TEDx finalists chosen for March 2 event at GCU

February 10, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

By Mark Heller
GCU News Bureau

Variety is both the spice of life and an important dynamic on the Grand Canyon University campus. Coincidentally, it was a major factor in choosing TEDx finalists.

After more than 30 four-minute presentations, many of them highly personal, were delivered in the X-Trials auditions in late January, the 19 finalists were announced this week for the March 2 event at GCU Arena. Tickets went on sale this week.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit that spreads concepts using short, powerful talks on a wide swath of topics, including science, business, sociology and global issues. In 2009, TED launched TEDx with the goal of bringing the TED experience to local communities, cities and universities.

Finalists for GCU’s “Being a part of something great” theme for TEDx were based on input from both TEDx audition audience surveys and a more complicated points system used by the creators and organizers of the event.

Marketing and advertising campaigns are underway, and co-creators Jedidiah Woods and Austin Mosher are hoping to draw an audience of at least 4,000 for the full-day event at the Arena. A banner will be hung on Prescott Hall. The billboard at I-17 and Camelback Road will be utilized, and TV, radio and email campaigns are coming.

“It’ll be crazy the next couple weeks,” Woods said.

Advised by CCOB instructor Paul Waterman, this student-driven TEDx event features men and women from all walks of life: GCU President and CEO Brian Mueller; sophomore education student Stephen Parisi; former Navy Seal Jeff Nichols; Dr. Steven Hansen, president and CEO of the Arizona Humane Society; and former Insight creator Tim Crown.

Woods said students are helping these 18 professionals and one student tailor and refine their speeches in preparation for March 2.

“These are ideas the students wanted,” he said of the finalists. “We wanted ideas that are worth spreading, ideas that both use and revolve around emotional or personal messages.”

TEDx Speakers

  • Greg Tonkinson: Doubt
  • Ron Blake: Overcoming depression through strangers
  • Inseong Kim: Cultural identity
  • Romeo Farinacci: Cybersecurity
  • Stephen Parisi: A new approach to final exams
  • Nicole Clifton: “Both-and” vs. “Either-or” statements
  • Jeff Nichols: Purpose, Process, and Love
  • Alison Johnson: Come as you are
  • Danielle Stringer: In support of vaccinations
  • David Schneider: Perspective can change everything
  • Ileana Hester: Psychology behind languages
  • Steven Hansen: Planned obsolescence of animal shelters
  • Shawn Bawulski: Hell
  • Brian Mueller: Impact of education institutions on surrounding communities
  • John DenBoer: Dementia
  • Tim Crown: Corporate culture
  • Adam Goodman: Conscious capitalism
  • Max Stossel: How millennials receive news and information
  • Andrew Collins: Motivating unmotivated students

Contact Mark Heller at (602) 639-7516 or [email protected]


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