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Nathan Hughes, senior in graphics communication, speaks at the TEDx on the topic, "What A 2,000 Mile Bike Ride Taught Me About Community" on Tuesday, Mar. 26. The event had a total of twelve speakers who spoke on different subjects. Salehin Mahbub photo-editor

Students and professors deliver TED Talks at TEDx

TED Talks came from the internet screen directly to Pittsburg State with such topics as the practicality of the arts, deleting divorce, and defeating the “debt-pocalypse.” 

A committee made of professor of technology and workforce learning Mark Johnson, director of community engagement Sydney Anselmi, and Student Government Association president Kyle Frank, and vice president Cal Siebenmark held the second annual TEDx program Tuesday, March 26 at 6 p.m. in the Dotty and Bill Miller Theatre at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. The program consisted of 12 presentations made by students, faculty, university administration, and community members from around the Pittsburg area. 

“There’s… so many fascinating versions of the story,” Johnson said. “You have the young man who went on a two-thousand mile bike ride (Nathan Hughes, senior in graphics communication) with all the people that he met. You heard about a young man who struggled growing up participating in sports (Cody Pierce, of Pittsburg), his involvement in Special Olympics, and how he rose to the top, even after having an accident, coming back and prevailing. You heard stories and neat and clever ideas on the marketplace (Jeremy Johnson, Crawford County Commission) and how we build community collaborations in different ways with the young man (Zachary Spiering, of Joplin, Missouri) who talked about new ideas… It gave a lot of people things to think about that they maybe had never heard before.” 

Johnson and the committee entitled the program, “Creating Community Through Collaboration, and all the TED Talks had themes based around this title. A diverse selection panel made up of students, professors, and community members selected the 12 presenters from a pool of nearly 35 applications from as close as the Pittsburg area and as far as Maryland, Florida, and Louisiana. 

“It’s absolutely important,” Johnson said. “I have a saying that my students quote me… ‘You only know what you know until you learn something different…’ This is an opportunity to learn something different that you hadn’t heard about. You really get to experience another person’s perspective. You get your eyes opened.” 

One of the presenters of the evening was Harold Wallace III, assistant director of student diversity programs. Wallace gave a presentation over “deleting divorce,” aimed at keeping the trend in young people that shows that divorce is becoming less common due to a variety of reasons. 

“I wanted to do my part to give back,” Wallace said. “I had an opportunity to do it last year which was awesome… I wanted to do a totally different topic, so I chose something that basically was going to honor my marriage… I wanted to talk to a lot of the younger couples and the Millennials my age that are looking for love…” 

Wallace also added that the TEDx presentation can help Pittsburg State become “more connected” on a national level. 

“… You don’t have to go to New York or L.A. to experience the TED Talks…,” Wallace said. “… It’s pretty cool to be able to have this platform here.” 

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