Tedx talks feature Bozeman innovators

Bozeman hosted its fourth annual TEDx event on Friday, March 27, highlighting 17 speakers, including MSU students, staff and alumni. This year, the concept behind Bozeman’s TEDx was “Branching Out,” which featured people who were pushing the boundaries in their respective disciplines and distinguishing themselves as leaders, creators and preeminent thinkers.

The goal of TEDx talks is to create an arena for conversation; a chance for the community to see what is happening at a local level, yet may be having global impacts. There are over 2,500 TEDx events per year, all across the globe, with Bozeman’s TEDx being selected as one of the most popular events by TED.

The x in TEDx means that the events are fully planned and coordinated independently by volunteers, on a community-by-community basis. The Bozeman TEDx took place at The Commons, located on Baxter and Love lanes, and the 500 tickets sold out quickly. The Blackstone LaunchPad hosted a viewing party with a live stream of the event on campus.

A trio of violinists from Bozeman high school, playing a rendition of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, opened the event. Performances also included Christian Parrish, a Native American rapper and dancer, as well as a choreographed dance by Ranges in Motion, done by three local dancers. One of the dancers, Deann Snyder, is a graduate student at MSU in the microbiology and immunology department

The speakers ranged widely in their backgrounds, as well as in the messages they spread. The presenters included educators, scientists, social activists, photographers and filmmakers who all displayed a deep level of creativity in each presentation.

A few different speakers had ties to MSU. Dr. Lisa Kirk, assistant research professor in the department of chemical and biological engineering at MSU discussed sustainable materials and clean water. Alumni Josh Locke, Karen McNenny, Kerry Williams and Sasha Joseph Neulinger spoke. Doctorate student John Scannella, who is currently completing his doctorate degree in the department of earth sciences at MSU, spoke as well.

Sam Lucas, a junior at MSU who attended the viewing party at Blackstone LaunchPad spoke of the importance of TEDx and similar events within the Bozeman community, “This is a good way for people to get together and collaborate. I think it attracts people who are open minded.”

Sophomore Dylan McDowell discussed the benefits of partaking in events such as the talks, “I think it’s important for students to be engaged because of opportunities to expand your horizon beyond the discipline you’re studying. In general it makes you a more well-rounded citizen.”

The events fostered an environment of conversation within the community and the 17 speakers brought light to all of the diverse activities currently happening in Bozeman. Jake Schroeder, Senior Business Research Manager at the Blackstone Launchpad said, “It’s important to be in TEDx communities. It shows students they can follow and pursue their dreams and career paths.”

Overall, TEDx allowed people to share what they are working towards and explain why each individual believes it is important. The event catered to innovators, and gave the general public insight into the diverse range of interests and passions within the Gallatin Valley community.