Photo by Kayla Shults
By Kayla Shults
At this year’s TEDxSBU conference, speakers included Stony Brook students, faculty and alumni sharing their thoughts and experiences on everything from the arts, to the sciences and video game theories in talks lasting at most 18 minutes.
The slogan for TED — Technology, Entertainment and Design — is “ideas worth spreading.” The conference began in 1990 as a series of talks aimed at “not celebrating credentials, but celebrating ideas.”
“TEDx” events are independently organized by individuals, groups, or universities who are responsible for getting speakers and setting a theme. If a “TEDx” event gets 70,000 views on its website, it gets promoted to a full-fledged TED talk.
The Stony Brook Independent got the chance to sit down with a few of the speakers and find out more about their ideas that could be changing the world.
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Heidi Hutner – Director of the Sustainability Studies Program at Stony Brook University
After being diagnosed with cancer in her 30’s and then getting pregnant, Heidi Hutner, PhD, developed a case of “eco grief,” grief and loss associated with the natural world, such as animal species going extinct. She said she felt as though she could no longer live her life without taking action.
Hutner began to take a look at the amount of chemicals in our air and in our bodies due to pollution, and has since taught her students at Stony Brook University about activism, ecofeminism and environmental justice. She said that students should not underestimate the impact that they can make simply because of their specialty.
“Come talk to me and I will tell you story after story about how that one person makes a difference,” said Hutner. “And I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it. Try it. Talk to people who are doing it, and it is the best high in the world. It’s very empowering to realize that you can make a difference.”
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Marc Anthony Rodriguez – Multimedia & Interactive Entertainment Professional and Stony Brook University Alum
Marc Anthony Rodriguez is a 2005 graduate of Stony Brook University who described himself as a “philosophical technologist.”
Rodriguez said that his goal is to provide both insight and connection between video game theories and our daily lives in order to see what makes people do certain things.
Rodriguez said that being an Educational Opportunity Program, or EOP, student at Stony Brook University provided him with the experiences he needed to be able to move across the country to Silicon Valley and work in the development and production of numerous video game franchises.
“I managed to do a double-major in philosophy and Latin American/Caribbean studies,” Rodriguez said.” I took that absolutely nowhere, but having that paper allowed me to do endless things. I just found myself here, coming in with a computer science degree meant nothing here. It meant that I was just starting. It was the prelude that was everything I had to do to become. And then once I left here I realized I was going to go to California no matter what.”
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Katarzyna Sawicka – Department of Dermatology at Stony Brook University
Katarzyna “Kasia” Sawicka, Ph.D, is the Founder and President of ImmunoMatrix, which is a patch that uses a diffusion-like technology to administer immunization and immunotherapy.
Instead of using needles to administer vaccines, the patch acts like a Band-Aid on top of the skin that does not require a medical professional to apply it.
In the future, Sawicka said she hopes the patch can be delivered around the world by the use of drones to prevent the spread of diseases.
“This is what keeps me up at night,” said Sawicka. “How do I make it a reality that a drone can deliver vaccines to remote places, or even if we ever have a scare here. So that we don’t have to wait on line with thousands of people who may not yet show symptoms but may already be carriers. That is the dream, that’s what keeps me up at night.”
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For more on TEDxSBU, its speakers and to watch the full lectures, visit tedxsbu.stonybrook.edu