TEDxNYU Examines Identity and Purpose

Gabriella Bower, Beauty and Style Editor

TEDxNYU’s sixth annual conference was held yesterday at the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, reframed the meaning of identity and purpose through speeches and performances by a range of students to faculty members and established professionals.

Called “Lenses,” the conference  was broken down into three sections: Identity, Purpose and Reframe. Each session consisted of a few speakers and performers forming a kaleidoscope lens of approaching our diverse world.

Tisch sophomore Kate Yeager opened the conference with her original song “Go Go Go.” When asked why she chose to sing instead of giving a traditional TED talk, Yeager said she had natural knack for doing the untraditional.

“Because this community is so strong, it made me think of the community I am so lucky to help create every time I step on to a stage,” Yeager said. “Music is another way of creating a community and that’s why I picked this form of conversation with the audience.”

Gallatin freshman Maame Boatemaa followed Yeager and spoke about identity. Boatemaa’s talk reflected on her personal journey from Ghana to America and how she struggled to find stability in herself while in unstable environments.

“Identity is the fuel that drives a person and regardless of where you find yourself,” Boatemma said. “How you identify yourself determines how much confidence you have in yourself.”

After identity, the talk veered to purpose. Steinhardt freshman Emily Rabinowitz discussed her two-year study she conducted in high school that focused on the lack of pro-social purpose in youths. Her research culminated in the SOC Theory: Selection, Optimization and Compensation — three tools that everyone can utilize to create a pro-social and successful purpose.

Marcus Johnson, an American jazz musician, producer and entrepreneur reflected on his journey for purpose.

“Your goal in life is to make sure you invest in you and you make your dream a reality,” Johnson said.

Concluding the conference were the talks on reframing. PhD candidate Oles Zhulyn, founder of Honeycombinatorics, presented his original app that restructures the way we color by using our fingers on smartphones. In addition, Chris Dickey, director of global professional studies and entrepreneurship at NYU College of Global Public Health, discussed how the college is changing the way medical students looks at global public health by making them examine health policy through various lenses such as economics and anthropology.

Through a new lens, TEDxNYU’s “Lenses” hopes to inspire, educate and innovate.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 25 print edition. Email Gabriella Bower at [email protected].