Another Year of Exploring ‘New Horizons’

TEDxUniversityofMississippi to host fourth annual speaking event March 6

Jandel Crutchfield, UM assistant professor of social work, discussed creative ways to improve community discourse at last year’s TEDxUniversityofMississippi. This year’s event will feature eight speakers. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is set to host its annual TEDxUniversityofMississippi conference that will bring together speakers from throughout the university community to the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at 6 p.m. Wednesday (March 6).

The fourth TEDxUniversityofMississippi will host eight speakers, including Ole Miss students, faculty and alumni, to speak on topics related to the theme of “New Horizons.”

“TEDx is important to this campus,” said Meredith Sobus, student planning committee member. “It’s giving a platform for people to share their research and ideas in a very respectful environment.”

“New Horizons” will feature speakers sharing the innovative ways they are influencing their respective fields of expertise.

“The speakers this year will be sharing topics that are leading edge, with talks about bycatch reduction, trust in the digital world and more,” the TEDxUniversityofMississippi website says.

The event continues to evolve and grow from its beginning in 2015, and Sobus said a team effort is what helps continue its progress.

“We have a team of 10 students, and each person brings their ideas to the table concerning the speakers and theme,” said Sobus, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Wilmington, Delaware. “We discuss them and then vote as a group. Each of the members play a vital role in planning the logistics, the marketing, fundraising and working with speakers.”

Attendance at the annual event has climbed each year.

Attendance has grown each year for TEDxUniversityofMississippi. The inaugural event drew a crowd of approximately 100 guests. Last year’s had approximately 600. The fourth-annual event will be held Wednesday, March 6, at the Gertrude Ford Performing Arts Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

“The first year, we had 100 attendees, jumping to 300 the second year, and then we had about 600 last year,” Sobus said. “Our ultimate goal would be to one day sell out the Ford Center.”

In a change this year, the event will be held on a weeknight instead of a Saturday.

Sobus said the group is “super excited about the speakers,” this year. The event will also feature singer-songwriter Sam Mooney, a recent Ole Miss graduate.

“Having an artist at the event enhances the overall experience for audience members,” Sobus said.

TEDxUniversityofMississippi is modeled off the global program TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to sharing “ideas worth spreading.”

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Ford Center box office, the UM Box Office online, or by visiting the organization’s website and clicking on “buy tickets.” The group can be reached via email at and is on social media at @TEDxUnivMS.

This year’s speakers are:

  • Christian Anscheutz, chief digital officer for UL (formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories), where he is responsible for identifying, prioritizing and embedding technology innovation and digital trends into the vision, strategy and operating models required to sustain and accelerate the company’s growth.
  • Luc Rébillout, a doctoral student in hydroscience at UM. Rébillout was studying aerospace engineering in France in 2014 when he came to Ole Miss for an internship. He came back to the university to pursue his doctoral degree.
  • Josie Nicholson, a licensed psychologist specializing in sport performance and a certified mental performance consultant. An Oxford native, Nicholson joined the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Health and Sport Performance staff in 2012.
  • Steven Soifer, chair of the Ole Miss Department of Social Work. Soifer specializes in the study of issues related to public restrooms in society and the workplace. “My goal is to raise public awareness about these issues, and to bring the U.S. into the 21st century regarding toilet issues.”
  • Jenny A. Urban, director of compliance for CLEAR, a secure identity platform that allows individuals to safely store personal information to bypass travel document checkers at airports. Urban is a graduate of the university and the UM School of Law. She will explain why “private-public partnerships, information sharing and international collaboration are the key to revising the aviation regulatory sphere to incorporate technical advancements in this globally connected industry.”
  • Glenn Parsons, UM professor of biology and director of the university’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Research. Parsons has directed 18 master’s and doctoral graduate students, many of them shark biologists. He has studied sharks for the past 40 years and published more than 100 scientific papers, reports, books and articles on sharks and other fishes.
  • Zaire Love, social media community manager at Rescue Social Change Group in Atlanta. Love has an MFA in documentary film from Ole Miss. She will examine how “global recognition of two Southern black women, Beyoncé Knowles Carter and Fannie Lou Hammer, has helped diversify the South’s narrative by illustrating how their unapologetic ownership of their identity as Southern black women has solidified their place in history as global icons for freedom of expression, social justice and activism.”
  • Jakob Anseman, TEDxUniversityofMississippi 2019 student speaker. Anseman, an Ole Miss student with Asperger’s syndrome, will share information and experiences derived from various readings and his personal life regarding the mistreatment of people similar to him and will share his thoughts and ideas dedicated to strengthening and advancing the autism acceptance movement.