2018 Annual Event


About Bubble


About the Theme

An event centered around interpretation.

Bubble? Weird. Why would we make that a theme?

Well, it is up to your imagination. What do you think of? Actual bubbles? Bubble baths? Memories of childhood? The housing bubble? There are so many things you can take out of this one word. And that’s the beauty of this event, it is flexible, intriguing, and best of all up to your imagination. Whatever “bubble” may elicit in you may be different from the person sitting next to you, and that’s what makes it so wonderful. In the many ways to go through life, everyone has an idea of what a bubble is. This event is designed to consider other possibilities, inviting you to experience a bubble that is different from your own.

What is TED?

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes.

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.

What is TEDxUCSD?

TEDxUCSD’s mission is to bring together leading thinkers and doers to share ideas that matter in and to any discipline – technology, design, science, humanities, business, entertainment, and much more. We aim to engage, inspire, and celebrate all generations of the UCSD family.

Ideas Worth


Amazing Speakers Line-up

Anika Ullah

Anika Ullah

Anika's Bio

Anika Ullah is an emerging scientist, global health activist, multimedia artist, and graduating senior from UC San Diego with a major in Human Biology and minor in Computing Visual Arts. She is also a Fulbright Research Scholar to Taiwan and incoming master’s student at the MIT Media Lab.

As a first-generation American, Ullah is driven by her desire to leverage her multidisciplinary passions to improve the environment, health, and livelihood of underserved communities locally, bi-nationally, and globally.

Ullah founded the award-winning nonprofit organization  Intersectional Health Project San Diego with the mission of investigating and tackling overshadowed health and social issues in San Diego’s border communities. She has launched innovative projects such as working with the San Diego Housing Commission to map unsafe school crossing zones near hotspots of hepatitis A infection, directing a documentary film about the link between border-generated pollution, respiratory health, and environmental justice in the border town of San Ysidro, and exploring  the potential of citrus fruit as publicly accessible biosensors for air pollution. Her community-engaged work has been recognized by UC President Janet Napolitano, CalEPA, Clinton Global Initiative University, and others. 


Wendy Gilker

Wendy Gilker

Wendy's Bio

Wendy was born in New Carlisle, Canada and now lives in New Hampshire. She went to Dawson College to get a degree in social science. After college, she lived in Laurentian Mountains working in alpine ski industry and ran her own ski school. She graduated from the Kushi Institutes in Macrobiotics in 1997 at the top of her class. Her first and only daughter, Bree, was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and she dedicated 37 years to raising and caretaking for Bree. In the last decade, Wendy began sharing her story on her YouTube channel. After Bree’s passing, she wrote two books- Swan and Bree’s Way Cookbook– which are both sold on Amazon. Her goal is to bring insight and knowledge to the general public on the gifts of our forgotten and ignored special needs and elderly populations.


Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt

Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt

Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt's Bio

Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt are professional storytellers and partners-in-crime. They travel the globe as speakers and adventurers and perform internationally in film, theatre, TV, animation and video games. They authored the popular textbook Voice-Over Voice Actor and the sequel VOVA: The Extended Edition, and have also written and published Tough City, Zartana and Relax Your Toes through their publishing company BugBot Press. Over the last decade, their production company, Monkey Kingdom Productions, has produced two feature films, four series, and a number of short films. They have appeared together as actors on Gilmore Girls, Hawaii Five-0, Caper, and Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop, and have voiced characters opposite each other in such titles as Ben 10, Sunset Overdrive and Naruto.


Like We Don’t Exist

Like We Don’t Exist

Like We Don’t Exist's Bio

Like We Don’t Exist is a 2018 documentary about an ethnic minority from Burma called the Karenni. After seventy years of surviving the world’s longest ongoing civil war, diverse voices from within the Karenni community weave together a stirring testimony of statelessness and a message of hope from a people on the brink of cultural extinction.

Co-Directors Ansley Sawyer and Corey Embring, Associate Producer Jenna Spitz, and Production Manager Johnfreeco Komoe have spent two years in production to raise global awareness for the Karenni. Like We Don’t Exist has screened at The Women’s Film Festival, The Asian American Film Festival, Philadelphia’s Monument Lab, and has been screened privately to over 5,000 people in 10 American cities that are now home to resettled Karenni communities.


Ahmed Musiol

Ahmed Musiol

Ahmed's Bio

Producing content for Ahmed is about searching for the constant reminder within each project of our life’s purpose. With a firm belief that there is always a way to find a solution, Ahmed is the kind of executive producer who finds joy in the process of creating compelling content about causes and social issues that matter. His diverse background and commitment to social good allows him to provide every client with a unique perspective on communicating their story in the most impactful way. A Chicago transplant residing in Los Angeles, Musiol actively supports a number of nonprofit organizations.


Ahmed has collaborated with his partners in creating and producing several properties at Wayfarer, and has directed for both their original series’ My Last Days and Man Enough. The second season of My Last Days aired on The CW in conjunction with the network’s new digital vertical, CWGOOD, co-created by Wayfarer. This platform highlights the causes CW stars and fans care about with content that entertains and inspires.


V.S. Ramachandran

V.S. Ramachandran

V.S.'s Bio

V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor  ( Psychology and Neurosciences)0 at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute. Ramachandran trained as a physician, and has been elected to a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians ( FRCP; London) after his medical training (MBBS)/MD) at Stanley Medical College, Madras, India.

He also received a Ph.D. from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, and two honorary doctorates (DSc). Ramachandran’s early work was on visual perception but he is best known for his experiments in behavioral neurology, which, despite their apparent simplicity, have strongly influenced the way we think about the brain. He has been called “The Marco Polo of neuroscience” by Richard Dawkins and “The modern Paul Broca” by Eric Kandel.  David Hubel refers to his work in vision as “Bold, ingenious and elegant.”

In 2005 he was awarded the Henry Dale Medal and elected to an honorary life membership by the Royal Institution of London. His other honors and awards include fellowships from All Souls College, Oxford, and from Stanford University; the Presidential Lecture Award from the American Academy of Neurology, the Ramon Y Cajal award, and the Ariens-Kappers medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. In 2003 he gave the annual BBC Reith lectures, he was the first physician/psychologist to give the lectures since they were begun by  Lord Bertrand Russell in 1949. He also gave the annual Gifford Lectures in Glasgow (2012). In 1995 he gave the Decade of the Brain lecture at the 25th annual (Silver Jubilee) meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Most recently he was elected an Athenian (member of the Athenaeum) in London and the President of India conferred on him the second highest honorific title in India, the Padma Bhushan. TIME magazine named him on their list of the 100 most influential people in the world.


Hector Aristizabal

Hector Aristizabal

Hector's Bio
Hector was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia when it was the most dangerous city in the world. As he witnessed many of his friends being killed by the different armed fashions: military, guerrillas, paramilitaries and cocaine traffickers, Hector’s path was different. He worked his way out of poverty to become a theatre artist and pioneering psychologist with a Masters degree from Antioquia University, then survived civil war, arrest and torture at the hands of the US-supported military. In 1989, violence and death threats forced him to leave his homeland. In exile, in Los Angeles, Hector struggled to overcome his rage and desire for vengeance and to channel these energies instead into constructive social action. For years he worked as a therapist and developed original plays with immigrants, torture survivors, incarcerated youth, gang members, AIDS/HIV infected people and people in Hospice care.

In the year 2000, he founded ImaginAction to help people tap into the transformative power of theater in programs throughout the US, Latin America, Europe, Africa, The Middle East and many Asian countries. He has worked mostly in war-torn and post conflict zones using theater as a laboratory to explore alternatives to conflict and as a form to design healing rituals.

In 2017, he decided to return to his native country to work in the reconciliation process inspired by the recent peace agreement between the FARC guerrilla and the Colombian government. He is currently accompanying the truth commission using deep ecology, theater and ritual to work with victims and ex-combatants in the complex task of clarifying the truth, creating spaces for reconciliation and imagining the conditions for the end of violence.

Hector was honored with the prestigious Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre and he  is co-author with Diane Lefer of The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation.


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