Most BC students should be familiar with TED talks, a series of interesting and informative lectures on incredibly diverse topics that are given by experts in various fields. Some are powerful and emotional; some are funny and light-hearted; some are inspiring and eye-opening. This weekend BC students have the chance to see a variety of different ones right here in Boston! On November 16th on Beacon Street, TED is holding an event focusing on inspiring today’s youth. The event, called Spark Change @TedxYouth, “represents a vast range of people and ideas that empower and inspire us. With this theme we are hoping to encourage you all to show us what ‘sparks’ light up your community, to show us what ideas and people have inspired you!” The event is an all day conference filled with multiple speakers and sessions.
The first session includes a performance by a Japanese drumming group. In that same session, Chris Anderson, one of the TED curators responsible for organizing events like these, will also be speaking, as will Peter Girguis, an undersea scientist. While these speakers may seem random and disconnected, their diversity aims to “spark” an interest and conversation in any one of their topics or specialties. The second session of the day is more focused on innovation and the future, with three speakers who work in different fields with a similar theme – innovation and the combination of creativity and technology. Larisa Leventon is an imaging inventor, who specializes in communicating data. Leigh Christie is a sustainable energy expert, who’s currently working on solutions to heat buildings in a more efficient way. Ramesh Raskar is a media lab inventor, who has spoken at TED events before about how everyone can see the world like an inventor. See a previous talk by him here:
The next session is another seemingly bizarre combination of speakers – a sixth grade pianist, a youth mentor, an eleven year old soccer player, a mom and concussion advocate, a high speed imaging expert, an expert on food justice, and a poi spinning performer. These very varied speeches are meant to appeal to an audience with a broad range of interests, and with such a wide range of topics and types of speakers, there should be something that would capture your attention. Steve Larosiliere, the youth mentor, for example, is the “Founder and President of STOKED, a youth development organization… [that] uses snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing to teach life and career skills to low income youth,” which should certainly interest some of BC’s service oriented students. Blake Frank, the sixth grade pianist, became in the last year the youngest person ever to be invited to the InterHarmony Music Festival and also performed at Carnegie Hall, and has arguably the most adorable headshot on the website.
The fourth group of speakers is more cohesive; there section is titled Breaking Through. They include a non-profit marketer, the president of Fidelity Investments, a management director and author, a photographer and entrepreneur, a mechanical engineer, the CEO of Leading Women, and a composer and songwriter. While they represent a wide range of professions, this group has all risen to the top in their various fields, and should be able to offer advice that could be applicable to most college students. For example, Nikolai Begg, the PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, who specializes in making safer medical instruments, is still a student, with an interesting and relevant perspective to share with college students. The next session definitely has a creative focus, with two Juilliard musicians, a photographer, small business owner, a specialist in 3D printing, and GE’s chief technology officer. Ben Peters, the specialist in 3D printing, another PhD student at MIT, is developing “technology that makes a low cost, high resolution, digital mold a reality.” His talk, in contrast with the performance by a Juilliard cellist and violinist, really captures the mission of TED, which is to create a confluence of experts, with a wide array of experiences, in technology, entertainment, and design.
The next panel is thoroughly scientific based featuring an inventor, a geneticist, and a robotics engineer. Ting Wu, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, will present a stunningly simple explanation for UCEs and then propose how, if she is correct, we can harness UCEs to fashion a radically new approach for addressing disease. The last session of the day is solely devoted to education, with an educational entrepreneur (ever heard of the Princeton Review?), an educational consultant, two edX educators, and an open education activist. Throughout the day there will be different times when you can participate in discussions, as well as food and entertainment. And unlike watching TED talks from your admittedly very comfortable bed, this event offers a rare opportunity to talk and network with speakers. More information about the event can be found here.