TEDxACU organizers chose nine speakers, including one student speaker and one Muslim-American speaker.
Dr. Lauren Lemley, the director of TEDxACU, said the committee wanted a variety of speakers with diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and areas of expertise.
“We try to find so many different talks that at the end of the day everyone can find something that resonates with them,” said Lemley, assistant professor of communication and graduate program director.
Each speaker was required to submit an application with a video of themselves talking, an idea of what they wanted to talk about and a link to an online presence, such as their blog. The TEDxACU committee then decided whether they wanted to reject, accept or ask for more information from the applicants.
Some speakers, including alumnus Chris Field, ACU parent Michael Hall and executive director of the Adam’s Center Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, have strong connections to ACU. Other speakers, such as psychologist Dr. Cortney Baker and mathematician Ivars Peterson, are not connected to ACU.
Bailey Cate, senior communications major from Freemont, Nebraska, and student director of TEDxACU, said she is most looking forward to hearing from the student speaker and the Muslim-American speaker.
“It’s going to rock some socks,” Cate said.
Omar El-Halwagi, a graduate of Texas A&M University and law student at the University of Michigan, will talk about his quest for allies as a Muslim-American in Texas. Drawing from his cultural and religious background, he will discuss peace and justice in cross-cultural communities.
Ben Cobb, senior biology major from Chantilly, Virginia, will talk about nutrition and obesity. While on a medical mission trip to Guatemala, Cobb saw the problems of obesity and malnutrition and decided to focus his major on helping people in America and developing countries.
“I want to educate the public on what really is good to eat,” Cobb said.
In his talk, Cobb will use visual elements of different foods to show how nutrition is often misunderstood. He will also demonstrate the amount of sugar recommended by the government by actually pouring the sugar on stage.
“I want people to walk away questioning what they know about nutrition and questioning what authorities and doctors tell them about nutrition,” Cobb said.
All nine speakers are participating in the theme “20 Questions” by asking thought-provoking questions and exploring new ideas.
- “Does sexy media matter?” Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker – nationally certified school psychologist and founding board member of the Brave Girls Alliance, an international partnership of parents, professionals and small business owners that advocates healthy media for children.
- “What about father-fullness?” J. Michael Hall – president and founder of Strong Fathers-Strong Families and 2012 White House Champion of Change.
- “Are you man enough?” Saul Delgado – graduate student in social work at ACU.
- “Why does candor look different for men and women in the workplace?” Dr. Cortney Baker – owner and CEO of KidsCare Therapy, a pediatric home healthcare agency that serves over 2,000 Texas children.
- “Why do questions make us uncomfortable?” Chris Field – CEO and Founder of Mercy Project, which teaches rural fishermen in Ghana better ways to fish. He also founded the BCS marathon and broke four Guinness World Records.
- “Where’s the math?” Ivars Peterson – freelance writer and editor for the Mathematical Tourist.
- “I’m right. Why should I change my mind?” Tony Barker – owner and speaker of Barker Media.
- “Are you required to eat hummus?” Omar El-Halwagi – Muslim-American and University of Michigan law student.
- “Are you what you eat?” Ben Cobb – senior biology major from Chantilly, Virginia.
TEDxACU student ambassadors will begin selling tickets in the campus center next week. Tickets are $35 for students. The event will take place Saturday Feb. 27 in Fulks Theatre.