College’s first TEDx event finds success

November 26, 2018
Danielle Joubert
Standen Speaks

In the header photo, speakers pose with student organizers after the event. Back row from left to right: Allyson Kristofik ’15, Edmund Adjapong, Chris Eldridge ’12, Owen Sanborn ’20, Kevin Jeter ’20. Front row left to right: Rachel Colletti ’20, Laura Mattia, Hannah Achilles ’19. In the photo above, Patrick Standen of the St. Mike’s philosophy faculty speaks. (photos by Danielle Joubert ’20)

Saint Michael’s College hosted its first ever TEDx event on Sunday, November 11. Alumni, faculty, and visiting speakers presented their ideas pertaining to the theme “The Uncertain Future.”

TEDx events are independently organized affiliates with TED Conferences LLC, a media organization that films and distributes “TED Talk” lectures on diverse topics for a global audience. The group’s tagline is “ideas worth spreading.” At Saint Michael’s, these ideas were diverse and gripping.

The event on campus featured five speakers over the course of several hours. It was organized by Saint Michael’s student Kevin Jeter ’20, who avoided stage time but was eager to greet attendees and speak with presenters during intermission, working with fellow students to make sure everything ran smoothly.

Alumni speakers included Chris Eldridge’12 and Allyson Kristofik ’15. Eldridge, who holds a Master’s of Business Administration, is an entrepreneur who spoke on the mentality of moving forward. His talk centered on his experience taking risks with startup companies, the cycle of career excitement and stagnation, and giving oneself permission to move onto the “next big thing.”

Kristofik graduated from Saint Michael’s neuroscience program and went on to continue her education in Cape Town, South Africa. Her talk, which encouraged young people in attendance not to worry too much about the future, drew inspiration from her own roller-coaster journey from neuroscience student to screenwriter and chocolatier. She has previously worked on the hit Netflix show Narcos and is currently working with a major Los Angeles production company on her latest script.


Organizer Kevin Jeter ’20, left, chats personally with Standen in the McCarthy lobby at intermission.

Professor Patrick Standen, PhD, of the Saint Michael’s College philosophy faculty spoke about breaking down societal understandings of disability. He unraveled the history of the relatively recent concept and the way that it alienates those with ability differences as undesirables, and he challenged the desire to “fix” disability as a catalyst to hatred and discrimination.

Also featured were education expert Edmund Adjapong, PhD, of Seton Hall University, and financial analyst Laura Mattia, PhD. Mattia spoke about her financial struggles in early life and how they inspired her to take control of her own financial life, encouraging other women to do the same for the sake of future gender equality. Adjapong’s talk was about educating young people through hip hop and helping students facilitate their own learning with the means most familiar to them.

The event was live-streamed on the Saint Michael’s College YouTube page and drew a lively attendance of students and community members. The college radio station WWPV was present to interview guests during intermission. A film crew from the University of Vermont captured footage of the speakers, which is expected to appear in the TEDx YouTube library in the near future. After a successful inaugural event, the organizing team is in the process of renewing their TEDx license for 2019.

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