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When TEDx Came to Town

Written by Lewis Kendall

Nia Nunn-Makepeace, assistant professor of education, gave a talk about a community music education program. Photo by Eric Yeckley '15

From Internet radio to green burials, Ithaca College’s first ever TEDx conference had it all.

There was laughter, there were tears, there were gaffes, singing, and even a bit of theatrical improvisation packed into the emotionally unpredictable, full-day event.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) began as a one-off conference in 1984 and is now held annually, with speakers like Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Bono, and Bill Gates sharing “Ideas worth spreading.”

More recently, independent TEDx conferences have sprung up across the country. The college’s event, organized by students Michela Moe ’14, LuLu Helliwell ’16, and Ilana Miller ’14, brought together 16 speakers including students, alumni, faculty, and community members.

Blended Learning

Monique Markoff, a professor in the Department of Education, began the day with a speech about Blended Learning—the concept of combining technology with education to create a more holistic experience.

“What if every child had their own teacher?” Markoff asked the crowd. “We should be able to use their technologic prowess in order to enhance their education.”

Homelessness to video games

The event continued with speeches on topics ranging from disability to eco-friendly burials, to gravitational waves. The day was divided into blocks. Each block began with a TED talk video, selected by the hosts. Three speakers followed each video, taking 15 minutes apiece.

Highlights from the event included a talk by the program manager for Rescue Mission Ithaca, Michael Koplinka-Loehr, about ending homelessness in Tompkins County, and one by Rachel Gray ’15 and Associate Professor of Religion Rachel Wagner about video games and the apocalypse.

Mental Health

Junior Aileen Tartanian ’15 spoke at length about mental illness and the stigmas attached.

“One in four people have a diagnosable mental illness,” she said. “We build up a wall of achievements hoping that no one recognizes that we’re struggling. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation.”

The TEDxIthaca College event was just the beginning of many conversations.

Videos of the presentations are below:

• “Spreading the Conversation about Mental Health: Break the Silence with Vulnerability” by Aileen Tartanian ’15, a student in the doctorate of physical therapy program

• “Leave a Trace: Improving the Natural World” by Alec Mitchell ’12, formerly of Weaver Wind Energy


View more of the Ithaca College TEDx presentations.




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