Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Apply for TEDxWaterloo 2012 - Check!

I just applied to TEDxWaterloo, a local affiliate of TED talks that presents speakers from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds, revealing a new perspective, an adventure, an innovation, an inspiration! In the application, they asked about current involvement in the community and why I wanted to attend TEDx and I ended up writing about the podcast and my research, so I thought it would be fitting to repost that here. I often write about the difficulties and proceedings of creating a podcast and conducting the research that I sometimes forget to write about how much I enjoy it. I do enjoy it!
I'm a Knowledge Integration student which means that my life consists of jumping between disciplines, trying to come up with new ideas with a bunch of different people, and mostly studying hard, learning hard, and playing hard. I am also an advocate for northern research, being a northern researcher myself - I just got my first publication for my work on arctic ponds, wuhoo!!! Being an advocate means promoting research in the arctic and subarctic, so I am creating an audio podcast - Quirk and Quarks-esque or RadioLab-esque - to tell the world about the amazing research going on at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre near Churchill, Manitoba which showcases the noticeable effects of climate change on all sorts of organisms, from migratory birds to invertebrates! Only in northern research can we say, yea, look, climate change IS happening and it is truly harming northern-adapted organisms. The research I'm promoting is also unique because it is student run, either by grad students working on the edge of existing knowledge of the species or high school students getting their feet wet for the first time while working on long term monitoring projects. This is important stuff, and important to continue studying, which is why I'm a northern research advocate!

The rest of the time (when I'm not playing in water and sediment or interviewing and editing for the podcast) I am busy trying to get the most out of my undergraduate education - so much to learn, so little time! And the best part about learning is that it can occur in any context, it doesn't have to be from a textbook or a professor's lecture, it can be impromptu discussion in a coffee shop, an observation of changing seasons on a walk, or during the mingling of strangers after hearing an inspirational speech on the transformations of jazz or the power of light to create innovating technology at an event such as, dare I say it, TEDxWaterloo!! I live for these interactions with strangers from different backgrounds, whose biases colour their lens of the world and when placed in discussion with people with different biases allows everyone to see the whole spectrum of illumination. It is my fourth and final year at UWaterloo, after which I will enter into the "real world" and have to grow up and I want to be reminded that growing up doesn't mean conforming, it means continually learning, pushing the boundaries and fighting for what you believe in. I want to be inspired.
Apply to TEDxWaterloo for March 21 - deadline is Jan 27 so hurry up! - And I hope to see you there!

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