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Q&A with Tanya Tran of TEDxQueensU

We’re so pleased to bring you a special Q & A with Tanya Tran, who is a licensee and Advisory Board Chair for TEDxQueensU. Tanya is also a current PhD student in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University. Lets hear more on how we can benefit from TEDxQueensU.


Our guest blogger, Tanya Tran, presenting at the first TEDxQueensUSalon event in January 2016.

Q: In general, what are the different events organized by TEDxQueensU? 

A: TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED Talk screenings and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection at TEDx events. TEDxQueensU hosts an annual large venue TEDx event with an audience of up to 500 members of the Queen’s and Kingston community. The individuals who speak at this TEDx event are hand-selected by a team of student organizers and community members. Speakers go through months of coaching and practice to refine their talks as they are live streamed and recorded for inclusion in the TEDx YouTube playlist – thereby further disseminating homegrown ideas to the wider TEDx community and beyond. TEDxQueensU has recently been experimenting with another branch of the TEDx platform called Salon events. TEDx Salon events differ from the large venue TEDx event by its smaller audience, intimate setting with speakers, focus on one topic, and dedication to more time for discussion about the talks that were just heard. Salon events help continue the conversation that large venue TEDx events may not be conducive to.

Any information on upcoming events? 

Our team will be hosting the next Salon event in the winter 2019 semester, in collaboration with the Queen’s School of Graduate Studies. We will be announcing the details of this event closer to the date via our social media outlets. TEDxQueensU will also be hosting a large venue event at the Isabel Bader Centre on February 3rd, 2019. The theme is Fast Forward. Early bird subsidized ticket applications have opened (https://goo.gl/forms/5Eq2ozPDxCk4h0LJ3) and will close this Friday November 23rd. We recommend following us on our social media outlets for news about regular ticket sales.

In-coming co-directors for TEDxQueensUSalon events -Stephen Roper and Varsha Doguparty (standing far left, in order). Both are also graduate students at Queen’s.

Q: Your view as an organizer on how the TEDxQueensU events may benefit graduate students? Basically, how you’d like to see our graduate students benefit from attending one of your events.

A: I will approach this excellent question in two ways: the benefit to graduate students as attendees and as volunteers.

What I am passionate about the most with TEDx events is their powerful ability to draw thoughtful leaders, innovators, and enthusiasts in one place to share new ideas and discuss new projects. TEDxQueensU isn’t just about watching a series of high profile speakers on stage. Speakers are from the local community who are passionate about a new solution or idea in their field and are willing to collaborate with attendees on next steps, whether that be starting a non-profit, advancing a policy change, or recruiting talented students to champion their initiative. Graduate students have many skills that are required to take an idea from conceptualization to action (it’s what we do when we complete a thesis or practicum course!). As attendees, graduate students can look forward to the opportunities to interact with fellow attendees or speakers and collaborate on grassroots projects that often take place outside of the walls of academia.

Our TEDx Salon events are great opportunities for graduate students to get involved. With our collaboration with the School of Graduate Studies, future Salon events intend to feature graduate students as live speakers, hosts, and discussion moderators. This is a unique opportunity for graduate students to talk to community members of diverse backgrounds about their research in a lay, accessible manner as well as learn to facilitate a discussion with consumers of research about the implications of their findings. I find that graduate students spend a lot of time producing research for the academic audience but seldom do we have the opportunity for knowledge translation to stakeholders.

Q: Other than attending events, are there any other opportunities for graduate students to get involve with TEDxQueensU (i.e., organizing, volunteering, becoming a speaker)?

A: As mentioned earlier, TEDx Salon events are great opportunities for graduate students to get involved. Students who are interested in this opportunity can get in touch with us by emailing salons@tedxqueensu.com.

Another way graduate students can get involved with TEDxQueensU is by submitting a nomination for themselves or colleagues to speak at our main TEDx event. Interested students can consult speaker application guidelines and dates to apply via our website www.tedxqueensu.com or email speakers@tedxqueensu.com.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us at Gradifying, Tanya! All the best in organizing future events for TEDxQueensU.


  1. Check out a previous Gradifying post on a TEDxQueensUSalon event discussing wearable technology.
  2. This blog post was edited and re-published on November 22nd, 2018.
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