The Future of Water Security in Oklahoma and Texas

Will Shelden discusses the implications of his research on water security in the Southern Great Plains. He asserts that if our society doesn’t make changes in the way it handles water today, states like Oklahoma and Texas could see major challenges in the future. Will Shelden is a senior geology major in The University of Oklahoma’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy. Originally from North Carolina, Will has been a student at OU since 2014 and has been an active member of OU’s Campus Activities Council and the MCEE. His research focuses on Oklahoma’s longterm water security and the potential problems arising from resource depletion and climate change. He looks forward to graduating this May in order to continue his studies in energy and resource law. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Methane – An illustration of relationships between bacteria

Professor Lee Krumholz explains everything you need to know about methane, including his research on the methane oxidizing bacteria that could have tremendous impact on energy production and the environment. Lee Krumholz is an environmental microbiologist at the University of Oklahoma where he teaches Geomicrobiology and other microbial ecology related courses and labs. His research focuses on how bacteria survive and grow in several different natural ecosystems. This work has recently taken him to a sulfur and methane spring in western Oklahoma, a deep mine shaft in South Dakota and to the Brant Park Duck pond in Norman, OK. Lee has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois where he studied how the bacteria that live in the cow’s rumen make a living. Before moving to Oklahoma, he taught at MIT in environmental engineering, where he investigated how bacteria can aid us in dealing with environmental contamination. In 2017, Lee received funding from the National Science Foundation to look for novel bacteria that convert methane to carbon dioxide and to understand the mechanisms by which the conversion processes occur. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

How I convince people that I’m funny (even though I’m actually not)

In this talk EB McCready shares some of the physiology and neuroscience behind smiling and how a simple smile can influence your social interactions.

EB McCready is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, pursuing dual degrees in advertising and management. During her time at OU she has discovered a passion for nonprofits and politics thanks to her involvement with The Oklahoma Group and Student Government Association. She actively tries to fill any free time that she has with new activities and campus organizations, but when she does relax, she enjoys cooking for her friends. EB loves to make people smile and learn from everyone she encounters.

Doug Gaffin’s Navigation by Deja Vu

Dr. Doug Gaffin takes an in-depth look at how the unique structure of a bee’s eye helps her take in information and successfully navigate her world and how future technologies might use the same method.

Doug Gaffin earned his PhD from Oregon State University in 1994 and joined the OU faculty in 1995. He is a professor in the Department of Biology and former dean of University College. Doug has taught Introductory Zoology to more than 20,000 students throughout his career and is currently teaching honors courses as part of the Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors Program. He has received the Outstanding Freshman Advocate Award from the National Center for the First-Year Experience, the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching, and the David Ross Boyd Professorship. Dr. Gaffin’s research focuses on understanding the special sensory abilities of scorpions and other arthropods. In his spare time, he enjoys volleyball, camping, biking, hiking, and playing the banjo.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Connor Sullivan’s Journey of Hearing

Connor Sullivan was born with hearing loss and received a cochlear implant after going completely deaf as a young adult. Now as a doctor of audiology student, he shares the science behind cochlear implants and how this technology changes people’s life trajectories.

Connor Sullivan is a Doctor of Audiology graduate student at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Connor, born with a hearing loss, currently has a cochlear implant and a hearing aid. Connor received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Oklahoma in December 2014. Connor currently is a Graduate Clinical Assistant for the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial team as well as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Hearing Evaluation, Rehabilitation, and Outcomes Laboratory at OUHSC. Connor has presented both nationally and internationally on the topic of Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome, the disorder that resulted in his hearing loss. Connor is passionate about using his personal experiences alongside clinical knowledge in audiology to help children and their families who are impacted by hearing loss.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Hollie Hawkins Describes Making a Medical Home for Children in the Foster Care System

Hollie Hawkins describes the impact and transformation of a foster care community, specifically in Tulsa, when customized, consistent and holistic care is delivered to youth.

Hollie Hawkins is a pediatric nurse at the OU-Tulsa Health Sciences campus, as well as a medical provider at Fostering Hope Clinic. She delivers comprehensive care to infants and children in the welfare system using a broad, multidisciplinary approach.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Dean Hougen wants to make robots smarter by teaching them empathy.

In this TEDxOU talk, Dean Hougen discusses strides made in robotic research that gets us to a paradoxical question – to make robots more efficient, should we equip them with the ability to emote and feel?

Dr. Dean Hougen teaches computer science at the University of Oklahoma and leads research in artificial intelligence through the College of Engineering.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Emily Scheele Explains How Your Body is Designed to do Math

Emily Scheele explains how humans are inherently designed to do math in this interactive talk full of interesting neuroscience research and cognitive discoveries.

A ballerina since childhood, Emily Scheele is passionate about combining movement and learning. Emily has done research at some of the top neuroscience research institutes in the world, and she is the founder of a unique dance therapy program to teach modified ballet classes to children with special needs.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Matthias Nollert On Stem Cell Research

Matthias (Ulli) Nollert is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering. He received his BS degree from the University of Virginia and his PhD from Cornell University. His research is in the area of biomedical engineering. In particular, he is interested in how mechanical forces can affect biological processes. This has several applications in understanding how blood flow affects the biology of the human vasculature, including cell adhesion and tissue engineering. He has numerous publications and presentations. His work was most recently presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions Meeting held in Dallas, Texas in November 2013. In addition to his research, Nollert teaches classes ranging from a freshman engineering orientation course to a graduate level class on bioengineering principles.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

James Burnes Gives the History of American Paleontology in Three Minutes

James Burnes is an OU student pursuing a Master of Arts in History of Science and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies. He has a Master’s degree in History, which extends from his Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in Anthropology, Earth Science and Geology. His graduate research interests center on the history of natural history. At OU, he continues to focus on the history of vertebrate paleontology, expeditions to collect wild animals for zoos, specimen collecting and museum expeditions, and big game hunting and photographic safaris. James has participated in several paleontological field seasons, as well as having studied archaeology abroad in Belize in Maya Culture.