Mariana Atencio speaks at TEDxUniversityofNevadaReno.

While TEDxUniversityofNevada started from humble beginnings, it never lacked ideas and ambition. The first event was held in 2013 at a sold-out Joe Crowley Theater that sat a capacity of 200 people. This Saturday, January 27, 2018, the event returns to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and its lead organizer, Dr. Bret Simmons, expects its largest turnout ever.

“We started TEDxUniversityofNevada because we wanted to be part of the TED community and record videos of talks that demonstrate ideas worth spreading originating here in Reno and the University of Nevada,” Simmons said. “The first TEDxUniversityofNevada was Jan. 25, 2013, in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater before an audience of about 200. Last year our event was in the GSR to an audience of 1200. This year we will be in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and anticipate an audience of 1300. Our TEDx is one of the best in the country, and it’s right here in Reno”

Vanessa Vancour speaks at TEDxUniversityofNevadaReno

TEDx programs are independently organized initiatives for communities to host their own events in the spirit of TED conferences. At TEDxUniversityofNevada, a diverse pool of speakers and live performers are invited both from a variety of backgrounds. The purpose of the event is for attendees to meet new people, expand their network, and spark conversations.

The expansion of the program has been because of a collaborative community effort from within the University of Nevada, corporate sponsorships and passionate community leaders. In addition to a growing live attendance, the talks are also amassing millions of views on the official TEDx YouTube channel. This past year, former speaker Mariana Atencio’s video received over four million hits.

“The heart of the program is great speakers and performers that we’ve been able to recruit and attract each year,” Simmons said. “With a solid program, we’ve been able to outgrow our campus theater and have sought larger venues in the community. We’ve had strong support from the College of Business since the start. Some other long-term sponsors have been ASUN, UNR, UNR Wolf Shop, Microsoft, and AT&T. The team is a combination of UNR students, staff, and faculty joined by lots of community members.”

This year, it has a lineup consisting of 18 speakers and performances from Jim James, Troi Irons and Allen Stone. Simmons and the rest of the TEDx team have selected these speakers based on their “idea worth spreading” and delivery.

“Topics will be things we’ve never featured before e.g. free speech on campus, sexual harassment at work, fake news, food waste, athletic performance, and the internet of things,” Simmons said.

The lineup of speakers includes:

Joe Sabini: Student at the College of Business and winner of the 2017 Road to TEDx student speaker competition

Catherine Cortez Masto: first Latina and woman from Nevada elected to the United States Senate

Robin Brockelsby: incoming President of the Board for the Crisis Call Center of Nevada

Cara Brookins: speaker and best-selling author of both fiction and non-fiction

Marianne Cooper: sociologist at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the Center for the Advancement of Women’s Leadership at Stanford University

Orrin Johnson: Deputy District Attorney of Carson City, Lee Rowland: Senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project

John Brenkus: Executive Producer and Host of ESPN Sport Science

Mike Meinhardt: Marketing Expert

Tony Lillios: Integral Coach in personal development

Frank Curreri Forza: philosopher, Jiu Jitsu black belt athlete and IBJJF Masters World Champion

Daniel Price: CEO of Breadware, a Reno-based electronics design and sourcing company

Christine Porath: professor at McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University

Julie Hogan: associate professor at the UNR College of Business

Steven Ing: licensed marriage and family therapist and sex columnist

Sharyl Attkisson: host of the weekly public affairs program “Full Measure” with Sharyl Attkisson

David Burkus: best-selling author, keynote speaker, and associate professor at Oral Roberts University

Mariana Atencio: journalist at MSNBC and NBC News.

TEDxUniversityofNevada is currently selling a limited amount of student tickets that were made possible by a sponsorship by ASUN. Students can get a code for a discounted ticket at the Nevada Wolf Shop or by emailing Dr. Simmons at from any university email address (.edu). The code grants the student the purchase of one ticket in the student’s name.