Alicia Ruth Currates Awesome Learning

Alicia Ruth

Alicia Ruth Shares Awesome Learning Throughout Jersey City via TEDxJerseyCity and The Foundation of Wonderment and Awe

What do you do?

giving passions life and

I am a visual artist, activist, founder and executive director and a full time dream chaser. My business endeavors include 3 non-profits, a publication, a festival and an ethical fashion line. I'm sure this list will grow and shrink throughout my lifetime. My ambitions lay in giving my passions life and existence, rather than the greatness of their success. In other words, I anticipate failure but I thrive on trying. TEDxJerseyCity is my only locally focused non-profit, however, it probably best represents my overlapping passions through simultaneously understanding and shaping how the world works.

Who do you do it for?

I do it for everyone who wants to learn how to make our world better. Learning and understanding are the basis for connection. Connection is the driving force behind the who, what, how of why we are here. Learning is for absolutely everyone.

Why do you do it?

create the world you want to live in

On a personal level, I do this work because I completely believe in the idea that you have to create the world you want to live in. I’m compelled to incite change by the injustices I see around me. Further, it gives my life meaning to help others see how they are connected to each other and to the greater picture. I work from a place of deep passion and conviction to the point of obsession. On a grander scale, learning and understanding leads to breaking down walls that plague our society whether those are societal constructs such as racism, or a better understanding of disease so we can live longer and healthier lives, or any other number of things which impact our day to day lives. Knowledge is the ultimate tool for creation and destruction. Everyday I awaken enthused to learn something new. Some of those things make me angry, some inspire awe, some bring momentary mindfulness to the mundanity of life. All of these feelings, and any others, propel me out of bed and into action. They remind me life is worth living.

How did you start?

I started TEDxJerseyCity, the first of all them all, in 2011. I discovered through TED’s website that you could form a local organization through them, giving my community early access to the annual TED conference. I wanted to be able to share and discuss these ideas with likeminded people. I applied and hosted our first ever event TEDxJerseyCityWomen. Since then we have hosted 11 events and are looking to expand to include youth programming.


What makes it unique?

I think I already answered this question below but let me know if you want me to go further with it.

SUGGESTION: I'd love for you to share more about how your view / approach to learning, understanding, and sciences is unique... like how all you do is uniquely tied together, perhaps from the "make complexly beautiful things easily accessible for everyone to understand and appreciate" theme that IMO is throughout much of your work? For example with TEDxJC, IMO you brought what seemed complex and out of reach... a huge TEDx conference... right here to JC. And with FFW&A, you share the beauty of complex science in ways that everyone can appreciate. I think you make the world of seemingly deep science accessible in a thoughtful and beautiful way. IMO that's SO unique! That's IMO and I don't know if that accurately ties your work together, but if you feel it does I'd love for you to share more about (feel free to incorporate any of the words I used here if helpful)... and/or if not accurate, I'd love for you to share what you personally feel is unique about the work you do?

What do you love about it?

I love the endless possibilities that come with learning. The universe is ripe with potential. What we do with that is on us. How far can humans go? How much is left to discover? I also really enjoy all the amazing people I meet, especially through TEDxJerseyCity.

How do you / does it make learning awesome?

curiosity, wonderment, connection

I make learning awesome by celebrating endeavors that give people purpose and meaning. TEDxJerseyCity, the Foundation for Wonderment and Awe, In Theory - they all share the same common thread which is to present learning and knowledge as relevant and interesting. When we lose the connection to information - to the who, what, why - we are far less interested in the how. My biggest passion, aside from learning, is to rebrand learning and inspire curiosity, wonderment, connection.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Studies have shown that lifelong learners experience far less brain deterioration than their peers who aren’t. This equates to longer life spans and a better quality of life. So this means learning is good for your health. That right there is a pretty good reason to keep at it.

Alicia Ruth
Founder and Executive Director / TEDxJerseyCity
Founder and Executive Director / The Foundation for Wonderment and Awe
Jersey City, NJ
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