The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, May 19, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

TEDxUNC finalists fight for a spot at the conference

TedxUNC holds a final event to choose one student speaker out of seven finalists to speak at the actual TedxUNC event on Feb. 9. 

The seven finalists are: Peacemaker Myoung, Jonathan Hebert, Portia Nleya, Eli Hornstein, David Freifeld, Laura Rozo and Stirling Little
TedxUNC holds a final event to choose one student speaker out of seven finalists to speak at the actual TedxUNC event on Feb. 9. The seven finalists are: Peacemaker Myoung, Jonathan Hebert, Portia Nleya, Eli Hornstein, David Freifeld, Laura Rozo and Stirling Little

Senior Stirling Little believes video game culture clearly illuminates the problem of gender harassment.

He lectured about this rampant discrimination at the TEDxUNC Student Speaker Finals Monday night, sharing that two-thirds of women playing video games lie about their gender to avoid harassment.

“Not thinking about it is a willful refusal to look at some really important issues that are going on today,” Little said.

“All of these women are being treated horribly, so poorly, that 67 percent of the women and girls playing games have reported about lying or hiding their sex for fear of harassment.”

Seven finalists — Peacemaker Myoung, Jonathan Hebert, Portia Nleya, Eli Hornstein, David Freifeld, Laura Rozo and Little — all gave five-minute speeches arguing that they should be selected as the student speaker at the TEDxUNC conference on Feb. 9.

The finalists gave previews of their talks, and were then voted on by the audience through a ballot. More than 500 people showed up for the event, which also included a performance by Mipso, a popular local music group. Everyone who attended the event received a ticket to TEDxUNC.

The winner will be announced Wednesday along with the rest of the speakers.

Hornstein, a junior, said conservation is the most pressing issue facing the world today.

He gave a demonstration of conservation after traveling to Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2010 and seeing firsthand how quickly the ice on top of the mountain was melting after previously seeing it in 1997.

“What must it be like if this sort of sudden extreme change can happen in my lifetime, what must it be like if you’re an organism that lives there?” he said.

Hornstein then demonstrated the theory of “gene drive” — the spread of a single gene rapidly through a natural population — by placing green sheets underneath audience members’ chairs for them to hold up, and then turn around if they make eye contact with someone holding a red piece of paper.

Hebert, an improv comedy performer, spoke about how he takes the lessons he learns from the stage and incorporates them into his life.

“If you do something on stage that scares you, the fun you can have on the other side is greater because playing safe is fun.”

“I became an opportunist through failure,” Hebert said. “We need this mentality of positivity.”

Nleya said she was overwhelmed by the large turnout.

“It was definitely amazing and I was pretty nervous about the crowd but not about the talk,” she said.

Rachel Myrick, co-founder of TEDxUNC, said the finalists demonstrated a lot of talent.

“We were really blown away by the kind of talent that we saw and the great ideas that we saw just by from putting this contest out there,” she said.

Contact the desk editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel's 2024 Graduation Guide