University hosts 1st TEDx event

Olivia Barfield

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Speakers share ideas to inspire local audience for tomorrow

Community members, campus leaders and students filled Spyker Theatre to attend TEDxULM Friday, the school’s first TED event.

The event’s theme was “Tomorrow Shaping Today” and focused on how the past is currently shaping us and our perspective of the future.

Six speakers presented their findings and thoughts with the goal of spreading ideas. There was also a performance by a VAPA student group.

The speakers came from an assortment of different fields, and their talks gave varying insights on past, present and future and how they all mesh together to influence decisions.

TED events are conferences that feature short speeches or performances given by great minds. Independently organized TED events are denoted by an “x,” as is TEDxULM.

TED conferences are not limited to any specific theme or set of ideas. All TED Talks do, however, share a general purpose; it is to spread ideas and consequentially spark conversation.

According to the TEDxULM online blog, the event hoped to spark some ideas on campus.

“TED Talks mean learning new things from interesting people, and that’s what we want to happen right here at ULM,” the website said.

Camille Pearce, the main organizer of the event and a psychology graduate student at ULM, had been planning the event for about a year and was excited about the opportunity to host a TED event and spread ideas on campus.

“I hope that people who have never experienced TED or TEDx before get that kind of TED spirit instilled in them, and at the same time, I hope people who know TED will see that spirit reflected in what we are trying to do here,” Pearce said.

The speakers at the event were chosen from ULM and the surrounding Monroe community.

Tiffany Jackson, Project Director and Coordinator for the TEACH Project grant at ULM, spoke about how teachers face challenges in connecting to students due to the digital divide.

“It’s not just the kids. The world is changing,” Jackson said.

Paul Sylvester, professor of Pharmacology at ULM School of Pharmacy, spoke on risk factors of breast cancer, his research focus.

Kilian Garvey, assistant professor of psychology at ULM, spoke on how pathogen prevalence is correlated with violence.

Tom Nicholson, President and CEO of Strauss Interests, spoke on the value of social skills in a technology-drowned world.

“The market value for people with social skills is going up,” Nicholson said.

Benjamin Hickey, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Masur Museum of Art, spoke about the role of an art curator in the community.

Lastly, Diana Greenly, Station Archaeologist at the Poverty Point World Heritage Site and an Adjunct Professor of Archaeology in the School of Sciences at the ULM, spoke on the conflict of learning and damaging exhibitions.

The event was followed by a reception in Brown Gym.