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TEDx comes to Stetson University for fourth year

TEDx copyStetson University will host the annual TEDx event, Friday, March 18, at 4 p.m. in Allen Hall, 508 N. Woodland Blvd., on the DeLand campus. TEDx is a subsidiary of the world-renowned TED organization which holds conferences relating to Technology, Entertainment and Design on a local scale.

Stetson introduced TEDx to the university community in 2013 with the goal of fostering ideas worth spreading within the Stetson University and DeLand communities. This event is free, open to the public and offers cultural credit to Stetson students. Registration to attend and biographies on this year’s speakers can be found by visiting stetson.edu/tedx.

The theme for this year’s event is “Living between Antiquity and Modernity: Change in our Generation” with the sub-topics of leadership, sustainability and innovation.

TEDx provides a unique experience in which Stetson students, faculty and members of the DeLand community have the opportunity to come together and share their own experiences. The six speakers who will be presenting at TEDx are Chelsea Probus, Carlota Oleaga, Genevieve Patrick, David Sawyer, Luis Paris and Christopher Ferguson.

Probus is a religious studies major at Stetson. She is actively involved in campus life as a member of the Stetson Bonner Program, Stetson University Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra and the Stetson Center for Community Engagement, to name just a few organizations. Probus’ talk will focus on leadership skills.

“My presentation uses stories and ideas I’ve learned from rock climbing to convey my position on the importance of leadership qualities in all members of a community, not just those in leadership positions,” Probus said. “Leadership experience is coveted by many, especially those wishing to create an impressive resumé. Because of this, many people deny the importance of other members of a group or team. I hope that describing this weakness in the current mindset will help others realize that leadership qualities can, and should, be displayed from every part of an organization, from the CEO to the custodial staff.”

Oleaga is a citizen of DeLand who was invited to participate in this TEDx talk, and she is a researcher with a Ph.D. in pharmacy. The subject of her talk is innovation in the scientific field.

“From a researcher’s point of view, searching for old lab techniques to extract new ideas or compare them to the state of the art and try to improve them has always interested me,” Oleaga said. “The topic of my talk will show the audience how a multidisciplinary research team innovates in science to promote public health.”

Patrick is a Stetson student majoring in aquatic and marine biology. She is a student ambassador, a volunteer at the Marine Science Center and a member of Alpha Chi Omega. Her talk will focus on sustainability.

“Growing up as a swimmer and later as a diver, I was always in the water and it has played a major role in my life and in shaping my career path as an aquatic biologist,” Patrick said. “I find fish fascinating and have a desire to help protect the natural world, especially the underwater one. Fish and seafood are some of the most important food resources globally, so seeing what has been done and what needs to be done to protect these fish populations is important to me. Global fisheries have a large economic impact as well, so finding a way to fish that is sustainable is vital.”

Sawyer is a Stetson student majoring in business administration and finance. Sawyer is the founder and president of Stetson’s ENACTUS program where he was able to create TSOLife, a web application that lets users leave behind their own legacy for future generations. He also participates in many volunteer or nonprofit projects to better the community. The subject of his talk is on the innovation it took to become a successful student-entrepreneur with TSOLife.

“I got the idea at my grandmother’s funeral in November of 2013 when I was hearing stories about her life that I had never heard before,” Sawyer said about his inspiration for creating the application. “I believed in the vision and once we gained a fantastic team to back it up, I had confidence in our success and ability to learn and grow together. Stetson has a phenomenal computer science program, and they have some of the best students who are up and coming into the technological world.”

Paris is a visiting lecturer at Stetson and an entrepreneur. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, Innovate Daytona and 1 Million Cups. The central idea of his talk is innovation.

“I am passionate about innovation, because I believe in the power of new ideas to change lives,” Paris said. “I get excited when I hear people talk about their inventions/ideas to shape a better future—that’s part of the reason I became an organizer of 1 Million Cups. This is a weekly event that’s open to the public, where entrepreneurs share their successes and challenges and where the crowd actively participates through comments and questions.”

Ferguson is associate professor of psychology and co-chair of psychology at Stetson. Ferguson will also be speaking about innovation.

“I have been working on and doing media research for over a decade now,” Ferguson said. “Societal fears about media and technology are always a potential block to innovation and often form along generational lines. All of us have lived through technology advancing in our lives and experienced the harsh social reactions that have accompanied advancement. Understanding these cycles of reactions to new technology can help us better understand and control new technology in the future.”

By Nicole Melchionda