Dig Baton Rouge

TED xLSU 2016: A spotlight on an event speaker

TEDxLSU is one of the most anticipated annual events held on campus. This year’s event will be held March 5 at the LSU Student Union Theater and is expected to have nearly 600 participates in attendance, according to Annemarie Galeucia, co-organizer of TEDxLSU.

So what exactly is TEDxLSU?

“TEDxLSU is about all of the amazing work that is being done in Baton Rouge and showcasing that and celebrating that at a local level while simultaneously producing it for a platform that is Global in terms of messages that are shared,” Galeucia said.

Started in 2013, TEDxLSU has gained a huge following year by year. Galeucia credits the LSU community for the growth.

“Our event has grown exceptionally over the past 4 years, and it is a direct result of students, faculty, staff, community partners and community members believing in what we are doing and wanting to highlight all the awesome stuff that is happening in Baton Rouge.”

When it comes to the speaker line-up, Galeucia says that she is excited to hear every speaker, and she is most proud that the event will have speakers who will focus on “innovations in health, innovations in the way we understand deep sea creatures or Mars.

“…in conjunction with those speakers, we have speakers who are speaking about the power of collaborative communities or the important of representation in our media. So it’s really a full spectrum of talk that the people who come to the event will experience.”

Among the line-up of speakers is 21-year-old LSU mass communication senior Bianca Smith.

Smith, who identifies as African American and Turkish, says her talk will focus on the lack of diversity and the over-sexualization of women in the comic industry.

“I’m mostly going to be focused on women but there are also a lot of issues in the entertainment world with black men,” she says.

Because of Smith’s background of being bi-racial and female, she feels that she has an interesting perspective on issues regarding race and gender.

“I think race is an issue that is not only affecting industries like the movie industry but industries like publications,” Smith said.

“There aren’t that many minorities being editor and chiefs or creative directors, and I think that is a big problem, especially because being a [mass communication] major, I realize how much the media influences our society—like they help how you think and how you see other people and the fact that we aren’t getting that perspective and everything is very one dimensional…that is a problem.”

Smith explained that all of these different forms of media we take in as a society need diversity.

“We have to diversify this. So many people use this stuff and get information from this stuff—so we need to make sure that this information we are consuming has multiple perspectives in it.”

Smith says this will be her first time speaking to an audience of this magnitude, but she feels confident because she is speaking about something she is passionate about.

Being a senior, Smith says she is looking forward to her future outside of LSU.

“I don’t know exactly what I’m doing but my goal is to move to New York…that’s the goal,” Smith said. “I would like to work for Buzzfeed or some type of magazine or somewhere like VICE News.

“My ultimate goal in life— in terms of comics, is to be a writer for Marvel. I would like to be the next Stan Lee. I really do think I am very capable of creating characters.  I do it all the time.  I ask my friends to give me a situation, give me a character and I’ll come up with a whole series about it.”

Bianca is excited to be a part of TEDxLSU and says coming to LSU has really opened her eyes to a lot of the challenges minorities face, not just in the entertainment world but the everyday world. She hopes to be one of the trailblazers in creating change and bringing awareness about these important matters.

Catch more from Bianca Smith, along with the other 11 speakers at this year’s TEDxLSU. To find out more information on the event or to inquire about tickets, visit tedxlsu.com.

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