TEDxSaltLakeCity in Review

(Courtesy TEDx Salt Lake City)

(Courtesy TEDx Salt Lake City)

By Angelyn Ramos, News Writer


For the past several years Salt Lake City has hosted its very own TEDx event, TEDxSaltLakeCity. This year’s TEDxSaltLakeCity the University of Utah hosted the seventh annual event at Kingsbury Hall on Sept. 21, 2019.



The day began with a moment of silence in honor of the Ute and Goshute nations whose land we now sat on. The emcees went on to explain the day’s theme of “Dynamic Harmony” as described “When two points connect at the right time, in the right way, something magical happens.” The day was “divided into four sessions thematically and will include discovery, connection, culture and movement. These themes have been purposefully designed to take attendees on an introspective journey to inspire ideas and change.” 



The first session of the day included four speakers and two performances. The day began with Josh Taylor, who described himself as a Creative Change Agent. He spoke about using simple storytelling techniques within business and as a tool to connect with other people.

Taylor was followed by Sonali Loomba, a Kathak Dancer. Kathak is a form of traditional Indian dancing.

Next up was Em Capito, an LCSW who used her own trauma to inform how she helps treat her own patients. Capito spoke about “resiliency field trips aka stress inoculation.” Capito went on to explain the importance of resiliency field trips. She said they consisted of three very important factors — “One, they are new experiences. Two, they are slightly scary, and they are intentional.” Resiliency field trips are designed to push you just enough out of your comfort zone to remind you of your strength. “They should reflect what excites and challenges you.”

Denise Druce was next, discussing how she used her past, her masters in public health, and her background as a yoga instructor to bring yoga to female correctional facilities. This was followed by another performance by Jaxon Willard, a dancer and choreographer.

The last speaker was one of the U’s own, Dr. Taylor Sparks, a material science engineer and associate professor who discussed the importance of materials informatics for the sake of a more sustainable future



After a short break, the day proceeded with the next session — discovery. This included four speakers and one performance.

Sara Jones spoke of her unique adoption story and the importance of holding space for an adopted child’s range of emotion. This was followed by a powerful performance from the LeBaron family.

David Kozlowski, marriage and family therapist, talked about how the rise in teen suicide is cause for a paradigm shift within parenting styles, proposing a more collaborative style of parenting called the parent-teen partnership model.

Cathy Callow-Heusser spoke of the importance of not only educating young children to read with sounds and words they are familiar with, but additionally the importance of keeping native languages alive.

Lastly, Karen Burns, the associate director of Intermountain Therapy Animals and their R.E.A.D program, presented. Reading Education Assitance Dogs is a program that started in Salt Lake 20 years ago. It now has more than 60,000 dogs in the program in over 25 countries around the world.

The R.E.A.D program allows struggling readers to engage with trained dogs to help enhance their reading and comprehension skills. “The dogs are trained to look at the page to make the child believe they are reading along with them,” Burns explained. “The children are also encouraged to pet the dogs or even lean against them while reading. This increases their endorphins and gives the students the courage to read in a safe environment.” 



The culture portion of the day consisted of another four talks and one performance given by local Utah band Foreign Figures. These talks spanned everything from the recognition of immigrants’ stories to conservational landscape architecture.

Additionally, Connor Behr spoke about more efficient and economically feasible methods for producing insulin. Behr explains that “one ounce of insulin is 1.25 thousand times more expensive than one ounce of gold … This year alone four people have died because they couldn’t afford the insulin.” Behr closed by mentioning all of the individuals who had died and giving them a moment of silence. 



The day concluded with movement, which consisted of three speakers and one performance. In addition to the scheduled talks and performances, the emcees took time to thank all of the TEDx community ambassadors and three members of the executive board who helped to bring TEDxSaltLakeCity together.

After the talks, which spanned topics discussing radio tomographic imaging, the pros of combined age learning and the impact ballet can have on those who have suffered from traumatic brain injury, there was a dynamic violin performance. The whole day concluded with a second performance by Foreign Figures and by bringing out all of the performers and speakers from the day. 

Every year TEDxSaltLakeCity has managed to showcase the brilliance that lies within in Utah. This year was no different, managing to put Utahns on display and showcasing Utah’s version of Ted’s signature mantra — “Ideas Worth Spreading.”


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