EDXCHICO takes center stage on the first day of classes


Dr. Cawa Tran spoke on her experiences as a first generation student of refugee parents and they shaped her life. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

The first day of the fall semester generated more buzz than usual as it coincided with Chico State’s first EDXCHICO conference.

Modeled after the increasingly popular TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks, EDXCHICO is intended to teach a specific topic or talking point to a large groups of students. The teach-in was held on the Glenn Hall lawn from 9:30 am to 10:30 am. The event was open to the public and held free of charge.

Attendees were encouraged to help themselves to free coffee and donuts while eight faculty members, nominated from the university’s seven colleges, gave brief presentations.

Admin Support Coordinator for the Office of the Provost Stephanie Poldervaart said the new ongoing EDXCHICO events are a great way to showcase Chico State’s excelling professors.

“Presenters were nominated by their deans because they were doing excellent work in their field of study,” Poldervaart said. “They thought it would be a good representation of the excellent teaching we provide at Chico State.”

The conference was led by Asa Mittman, the chair of Art and Art History. It featured a wide range of topics from critiquing medieval art to analyzing the common ground between hip-hop and sustainable engineering. There was also a brief musical performance and live demonstrations from the physics department.

Hundreds of students and faculty were in attendance including Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson.

Speaker and Communication Studies Professor Jennifer Malkowski said these talks will help faculty and students learn about topics beyond their field of study.

“It was a good opportunity to see faculty from other colleges and disciplines,” she said.

Malkowski presented, alongside her colleague Stephen Caldes, on the power of storytelling and how musicians can use storytelling through lyrics to connect with their audience. They both suggested the power behind storytelling comes from the audience wanting to connect the writer’s story to their own stories.

Some of the presenters had more than then wise words to share with the audience. Civil Engineer Professor Pablo Cornejo offered the crowd a unique musical experience with the help of a wooden pan pipe known as a zampoña. However, instead of playing in traditional fashion Cornejo put his own personal spin on it by beatboxing into the pan flute.

Physics Professor Nicholas Nelson concluded the conference by using simple physics. Nelson demonstrated the reason a bike will resist falling over while being ridden: angular momentum. By simply spinning a bicycle wheel and thus introducing angular momentum, Nelson suspended a wheel vertically using just one side of the wheel’s axle making it seem as though it floated while in reality the wheel was simply obeying Newton’s first law of motion, a object in motion stays in motion.

Though the conference was adjacent to the ongoing construction it seemed to provide little distraction. The work may have actually improved attendance as students were diverted from their typical routes by fences surrounding the heavy machinery.

EDXCHICO was recorded recorded live on Chico State’s Facebook page for people who were unable to attend.

Plans for next year’s EDXCHICO are already in the works. If you’re interested in nominating your professor to speak at next year’s EDXCHICO, send an email to [email protected]

Daniel Christian can be reached at [email protected] or @DanoftheOrion on Twitter.