Meet the Spring 2019 class of TED Residents

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Digital activist Lindsay Amer (foreground) and Kenneth Chabert (center) listen to their fellow Residents introduce themselves.

Digital activist Lindsay Amer (foreground) and Kenneth Chabert (center) listen to their fellow Residents introduce themselves. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

On February 25, TED welcomed its latest class to the TED Residency program, an in-house incubator for breakthrough ideas. These 11 Residents will spend 14 weeks at TED’s New York headquarters, working and thinking together.

New Residents include:

  • A community organizer preserving disappearing languages
  • An LGBTQ+ digital activist educating kids and their parents about gender and identity
  • A social scientist chronicling how climate change impacts intimate details of our lives
  • A game developer moving in real life social-deduction games onto digital platforms
  • A former medical clown examining why performance art helps people get better
  • A venture capitalist predicting that adaptability will become the new watchword for success

Lindsay Amer is a content creator (pronoun: they/them) who makes educational videos for kids — and their parents. Their critically acclaimed web series, Queer Kid Stuff, gives children a vocabulary to help them express themselves. Amer is also developing a full-length screenplay for a family-friendly queer animated musical.

Daniel Bögre Udell is the cofounder and director of Wikitongues, a community organization that tackles language preservation by recording oral histories. UNESCO estimates that of the world’s 7,000 known languages, about 3,000 are currently at risk of being lost. He’s currently prototyping a toolkit to make it easier for people to get started on language preservation.

Resident alum Keith Kirkland gives the new class some words of encouragement.

Resident alum Keith Kirkland gives the new class some words of encouragement. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

Young men from the Bronx, NY, have to balance dual lives, says Kenneth Chabert. They have to sometimes establish a reputation in their neighborhoods in order to survive, while also doing well in school so they can get out. Chabert addresses their quandary through his organization, Gentleman’s Retreat, which teaches a select group of young men emotional and conversational intelligence, helps get them into top colleges and universities and provides experiences to extend their horizons.

New Resident Britt Wray is a Canadian science podcaster and broadcaster.

New Resident Britt Wray is a Canadian science podcaster and broadcaster. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

Social entrepreneur Robert Clauser wants to pair nonprofits with the ready resources (both human and financial) of corporations, in a kind of philanthropic matchmaking.

Digital game developer and programmer Charlotte Ellett thinks that social deduction exercises such as Werewolf and Mafia aren’t just party games. As the cofounder of C63 Industries, she works on tools and competitive, mind-bending PC games to increase immersion. She believes these activities can help people develop their social skills.

Venture investor and writer Natalie Fratto explores the idea that adaptability may actually be a form of intelligence. She believes that in order to grapple with constant technological change, our Adaptability Quotient (AQ) will soon become the primary indicator of success, leaving IQ and EQ in the dust.

Jessica Ochoa Hendrix is CEO and cofounder of Killer Snails, an educational game startup that creates award-winning tabletop, digital and virtual reality games and brings science to life in K-12 schools. To date, she has piloted her curriculum in 50+ schools across 26 states, under the auspices of the National Science Foundation.

New Resident Priscilla Pemu joins us from Atlanta, GA.

Priscilla Pemu joins the Residency from Atlanta, GA. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

Priscilla Pemu, MD, is an academic general internist who has developed a clinical platform to help patients with chronic diseases improve their health outcomes. Her patients receive digital health advice coupled with a coach from their church or community to hold them accountable — with stellar results! She now analyzes the conversations between participants and coaches to figure out what worked and how.

Michael Roberson, an adjunct professor at the New School and at Union Theological Seminary, is a longtime organizer in New York City’s ballroom community — which drew mainstream notice courtesy of Madonna’s 1990 “Vogue” video and Jennie Livingston’s 1991 documentary Paris is Burning, and has since developed into a thriving global subculture. Roberson is also a creative consultant for the FX series Pose. He believes that the family dynamics created within ballroom culture can teach the rest of us about how to develop healthy communities.

Emmy-winner Matt Wilson spent a decade as a medical clown at Memorial Sloan Kettering, helping children with life-threatening illnesses. He now researches how arts and performance improve health. He recently graduated from NYU with a master’s degree exploring the phenomena he has witnessed. (PS: He’s also a sword swallower!)

Cyndi Styvers speaks to Residency group

TED Residency Director Cyndi Stivers lays down the ground rules for the 14-week program. Rule #1: Show up! (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED)

Britt Wray, PhD, is a science writer and broadcaster who crafts stories about science, society and ethics. In her forthcoming book, she argues that climate change is creating intimate dilemmas in our lives, including whether and how to raise children. She’s the cohost of the BBC podcast Tomorrow’s World and is a contributing host on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship science show The Nature of Things.

The new spring crew is joined by stellar alumni from previous Residency classes, back to continue the important work they do. Among them is a sustainable food venture, a designer creating solutions for animals and a playwright looking at the role technology plays in art. The returning group includes: Heidi Boisvert, Anindya Kundu, Mohammad Modarres, Kat Mustatea, Marlon Peterson, Mariana Prieto and Michael Rain.

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