By Darla Shelden
Thought leaders with ideas worth spreading took to the stage for TEDxOStateU on April 10 at Oklahoma State University.
With the theme of “Ideas,” presenters brought to the OSU campus thought-provoking views and inspiring initiatives designed to incite discussion in the spirit of the international TED Talk movement.
Speakers representing a cross-section of Oklahoma State University students, staff, alumni and friends brought ideas worth spreading to the Seretean Center on the Stillwater campus.
There was a wide range of topics for this third installment of TEDxOStateU. OSU students once again brought their ideas for changing the world to the TEDxOStateU stage.
Special TEDxOStateU speakers included OSU engineering graduate Christopher White. He was recently featured on CBS News 60 Minutes for his work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to illuminate illegal activities found on the largely hidden “dark web.” White invented the domain indexing and Web search program Memex used by law enforcement agencies to track online activities like human trafficking.
In an effort to improve dialog and relations between the community and the police, Toni Brinker Pickens founded Operation Blue Shield in Dallas. Pickens, wife of OSU alumnus Boone Pickens, spoke about why she developed the idea and how it is working.
Jodi Jinks, an assistant professor of acting at Oklahoma State discussed ArtsAloud-OSU, which uses acting and theater to enhance the lives of men at an Oklahoma correctional center.
Toni Brinker Pickens, a Dallas community activist and wife of T. Boone Pickens, discussed the idea behind her recently launched campaign Operation Blue Shield. The effort brings communities and police departments together to discuss issues of safe neighborhoods through open dialogue.
Oklahoma City businessman and OSU alumnus Richard Greenly discussed the efforts of his group Water4 to bring clean drinking water to millions of people in the developing world while planting entrepreneurial seeds.
OSU faculty and staff involved in a variety of research and artistic endeavors included:Suzy Harrington, OSU chief wellness officer – Spreading wellness; Jodi Jinks, assistant professor of theatre – Theatre behind bars; Susan Little, Regents Professor of Parasitology – Improving the human-animal bond; Bailey Norwood, professor of agriculture economics – A class worthy of Netflix; William Paiva, executive director, OSU Center for Health Systems Innovation – Improving health with data; Chandra Story, assistant professor of health education and promotion – Social support and wellness; and Liz Roth, associate professor of the arts – Creativity and artistic expression
This year’s lineup of students, selected following an open audition included: Aavron Estep – 3D printers on Mars; Macy Gleason – Your words are my currency; Rhonda Lawes – Retrain yourself to sustain change; Ben Myers – The disability conversation; David Neto – Black holes and time travel; Quinn Vandenberg/Jonathon Button – Using business to improve the world; Amy Huffer – Infant mental health; Al Saloha – Poem “My Heart Bleeds”
TEDxOStateU also featured musical talent from the OSU community such as the OSU Concert Chorale, which recently performed at Carnegie Hall. There was a rousing performance by a mixed brass, percussion, and organ ensemble from the OSU Department of Music.