skip to main content
College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

THE DM: TEDxUM Speakers Gear Up For Second Event

January 27, 2017  By Lexi Purvis, Hannah Willis, Zoe McDonald, and Devna Bose for The Daily Mississippian 

After last year’s inaugural TEDxUM, the team that put together the event didn’t waste time in making next year’s even better. A team of more than 40 people helped organize the event this year, according to Georgia Norfleet, who has led efforts to hold TEDx at the university since planning the 2016 one.

“Choice, Chance, Change” is the theme for 2017 TEDxUM, reflecting the many steps and decisions one might make in college to achieve his or her goals.

“Our theme speaks to our campus community in so many ways,” Norfleet said. “As a university, we influence change across the state, and as students we make decisions during our four years here that shape the rest of our lives.”

TEDxUM, in fact, is meant to promote great ideas and disseminate them to the benefit of the university community. Norfleet said the eight speakers chosen to speak at the event have raised the bar.

“Each of them are of such high caliber and are bringing incredibly engaging ideas to the stage,” she said.

Dr. Joe Campbell

The university is hosting a series of TEDx speakers including Dr. Joe Campbell, the chief of anesthesia at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. Campbell said that he decided to go into the medical field after breaking his leg in junior high. He went on to attend UMMC for medical school in the ‘80s and went to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for anesthesia.

Campbell has been working in the medical field for roughly 41 years after starting work at a hospital when he was 18 years old. He’s now been a doctor for 33 years and has been in his practice for almost 30 years.

Campbell’s talk will discuss the new uses of the old anesthetic drug known as Ketamine. Campbell has found a link between the use of Ketamine and its effect on patients suffering from depression. Campbell believes that Ketamine reduces suicidal tendencies in patients who have depression.

“We are on the cusp of a new type of treatment for one of the leading causes of death,” Campbell said.

He started doing research on this medical phenomenon when he came across an article in Bloomburg which he will discuss more during his upcoming talk. “This will be a revolutionary way to not only treat depression, but suicidal ideation,” Campbell said.

Katherine Dooley

If you attend TEDxUM this Saturday (and you definitely should), you will hear from Katherine Dooley, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at UM. If those two subjects hold no sway in your mind, her topic will impact you regardless of your major.

“Even though science is often portrayed as having its heroes like Einstein,” Dooley said, she’ll talk about how scientific breakthroughs more often “depend on the collaborative work of people from all over the world with all sort of expertise.”

Dooley and her associates have just this past year benefited from a partnership with Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory Labs. Because of the collaboration between the university physics department and LIGO, among others, their discovery “signifies the opening of a new type of astronomy” that allows scientists to now “listen to the universe.”

Physics might not be the first thing that pops in your head when you think of the University of Mississippi, but this discovery could possibly impact history more than any football game ever could. While gravitational wave research might not apply in your day-to-day life, Dooley cites the far-reaching impact the cutting edge technology used for the research might have.

Funding through universities can “often tackle more fundamental aspects” of research than research in the private sector. “Through questioning the very basis of which our knowledge is built…we can make breakthroughs in science.”

Dooley and her colleagues did indeed make that breakthrough, and viewers can learn all about it at this Saturday’s TEDx presentation.

Susan Grayzel

What is the relation between a phrase that became popular in the 2000s and World War I? A lot, according to Susan Grayzel, a professor of history, who will be presenting a TEDx talk on the slogan and poster “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

The slogan was designed during the air raids in WWI and was never publicly displayed during the second World War, according to Grayzel, who is a professor of history at the university.

“I have a longstanding interest in the costs that war inflicts on non-combatants, especially women. I was finishing research for my book ‘At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz and was struck (like many others) by the appearance of this sign and its many variations.

“What seemed missing from public conversations was an exploration of what caused states to need to tell their entire populations (men, women and children) to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On,’” Grayzel said.

Saturday, Grayzel will explore the relation between air raids and the innocent civilians who were involved in them.

Rory Ledbetter

Associate professor and head of recruiting for the Department of Theatre Arts at UM, Rory Ledbetter, will also be giving a TEDx talk Saturday.

He has studied acting and voice all around the country, including comedy group The Groundlings in Los Angeles. Ledbetter also tours around the United States and Canada performing his one man show, “A Mind Full of Dopamine.” Ledbetter is also an associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework, where he studied voice acting. Ledbetter focuses on teaching voice acting, which plays into the topic of his upcoming talk.

Ledbetter is not only a teacher but also a self-development coach. He studies the effect the desire of speaking has on one’s mental and physical health. He emphasizes the importance of silence and deep breathing and will present different breathing techniques for those who need to find a quick way to calm their minds. Ledbetter will also discuss how negative talk can negatively effect your brain and the way you think.

Anne Quinney

Anne Quinney

Anne Quinney. Photo by Kevin Bain/UM Communications

French author Albert Camus— and his work published in English— was the central starting point of UM French professor Anne Quinney’s TEDx talk. She’s researched how the philosopher and author’s work, through editing, translation and cutting, was censored by editors and translators in the 1950s and 60s. Some of his work was cut by up to 40 percent, Quinney said.

“When I was reading the reviews of his works that first came out, his critics were complaining about how unsubtle his arguments were. The arguments didn’t make sense, but they do in the original. If you’re cutting out half of it, there’s no way for it to sound smooth or logical or coherent, and so that’s not his fault, but it’s in the editorial process that that happened, and then he wasn’t allowed to see it when it came out. And a lot of very famous works of literature were kind of butchered in this way,” Quinney said.

She pointed out that the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales also fell victim to cycles of censorship through mistranslations and cuts. “Those two things together… you can wind up with something that looks nothing like the author wrote,” she said.

While the editing process is still rigorous today, Quinney said, authors are often more involved. Now, she says people should look out for books getting censored and banned by citizens, libraries and municipalities.

“Ultimately, it’s about how our access to information, our access to books, has always been limited in one way or another,” Quinney said.

Patrick Woodyard

According to Patrick Woodyard (BA international studies and Spanish ’10) CEO and co-founder of Nashville-based fashion and lifestyle brand Nisolo, the possibilities after graduating with a Croft degree from UM are endless.

A member of UM’s Croft Institute of International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, he studied global economics and business, Latin America, and Spanish. Woodyard was inducted into the Student Hall of Fame and served as the Associated Student Body director of community service as well as the philanthropy chair and vice-president of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Woodyard was the founder and president of Hope for Africa and a founding member of Respect Mississippi.

He was struck with the idea for Nisolo after working in microfinance in Trujillo, Peru, where he met a group of shoemakers who possessed “remarkable talent yet lacked access to consistent work, capital and established markets.” Woodyard created Nisolo with the vision of “delivering a superior product to consumers, while at the same time maintaining the well-being of producers at the forefront of brand’s philosophy.”

Nisolo has become a respected brand on the forefront of the ethical fashion movement. Leather shoes and accessories for men and women by Nisolo have sold out in all 50 states in the United States of America and more than 60 countries, and the livelihoods of more than 300 men and women are supported by the company.

Woodyard has been recognized as an “Innovator Changing the South” by Southern Living Magazine and named a Global Accelerator Entrepreneur by the United Nations for his work with Nisolo.