TEDx event allows people to share their stories

Ria Parikh | Staff Writer


Each person had five to 18 minutes to present their perspective on the theme of the event, “Ripples.”
Students, teachers, and professionals alike are speaking out and raising awareness.

On Wednesday, August 1, Mason High School hosted Mason’s first ever TEDx event in the Mason High School black box theater. This event was put together by the TEDx Club and the hosts were rising juniors Maanasa Mendu, Grace Zhang, and Claire Hu.

The idea for the event came about in October 2017 and was not fully carried out until the following February. Zhang said the team put a heavy emphasis on brainstorming to generate the best ideas possible.

“For many weeks or maybe months, that’s pretty much all we did–just brainstorming,” Zhang said. “Then after we had all of our ideas on paper and documented, we went ahead and tried to implement those actions: we reached out to local businesses, contacted all the speakers and got sponsors.”  

The leadership team for this event was a group of students who were a part of the Mason High School TEDx Club. Hu said they worked through the summer to accomplish the event and that the team chose a variety of speakers to draw in a diverse crowd.

“We just reached out to a very diverse group, so it could appeal to everyone and everyone can find something interesting that they want to listen to,” Hu said. “There’s a pretty good mix of  some things that are inspiring or ways to better yourself and there are also some that are more factual or about the leading edge of science.”

The student speakers at the event were rising seniors Katie Moseley, Kaavya Ramachandhran, and Megan Cui and rising junior Anvi Arora.

Cui spoke about her journey towards loving technology and the unique endeavors she pursued because of it, such as Hack Club, and events that have stemmed from it. Cui said she wanted to inspire her audience to be true to themselves and pursue what they are passionate about.

“I was first illustrating my story of how I got into tech, because a lot of it was kind of crazy, and it’s crazy to believe that this is how I really got into it, considering where I began,” Cui said. “And then after that, because I have done a lot of stuff that’s maybe out of the ordinary here, I was just sharing some tips I have, or some pieces of advice, or stories I have to encourage (people) to get out of the traditional path and pursue what makes them happy.”

Cui said that while her story was about technology, she hopes her speech inspired people to take risks regardless of the field. Cui said she wanted her audience to feel supported in pursuing something that truly inspires them, especially when it is not traditional.

“It’s not just about tech,” Cui said. “I love tech, but I get that not everybody is in to tech. So, it’s really just about encouraging people to veer off the path, when it means that they are going closer to what they are excited about doing.”

Ramachandhran decided to keep her speech more light-hearted, talking about the ups and downs of being a teenager.

“It’s about the irony of teenage nostalgia,” Ramachandhran said. “I’m kind of making fun of the fact that people can get all romantic and gushy about an era that none of us seem to appreciate. (It is) about how even though we don’t like being in this time frame, it’s something that we should be valuing.”

With this speech, Ramachandhran said her main goal was humor.

“I mostly just want to make my audience laugh,” Ramachandhran said. “That’s the goal that I have today. I’m not trying to set any academic precedent or anything like that, because I think there are established people who can really do that kind of thing. I just want to be there to make things a little lighter.”

Another speaker was rising Ohio State freshman Caroline Karbowski. Karbowski taught herself braille in sixth grade to avoid getting dizzy while reading in the car, and she combined her newfound skill and passion for 3D printing to develop see3d.org, a website that connects people who are blind to request models and get connected to people who can make them using 3D printing.

“I mainly talk about how people who are blind have a different perspective on how they view the world than someone who’s sighted,” Karbowski said. “When they feel an object, they might see something that’s been overlooked by some that just looked at (the object). If you had a model of the Statue of Liberty, what would they discover that you wouldn’t have known if you just looked at the Statue of Liberty?”

Karbowski said she attended a convention called the National Federation of the Blind National Convention that inspired her to spread the word about helping people who are blind in this way.

“I really just want to get the word out,” Karbowski said. “The big message there (at the convention) was that people who are blind can do anything, it’s just the artificial barrier. When I was at the convention, I saw engineers, I saw workers who (show) that when you have the accessible materials, you can do anything.”

Zhang said she hopes this event inspires more like it in the future.

“We think it’s a really good tradition that will hopefully continue in the future,” Zhang said. “I know people nowadays really like listening to TED talks so we thought it would be a really great idea to get this tradition started.”