TEDx Speakers Hope to Push the Boundaries of Traditional Thinking

Seven presentations scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8, at The College of Wooster

30 October, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Organizers of next Saturday’s (Nov. 8) TEDx event at The College of Wooster hope to push the boundaries of traditional thinking through a series of presentations in Gault Recital Hall of Scheide Music Center (525 E. University St.). Doors open with a reception at 9:30, featuring coffee, juice, and Danish. The event begins at 10 a.m. and continue until about 12:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, so those interested in attending are asked to arrive early. The talks will also be streamed live in Lowry Center.

The independently organized session is authorized by TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design), a non-profit organization committed to promoting “ideas worth spreading” in the form of short talks that are designed to change how people view the world through the perspectives of others. The theme for the Wooster event is “Push,” as in pushing limitation and barriers, according to student coordinators Bailey Connor and Noah Megregian.

“We are excited to bring the TED message about ideas worth spreading to the greater Wooster community,” said Connor. “These speakers will share innovative ideas and interesting experiences from all walks of life. The drive behind sponsoring this event is to showcase those who have done incredible things, and allow for them to share and inspire us through their experiences. We are certain that those who attend will find it motivating.”

The speakers include Mihika Chatterjee, a graduate researcher at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), who will present “Because How We Measure Poverty Matters.” A 2008 College of Wooster graduate, Chatterjee will showcase a new and arguably more effective way of measuring poverty. Using a multidimensional lens, she will challenge the traditional concepts of how poverty is viewed, measured, and tackled. She will share her insights from work in more than 100 countries that bring to light stark realities of human suffering across the world. Her hope is that the idea of a multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI) will push the boundaries of understanding of human deprivation and human development.

Also speaking will be Doug Reiser, founder and partner of Reiser Legal PLLC, a growing alcoholic beverage law practice that provides full-service legal consulting and branding advising for breweries in a number of states. He will discuss the link between the failure of one of his favorite sports teams to his ultimate success in the business world in a talk titled, “Falling Down Doesn’t Have to Hurt: Why the Constant Failure of the Cleveland Browns Broke Down the Barrier to My Success.” The Browns taught him three invaluable lessons that were essential to finding success: perspective, commitment, and adversity. “This is how my love for the Browns broke me free from barriers and made me a happy father, husband, and business leader,” he said.

The third speaker will be Julie Theisen, a licensed practical nurse as well as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor who currently works at Juel Fairbanks Chemical Dependency Services and The University of Minnesota Transplant Center. She will attempt to answer the question, “How Did I Get Here?” which she often hears from clients in her addiction treatment groups who have a history of gastric bypass surgery. “With over one-third of the U.S. population qualifying as obese, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery has become a successful method to help people shed pounds quickly and keep them off,” she said. “There can, however, be several unfortunate side effects of this surgery including a new susceptibility to developing Alcohol Use Disorder…as much as twice the rate of the general population. Our question is, ‘Why?’”

In addition, Lauren Grimanis, a 2012 College of Wooster graduate and founder of the Akaa Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to create educational, financial, and healthcare opportunities in the Eastern Region of Ghana, will present “From Passion to Action: The Journey of Being Bold, Embracing Discomfort, and the Willingness to Learn.” She will talk about how and why she started the project while in high school and then continued to develop it while at Wooster, soliciting the help of many of her classmates along the way.

Other presenters include two Wooster students — Maddy Baker and Will Turner — who will talk about “From the Minimum to Life”, an effort to educate the public about the difference between the living wage and the minimum wage. The original effort stemmed from a group project in Wooster’s Department of Communication where they were assigned to create a “Politics in Action” campaign for a cause or issue they felt strongly about. The group wanted to better understand why the economic inequality gap exists, and found themselves researching Wayne County’s living wage and minimum wage. In their talk, they hope to spark interest and ignite a passion for economic equality and promoting “living wage communities.” Turner is a senior religious studies major from Yellow Springs, Ohio. Baker is a junior political science major and education minor from Washington, D.C.

Rounding out the list of speakers are three local residents. Mark Gustafson, a dentist in Wooster, will present “Wear Sunscreen: How Buz Luhrmann Pushed Me Out of My Comfort Zone and into Becoming a More Complete and Functional (and International) Dentist." Tom and Jane Buch will talk about “Running Away From Home...and Back Again,” an inspiring story about how Jane went from not being able to run one lap around a track to qualifying for the first women's Olympic Marathon Trials. Her hard work, dedication, and desire to reach lofty goals helped her and her husband/coach, Tom, to find their way.

The TEDx event is sponsored by Wooster’s Center for Entrepreneurship and the Office of the President. It is organized by students from Launch, an organization that promotes the creation of independent endeavors on campus. Additional information is available by calling 330-263-2428.