Two RCAH students present in TEDxMSU lineup

Two RCAH students were a part of the TEDxMSU lineup on Wednesday, March 4. Sariah Metcalfe and John Nowak presented their work to a crowd of 2,000 in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall. Metcalfe performed a spoken word piece on youth activism, and Nowak’s talk centered on the power of music as a positive form of therapy for people with special needs.

Before the event, Metcalfe and Nowak had these reflections on their preparations for the event.

“I wrote the poem a while ago, so I’ve mostly been working on stage presence and trying not to psych myself out too much,” Metcalfe said, adding that she was both excited and nervous in the days leading up to the event.

The poem, titled "Land of the Free," focuses on social justice and youth activism.

“Anger inspires me. I was angry when I wrote the poem. Now what’s keeping me going is the opportunity to share what I learned about activism and about myself over the course of editing this poem,” she wrote.

Diana Xu, TEDxMSU public relations director, said the directors of TEDxMSU were impressed with Metcalfe’s vision of youth activism

“She highlighted the idea that youth may have different outlets of activism compared to older generations, but are still able and determined to share their ideas,” Xu said.

Nowak shared his experiences teaching drum lessons to a boy diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

“I am creating outlines, constantly rehearsing when I’m walking around campus, and practicing in front of my roommates and family,” Nowak said earlier this week.

“He inspires his audience to reflect on their own talents and search for the way they can impact the world in a positive way,” Xu said.

According to Diana Xu, TEDxMSU was started by Irene Li, who pulled together a team of directors with the purpose of showcasing the accomplishments and experiences of individuals in the MSU Community.

“Overall, we hope that TEDxMSU will allow Spartans to engage in conversations about the ideas shared during the conference, as well as inspire them to find their own passions and share them with others,” Xu wrote in an email. 

The video recordings of the TEDxMSU talks will be posted online.

Story by RCAH student Kelsey Block. Photos by Katie Wittenauer.