2nd Annual TEDxGrinnell “Bursting the Bubble”

The second annual TEDxGrinnellCollege conference, held Nov. 5, featured five Grinnell alumni and two current professors who spoke to a sold-out audience of students, faculty, staff, and townspeople. Sponsored by Grinnell College and the Donald and Winifred Wilson Center for Leadership and Innovation, the talks centered around the theme of “bursting the bubble.”  

“We intentionally left the theme open-ended, and framed it as a series of questions,” says Meghna Ravishankar ’17, who organized the event with Robert Ludwig, program associate. “How do you cope when your expectations are different from reality? How do we understand the ‘Grinnell bubble,’ and what can we gain by stepping outside of it?

“We already have such fantastic ideas and people within our community that we don’t necessarily know about,” Ravishankar continues. “TEDxGrinnellCollege is an opportunity to shed light on some of those people and ideas, and to create connections throughout the larger Grinnell community.”

Presenters included:

  • Ozzie Ercan ’97, columnist, movie producer, actor, graphic designer, and realtor-turned- rapper/stay-at-home dad.
  • Jean Kummerow ’71, psychologist and career coach specializing in leadership and management development.
  • Mark Laver, assistant professor of music at Grinnell, saxophonist, and ethnomusicologist.
  • Rebecca Mwase ’07, Zimbabwean-American theatre and performance artist, creative consultant, producer, and organizer working at the intersection of art and social justice.
  • Christine Thorburn ’92, rheumatologist and two-time Olympic cyclist.
  • David Opong-Wadee ’12, campaign operative, congressional staffer, and founder of campaign consulting firm Forward Progress.
  • Tony Perman, assistant professor of music at Grinnell and ethnomusicologist specializing in the music of Zimbabwe.

Kathy Clemons ’95 coached the speakers and also served on the speaker selection team. Presentations were captured on video and may be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/zeb8ed9.

TEDx conferences, which are self-organized events operating under license from TED, are local events that bring people together to share “ideas worth spreading.” The conferences emulate the TED conference, an annual gathering of leaders and innovators in technology, entertainment, and design.

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