The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Annual TED Talk making an impact at TAMU

Photo by Provided

Andrew Tarvin, author and presenter, spoke at the 2017 TEDxTAMU conference.

TEDxTAMU, an independently organized TED event, is making its way to campus this Sunday.
Meliorism is the theme of this year’s annual TEDx panel at Rudder Forum. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, meliorism is the belief the world can be made better by human effort.
The TEDxTAMU panel is in its sixth year at Texas A&M and looks to make even bigger strides than the previous year. Jon Williamson, executive of the TEDxTAMU staff and computer science and mechanical engineering sophomore, is in charge of coordinating this year’s panel.
“My team and I really like the theme because we thought it was very applicable to today’s society, and what is going on this wide-spread in the world,” Williamson said. “We really like the idea that you can make a difference in people’s lives, and we wanted to share how you do that.”
Williamson said the talks will reach a large audience, not only at the event, but through online streaming.
“The toughest part of managing the event is keeping TED Talks to its strict number cap,” Williamson said. “We’ve already had tickets sell out on all four sessions on April 3. We plan to reach over 500 people on the day event, and we will reach up to a few hundred thousand on YouTube when all of this is finished.”
The event will host 16 speakers, broken down into four sessions with four speakers.
Each speaker was chosen solely on the differences they have made in their life, according to Williamson. Some speakers have graduated from A&M, such as Anthony Hermes, Class of 1986. Hermes is a mechanical engineer who has worked for over 31 years in various manufacturing industries. He now resides in Victoria, Texas, while working for Dow Chemical Company.
Dustin Kemp, Class of 2007, is another speaker who will be at the panel. Kemp began taking classes at A&M in 2003, then left to travel the country and pursue a life of music. He joined an Austin based band called Suite 709, which hit big success, appearing on television shows such as Nashville, and was featured on sites such as Google+ and Kemp then left the music world to return to school and Kemp now works as the Capstone Program Assistant for Launch at A&M.
Other speakers include Emmy award winning visual storyteller Eduardo Angel. Angel received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Los Andes University in Bogota, Columbia, and has taught at some of the biggest and most notable art and design schools in the world, while also working with Fortune 500 companies such as Canon U.S.A., Adobe and Time Inc.
Haley Jircik, member of the speaker relations committee and animal science freshman, said she wants viewers to relate to the speakers.
“The one thing I want people to take away from this event, to know not only the people that are up there speaking their wisdoms and experiences, that these are basic people too,” Jircik said.
Jircik said her favorite part of TED Talks are when the session is over and the speakers get to interact with audience members.
“There’s nothing like seeing someone on stage, reaching out to thousands of people and feeling inaccessible and knowing afterwards you can have that interaction is pretty amazing,” Jircik said.
Weston Nakahara, sponsorships chair of the event and mathematics sophomore, said growth each year is a goal of hosting TEDxTAMU.
“The one key is we want [is] to make this event grow and be more accessible every year,” Nakahara said. “We want the word to get out and have the differences shown to have an impact on the Bryan-College Station area.”
The TEDxTAMU Talks will take place Sunday, April 8 at Rudder Forum. The first session will begin at 9 a.m. and the last session will finish at 6 p.m.
Though all the event tickets have been sold, the event’s livestream will up be ready to view on
“I believe there’s a lot of good Aggies do, and I believe there is always room for improvement to bridge those ideas we’re presenting to everyone,” Williamson said.

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