This fall, I had the privilege of attending the TEDWomen conference in San Francisco, along with my fellow Bezos Scholar alumni Eyerusalem Assefa (2012) and Deepshikha Parmessur (2014), both from the African Leadership Academy.
I first heard about the BSP / TED internship opportunity back in 2014, when I was a senior in college, and it really piqued my interest. Since then I have closely analyzed the dates of each subsequent TED internship and applied multiple times. The stars finally aligned for TEDWomen, giving me a chance to represent BSP and be inspired by an amazing group of speakers and attendees. And of course take my turn at the famous TED photobooth!
At most TED conferences, the BSP interns are given a number of responsibilities to help facilitate talks given by the TED Fellows. TEDWomen had a fairly unique set-up that freed us from most of these tasks, allowing us to truly experience the conference as attendees, and listen to all of the talks. In addition, the TED Fellows team was proactive about introducing us to Fellows with experiences related to ours, so we were still able to make those connections - basically the best of both worlds! For me, this was an incredibly inspirational experience. I have fairly conservative political views and do not identify with much of the traditional feminist movement, so was skeptical at first, but what really makes TED special is that all of the speakers offer tangible solutions. The world is full of people eager to point to problems and perceived inequities, but often these simply feel like complaints. Each TED talk went a step beyond this, as the speaker always had at least an example of an answer to the problem, either through her own personal story or an example in the community. TED served as the perfect venue to broaden the reach of these "Ideas Worth Spreading."
Since coming home from TEDWomen, I have been listening to TED talks multiple times a week - whenever I am eating a meal alone, during commutes, etc. I find that these bite-sized pieces of wisdom are the perfect way to fill time that would otherwise be wasted, and love that the TED family is yet another lifelong community I can be a part of.