Bergbreiter and her team build incredibly robust, super teeny, mechanical versions of creepy crawlies … and then they add rockets. See their jaw-dropping developments in micro-robotics, and hear about three ways we might use these little helpers in the future.

Want to be Happy? Be Grateful!

As we approach Thanksgiving, we would just like to remind everyone to be thankful!

The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.

Palak Patel – Co-Organizer

Palak Patel

Palak is a Spanish and Neuroscience double major, who aspires to be a physician someday. This is her third year being involved with TEDx at UIC. Her favorite talk is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk titled “We should all be feminist”, which is also featured in Beyonce’s song Flawless. An idea that she believes is worth spreading is Ubuntu; I am what I am because of who we all are, compassion and humanity are essential human virtues that the world cannot live without. She is passionate about literature, food, equal rights, global health, mental health awareness, and love.

Pulkit Goel – Co-Organizer

Pulkit Goel

Pulkit Goel is a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) studying Information and Decision Sciences with a minor in Management Information Systems. This is his third year being involved with TEDx at UIC and has thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Pulkit has participated in many different organizations on campus like Alternative Spring Break and Engineering Without Borders. He has a strong passion for dance which he continues to pursue in his extra time. His favorite TED talk is Pranav Mistry’s “The Thrilling Potential of SixthSense Technology” because it portray’s innovation is such a great light.

The world around us is much more than what we see it as.