The TEDxURI presenters challenge us to think bigger than ourselves, participate in shaping the future, and do our part in protecting the planet.

TEDxURI 2024: Innovation

Jay Are Adams

Jay Are Adams Hip-Hop opera based on Romeo and Juliet

Jay Are Adams (Composer/Director) is the Founder and President of What Fray Was Here?: Social Justice Shakespeare, and the co-composer and playwright of the nearly completed Hip-Hop adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, entitled I’m At Your Window. He is a multi-instrumental musician, an actor, a composer, a playwright, a teaching artist, and a proud father. Previous acting credits include The Player King in Hamlet and Malcolm in The Tragedy of Macbeth with the CCRI Players, Curtis in Sister Act with The Stadium Theatre, and Will in the world premiere of David Valentin’s The Opposite Of Hot Chocolate with Academy Players. Jay Are is a stand up comic and has appeared as a feature in Kevin Hart’s “Hart of The City” Season 2 on Comedy Central. He holds an M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College. He dedicates this performance to “the Jays. You’re my inspiration. ALWAYS.”

Carlos Dominguez

Carlos Dominguez Play makes life better

Carlos Dominguez, recognized by CNET as one of the most influential Latinos in technology in 2016, blends tech expertise and human-centered innovation. With a rich background working for global brands like ORACLE, BOING, Activision, and Hasbro, Carlos is a passionate advocate for user-centric experiences.

Driven by the belief that technology should serve a purpose beyond mere functionality, Carlos is dedicated to pioneering a new approach to innovation, one that prioritizes empathy, creativity, and playfulness. His TED Talk, “PLAY makes LIFE better,” showcases his visionary perspective on infusing everyday experiences with the spirit of fun, sparking innovation and transforming the way we engage with technology.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Carlos is a true adventurer at heart approaching life with boundless energy and enthusiasm. As a musician and skier, Carlos finds inspiration in the rhythm and flow of both digital and real-world experiences.

Derek Dubois

Derek Dubois Generative AI as a knowledge translation tool

Derek Dubois is an award-winning filmmaker and writer. He is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student in Supply Chain Management at the University of Rhode Island. Derek has nearly twenty years of experience in the healthcare industry and for the past 14 years has been an adjunct professor of film and media at Rhode Island College and Clark University. He resides in Cumberland, RI with his wife and son.

Timo Granzotti

Timo Granzotti Eco-resiliency: A dialogue with the future

Timoteo Granzotti is a multifaceted specialist who bridges ecology, art, and culture. He works as an ecological designer and instructor at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, and collaborates with many groups, organizations and events annually.

His interest lies in the human relationship with nature, and the preservation of lost knowledge, art, and cultural history. Throughout his work, he strives to merge the present with the past, in a unique and contemporary form.

Adelina Herbst

Adelina Herbst Taj Mahal, safety, batteries—and how to (dis)assemble them

After having co-organized the TEDxTU Darmstadt 2022 event, Adelina is ready to step from backstage onto the stage. Adelina earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering (MCE) from Technical University Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt), Germany, as her first academic milestone. Now, she’s pursuing a Double Master’s Degree in MCE from both TU Darmstadt and URI, supported by Fulbright Germany. Her passion lies in promoting sustainability within MCE, steering our society towards more environmentally friendly industrial solutions. Beyond her studies, you’ll find Adelina dancing and engaging in student communities like IEP, GSA, and SWE. Here in Rhode Island, chasing sunsets became one of her favorite hobbies, always looking for new beaches or locations to cherish the moment.

Nicole Jones

Nicole Jones From duct tape to high tech: My journey of passion and innovation

Nicole Jones is an innovator, athlete, and data enthusiast, using these intersections to make profound action and progress toward better and safer athletes. From building a sports science internship program and systems within the athletic department at URI to leading an interdisciplinary team developing a wearable to detect the early signs of heat illnesses and prevent the worst from occurring. With a proven ability to bridge the gap between data science and practical applications, Nicole is a student committed to action and innovation.

Adam Levin

Adam Levin Kithara Project: A community-minded approach to music education

Praised for his “visceral and imaginative performances” by the Washington Post, Billboard top-charting classical guitarist and recording artist Adam Levin has performed on four continents across the globe. He performs as a soloist and chamber musician, including partnerships Head of Strings at Syracuse University, William Knuth, as Duo Sonidos, the Great Necks Guitar Trio with Dr. Scott Borg and Matthew Rohde, and with Israeli mandolinist, Jacob Reuven, as Duo Mantar. Adam’s discography includes 12 commercially released albums. He is Professor of Classical Guitar at University of Rhode Island. He co-founded Kithara Project, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children through the classical guitar. He also serves as the artistic director of the Rhode Island Guitar Guild and the University of Rhode Island Guitar Festival.

Willy Njeru

Willy Njeru What Costa Rican hanging bridges teach us about innovation

Willy is Doctor of Pharmacy student at the University of Rhode Island from Houston Texas. His experiences across nonprofit pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, startup accelerators, and drug discovery research underscore his passion for comprehensive healthcare innovation. Notably, he is currently working with the URI Research Foundation as an Innovation & Entrepreneurship Intern, supporting students with ideas to improve health outcomes and impact society. He envisions a future dedicated to advancing new therapies and driving health equity.

Ramez Rizk

Ramez Rizk Breaking the cycle: Innovation beyond ideas

Ramez serves as the student body president at URI, pursuing the doctor of pharmacy program and a master of health outcomes. Hailing from a village in Menia, Egypt, he seeks to make a global impact on healthcare and patient medication access.

Ramez is immersed in groundbreaking research, providing crucial clinical data for patients with ultra-rare diseases, while leading the development of an innovative AI-powered Healthcare application. Originally an award-winning film director, Ramez was raised as an artist, always infusing his endeavors with creativity and an artistic mindset.

Nicolas Vad

Nicolas Vad Why hydrogen could be more than just a bandage for our global climate crisis

Nicolas Vad is a Graduate Exchange Student from Germany. He joined URI in Fall 2023 as a Fulbright Scholar to pursue his Double Degree in Mechanical Engineering. With a background in Materials Science, Thermodynamics, and Future Energy, Nicolas researches the future climate impact of hydrogen emissions in the United States with the Dean of Engineering Anthony Marchese under a grant from Environmental Defense Fund. Past ventures include being part of the organizing team of the TEDxTUDarmstadt sister event, the German professional fair “konaktiva” with over 11,000 attendees every year, working as a student ambassador for the Technical University of Darmstadt and supporting a refugee integration program at his highschool. The common denominator of all these? The social aspect, supporting other people in their growth and success.