Deerfield Academy hosted its fourth annual TEDx event, TEDxDeerfield, on Saturday, February 17. This year, the event was expanded to have twelve speakers: seven students, one faculty member, two alumni and two adults from the local Deerfield community.
The theme for the event was re:define. Topics included the applications of blockchain technology, the intersection of art and science, and the importance of actively engaging misinformation.
“Terrifying, moving, and exhilarating all at once,” Marco Marsans ’18 responded, when asked to describe the experience. “A truly empowering experience — one of my best decisions.”
Anna Mishchenko ’19, another student speaker, stated that she applied seeking to gain “insight into fresh realms.” She added, “TEDx catapulted me into nuance and innovation, allowing me to reconsider my presumptions and glimpse into new possibilities within art and science.”
TEDx events are local, independently organized gatherings that resemble the two vastly popular TED conferences that are held each year.
TEDxDeerfield is an event run by a student committee, with guidance from several faculty organizers. This year, the Executive Committee consisted of Kishor Bharadwaj ’19, Joshua Fang ’19, Nadia Jo ’19, Farris Jane Marsh ’19, and Neil Nie ’19. Many other students also volunteered to help on event day. In total, almost 300 people streamed in and out of the event throughout the course of the evening. The event was also live-streamed online.
Marsh discovered TEDx herself last year, when she attended the event because it was required for a class. However, explaining her shift in perspective, she said, “[I] thought it was really unique that students could share something that they couldn’t write about in their history or English papers.”
Planning for the TEDx event is a year-round process. Applications open in the fall; after the committee selects speakers, they select a broad theme to loosely unite all of the talks and help guide and shape them as they develop.
“As great as this year was, we’re already looking forward to next year,” Fang surmised. “We’re excited to come back next year and make the event even bigger and better.” Applications for next year’s TEDxDeerfield event will open on November 1, 2018.