Professor Melissa Febos

MU Hosts TEDx Event

University Professor Among Speakers for TEDxNavesink Talk on Campus

Professor Melissa FebosA TEDxNavesink event sold out Pollak Theater at Monmouth University on April 9.

TEDxNavesink is similar to other organizations with the label TED (which is an acronym for Technology, Education and Design) in that speakers take the stage and talk about ‘ideas worth spreading.’ As the largest TEDx event on the East coast, this year’s TEDxNavesink theme of ‘Makers’ attracted CEOs, renowned artists, Grammy Award winners and even just everyday people to tell their profound stories.

Perth Amboy native, Stephanie Eichmeyer, who is a Monmouth alumnus and TEDxNavesink’s Communication Team Leader, said, “TEDxNavesink is an event full of talks by society’s greatest thought leaders, but it’s so much more than that. TEDxNavesink is a challenging, thrilling and rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

A team of organizers, including 10 interns from the University, worked since Sept. to put on such a widely talked about presentation. This team of about 80 people all have different fields of expertise and come together in collaboration to create a thought- provoking and inspiring event. Nearly all of the members on the TEDxNavesink team have day jobs and busy schedules but are dedicated to hosting off this event each year.

With over 800 attendees, 25 speakers and 15 exhibitors TEDxNavesink continues to grow each year. Of the overall 800 in attendance 68.4 percent were first timers and 31.6 percent were repeat attendees. The crowd consisted of 31.6 percent under 35 years old and 59.8 percent in attendance were over 35.

There were a variety of speakers all from different backgrounds. Robert Lucky, a world-renowned engineer in telecommunications and prestigious Marconi Prize winner spoke about innovation in New Jersey. Sixteen-year-old Eileen Huang spoke about her story as a National Student Poet. Kevin Ryan, President of Covenant House International and winner of the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award spoke about his experiences helping homeless youth.

Some talks informed listeners on issues. Other talks inspire listeners to be advocates for change. But all of the talks hit a profound note and motivate listener to become better people through taking action or approaching an issue with a different mentality.

The University is part of a program with TEDxNavesink where they only accepts interns from the host school. “A lot of what is accomplished isn’t possible without a strong core of interns, who bring ideas to the table and function as a full fledged member of the team,” Eichmeyer said.

TEDx Talk Pollak TheaterThe TedxNavesink Internship is a unique experience that allows interns to be involved as much as they want. Interns can benefit from commuting locally, having a flexible schedule as well as receiving credit for class. In addition they learn skills that can benefit them as a young professional.

Senior Business student and TEDx Intern Sean Del Galdo from the communication team said, “Interning for TEDx really improved my writing skills, and helped me connect with great people I otherwise never would have met.”

Del Galdo pointed out the opportunity was perfect for meeting many different professionals from a multitude of industries, as an intern for TEDx is a great opportunity to network. This was a benefit over traditional internship because in those you often meet professionals in the same industry. Interns for TEDx are able to get first hand advice and learn about different industry and thus explore different fields that may interest them.

Del Galdo said, “TEDx is a name in itself that opens so many doors because it’s a name that people get excited about, it’s a name that people are familiar with and can fully support.”

Eichmeyer said, “I see a huge difference in interns before and after joining TEDxNavesink. This organization really forces you to take on roles of responsibility and learn what it means to be a part of a team. And that team is relying on you as an intern to do your part for the success of the event. There’s a lot riding on the work the interns do and that teaches complete ownership of projects and work.”

Malik Johnson, a 22-year-old TV/Radio Major and Monmouth Senior interned with TEDxNavesink as well. Johnson said, “TEDx was a very educational experience and my time as the video production intern this year was an amazing time.”

Johson became aware of TEDx through the University’s job newsletter back in August. So even though it is tempting to ignore school emails during summer break, it was worth paying attention and applying ahead of everyone else who may have tried in September. TEDxNavesink is right in Monmouth’s backyard yet only a select few are taking advantage of its proximity.

TEDxNavesink’s theme for next year’s event is ‘Identity’ and as a part of a greater project called Brand New J, many participants intend to alter the public perception of New Jersey for the better.

PHOTO COURTESY of Jennifer Bennett

PHOTO COURTESY of Jennifer Bennett