It’s all about praxis. Ohlone College Communication Studies Professor Larissa Favela says that her students put into practice theories they learn in class. And that, they do—by literally putting “ideas worth spreading” on to stage with this year’s TEDx event.
TEDxOhloneCollege will be held on Thursday, September 26 from 4-8 p.m. inside the Smith Center on Ohlone College’s Fremont campus located at 43600 Mission Blvd. With a line-up of 12 speakers—including Ohlone College professors Jeff O’Connell and Isabel Reichert, a neuroscientist, a Ska music lover, a style coach & director, and a professor/slam poet/artist—live entertainment, music, and an open art gallery, there’s something for everyone.
“This has been an all-campus effort from so many college departments, academic programs, and administration,” says Favela. “This whole thing started last year and was born from a student’s desire to give back to the community through a TEDx event and, right away, the support from the College poured in.”
Favela has been the lead faculty organizer for the event with fellow colleague Brenda Ahntholz’ assistance.
However, the heart of the event comes from students. Meet Dustin Phan, a communication major and the student organizer behind this year’s TEDx event. He came up with this year’s theme, Breaking Free: (Re) defining the Undefined.
“A lot of society tells you what you’re supposed to do and how to do it and it puts a hold on people who are creative but can’t access that creativity because of norms and stereotypes and barriers that hold them back,” says Phan. “I wanted this year’s theme to explore that and to quite literally break free of everything—to let your creativity flow in every way shape and form.”
Inspired by his own personal journey in redefining the path his family expected him to take— to go to school and excel in a certain subject—Phan wants to show others who may be in the same predicament that they, too, can steer their own way.
“At the end of the day, it’s your life and you shouldn’t have to live it based on anyone’s standards or expectations,” he says. “I’m branching out to being more of my own individual person and less as my parent’s child.”
Phan hopes to one day work in marketing for a major social media company, to make it easily accessible to everyone—expanding the outreach without dumbing it down for the next generation. While it’s not how his parents may have thought he’d end up, it’s where he’s happiest to go. He attributes the work of faculty and staff at Ohlone to having a positive and life-changing impact on his life.
“Ohlone has helped me 1000 percent,” says Phan. “Without Ohlone I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I wouldn’t have the confidence to organize my own TEDx event. Being here has changed my perspective on things.”