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, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. 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.)

Meet the Team

Zoe Bond

Codirector ·

Zoe is a junior Psychology major here at Northern Illinois University. This is her second year as a Codirector. Outside of TEDxNIU, Zoe is involved in undergraduate research, a Northern Lights Ambassador, and an active member of LIFE Missions. Zoe also enjoys photography and playing the ukulele. She looks forward to growing with TEDxNIU and using her leadership skills to help impact and inspire others.

Madeline Alger

Codirector ·

Madeline Alger is a junior Marketing and Visual Communications major at NIU. She is the Co-Director for TEDxNIU as well as the Marketing Director for the Newman Center at NIU, the VP of the Marketing Student Advisory Board, and a Marketing Chair for te Student Ministry Team.(You could say she found her niche.) Madeline’s other passion is public speaking, with which she has become a speech and improv coach forlocal schools. Madeline is looking forward to growing the TEDxNIU community and looks forward to you being at the even this year!

Ryan Sims

Marketing Coordinator ·

Check me out! My name is Freedom; I’m the Marketing Coordinator for TEDxNIU. Wanna know more? Continue reading love.

When I’m not studying Energy and Environmental Engineering Technology, I am riding my track bike, self educating, meditating, working on my conscious fashion brand, working a night job, practicin calisthenics spreading love, and marketing for TEDxNIU. I do the most because… goals!

SO! If you are feeling the vibration, come through to a TED Talk near you.
That was smooth.

Kai Funahashi

Speaker Coordinator ·

Kai is a first year graduate student at Northern Illinois University looking to research environmental hazards for his Masters degree in Geography. This year will be his second year being the speaker coordinator of TEDxNIU, his third year with the organization. Also an NIU Huskie during his undergraduate youth, Kai obtained a Bachelor’s in Meteorology and his interests beyond the weather include teaching, composing and arranging music. He has previously worked as a tutor and now works as a teaching assistant. He plays saxophone and piano and is a die-hard fan of the legendary British band Queen.

Tanner Yohe

Graphics and Design Coordinator ·

Tanner is a junior Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics major from Sycamore, Illinois. Last year Tanner was the Logistics Coordinator, but upon adding Computer Science to his major list he decided to switch to something that would exorcize his new skills. In his free time, Tanner enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends. Tanner is excited to not only watch TEDxNIU grow but also contribute to it. He cannot wait to see where it goes!

Minnika Hoggstrom

Social Media/Sales Coordinator ·

Minnika is a Junior biology major. Being a military child, Minnika is eager to widen her own and other individuals’ minds about the world. She is involved with various organizations such as Philippine Student Association, Asian American Association, PLUSH, and is currently a senior mentor for the OHANA peer mentor program. In addition, she is a part of the University Honors Program alongside a staff member for the Asian American Resource Center. She is excited to be a part of TEDxNIU and inspire students across campus.

Amro Shanshal

Sponsorship/Finance Coordinator ·

Amro Shanshal is a Mechanical Engineering Junior at Northern Illinois University. Born and raised in Iraq. Being exposed to many cultures, Amro is ambitious to enlarge the knowledge of his and others about the world. Outside of Engineering, Amro’s favorite hobby is playing soccer. During his free time, he enjoys reading books about human psychology and business. He thrives to bring success for TEDxNIU, share useful ideas, and inspire people.

Zubeda Vaid

Secretary ·

Zubeda is a senior Electrical Engineering Major at NIU. This is her second year being involved with the club. Zubeda is also involved on campus as Webmaster of Society of Women Engineers and STEMFest Coordinator of Chemistry Club. Outside of school Zubeda likes staying busy with decorating dessert, making jewelry, and card making.

Maria Senf

Mentor ·

Born and raised in Germany, Maria is an alumna from Northern Illinois University. She is currently pursuing her MBA and M.A. and in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Elmhurst College while working full-time as an Employee Development Analyst at Hub Group. She was the Co-Founder and Co-Director of TEDxNorthernIllinoisUniversity and transitioned to be a mentor to the program now. With her idea to bring TED talks to her university campus, Maria inspired many followers that she is proud to work with today. She loves traveling to exotic countries, explore new cultures and use her language skills in German, English, French and Spanish. Maria does not like the taste of mustard even though this is what her last name stands for in German.

Want to get involved?

TEDxNIU welcomes your help year-round. Find out about how you can get involved.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 1984, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives.At a TED conference, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Roger Ebert, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brian Greene, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

On, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free as TED Talks videos. A new TED Talk is posted every weekday. Through the Open Translation Project, TED Talks are subtitled by volunteers worldwide. Through our distribution networks, TED Talks are shared on TV, radio, Netflix and many websites.

The TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. Selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos.The annual TED Prize grants $1 million to an exceptional individual with a wish to change the world. The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED-Ed creates short video lessons by pairing master teachers with animators, for use in classroom instruction or independent learning.

For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at