Showcasing six speakers across a variety of disciplines, TEDxUM is hosting its ninth annual event on Friday, Feb. 20 at The Gertrude C. Ford Center.
TEDx, a TED-affiliate registered student organization that is dedicated to spreading TED’s message of “ideas worth sharing,” puts on an annual talk and hosts TED Chats.
This year’s event will feature David Hamilton, Jazmine Kelley, Bryn Loftness and Jaylin R. Smith— all of whom have ties to Oxford and the University of Mississippi. Jason Bouldin and Alisha Rai will bring their expertise and fresh perspectives from other places in the world to Oxford for the night.
Hamilton, founder of the partially Oxford-based Anubis Improv, will be “sharing the lessons of improv with the world.”
Kelley is UM’s diversity education and strategic initiatives Director for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. She will explore the relationship between student success and Institutional effectiveness for systematically excluded groups.
Loftness will talk about her experience with new technologies aimed at revolutionizing the modern-day mental healthcare system. She is working toward her doctorate at the University of Vermont and is a National Science Foundation Fellow.
Smith is a native of Greenwood, Miss., and a graduate student in UM’s School of Journalism and New Media. Her talk will focus on cultural competency and Black women’s hair through the lens of her experience as a Black woman from the Mississippi Delta.
Smith sees TEDx as an important tool because it provides an opportunity to unite the Oxford and university communities.
“Sometimes there’s a disconnect between academia and scholars and the community in which we’re writing about and researching. TEDx provides the opportunity for all of us to come together to share ideas and teach and learn from each other,” Smith said. “Anytime you can bring people together in Oxford from all different walks of life, I think it’s amazing.”
Bouldin, a nationally-renowned portrait painter, will talk about the term “artist,” what it means and how it can be reimagined to help us incorporate creativity into our daily lives.
Rai, a disability activist and Canadian family physician, seeks to inspire hope by sharing her journey to and through motherhood.
With speakers from a diverse range of disciplines, the organizers hope to spark important conversations on campus. After the event, there will be a TED Chat at Circle and Square brewery, where interested audience members can grab a beverage and talk with the speakers about their presentations and ideas.
Junior interdisciplinary studies and linguistics major Morgan McCann serves as the assistant chief of staff and head of fundraising.
“I’m excited to see the future of TEDxUM grow and hopefully create more widespread interest on campus,” McCann said. “Our chief of staff pushed our tabling efforts, and I think it’s generated a lot of interest in our group. Hopefully that means we’ll have a larger team in the future and be able to reach even more people.”
Emilie Chandler, the director of public relations, describes TEDxUM as an organization that has the ability to truly impact the Ole Miss community.
“My favorite part of being in this organization is the opportunity to help get great ideas spread alongside a great student-based team,” Chandler said. “I think it is important that people have the platform to share their own ideas and help foster their imagination. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that does exactly that. This is the main reason why I wanted to join this organization and help in the 2024 event.”
Madalyn Dudley, a junior majoring in integrated marketing communications and public policy leadership, serves as the chief of staff for the organization.
“It is such an honor to be able to give people from our community the opportunity to share their brilliant ideas with the world through TED,” Dudley said. “So many people dream of giving or seeing a TED talk live once in their life, and we get to give people in our community the stepping stones to reach that goal. It’s such a special experience.”
Tickets are available for sale over the phone, at the box office and online via The Ford Center. Students can purchase tickets for $5, and non-student tickets are $7.