The fifth annual TEDxAustinCollege will be held Saturday, October 3, beginning at 9 a.m., offering community and campus members an opportunity to share ideas.
Millions of viewers worldwide have seen videos of the annual TED Conferences, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers have spoken for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of “ideas worth spreading.” Launched around the world in 2009, TEDx brings a TED-like experience to local venues. Some of the best talks from TEDx events have been featured on TED.com and garnered millions of views from audiences across the globe. Austin College’s talks will be recorded and posted on the TEDx YouTube channel.
Though in-person viewing for TEDxAustinCollege is limited to a COVID-19-safe number of students, faculty, and staff, a broader audience is possible. “The good news is that for the first time, the TED organization is permitting TEDx events to be broadcast live, which means everyone can attend the event virtually,” Colin Ashlock, a senior from Sherman and a lead member of the 2020 TEDxAustinCollege Planning Committee. “That broadcast is offered at no cost this year.”
Community members must register in advance for the event by Monday, September 28. Viewing details will be sent to registrants via email.
“The challenges and surprises of the last several months mean great ideas are worth sharing now more than ever,” said Claudia Theriot, a junior from Boerne, Texas, and member of the planning team. She explained that the theme for this year’s event, “Seeing Beyond 2020,” originated with the idea of 20/20 vision and a quote from Albert Einstein: “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”
Theriot said that though everyone has different ideas about how society will see beyond current circumstances, the central question of “what’s next” remains more relevant than ever. The six TEDxAustin College speakers offer their perspectives on “Seeing Beyond 20/20.” Speakers and overviews of their 16- to 18-minute presentations follow.
“Why Concussions Have Been Great for Sports”
Mack Bolen is an Austin College senior completing a major in neuroscience. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine and specialize in athletic pediatric traumatic brain Injury.
Bolen is no stranger to traumatic brain injury, having experienced a series of concussions that left her having to relearn how to walk and read. Now a student of neuroscience, she will describe what happens to the brain when an individual experiences a brain injury. She will also explain why she believes recent research and exposure to traumatic brain injury have been good for sports.
“The Truth About ‘These Kids’ and ‘Those Teachers’”
Brittnay Connor is a 2014 graduate of Austin College and a Dallas ISD teacher. Also a Fulbright and Teach For America alumna, she says she focuses her career on making positive change for schools and students on the brink.
Connor will deliver her perspectives of the truth about “these kids” and “those teachers” so often mentioned in the media. She says that kids and teachers in even the most difficult circumstances are resilient, innovative, and working harder than most know. Connor will offer some advice on how to meaningfully support teachers and kids in the public education system.
“Get Your Head in the Game: Let Fear Be Your Fuel”
Tim Crossley is a 2020 graduate of Austin College now completing his Master of Arts in Teaching degree. He is also in the classroom this year, teaching middle school Texas history and coaching football, basketball, and track in Mesquite, Texas.
Crossley believes it is fear—fear of the unknown and fear of failure—that prevents people from achieving their dreams. He says for him no greater teacher exists than he finds on the football field. He will share personal experiences with fear and how he used it as a motivator rather than letting it hold him back.
“Our Differences Are Our Superpowers: Thinking Beyond the ‘Dis’ in Disability”
Betsy Walling Furler lives in Houston, Texas, and is the founder and CEO of For All Abilities. She is an expert in employee and student accommodations and a pioneer in the use of mobile apps for individuals with disabilities. She is a 1989 graduate of Austin College.
Furler has pivoted her training as a speech pathologist into a career in tech, determining how to make technology accessible for people with diverse abilities. She said she has seen time and again that the “dis” abilities people have are really the differences that help them stand above the rest. She believes that differences are superpowers and will challenges her audience to adopt that attitude.
“Our Lone Star: Understanding the Vastness of Space”
David Whelan, Ph.D., is an associate professor of physics at Austin College, where he uses the IDEA Center’s Adams Observatory to investigate the night sky.
Whelan loves contemplating the mysteries of space–mysterious even to him as a professional astronomer and physics professor. Whelan will offer some useful comparisons for how small our planet is in the context of our solar system and galaxy, and why the Sun truly is our lone star.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.