SHERMAN — Austin College will host the third annual TEDxAustinCollege on Saturday, Sept. 29, featuring short (up to 15 minutes) talks by six members of the Austin College community amid interactive TEDx programming and TED Talk videos. The six Main Stage talks, presented in sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., will be preceded and followed by the “Discovery Depot” lobby experience, providing opportunities to interact with ideas and with fellow TEDx participants. The event takes place in Wright Campus Center, with Main Stage talks in Mabee Hall. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, will feature Austin College student, staff, faculty and alumni voices, plus TED Talk videos, under the theme of “Changing Currents.”


Tickets, at $30 per person, are available through Sept. 24 for the live Main Stage event. Lunch is included in that price. Purchase tickets and learn more online at www.austincollege.edu/tedx. For information, call 903-813-2419.


Senior Femy Varghese of Corsicana, Texas, chairs the executive planning team made up of students and explains the “Changing Currents” theme created by the group.


“In the late 1800s, what began as a lightning spark was transformed into usable electricity,” she said. “During its early years, direct current was the accepted standard. Unchallenged. Until Nikola Tesla had an idea worth spreading. He harnessed changing currents and powered an entire city with light, flooding homes and lives with illumination never before experienced.”


Varghese brings the meaning closer to home.


“In 1918, Austin College became a co-ed college, opening its doors to women and joining the world in changing currents,” she said. “With catalysts as significant as these behind us, we invite TEDxAustinCollege participants to open their minds to new currents of possibility, achievement, and action. Everyday life is powered by our behaviors and attitudes. Our event will provide an opportunity for ideas to connect—for sparks to fly.”


2018 TEDxAustinCollege Speakers & Topics


· Shelby Bagby, Austin College junior who dreams of opening her own private medical practice: “One language is not enough. ¿Porque no los dos?”


· Anissa Centers, (Austin College 1993 graduate), Emmy Award-winning journalist and motivational speaker: “Looking Good While Falling Apart: There are some things in life even a great pair of stilettos won’t fix.”


· Devin Gonier, (Austin College 2009 graduate), chief technology officer at the DGC group: “The Morality of Artificial Intelligence and the Power of the Unknowable”


· Randi Tanglen, Ph.D., Austin College English faculty member: “How to be a Bad-Ass Woman: Changing the Current in Daunting Political Times”


· Aly Tharp, (Austin College 2012 graduate), artist/climate change and sustainability activist: “Climate Chaos or Social Change? Choose One.”


· John Williams, Ph.D., (Austin College 1984 graduate), Austin College chaplain: “Out of the Audience and Into the Story: Including Marginalized Persons”


Alpha Phi Omega sponsor and Austin College chemistry faculty member Dr. John Richardson believes that TEDxAustinCollege has the opportunity to bring the rest of the world into the engaging, provocative, and life-changing conversations that occur daily on the Austin College campus.


“Rarely do we get to celebrate monumental accomplishments. But this year, we get to celebrate a milestone of significant importance to all people as we remember the struggle for equality in education,” he said, noting Austin College’s celebration of 100 years of co-education. “This year’s TEDxAustinCollege theme reminds us of the part we play in making the small changes that have lasting impact on the people around us and the place we live.”


“Austin College fosters innovative ideas on a daily basis, both within the community and globally,” Richardson said. “The professors, students, and alumni who will speak extend their knowledge wherever they go. With this being our third year, we look for this progress to expand further as we spread ideas not only locally but all over the world.”


TEDxAustinCollege was conceived in 2016 by members of the Austin College chapter of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. Rather than organize a service project with limited reach, the students sought a project with the potential to engage individuals beyond the local community. The 2016 and 2017 campus presentation videos shared through TED.com have reached more than 100,000 individuals.


Varghese said that TEDxAustinCollege has engaged the larger Austin College community, from local businesses to alumni. “Our goal for the Sept. 29 event is for everyone to learn something new, acknowledge a different viewpoint, and challenge ideas around them.”


About TED


TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.


TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self- organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.


About Austin College


Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 36 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.