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TEDx Lehigh River
TEDxLehighRiver organizers Lisa Getzler and David Willard, Vice Chair, Board of Directors of PBS 39, on stage at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, where TEDxLehighRiver will be held Sept. 19. (April Bartholomew/The Morning Call)

TEDx returns to Lehigh Valley Saturday, Sept. 19

Lisa Getzler, co-executive director of Lehigh's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation and associate director of its Integrated Product Development program, is a producer of this weekend's TEDxLehighRiver event. TEDxLehighRiver is bringing live local speakers and "Ideas Worth Spreading" to Allentown's Miller Symphony Hall on Thursday, Sept. 19, from 1-5p.m. This is the third year of the event and the first year it is open to the public. Tickets are available via the Allentown Symphony Web site.

This year's TEDx features a presentation by recent Lehigh alumna Lauren Villaverde '14 '15G, who will be speaking on "Across, Behind, Next To," about the overlooked alphabet for STEM learning. Villaverde, who has a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering and master's degree in Technical Entrepreneurship from Lehigh, invented a 3D puzzle toy for children while in the TE program that aims to help children develop spatial skills and improve their performance in STEM.

Getzler has been involved with TEDxLehighRiver from its beginning three years ago and the Baker Institute is one of three founding partners, along with PBS 39 and Allentown Symphony Association, behind the event. Getzler serves as producer, speaker curation committee chair and speech coach for the event. In March, Getzler attended TEDActive, an event held in parallel to the annual TED Conference featuring a live simulcast of the conference and discussion, in Whistler, Canada. Once a regional TEDx organizer attends one of the major TED conferences, a TEDx event can be made open to the public (the first two TEDxLehighRiver events were by invitation only).

Past Lehigh-affiliated speakers include Zach Gray '16, a Marketing major and Entrepreneurship minor who spoke last year on "Giving and Receiving Help is About More than Just Help." Gray launched a mobile app and social media platform, STRIVR, last year that aims to connect volunteers who can help to people with various needs. In 2013, TEDxLehighRiver's first year, Lehigh Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies James Peterson spoke on "All Black Everything: Exceptionalism and Suffering;" and Kashi Johnson, Lehigh associate professor of Theater, spoke on "Words to Live By." TEDx speaker presentations are filmed and archived on the TEDx website.

All three years of TEDxLehighRiver have featured an "Innovation Alley" of Lehigh entrepreneurship students and alumni exhibiting their inventions and companies and visiting with audience members. The participation-oriented TEDxLehighRiver events also include pre-recorded TEDTalks and networking/conversation on the topics.

Although TEDxLehighRiver is not directly affiliated with Lehigh University's TEDxLehighU, an on-campus TEDx event set for 4:10 p.m. on October 20 in 101 Packard Lab, Getzler has served an an unofficial adviser to student organizers of that event.

-Amy White is a communications specialist with the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation.

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