On Friday, March 22, UNC Charlotte will host its first ever TEDx event. TEDx, which stands for technology, entertainment, and design, is a program comprised of self-organized events that bring people together to learn from lectures by local speakers and experts.

Twelve people are set to speak about topics including health, racial bias, suicide and leadership. TEDx UNCC will take place in the Cone Center. All speakers will give their own interpretation of the event’s theme: “The Power of You Makes it Possible.” Michael Maksymowski, the lead organizer of the event, saw this phrase on the UNC Charlotte website and was inspired by it.

Maksymowski wanted to bring TEDx to UNC Charlotte because he believes it gives students, faculty and community members a platform to share their ideas. Maksymowski spoke at a TEDx event in 2013.

“What makes a great TED Talk is not just a great idea but something to back it up, such as a lived experience,” he says. He is excited about what the speakers are bringing to the table and how the event is taking off.

Tracey Benson, an assistant professor of educational leadership, will speak about racial bias. Benson is passionate about understanding structural and systemic racism in the school system.

Leslie Dill, a health education specialist with the Center for Wellness Promotion, will share her experiences about educating students on sexual health and will talk about porn culture and sexual health.

Erica Lennon, assistant director for outreach in the Price Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, will address suicide. She wants to talk about “taboo” topics and start important conversations about mental health.

UNC Charlotte doctoral student in health services research, Keith Murphy, will discuss artificial intelligence. He researches how to use technology to improve the lives of patients.

Another one of the key speakers is Alexus Widemon, a senior at UNC Greensboro. Her TED talk focuses on how intergenerational effects of parental incarceration can be disempowering for those who have grown up with a parent in prison. She is going to speak on her own experiences and how she tapped into her power and potential despite her circumstances.

Widemon can’t wait for TEDx. She says “UNC Charlotte is hosting its first TED conference, which is a huge deal for the institution and surrounding community. The day will be full of listening, learning and connecting with the community. I am most excited to be in a room with an open-minded crowd and speakers who have amazing stories to tell. Most of all, I am excited to be able to take the stage and share my ideas with everyone.”

The event is limited to 100 tickets. You can also hear Widemon, among many other talented speakers, talk at livestream.uncc.edu.


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