14:30 PM

TEDx conference to showcase Ohio State community’s innovative research, ideas

Undergraduate students coordinate every aspect of event

Ohio State students, faculty, staff and alumni will share cutting-edge research and new ideas during TEDxOhioStateUniversity’s 13th annual event. The conference will be held March 2 from noon to 3:30 p.m. at Mershon Auditorium.

“We pick speakers that have the most diverse, most innovative ideas and share that with the Ohio State community, the Columbus community and the international community,” said Bilan Yakoub, TEDXOhioStateUniversity curator and an undergraduate neuroscience fellow.

TEDXOhioStateUniversity is an entirely student-run organization. Each year, the organization’s content committee reviews applications and interviews potential speakers. After making final selections, committee members offer feedback to presenters to help them hone their speeches.

“We had roughly 100 applicants and we chose nine for the main event this year,” Yakoub said.

The content committee looks for speakers with unique viewpoints, Yakoub said.

“All of our speakers that give talks on our stage are OSU-affiliated,” she said. “We’re really looking for ideas that haven’t been shared on our stage before … cool research and ideas that many students or many Ohio State community members don’t really know about or things that we haven’t heard about before.”

Carmen SwainThis year’s presenters include Carmen Swain, an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology who researches and teaches exercise physiology. Swain will discuss her research in an area that she said has been little studied: exercise practices for individuals with disabilities.

“There’s this whole population that’s often overlooked. There’s a lack of tools available for individuals with intellectual differences,” she said. “This is a really underserved population. I felt this big calling to be able to go share that.”

Swain said she will share how the solutions she discovered through her research can be implemented in efficient and practical ways.

“We had a really meaningful research project, and the outcomes couldn’t have been better,” she said. “I’m just trying to share the research findings from that study and help translate research into practice.”

The TEDx platform offers the opportunity to reach a wide audience within and beyond Ohio State, Swain said.

“To be able to take a stage like this and try to help move that needle and get research translated to practice, especially on such an important topic, this is a real benefit,” she said.

Swain, who also coordinates internships for undergraduate students in exercise disciplines, said a major benefit of TEDXOhioStateUniversity is that students develop leadership skills by organizing such a massive undertaking.

“Our students, they’re doing it all. This experience, in my opinion, is unrivaled,” she said. “They have this hands-on experience. They’re doing it. That’s how you get better – by doing things. They’re not just sitting in the classroom; they’re organizing the event.”

Since its founding in 2011, TEDXOhioStateUniversity has grown each year, with 46 undergraduate students organizing every aspect of the event, Yakoub said.

“Initially, the organization only had three members with roughly an audience of 100 attendees,” she said. “And for the first event, they only had three speakers.”

With in-person and virtual attendance options, the audience continues to expand, with 1,000 attendees projected for this year’s event, Yakoub said.

“Ours is really the perfect opportunity for people who want to expand their scope of understanding and enrich their perspective.”

For tickets and more information about TEDXOhioStateUniversity, visit the event’s website.

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