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TED Talks event to appeal to Pittsburgh millennials

| Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, 9:30 p.m.

When Shadyside teenager Sophia Sterling-Angus got involved with a local group offering TED Talks, she thought it would be cool to plan an event focusing on millennials.

So she did.

“I was 15 when I went to my first (TED) event. I was so in love with it, I applied for a license to plan an event for my age group,” said Sterling-Angus, 17, a senior at The Ellis School. “Events like this are important. It's kind of cool to be exposed to speakers posing different ideas and thoughts.”

TED, short for technology, entertainment and design, started as a conference in 1984 and has exploded during the past decade into short, 18-minute talks on wide-ranging topics watched by millions online or by smaller groups in person.

Local groups called TEDx have sprung up around the country including Sterling-Angus' TEDxYouth@HotMetalBridge event. Her group's event will be on Sunday at the Carnegie Museum of Art with nine speakers lined up from noon to 6:30 p.m., including author and filmmaker David Burstein. The event, open to all ages, is capped at 100 attendees.

“We all got together to organize a TEDx event geared towards Millennials,” said Deborah Monti, 17, of Squirrel Hill, a senior at Allderdice who is helping to plan the event. “I personally have watched TED Talks for a long time, and I was looking for something to engage my age group. Why not appeal to people going into college who are going to be solving the problems of the future?”

Bill Strickland, president and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corp., has given two national TED Talks and said spreading the events to teenagers is a great idea.

“I think it's a very good thing. They put a lot of articulate people in front of young people,” Strickland said. “It's very good exposure for young people. I got a standing ovation from 300 kids in Chicago after talking about what (Manchester Bidwell) does in Pittsburgh.”

Kacey Wherley, 26, of Mt. Washington is the director of TEDx GrandviewAve, the first Pittsburgh TED group. She said she's helped Sterling-Angus with her event.

“She's incredibly courageous to take this on,” Wherley said. “It's all volunteer work.”

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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