TEDxFGCU exceeds expectations

TEDxFGCU exceeds expectations

Sophomore Megan Shindler gave a passionate presentation on how theater can be utilized to spark change. Shindler was the final speaker of the night. EN Photo / Paul McDade)
Sophomore Megan Shindler gave a passionate presentation on how theater can be utilized to spark change. Shindler was the final speaker of the night. (EN Photo / Paul McDade)

On Thursday, March 19, Florida Gulf Coast University’s Office of Multicultural and Leadership Development hosted its second annual TEDxFGCU lecture series in the WGCU studio complex.

TEDx is an affiliate of TED, which are educational talks and lectures geared toward the spread of ideas. TEDx allow independent organization — such as FGCU — to host their own seminars. FGCU welcomed eight students and professors to speak on ideas and findings that they found pressing enough to share with the universe.

TEDxFGCU began with Tyler Whitman, a senior business management major. In Whitman’s talk he offered an alternative way to learning for a millennial classroom. He said that humans are naturally visual learners and classrooms should integrate digital technology such as laptops and iPads to enable a more engaged learning experience.

Whitman was followed by communication and philosophy major Vanessa Fernandez and sociology and political science major Talissa Soto. They are both officers in the No Race|No Hate club. In their talk they discussed ways in which to change the world —primarily through minimizing hate.

This was followed by Serge Thomas, Ph.D. He spoke on the importance of artificial retention ponds and their impact on recharging groundwater aquifers. He argued that these retention ponds are being polluted with chemicals to kill off the algae that grows in them to maintain the ponds’ aesthetics, but as a result the water that seeps down to the aquifers becomes contaminated.

Psychology major Alex Van Aken was up next with an insightful lecture on the harmful effects of fluoride on the brain, especially within the pineal gland. English professor Conan Griffin followed suit by describing what he called one’s “adventurous spirit.” This is the inspiration to travel and see as much of the world while you are still able.

Whitaker Eminent Scholar recipient and astronomer Derek Buzasi, Ph.D. then took the stage to discuss the vastness of space and explained how astronomers were able to determine the distances to visible stars.

Martha Rosenthal, Ph.D., a biology professor, was up next to explain the biological, psychological and physiological differences between men and women.

“The series ended with sophomore political science and theater major Megan Shindler. She offered a dramatic example of how theater art can be used as a compelling means to inspire change within society. In doing so she performed a monologue from the theater production “The Laramie Project,” which at the time of its release influenced the expansion of hate crime legislation.”

Tyler Whitman gives a leccture titled“Killing the Textbook” in which he offers learning solutions for a new generation of students. Whitman was the first to take the stage at TEDxFGCU. EN Photo / Paul McDade)
Tyler Whitman gives a leccture titled“Killing the Textbook” in which he offers learning solutions for a new generation of students. Whitman was the first to take the stage at TEDxFGCU. (EN Photo / Paul McDade)

The event was directed by the coordinator of leadership development, Emily Lorino. She was very excited with the outcome of the event and expressed excitement for next year’s event.

“It exceeded my expectations,” Lorino said. “They were all very well rehearsed, so I was expecting them to do great, but I definitely thought that they went above and beyond the expectations. It was also great to see the adrenaline of the event motivate.”

Each audience member was given a gift bag containing a TEDx notebook, a reusable coffee sleeve, a TED Sharpie marker and an x-shaped stress ball.

If you missed the live event, videos of each lecture will be available soon on FGCU’s TEDx YouTube channel: here.