What do a neuroscientist and a criminal justice activist have in common? They’re both MSU students who will be speaking March 4 at the TEDxMSU conference held in the Cobb Great Hall of Wharton Center.
is an event that was designed to inspire conversation and innovation among the MSU and greater East Lansing communities in an attempt to emulate the environment at a TED conference.
TED — which stands for technology, entertainment and design — is a nonprofit organization that works to spread ideas through motivational speakers.
Neuroscience graduate student Apryl Pooley and human biology junior Austin Martin, two of the speakers at the event this Wednesday, share some insight into their respective talks.
During her first year in MSU’s neuroscience program, Pooley was studying post-traumatic stress disorder when she came to realize she exhibited many of the symptoms.
After attempting to research further into the matter, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
As Pooley searched for a biological basis for her diagnosis, she came to a surprising conclusion.
“I realized that sitting in front of a microscope for 10 hours a day wasn’t going to help me recover,” Pooley said. “So what I ended up doing was connecting with a bunch of groups on campus ... and I realized that ... sharing my story and hearing other people’s stories, that was really what I needed.”
Pooley’s talk focuses on this idea that while scientists are searching for a kind of biological cure to diseases like PTSD, anxiety and depression, it is often forgotten that human support and interaction can work wonders in the recovery process.
Pooley recently wrote a book titled that serves as the basis for her talk.
She said she is donating all of the profits from this book to the MSU Sexual Assault Program as a gift for their 35th anniversary this year.
After a summer spent researching the relationship between HIV prevention and treatment and mass incarceration, Martin realized there were many flaws with the re-entry period for the formerly incarcerated. That is, the period immediately following their release from prison.
In his talk, Martin will touch on these issues in the justice system, what can be done to reform them and what is at the core of good re-entry policies.
Through his talk, Martin said he hopes to encourage positive social change and the reform of these systems.
He said even if you don’t know someone who has been incarcerated, the functioning of the justice system is one of the ways to measure the health and progress of the nation.
“If one of America’s core institutions is a source of misery and disadvantage, it says something profound about each and every American citizen,” Martin said. “This is about the patriotic as much as it is about the personal.”
This is the first part of a three-part series. Read more next week in The State News.