Student Pair among VCU Speakers at TEDxRVA
University Public Affairs
A couple of chance encounters led Virginia Commonwealth University students Eric Stanley and Rob Gibsun into a steadfast friendship and creative collaboration. That relationship, in turn, led to the duo being selected to present at this year's TEDxRVA event Friday at The Power Plant at Haxall Point.
Stanley and Gibsun are among several VCU students, faculty and alumni chosen to speak at the event, a day-long schedule of accomplished speakers who will share their ideas on a range of topics.
The two first met at church, where Gibsun drew Stanley playing piano one day. They met again years later when Stanley moved into Johnson Hall on the same floor where Gibsun was the resident assistant.
They soon recognized that their talents were complementary.
Gibsun, a communication arts major who is also minoring in creative writing, is founder and president of the poetry troupe Slam Nahuatl. He organizes the monthly RAM SLAM poetry competition at VCU's Shafer Street Playhouse.
Stanley is a passionate violinist known for his covers of popular songs on YouTube. His debut violin cover of Trey Songz’s “Say Ahh” received more than 100,000 views the first day it was posted. He studies music performance in classical violin and also plays guitar and piano.
Since re-meeting in Johnson Hall, the two have remained in contact and recently teamed up for a couple of projects. Gibsun drew the artwork for “The Eric Stanley Project,” and Stanley composed music for Gibsun’s poetry project.
Their recent collaborations made them ideal candidates to speak at TEDxRVA’s CREATE event. TEDx is the local version of TED, which was created in the spirit of “ideas worth sharing.” Since 1984, TED conferences have brought together people from three areas: technology, entertainment and design.
As artists, Stanley and Gibsun will represent the “CREATE” theme through their collaboration in works such as Untitled Visions, which features Gibsun’s poetic talent and Stanley’s violin mastery.
Stanley and Gibsun are scheduled to speak as part of a block of speakers between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. More information, including registration information and a complete schedule of speakers, can be found at http://www.tedxrva.com/. A livestream of the event, which opens with registration at 7:30 a.m. and closes with a 6 p.m. reception, can be viewed at http://www.tedxrva.com/live-stream/.
Other VCU-affiliated speakers include:
- James Walker, graduate student in the M.F.A. program of Design/Visual Communications, VCU School of the Arts
- Stephen Fong, Ph.D., associate professor and associate chair, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, VCU School of Engineering
- Robert Meganck, professor and chair, Department of Communication Arts, and Matthew Wallin, assistant professor, Department of Communication Arts, VCU School of the Arts
- Michael-Birch Pierce, alumnus, Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising, VCU School of the Arts
- Frank Gupton, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering and director of the VCU Institute for Engineering in Medicine, VCU School of Engineering
- Amir Toor, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, VCU School of Medicine
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