TEDxBellevueCollege focuses on perception

The first TEDxBellevueCollege was held in the Carlson Theatre on April 4, and turned its focus to the theme of ‘perception.’

Topics ranged from the importance of silence in healing communities, why it’s never too late to quit a successful career in corporate America to start a rock band, and how an understanding of neurodiversity can help institutions develop the unique potential of each member in their organization.

One of the speakers, Paula Boggs, brought her life experience to the table as a former Starbucks executive and lawyer who found the courage to be her true self, trading the corporate world for her dream of starting a bluegrass band. She has now released a full album and an EP, and tours the country with her band.

“Bellevue College hosted an important and timely day of ideas and I was honored to be part of it,” Boggs said. “Preparing for Tedx challenged me and by sharing my story I hope others are inspired, as I was in listening to the stories of others, to view the world through a slightly different lens.”

Kyle Grant Wilson, a Navajo poet, educator at Arizona State University, and expert in indigenous rhetoric, traveled all the way from Arizona to speak on the public’s perception that the effects of colonization aren’t still being felt by indigenous communities.

“Not many people know about indigenous people, and indigenous history, and there’re very narrow perceptions of who we are today,” Wilson said. “And my vision…is we need everyone in this nation to be involved, and to be invested, in the interests of native people, or indigenous people.”

Audience members were encouraged to explore their own perceptions with a series of interactive displays, including a six-foot poetry board, Microsoft HoloLens and cards with messages written in different languages about perceptions that would only be revealed in English with a black light.

“I liked a lot of what TED has been doing, so actually coming out and seeing one of their shows is something I’ve been really wanting to do,” BC student Andrew Peterson said.

Originally scheduled for Feb. 7, the event was postponed due to record snowfall and the campus closure that day. Over 600 people applied for one of the coveted seats at TEDxBellevueCollege, which was limited to 100 for the live experience for its inaugural event.

“We were thrilled with the response, and to anyone who couldn’t come, know that we’ll have the videos up for viewing as soon as possible.” Alonda Williams, TEDxBellevueCollege founder and organizing committee member said.

The independently produced event, operated under a license from TED, was organized by community volunteers and is aimed at creating dialogue as well as giving people a forum to share their passions, ideas and experiences.

Speakers and performers included:Kyle Wilson, Navajo poet, educator at Arizona State University, and expert in indigenous rhetoric

Micki O’Brien, Co-Founder, Aligned Education; teacher, speaker, author

Norm Alston, The Pied Piper of Math: Educator and mathematician helping kids find the fun in math

Fernando Perez, Poet and assistant professor of writing at Bellevue College

Jane Wong, Visiting assistant professor at Pacific Lutheran University

Tammi Doyle, Senior associate professor of drama and chair of Theatre Arts at Bellevue College

Paula Boggs, Musician, lawyer

James Osborne, Internet technology director at Bellevue College, author

Dr. Nancy Gonlin, Archaeologist, senior associate professor of anthropology at Bellevue College

Jenni Flinders, Former Microsoft VP helps people learn the lost art of etiquette