Howard University Graduate School

HUGS Research Magazine
and Graduate School Research Archive

ARTICLEIssue 018

Howard University's Third TEDx is "All Things Glorious"

By Gwendolyn S. Bethea, Ph.D.

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"All Things Glorious," was the theme of Howard's third TEDx event, which drew an enthusiastic near-capacity crowd of more than 1,000 on September 14, 2107 in Cramton Auditorium. Howard faculty, staff, students and individuals from area universities, organizations, and the broader Washington DC community heard dynamic TEDx talks on a number of subjects of global significance. TEDx presenters discussed how catastrophic environmental changes can be addressed on global, national and individual platforms; the research that shows children of incarcerated parents can lead productive, successful lives; the possibilities of effective and creative consumer influence on corporate advertising; and the mind-bending technology developments, particularly in the field of robotics already changing industrial productivity and human interaction in everyday life.

The event, sponsored by the Howard University Office of the Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies, the Office of Research Development, and the Graduate School, included talks by

Donald Temple, Esq.

Donald Temple, Esq.

Bahiyyah Muhammad, Ph.D.

Bahiyyah Muhammad, Ph.D.

Aprille Ericsson, Ph.D.

Aprille Ericsson, Ph.D.

Joanna Jenkins, Ph.D.

Joanna Jenkins, Ph.D.

Howard University Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammed, whose talk, "Does the Apple Fall Far from Prison," included individual vignettes and research showing a large percentage of children of incarcerated parents as not only achieving academically and within the broader society, but serving as role models for others from similar backgrounds. Dr. Muhammad's "Inside Out" course, in which both Howard students and DC inmates are enrolled and which takes place partially inside prison, is widely popular among students, especially in the sociology and criminology disciplines. Another course comprised of HU students, police enrollees, along with community participants, seeks to enhance communication between the community and law enforcement.

Fifty elementary students, along with the principal, Maria Ortiz, of Luis Munoz School for Social Justice, the school where Dr. Muhammad formerly taught in her native Newark, New Jersey, attended the event as part of their tour of Washington, DC. They sat raptly attentive throughout the evening, noticeably during her presentation.

Entering the stage dancing to the tune of the 80s hit, "Ice, Ice, Baby," Dr. Ericsson's presentation examined climate change, including its specific impact on the earth's rapidly diminishing ice sheet elevation. The winner of numerous awards for her engagement with students and her pioneering work at NASA, Ericsson has helped manage science instruments set to take flight, such as the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), which will observe ice sheet elevation change, sea ice freeboard and vegetation canopy height as part of the ICESat-2 mission, and the Near-Infrared Spectrograph on the James Webb Space Telescope that will operate 1 million miles away from Earth. Ericsson challenged the audience to continue to reduce their carbon footprints, observing environmentally sound recycling practices. Dr. Ericsson was the first female Ph.D. recipient in mechanical engineering at Howard University and the first female to receive a Ph.D. at NASA.

Howard Ph.D. alumna and Assistant Professor of Strategic Communications Dr. Joanna Jenkins's talk, "Reimaging the Evolution of Advertising," emphasized the need for proactive community engagement in countering the pervasive and imperceptive influence of corporate advertising. A visual culture expert and creative director by trade, Dr. Jenkins has extensive professional experience within advertising, consumer engagement, strategic and visual communications. She has also created integrated communications campaigns in diverse media, including interactive, guerilla and digital. Some of her works include American Advertising Federation white papers on Millennial Perspectives on Diversity and Multiculturalism, Brands and Youth Engagement, and her book The Convergence Crisis: An impending Paradigm Shift in Advertising.

"It was a sincere pleasure participating in TedX. I am thankful that Howard provides opportunities such as these for collaboration and community impact. TedX facilitates the opportunity for us to fulfill our mission in new, exciting, and innovative ways," stated Dr. Jenkins.

Washington, DC Civil Rights Attorney and Community Activist Donald Temple, Esq. addressed: "The Social and Political Implications of Technology." Attorney Temple is nationally recognized for his education advocacy and his challenges to what he has termed, "silver rights." His talk took the audience on a journey of technological advancements from the 18th century into the future when robots will permeate every aspect of society, increasingly replacing human workers and influencing intimate aspects of daily life.

Entertainment included the energetic big band sounds of Afro Blue, the nationally acclaimed a cappella group, which originated in the jazz program at Howard University and is directed by Dr. Connaitre Miller; and the inspirational songs of the Howard University Andrew Rankin Chapel Choir, directed by Ned Miller. Mistress of Ceremonies Dr. Judi Moore Latta, Professor of Media, Journalism and Film, stated: "Working with this program reminded me of how important it is for us to share ideas. I was absolutely impressed that the participants allowed their courage to speak to the condition of our community in such different and creative ways. It was my pleasure to serve as MC," stated Dr. Moore Latta.

Dr. Cherie Ward, TEDx executive producer and event coordinator, who has worked in the broadcast film industry for 25 years, initially obtained a Howard University TEDx license while completing her doctoral degree at Howard in Communication, Culture, and Media Studies. She stated, "Since the introduction of the first TEDx Howard University in 2015, the University and the surrounding communities have supported the event and this year's attendance was phenomenal! Dr. Judi Moore Latta was an amazing host; and in "glorious" style and poise, she led the audience on a spiritual journey." Dr. Ward also stated that " Without Dr. Gary L. Harris, Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School, the vision for bringing TEDx to Howard could never have been accomplished."

In the spirit of spreading new ideas, TED began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged. Today, topics range from science to business to global issues -- in more than 100 languages. Independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. The organization passionately believes in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.

Established in January 2015, TEDxHowardUniversity is an independently organized platform to network, discuss and share with a multicultural, diverse audience "ideas worth spreading." The event also is an opportunity to share these ideas with a global audience of DC residents, scholars, and Howard students, as well as the Washington area's consortium of colleges and universities, and the international visitors to the nation's capital. The full TEDx video may be found here: https://youtu.be/vbrT3pPkOHo

For more information, contact Nicole Retland Moreland at nretland@howard.edu.

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