Friday, January 28, 2022
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TEDxUMKC: Event brings distinguished speakers to Student Union Theater

Some 100 UMKC students heard from five distinguished speakers in their fields in the inaugural TEDxUMKC event held last Saturday at the Student Union Theater.

TED, short for “Technology, Entertainment and Design,” is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1984 that aims to spread ideas through events in which expert guest speakers share critical insights in their fields.

The UMKC event was independently organized by 15 of the school’s students from multiple disciplines to foster what they refer to as an InterconnecTED community of college students in the Kansas City area.

The UMKC event was limited to 100 attendees because TED regulations state a licensed TEDx curator must have had previously attended a TED event before the limit can be lifted. To allow more students to view the event, a live stream was held in the Miller Nichols Library.

Dr. Margaret Bucker, a professor of Anthropology at Missouri State University, spoke about: “Witchcraft: In Search of Meaning, Healing and Blame.” She shared her research into the Zande tribe in Africa.

Dr. James O’Keefe, director of preventative cardiology at Cardiovascular Consultants at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, shared his recent research on runners and heart conditions.

Devin Henderson, a magician who has received multiple awards, demonstrated his idea that anything is possible in a presentation, “Put Your Mind To It.”

Dr. Randall Fuller, a professor of English at the University of Tulsa, challenged the audience to consider that the power of literature still has the power to change the world.

Craig Webb, a pioneer of lucid dream research at Stanford University, encouraged the audience to recollect their dreams.

Harika Nalluri, a third-year medical student, organized the event and led the TEDxUMKC team under the guidance of Mike Lundgren, curator of previous TED events in the Kansas City area.

“I was one of those people that knew about TED since high school,” Nalluri said. “I had the TED application on my phone — I absolutely love TED and I listen to their talks all the time.

“I remember the first TED talk I ever heard was about ‘happiness’ and it was something that I had never considered before and completely changed my view. I was so grateful there was a medium through which I could challenge myself and broaden my thinking.”

The TEDxUMKC team hopes to continue organizing this event annually to foster a campus community that spreads ideas.

“The next step will be to post the recorded talks from today, onto our Facebook page and website [] in the hopes that attendees who were inspired by the talks will be able to share them with their friends and encourage the conversations to continue,” Nalluri said.

Sponsors included GlobeMed-UMKC, Truman Medical Centers, Seen Merch, UMKC Libraries, and UMKC Friends of the Library.

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