TEDxWUSTL - Rethinking Connection

On March 27 2014, May Auditorium on Washington University's Danforth Campus was the site of the university's second TEDx conference.


  1. Washington University in St. Louis is known for being the home to bright minds, something attendees of this year's TEDxWUSTL event could attest to. The six intriguing, insightful and inspiring speeches animated the audience to rethink connection. The event drew a big crowd to WashU's May Auditorium who wanted to see three professors and three students, all from WashU. This is what happened in case you missed it or you want to relive the evening.
  2. The first speaker of the evening was Dr. Tim Bono. His speech was titled "Learning How to Fail".

    Bono came to Washington University 13 years ago as an undergrad and is now a professor for psychology. He told the audience that "over the last century, there have been nearly 700 professionally made movies that depict some aspect of the college experience."

  3. Bono went on: "If an alien were to base his impression on the cultural messages in movies I would expect this alien to come to the conclusion that the pursuit of higher education in this country today consists of the following: athletics, long-distant relationships, hooking up, drugs, alcohol and toga parties, no hard work, it can be financed by planning campus-wide blowouts, and it's an experience that can be relived well into adulthood."

  4. Bono is interested in finding the characteristics of the most successful college students. In order to do that, he collected data on nearly 800 college students by asking them questions about their experiences on campus both inside and outside the classroom.

    Turns out that the way students respond to setbacks makes a big difference in terms of success! A bad grade can be interpreted as a signal of defeat or a source of motivation, depending on the mindset of the student.

  5. Next Bono talked about a concept called the growth mindset, about which I recently wrote an article! Speaking of connection!

  6. The professor revealed that as an undergrad, he told his adviser he "did not belong to Washington University." He thought the school was too demanding. His adviser said that being uncomfortable "is not such a bad thing."

    "Those words provided an entirely new perspective for my approach to the rest of my college career. It didn't make the work any less demanding, but when I faced those challenges and insecurities, I then acknowledged that those were the experiences that allowed me to develop a resilience that would be necessary to pursue even greater opportunities in the future."

  7. In case you want to listen to the whole speech, simply click here!

  8. After a well-deserved round of applause, the second speaker was up: WashU student Megan Odenthal with "Letting the Light in: Reframing International Development."

  9. Megan spent one summer in Tonga, where "98 percent of the population is obese."

  10. The WashU student said that Vanilla Ice was talking about International Development in their song Ice Ice Baby because they sing "Stop, Collaborate and Listen".

  11. Professor of philosophy Mark Rollins was the third speaker. He talked about "The Strategic Eye: Science and the Riddle of Style".