Ideas worth spreading to the world: Students and families attend Harker’s annual TEDx talk


Varsha Rammohan

TEDx event attendees visit Inboard Technologies’ booth to learn more about their products. Inboard Technologies CEO and co-founder Ryan Evans was one of the event’s five featured speakers.

by Anna Vazhaeparambil and Sara Yen

The upper school hosted its annual TEDx event, which featured guest speakers from startups who spoke to students and visitors about their visions, in Nichols Auditorium on Nov. 4.

Guest speakers Julie Campistron, Ryan Evans, Alan Kropf, Ray Wang and student speaker Andrew (Andy) Semenza (12) presented their insights on topics ranging from economics and technology to mindfulness.

“The Gen Z [and] the millennials think very, very differently,” Wang, founder and chairman of Constellation Research, said. “[Current high schoolers] are going to have the biggest impact on society in the next 20 years. I think it’s really, really important that the lessons shared between generations are told, and that those conversations are told, and those ideas spark a different way of thought.”

In between lectures, attendees interacted with several tech booths. Students learned more about new inventions and were provided with the opportunity to directly talk to the people who were part of the teams that created them.

“3D printing is taking off and is being used in more and more real world applications,” said a representative of ONO, the company who ran a booth promoting the first smartphone 3D printer. “Learning it at a young age [and] learning how you can do it can actually help push that technology forward.”

The team of students who organized the event this year started preparations soon after the end of last year’s talks. They contacted companies for the booths, arranged the logistics of the event and most importantly, found speakers who are not only qualified to speak to students but will also talk about unique topics.

“TEDx a couple years ago used to be focused on just entrepreneurship,” co-curator Anooshree Sengupta (12) said. “We’ve tried to grow past that and get speakers who are in the arts, who are in the sciences—really all areas.”

The team encouraged attendees to interact with the speakers, booths and mentors to gain a better understanding and possibly an interest in the advancements of the different fields presented at the event.

“Our goal is to bring students here in Silicon Valley to greater intellectual heights,” co-curator Kaitlin Hsu (12) said prior to the lectures. “We hope you find wisdom, rebellion, innovation and passion in your experience.”

The team will soon be choosing a new set of curators who will begin planning for next year’s TEDx event.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on November 16, 2017.