Hi there! I’m Nate Moore, another of your friendly TEDxRoseHulman event organizers. I wanted to talk a little bit about the spirit of TEDxRoseHulman – what we’re trying to accomplish.
If you’re familiar with Rose-Hulman at all, you know we do a great job training engineers. We consistently top the rankings for the quality of the STEM education we offer.
We produce great engineers – but do we produce great leaders?
Good leadership requires mental flexibility – the ability to make connections across far-flung fields, connections that change the way we think about a problem. We hope TEDxRoseHulman helps students make those connections. Listening to several speakers from many distinct backgrounds will give you a new perspective on what you can do as an engineer.
Maybe I can explain this best with an example. TEDMED was held last year in Washington, DC with a similar goal – to bring together a diversity of opinion on the subject of healthcare. One of the talks I liked best was by Robert Gupta. In “Does beauty have the power to heal?”, he manages to successfully combine neurology, the treatment of mental illness, and violin playing – talk about making connections!
Often times people ask me when I talk about a TEDx event, “Claire, that seems cool but why should I care? I still have 2 years left of college.”
When it comes to my generation there seems to be a juxtaposition of what is expected and how to perform. Every day you hear of new tech companies started by young individuals making millions if not billions of dollars. (Do Google, Facebook, Instragram, Twitter, and Reddit ring a bell?) Yet at the same time various young people are feeling pressure at to the point of suicide such as Aaron Swartz. Mental health in general has suffered, as 5% or more of students say that they have had depression.
These advancements in technology are creating a whole new world both digitally and physically. The internet is constantly being redesigned with new designs and advancements as processing power improves as do graphics. The “real” world is being changed with the Arab spring and events in Turkey, both would have been harder if not impossible without social media. Social media is trying to become “the media” as Buzzfed starts covering congress and TechCrunch does more in-depth reporting on tech companies’ balance sheets.
This meshing of the abstract and reality makes the world smaller and bigger, a new playground where engineers, artists, politicians, and everyone else has a bigger louder voice. The rules are being rewritten and knowledge outside of the book is becoming more important as is the need to make creative changes.
People my age have a whole new view of the world. I have always grown up with a computer and am constantly online trying to see what new science improvements I can use to help others. This connectivity is a gift that needs to proliferate beyond the digital space into real conversions at the coffee shop to the office. It needs to spread to old school businesses that have a tighter control structure but see they need to adapt. M&M, GE, Dr. Pepper, Adidas, and Logitech website redesign helped bring them back into touch unlike Midas, Circuit City, Blockbuster, Borders and Hostess (all of which have collapsed).
This is the world I and people my age will soon be changing with greater force. Every day there is more news of unstable governments, financial crisis, terrorist attacks and raising debt of students, yet also hope of new technical advancements and people standing for beliefs.
This is why we should care. This is our world, and it is a brave new one.
This song is a little old, but it helps me remember not only what can go wrong, but what I can do to get things right.