Bachelor of Biotechnology student and science valedictorian Lawrence Wong graduates on Tuesday 22 July.
Bachelor of Biotechnology student and science valedictorian Lawrence Wong graduates on Tuesday 22 July.
21 July 2014

More than 40,000 people have now shared the TEDxUQ experience, thanks to the vision of graduating University of Queensland science student Lawrence Kurniawan Wong.

A Bachelor of Biotechnology graduate and science valedictorian, Mr Wong will leave a legacy at UQ in the form of TEDxUQ, which he introduced in 2013 while in his third year of study.

TEDxUQ is the UQ version of the popular worldwide TED talks that attract millions of viewers to thousands of online presentations about a range of topics across technology, society, education, history, justice and environmental issues. 

In 2013, Mr Wong applied for a TEDx license and hosted the first TEDxUQ, organising a dedicated student team to secure the sponsorship, speakers and student supporters for the event.

For TEDxUQ 2014, Mr Wong and the organising team received interest from 357 applicants for the 130 audience spots and co-ordinated eight speakers and two performances.

The 2013 and 2014 TEDxUQ events attracted more than 40,000 views of the recorded videos and live streaming.

Mr Wong said he organised TEDxUQ because he thought it would be something that would benefit a lot of people and extend himself.

“The experience and skills I gained from organising the TEDxUQ program are transferable to many careers and I feel more equipped and confident as a result,” he said.

On graduation, he leaves a multi-cultural team of dedicated fellow students who will keep the TEDxUQ legacy alive.

“I particularly appreciated the range of opportunities available outside of the classroom at UQ and the encouragement I received to take the risk on this particular venture,” Mr Wong said.

Mr Wong said he planned to return to his native Indonesia and look for a management role, using the skills he developed through TEDxUQ and his other student pursuits.

He said that his time in the laboratory as a Summer Research Scholarship student in 2011 and 2012 confirmed that he wasn’t that excited by research but he said he still found science fascinating.   

“I’ve had one of the most exciting and wonderful times of my life at UQ,” he said.

“Looking back, I think all the things I found most enjoyable came from my involvement with the Advanced Study Program in Science and the UQ Advantage Office.

“Both gave me great opportunities to meet similar-minded students and take part in unique and exciting activities.”

This included a visit to South Korea in 2012 , which was funded by the UQ Advantage Office.

Mr Wong said his studies were complemented by the campus’s excellent facilities and by opportunities made available through the Faculty of Science.

“I was able to develop my communication and teaching skills through tutoring and I enjoyed the diverse range of clubs and societies that made my life at university really satisfying,” he said.

Mr Wong was also part of the Advanced Study program in Science (ASPinS) and did summer scholarships at the Australian Institute of Biotechnology and Nanotechnology in 2011 and 2012.

He received a Dean’s Commendation for High Achievement in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and was awarded two study scholarships in 2013. He graduates on Tuesday 22 July with the UQ Advantage Award.

This year marks 101 years of graduates at UQ, since the first degrees were awarded in 1913.

Queensland’s largest university has graduated more than 210,000 students, and has a proud cohort of alumni who have gone on to make their mark in more than 150 countries.

Media: UQ Communications Marketing and Communications Officer, Kate Bishop, 3346 7887 or

July 2014 Graduation Schedule:

Live coverage of the graduation ceremonies available here: