TEDx PurdueU brings diverse topics to campus - Purdue Exponent: Features

TEDx PurdueU brings diverse topics to campus

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Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 10:00 am

A community spirit for sharing passion and knowledge filled Loeb Playhouse and the upper floors of Stewart Center Friday.

TEDx PurdueU 2013 “Past, Present, Progress” brought the feel of the original TED talk conventions to Purdue in a much more affordable, synergy-centered way.

“I love how it’s just really laid back,” said Alexandra Dukes, an attendee and sophomore in the College of Engineering, about the audience atmosphere and its speakers.

Dukes said she was originally drawn to the TEDx PurdueU event because of TED talks she had seen in her AP Biology class in high school; however, her appreciation of the TED atmosphere hold more significance now that she is an engineering student who feels she sometimes gets caught up in her own “engineering bubble.”

“I love how (TEDx PurdueU) brought people from (all different industries),” Dukes said. “I’m an engineer ... I don’t get to look into what the health department is doing or about virtual simulation, and it’s all so cool!”

Xiao Qu, a senior in the College of Science, was also drawn to TEDx PurdueU because of its speaker and topic diversity. As a neuroscience major, he said he was interested in speaker Pedro Irazoqui, who teaches and does research on bioelectricity and the design of biological implants and neural prosthetic devices. However, he came to see speaker Riley Avron, an intern for NASA who talked about the possibilities of deep space travel, for more personal reasons.

“When I was a little kid one of my biggest enjoyments was learning about outer space (and) I love the Star Wars movies,” he said, “so it makes me really excited to see possibilities of (humans)

going into space.”

Andrew Brick, a sophomore in the College of Engineering and TEDx PurdueU volunteer working the event, was equally excited to be a part of it all, particularly the laid back and comfortable networking atmosphere.

“That was part of the reason I became involved with TED in the first place ... I went to a live streaming event and everyone was very connected very quickly,” he said. “It brings out a lot of good people, you know?”

In the middle of it all were the founders of TEDx PurdueU,

Jeffrey Peters and Freddy Solis, who started the organization and held the first TEDx PurdueU event last year. Both still doctorate students in the College of Engineering, they enjoyed actually getting to see some of the speakers and commended the organization for all the difficult, behind-the-scenes work.

“These guys have done a fantastic job, it’s a huge step forward (for the TEDx PurdueU organization),” said Solis.

Besides being wowed by the Petrônio Bendito Collective, a musical, dance, and digital drawing performance that was custom made for this year’s TEDx PurdueU event, which Solis said was “incredible” and “amazing,” both Solis and Peters were impressed by the involvement of the crowd.

“I just like the full audience and how everyone is really interested in this ... hopefully it’s sparking some good conversation (and that) everyone has a chance to talk to one another,” said Peters.

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