TEDx Talks, NDSU Listens


Nine speakers took the spotlight Monday morning at North Dakota State’s second go-around of hosting TEDx.


Hosts included Eric Piela, a marketer and public speaker, and Jane Schuh, the associate director for the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and coordinator of the cellular and molecular biology interdisciplinary graduate program.

The “x” in TEDx indicates an independently organized TED event, meaning event speakers had ideas the event organizers deemed worth spreading.

TEDx has come to NDSU in order to showcase the university’s and the community’s dedication to ideas worth spreading.

Speakers included Amanda Smock, Clayton Hilmert, Adam Martin, Sayeed Sajal, J.J. Gordon, Amanda Brooks, Robby Trefethren, Eric Berg and Frederick Edwards Jr.

Smock, an NDSU alumnae and former Olympic athlete, talked about her journey, repeating the belief that “the best is yet to come” was the key to her success.

Hilmert, who waved to his mother upon taking the stage, centered his talk around childhood stress and its tendency to lead to physical problems in adulthood later in life.

He said leaving children at an early age can cause a stress response that will later cause physiological illness later in life, then suggested the solution to this was paid parental leave for new parents.

Martin took the stage to speak about entrepreneurs and convicted felons, two things that may not seem immediately related but Martin highlighted the qualities both parties possess.

Martin works with the F5 Project, which aims to facilitate convicted felons to use their entrepreneurship skills to get a job, get back to their families and return to society. The project focuses on “giving skills, not needs,” Martin said.

Sajal earned his Ph.D. in computer science from NDSU. He spoke about a device he created to aid the healthcare community with patients with incontinence. His invention is a battery-less, inexpensive and disposable adult diaper with a censor that can indicate to the nurse on call when a patient needs to be changed, made to make the lives of patients and nurses alive much simpler and more sanitary.

Radio host J.J. Gordon shared his story of losing his parents, but sticking to his mantra of “I get knocked down, but I get up again,” taking inspiration from the band Chumbawamba. His talk intended to inspire and encourage.

Rosie the tarantula, along with Brooks who researches on her, spun their ideas worth sharing by showing the audience the potential of spider silk with applications towards medicine and sports.

Trefethren, a success coach, spoke to the audience on the new business model incorporating “the three C’s,” curiosity, connection and collaboration.

He made points about how genuine human connection not only leads to better product sales but also provides a learning experience about how people operate and how curiosity can lead to success.

Berg, head of NDSU’s animal sciences, encouraged the audience to eat like pigs, such that they consume a nutrient dense diet similar to that farm raised pigs receive.

Edwards, a student, engaged the audience with a spoken word talk which highlighted racial disparities, gun violence and racial profiling.

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