TEDxJerseyCity Team


Alicia Ruth
Founder and Executive Director

Lead Curator/Social Media/Marketing/Sponsorships Alicia Ruth – Originally hailing from just outside of Chicago, Illinois Alicia fell in love with the stars after her first trip to the planetarium as a child. She has been fascinated and passionate about science, particularly space exploration, physics and astrobiology ever since. She is a the founder and executive director of The Foundation for Wonderment and Awe, a non-profit established to stimulate public enthusiasm and interest in science and spark personal connections with nature. She is also a visual artist, and passionate animal, environmental and human rights advocate. She is a believer in kindness, compassion and a total capsaisin junkie.
Alicia’s love of learning came well after childhood education had ended. This led her to TED and eventually to found TEDxJerseyCity. She believes sharing ideas leads to building a stronger community through personal connections and shared growth. She loves Jersey City as much as she loves sharing ideas and creating new things making TEDxJerseyCity the very center of her geeky heart.


Anne McTernan
Associate Director, Front of House Manager and Co-Curator

A proud Jersey native and 10 year resident of Jersey City, Anne has been active in the downtown community since 2005. After receiving her Masters of Architecture from NJIT, Anne began working with local art organizations. Sharing her versatile knowledge and design skills, ignited a passion for the development of Jersey City as an artistically identified and socially influential center outside of New York.
Anne’s dedication to bolstering the art & culture in Jersey City is recognized through her work with Jersey City Art School, TEDxJerseyCity, Fourth Street Arts, and Art Activates. Her commitment to sustainability and renewing the urban landscapes of Jersey City is recognized with the development of JCAS Garden, Bright Street Community Garden, and Bike JC.
As an avid cyclist and Jacobsian urbanist, Anne is truly in her element biking the streets of JC, drawing inspiration from the diverse people and unique architecture of her beloved city.


Mason Beggs
Production Director

Mason is a Director/Producer/Professor based out of Jersey City, NJ. He is the Main Stage and Youth Theatre Director at Art House Productions, Drama Director at Saint Peter’s University, and an Adjunct Professor at The New School for Drama where he received his MFA in Directing. Recent directing credits include: The House of Atreus, Commit, Little Black Dots, Font of Knowledge, Dark Fable (Art House Productions), The Wild Party, Dracula, Into the Woods, Spelling Bee (Saint Peter’s University), R/evolution (NYU Tisch School of the Arts), The Other Millay (New York Theatre Workshop), Show Me Real (PTC Performance Space/NYMF), Fast in Fire (Theatre for the New City), Stranger in My Body (The Cell Theater), Psalms 4:Japan (Theatre 80), The Bear: A Tragedy (Lion Theater).


Summer Dawn Hortillosa
Production Manager

In schoolyards across Colorado Springs and Jersey City, Summer Hortillosa was always the spunky little kid rallying others to join homegrown clubs with sports-franchisey names, (maybe, perhaps) telling everybody what to do and trying to invent new playground games in which thinkers were winners.
Today, Summer gets grown-ups together (albeit not in groups dubbed the Tigers or the Bulls) to bring new ideas, art and fun to audiences all around New York and New Jersey. When she’s not helping organizations like TEDxJerseyCity and Art House Productions make magic, this playwright and director runs her own theater company, 68 Productions.
You may know her from “In Full Color,” featuring women of color sharing their stories, at Art House Productions and TEDxJerseyCityWomen in 2015; her solo theatrical performance at TEDxJerseyCity’s Brave New World conference in 2014; her previous work as a local arts journalist; or most likely, her famed obsession with octopuses and David Bowie.


Shimeon Nandlal
Technical Director

Shimeon Nandlal is an IT guy for a Financial Company and also a Theatre Manager for a local arts organization, Art House Productions. He is a graduate of PC Age Career Institute’s Internetwork Engineer Program. Art is his first love. He taught himself to draw at the age of 5, and continued to draw his favorite characters until “entering the real world.” His first time showing Art outside of school/friends was in his Emerging Artist Show (The Project: Self-Motivated Art) at Art House Productions; also exhibiting some of his hidden Hip Hop moves and poetry. This was when he realized how much Art was a part of himself, and has since decided to keep it in his life. He was recently a showing artist in the “More Human than Human” exhibit in the 2015 Jersey City Studio Tour and also in the Open Door Festival in Newark, NJ. He is very excited to be working with TEDxJerseyCity!
Some production credits include: James and the Giant Peach Jr (Production Manager), Rockasorri (Sound Board Opt), Into the Woods (Assistant Lighting Designer), What Lurks (Assistant Lighting Designer), Wizard of Oz Jr (Production Manager), Fame Jr. (Stage Manager), Your Move 2014 (Stage Manager), 2013/2014 Jersey City Studio Tour (Assistant Lighting Designer), Little Shop of Horror at Flamboyan Theatre (Assitant Lighting Designer), In Full Color (Lighting Designer), Something to Remember Me By (Assistant Stage Manager), and The Last Celebrity (Sound Board Opt).
He would like to give a special thanks to his Mom and God for always being there.


Yvonne Vairma
Assistant Technical Director and Co-Curator

Yvonne Vairma adopted Jersey City as her home on the East Coast in 2009 after years of traveling for education and military service. As a transplant in the New York City area, this small-town Minnesota native found in Jersey City a vibrant and inspiring collective of local businesses, artists, and organizers that had the strong sense of community she had only ever seen in her farming village back home.
Yvonne’s involvement as a co-founder and co-organizer of TEDxJerseyCity grew out of her love for the area, and years of volunteerism in local organizations such as 4th Street Arts and The Jersey City Art School. As a writer and filmmaker, Yvonne believes strongly in the role of storytellers, communicators, and “idea-spreaders” in the health of communities. She is thrilled to help create and grow a platform for Jersey City’s pool of talent to find an audience at TEDxJerseyCity.


Caley Vickerman
Lead Speech Writing Coach and Creative Engagement Manager

Caley Vickerman loves stories. Hearing them, and telling them. She thinks that every place and every person has a story (at least one) that they desperately want to share with others. Jersey City is a place rich-in-stories and TED is a unique and awesome forum in which to tell them. It seems only fitting that they be brought together to everyone’s benefit. She is obsessed with haiku as a story-telling tool…but that is an entirely different story.


Nicole Darsney

Nicole began her career counseling expecting mothers in Spanish and English at a non-profit in Jersey City, Hudson Perinatal Consortium. In 2005 she took a job to assist with the development of Natirar, a creative transformation of a historic estate home into a resort property, where she played an integral role in its overall planning, design and opening events.
Unable to ignore the desire to be a force for good in the world, Nicole left her post as Natirar’s Chief of Staff in 2011 to join Virgin Unite, where she connected and empowered a global network of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and change agents to use entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. After nearly 4 years working with Sir Richard Branson, she accepted a role on the Key Relationships team of the award winning non-profit, charity: water, where she curates The Well Membership Program for them.
Nicole is inspired by the pulse and vibrancy of the Jersey City community, where she lives with her husband and young daughter, Adelyn. She is passionate about meeting new people and believes that there is something valuable to learn from every person you encounter in life.

George ‘Soul’ Fernandez
Technology Director

Director of Technology Integration / Industrial Designer, Entertainment: Spinologist, Futurist
George ‘Soul’ Fernandez is the founder of Global Soul Project, which is based on the belief that “everything is connected”. Working as a Director of Integrated Technology for a 3D design firm, George gets many opportunities to combine multiple types of technology in order to improve productivity and quality of work life. He uses this knowledge to combine technology, art and music, and shares what he learns to a variety of people hoping to inspire positive growth throughout communities. George is heavily involved with many groups throughout the NYC area and can be often found sharing / donating his time in support of many positive causes. “I have many passions in life: dancing, music, technology, but the one greatest passion of mine is creating. I want to learn everything possible and use what I learn to improve the quality of life for anyone and everyone. Create something better.”Current project: E-Nabling the Future – Using a 3D printer to create low cost prosthetics for people in need.

Gabby Gowdie
Stage Manager

Gabriela Gowdie is a graduate from Manhattanville College with a B.A. in Theatre and Education who wears many “hats.” As a performer, her most recent credit has been Eleanor in The House of Atreus at Art House Productions; favorite past credits include Elmire (Tartuffe), Heidi Holland (The Heidi Chronicles), and Jaques (As You Like It) at Manhattanville College. As an educator, she has just joined Inside Broadway’s team of Teaching Artists for the 2015-2016 academic year. As a director, she oversees and stars in a YouTube web series with co-founder Bryant Lewis at O-Kaos Productions. And finally, as a stage manager, her first production, the Spring Dance Concert 2013 at Manhattanville College, has brought her to manage The Wild Party (St. Peter’s University), the Your Move Modern Dance Festival (Art House Productions), and now the TEDx Conference in Jersey City. She is very excited to be involved with this production and its many professionals.


Siobhan Gordon
Assistant to the Executive Director, Volunteer Coordinator

Siobhan Gordon is 2015 graduate of Saint Peter’s University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and double minored in Theatre and English. She Assistant Production Managed as well as Assistant Stage Managed the university’s drama society (Argus Eyes) Fall 2014 through Spring 2015 Season. Siobhan recently Assistant Stage Managed the New York University Graduate Production of peer@me at the Atlas Theatre. Additionally, she has been acting for thirteen years, playing roles such as Kate in Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party, Dracula in William McNulty’s Dracula, the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, and Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Siobhan hopes to pursue a MBA in Management in order to further her career in Production/Theatre Management in the future. She is very excited to be a part of TEDxJerseyCity and would like to thank everyone who helped make this event happen!

Maria Vidal
Assistant House Manager

Maria Vidal is a senior at Saint Peter’s University. She is double majoring in elementary education and psychology. She aspires to become a counselor, so that she can uplift those who are going through hardships. She first became interested in theatre when dancing in the play, The Jesus Story, for six years at Felician College. She has been house manager for two of Saint Peter’s productions: Dracula and the Wild Party. This year she will be house manager for What Lurks.


Meghan Ianiro
Assistant Social Media/Marketing

Meghan Ianiro is a Jersey City native and is thrilled to be part of one of Jersey City’s most inspiring events. Just this past May, she graduated from Saint Peter’s University where she majored in Communication & Media Culture and minored in Journalism. Meghan also wrote for Saint Peter’s University’s student newspaper and acted in the university’s drama club, Argus Eyes Drama Society for 4 years (both organizations for which she was also social media coordinator). Through acting on stage, Meghan has had the opportunity to meet many lifelong friends and inspiring artists who have allowed her to continue pursuing her passion of theatre through a different medium: stage management. She is now working with both Saint Peter’s University and Art House Productions as stage manager for various theatrical productions. Meghan is honored to be an addition to this incredible team of people!


Angelika Fuellemann
Event Graphic Design

Angelika Fuellemann – is excited to be involved in growing TEDxJerseyCity’s brand. She is a visual and user experience designer who enjoys crafting interfaces that are simple, intuitive and enjoyable. A Jersey City resident for many years, she jumped at the chance to participate in TEDx and collaborate with her fellow creatives.


Pat Christodulidis
Scenic Consultant

Pat Christodulidis is a theater, film and television Production Designer. She was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland. She spent most of her career in event organization and production, advertising, and public relations. After starting as a freelance for Art House Productions in Jersey City, she realized that her real passion lies, and always has, in the pure creation and “coming to life” of all esthetic elements of artistic productions. She strongly believes that each and every detail in the costumes, the hair and make-up, the props, or the set, is what completes the actor’s state of mind when they walk on stage or set, and that it all has to fit like a puzzle to create this magical moment when a script comes to life seamlessly and effortlessly.

Arsenal Mediaworks

Zahra Zolfaghari
Web Designer