Much awaited TEDxMSU talk comes to fruition
“Sex!” presenter and zoology doctoral student Emily Weigel yelled out during the opening of her TEDxMSU talk.
Her talk, “Sexual Selection Expert” was one of many that brought humor to Cobb Great Hall at Wharton Center on Wednesday night during TEDxMSU.
The theme for this year’s talk was pulled straight from the community around it, and “Spartan Will” became “The Will.” Twelve MSU affiliated speakers, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumni, took the stage to speak on issues close to their hearts.
After an entertaining look at how female fish chose their mates, and how it reflected onto human society, Weigel finished with simple advice.
“If you got nothing else — try.” The female fish chose the male fish that tried the hardest to impress them almost every time over the “hottest” fish or the fish that could build the best home, showing that in any society, effort is sexy.
While the overall theme of the night was “The Will,” an underlying idea of vulnerability popped up quickly.
Weigel advocated for people putting themselves out there, and being open to vulnerability, as did presenter and euroscience senior Rebecca Brunk.
Brunk, who lost her mother at 14 years old, spoke on her self-discovery through her writing. She found that a number of themes repeated themselves throughout her writing, many of which centered around the loss of her mother.
“The takeaway from this all is that being vulnerable is really terrifying. It’s really hard to look at yourself as special and be vulnerable, to take a good long look at the things and the parts of you that you’re ashamed of or are scared of, or wish that they could just go away,” she said. “Those are the parts of us that make us who we are.”
The sentiment was also shared by presenter and MSU alumnus Shannon Cason.
Cason’s talk focused on finding the truth of yourself, even if it means casting yourself in a negative light.
“It’s OK to be the bad guy,” he said. “If you learn from it.”
Other speakers included arts and humanities sophomore Sariah Metcalfe, who talked about youth activism and social justice, using a poem she wrote titled “Land of the Free.”
neuroscience graduate student Apryl Pooley talked about the importance of personal, human support in her talk. She shared the story of her own recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder, which she self-diagnosed herself with during her first year in MSU’s neuroscience program.
Human biology junior Austin Martin focused his talk on the flaws in the re-entry system for the previously incarcerated. Martin spoke on change in the justice system, the reforms that can happen and what is at the core of good re-entry policies.
Genomics and molecular genetics senior Irene Li, the event’s student curator, said that in the future the conference hopes to host TEDx salons, which are smaller conferences that focus on one main topic.