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TEDx fans, rejoice: UNC to host 2019 conference this weekend

tedx unc preview
Ryan Lawton (left), a senior business administration major, rehearses his TEDxUNC speech in front of Moss Rerkpattanapipat, a sophomore neuroscience major, in the Great Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. Lawton's speech focuses on imposterism, a syndrome dealing with strong self-doubt and lack of self-confidence. He hopes it will encourage people to "be vulnerable with other the feeling of being something people can relate to." Rerkpattanapipat, a student on the TEDxUNC speaker committee, helped invite speakers to the event, which revolves around the abstract theme "Flow." The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at the Current ArtSpace + Studio in Chapel Hill.

On Feb. 16, UNC will host its annual TED Talk Conference: TEDxUNC. The conference's mission is to spread ideas and allow communities to engage in the TED Talks program.

UNC students, faculty and speakers from around the country will give short talks on a topic of their choice. TEDxUNC will take place in CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio, with different sets of speakers at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to attend either show, but not both. 

“TEDx is a platform to share ideas that have the potential to alter how we live our lives as individuals and function as a society,” said Moss Rerkpattanapipat, UNC student and TEDx speakers search committee member. 

All speakers will give their own interpretation of the abstract theme: flow. 

Sophomore Valentina Arismendi, one of two selected undergraduate student speakers, said flow is an undefinable topic.

”I think that's what makes it a great TED theme, because you can come at it with so many different perspectives and define different versions of flow,” Arismendi said. 

Arismendi, a media and journalism and psychology major, is speaking to help humanize immigrants by explaining how stories are told about them, following her experience moving to the United States from Venezuela. She said it is a very good feeling to be chosen as a student speaker and to feel like people want to hear what you have to say. 

Ryan Lawton, UNC senior and the other selected undergraduate speaker, said giving his TED talk would be a final step to culminate his four years. He will be talking about “imposter syndrome” and how many successful students often feel as if they are unqualified for opportunities.  

“Not only are you getting students from the campus to speak, which is two of us every year, but you're also bringing in professionals and people who have worked in their field for years," Lawton said. "They come to this campus presenting what they're passionate about, and the passion shows." 

All speakers will elaborate on the theme of flow and how it relates to their topic of choice, encompassing topics from the science of movement to social justice photography. 

Speaker Nipun Mehta is talking about his service beyond leadership through his term of "Laddership." 

"Laddership is where you're actually tending to the ‘soil’ of the future emergent possibilities that you may not even know of yet,” Mehta said. “So in that sense, it's something more. You are being a ladder for these new possibilities of emergents to take hold."

Former Olympic figure skater and 2010 U.S. Champion Rachael Flatt is studying clinical psychology at UNC. Her TEDx Talk will discuss the number of transitional time periods and environments in sports that make people more susceptible to an onset of a mental health disorder or multiple mental health disorders. 

“Oh, I'm so excited because I've actually never had an opportunity like this to both participate in terms of speaking, but also in terms of observing some of the incredible talent that we have on campus and also speakers that they brought it from other areas of the country,” Flatt said. 

Tickets can be purchased on UNC’s campus at Memorial Box Office or online through Carolina Performing Arts.

“At the end of the day, my hope is that TEDx will enlighten our lives with innovative ideas, surface deep-rooted ignorance and empower the people in this world who are silenced by undue circumstances to speak out and make a change,” Rerkpattanapipat said. 


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