Published 02/01/18

TEDxBryantU Slated for February 10

SMITHFIELD, RI – Bryant University will host TEDxBryantU on Sat., Feb 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Janikies Theatre. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, will feature local voices and TED Talks videos. This is the first TEDx event to be held at Bryant. The theme: Innovation.

Innovation takes “Grit, passion, and heart.”

According to TEDxBryantU, “Innovation is value. It is details. It is intuition. We are all born with it, but so few take advantage. Why is this? Many people believe that in order to innovate, you simply need some inspiration. While this is partially true, innovation takes much more than that; it takes grit, passion, and heart. It is not our past experiences, rather our skills and perseverance that we bring to the table. Inspiration is easy, but innovation takes the courage to explore.”


Bryant's innovation story

About seven years ago, in keeping with Bryant's 155-year tradition of innovation, Bryant faculty and leaders began efforts to reimagine higher education for the future, starting with a redesign of the freshman curriculum. This led to the 2013 launch of IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All), the three-day design thinking boot camp that opens students’ minds to innovative ways of thinking and creating and prepares them for future success. IDEA leaders soon recognized that this new way of learning would require a different kind of space, and so began the integrative design process that resulted in the building of the Academic Innovation Center (AIC) that opened in September 2016. Since then, Bryant has been putting innovative concepts into action, not only to develop effective ways of teaching and learning, but also to foster a university-wide culture of innovation. President Machtley called the opening of the AIC “a strategic inflection point” that has led to a surge of institutional innovation at the administrative, undergraduate, graduate, and executive education levels.

TEDxBryantU is an exciting part of Bryant’s innovation story. “If you looked at Bryant from an aerial view, the key theme that you’d see coming out of every classroom and every facet of life here would be innovation,” says Samantha Scoca ’18 of Bellmore, NY, the event’s lead organizer. “Innovation in how we approach business, in a liberal arts context, in entrepreneurship, in how we teach and how we learn. This conference is a great way to highlight that."


Inspired by a Sept. 2010 TED Talk by Drew Dudley on the importance of Everyday Leadership, Scoca discovered that students could be license holders for TEDx events, so she decided to take a chance and apply. Since receiving the green light, she and her six-member student team, with guidance from Ed Kairiss, Ph.D., Bryant’s Director of Faculty Development and Innovation, have assembled a strong slate of speakers and are in the final stretch of planning.

Program Overview 

TEDxBryantU speakers at are some of Bryant’s most talented and accomplished faculty, students and alumni. A program schedule, speaker bios, and talk descriptions can be found at the TEDxBryantU website,  Speakers include:


  • Brian Blais, Ph.D., Professor of Science and Technology:Your Lack of Imagination Can Kill You — but you can be saved by math
  • Bary Fleet, M.Div., Adjunct Professor of Applied Psychology: Your Inner Magnificence
  • Tom Roach, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English & Cultural Studies: Low Maintenance: Why Our Obsession with Innovation is a Problem
  • Michael Roberto, Ph.D., Trustee Professor of Management and Author: The Devil's Advocate 
  • Joe Trunzo, Ph.D., Professor of Applied Psychology: Living Well When You Don't Feel Well: Overcoming Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness


  • Melissa Gurzenda ’21: The Simplistic Depth of Innovation
  • Corey Page ’19: Passing the Torch


  • John Bly ’01, Principal & CEO of LBA Haynes Strand:Merge Your Culture, Acquire Your Success
  • John Boccuzzi Jr.  ’90, Managing Partner, Boccuzzi, LLC: I Was Seduced By Exceptional Customer Service
  • David Donlan ’00, Chief Revnue Officer of Crayon, Inc.: Workplace Orientation is Not Training
  • Amanda Garber ’11, Senior Account Manager-Tech, Games, & Media, CBS Interactive: The Innovation of Modern Love
  • John Logan ’16, Live Content Correspondent, National Football League: How Studying Magicians Changed My Perspective on Creativity
  • Andrew Viveiros '86, MBA '89, General Manager Sodexho: How Feeding More Children will Impact the RI Economy


About Bryant University

Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. The University's 3,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students study in an innovative and immersive learning environment that fosters success and high achievement. Founded in 1863, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News & World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s. Visit

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

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. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Monica Lewinsky, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.