Kevin Paredes/Photo Editor Stone Geise, a senior majoring in biochemistry, has been chosen as the student speaker for TEDxBinghamtonUniversity in March 2018. Geise cannot reveal the topic of his talk but said he thought it would be especially useful for college students.

Eight years ago, TEDxBinghamtonUniversity was a small group of students who gathered in a classroom in the University Union. Now, it’s a full-day event in the Anderson Center that attracts professionals from media, athletics and academia.

Each year, the organization opens up an application process for a student to give a talk alongside the other presenters. Stone Geise, a senior majoring in biochemistry, has been chosen as the student speaker for this year’s event. Although he can’t reveal the specific topic of his talk, Geise said it will be beneficial to college students.

“It’s about the glass being half full or half empty and altering the perspective of it,” Geise said. “It’s looking at the correlation between how half full is optimism, half empty is pessimism, and basically flipping it.”

Kyrin Pollock, the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity director and a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, said the first step is the submission of pitches, or the first five minutes of a proposed talk. This year, 45 pitches were submitted.

“From there, we go through all the pitches that get submitted and then we read through and then select the ones we like the most,” Pollock said. “Then we invite those second-round applicants in for an interview process.”

In 2015, Jack Fischer, ‘17, presented on the dangers of pornography to the human psyche and in interpersonal relationships. Virtual reality was the 2016 topic of students Pollock and Matt Gill, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, the founders of the startup Enhance VR. This spring, Mollie Teitelbaum, ‘17, spoke on implicit peccadillic biases, or disproportionate biases toward personal habits like chewing loudly or having a large ego.

While the theme for the 2018 event won’t be revealed until the spring, Pollock said Geise’s talk fits the general requirements for every student speaker.

“What we really look for in the talk is an idea worth spreading,” Pollock said. “Something unique with a lot of passion for the talk and good speaking skills as well, and Stone fit all of the above.”

Geise said he’s always been a fan of TEDxBinghamtonUniversity, and has been thinking of his idea since early this semester.

“I’ve always seen it and thought it was cool, it was just a matter of having an idea that I feel like other people can get along with and could be impactful in a way as well,” Geise said. “The idea just popped into my head and I ran with it.”

Although the student speaker has already been chosen, Pollack said there are still ways for students to get involved with the event.

“This year, we’re also going to do a stage-design contest so that students will be given the theme and then they’re going to create a stage design based off of that as well,” Pollock said.

TEDxBinghamtonUniversity is scheduled for March 25, 2018 in the Anderson Center in the Fine Arts Building.

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