TEDxAustinCollege 2020 Seeing Beyond is Coming to Campus

Written by Darian Johannsen, Writer and Sports Editor

Something exciting is coming to campus! On Saturday, October 3, Austin College students invite you to participate in TEDxAustinCollege 2020 Seeing Beyond virtually or in-person in the newly renovated Sally and Jim Nation Theatre in the Ida Green Communication Center. 

These five speakers have been working hard to prepare during the pandemic. Each speaker was selected by the TEDxAustinCollege curation team and represents a distinct perspective on an idea worth spreading. Here’s what’s in store for you:

Mack Bolen '21
  • Mack Bolen ’21: “Why Concussions Have Been Great for Sports” – a new take on concussions and the impact they have had on contact sports. 
    • Mack Bolen is no stranger to traumatic brain injury, having experienced a series of concussions that left her having to relearn how to walk and read. Now a student of neuroscience, Mack will help us understand what happens to a person’s brain when they experience a brain injury. She will also tell us why she believes recent research and exposure to traumatic brain injury has been good for sports.
    • Mack Bolen ’21 is an Austin College senior majoring in neuroscience. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine and specialize in athletic Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury.
Brittnay Connor '14
  • Brittnay Connor will tell us the truth about “these kids” and “those teachers” we are always hearing about in the media. The truth is that kids and teachers in even the most difficult circumstances are resilient, innovative, and working harder than we know. Brittnay will offer some advice on how we can meaningfully support teachers and kids in the public education system.
    • Brittnay Connor ’14 is a Dallas ISD teacher and both a Fulbright and Teach for America alumna. She focuses her teaching career on making positive change for vulnerable student populations.
    • Brittnay Connor ’14: “The truth about “these kids” and “those teachers” – an insider’s look at the challenges in the public education system.
Tim Crossley '20
  • Tim Crossley ’20: “Get your head in the game: let fear be your fuel” –  how to conquer your fears – a lesson from the football field.
    • He believes it is fear – fear of the unknown, and fear of failure – that prevents people from achieving their dreams. For Tim, there is no greater teacher than his time on the football field. He will share some personal experiences with fear, and how he used it as a motivator instead of letting it be something that held him back.
    • Tim Crossley ’20 graduated this spring and is currently finishing up his Master of Art in Teaching degree in the Austin College Austin Teacher Program. He is also in front of the classroom this year, teaching middle school Texas History and coaching football, basketball, and track in Mesquite, TX.
Betsy Furler '89
  • Betsy Furler ’89: “Our Differences are our Superpowers: Thinking beyond the ‘dis’ in disability”
    • Betsy Furler has pivoted her training as a speech pathologist into a career in tech, figuring out how to help make technology accessible for people with diverse abilities. She has seen time and again that the “dis” abilities people have are really the differences that help them stand above the rest. Betsy believes that our differences are our superpowers, and will challenge us to adopt that attitude when thinking about others and ourselves.
    • Betsy lives in Houston, Texas, and is the founder and CEO of For All Abilities. She is an expert in employee and student accommodations and a pioneer in the use of mobile apps for individuals with disabilities.
  • David Whelan, Ph.D.: “Our Lone Star: Understanding the Vastness of Space”
    • Dr. David Whelan loves contemplating the mysteries of space – mysterious even to him, a professional astronomer and physics professor! In this talk, David will give us some useful comparisons for how small our planet is in the context of our solar system and galaxy, and why the Sun truly is our lone star.
    • David is an associate professor of physics at Austin College, where he uses the IDEA Center’s Adams Observatory to investigate the night sky.

Despite the new realities of a pandemic, the student executive planning team behind this event has been working hard since last fall to bring you something special. There are many already excited to watch! 

Cody McCasland is a freshman here at Austin College. He loves anything TED related and appreciates being able to go to an event on campus! McCasland likes going to TEDx events because he enjoys, “learning and hearing what other people have learned in their lives and applying it to [his] life.” He listens to talks whenever he can so he can keep an open mind and grasp as much knowledge as possible. 

McCasland came to the 2019 TEDxAustinCollege event last year as a senior in high school. “I enjoyed the TEDx event last year and loved hearing from all the different students and faculty speak at the event,” he said. This event allowed him to get into and involved in Austin College more. 

McCasland will be coming to TEDxAustinCollege 2020 in-person and can’t wait to hear what our speakers have to say. 

There will be two ways to participate in TEDxAustinCollege 2020 Seeing Beyond:

  1. Faculty, students and staff who regularly come to campus can attend the event in person. Everyone will be required to wear masks and Austin College will ensure ways for social distancing to be possible at all times. The audience will be limited to 100 people. 
  2. Anyone, anywhere can register to watch the talks and any acts virtually. 

Registration is required  at www.austincollege.edu/tedx now until Wednesday, September 30. Admission is free. 

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