More than 200 members of the Harker community headed to the upper school’s Rothschild Performing Arts Center on Nov. 20 for this year’s TEDxHarker School, organized each year by students in Harker’s business and entrepreneurship program.
The impressive lineup of speakers assembled for this year’s event included chef, author and restaurateur Alice Waters, who appeared via Zoom to speak on school-supported agriculture and its effects on climate change and social inequality. She also advocated for the procurement of school foods directly from farmers, and touched on her work with the Edible Schoolyard Project and the Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education, which has partnered with the University of California.
Author Dan Roam spoke on the power of visual storytelling, as detailed in his book, “The Back of the Napkin: How Visual Storytelling Works.” Roam, who has worked with leadership at companies such as Google, Microsoft and Boeing, presented on how simple illustrations can help leaders make sense of complex situations.
Hetal Vasavada, a contestant on the sixth season of the competitive cooking show MasterChef, talked about how she pursued a career outside of the STEM fields pursued by many Indian-Americans. Originally on the path to a career in the sciences, Vasavada discussed her pivot to the food industry and how she convinced her family (as well as herself) that it was the right choice.
This year’s TEDxHarker School student speaker was senior Aaron Tran, whose passions include bioinformatics and scientific ethics and philosophy. Spurred by the worrying amount of misinformation that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tran talked about solutions to the concerning lack of information literacy and the growing mistrust people have of one another.
In addition to the speakers, attendees also enjoyed perusing the exhibitor area, where they played with robotic toys made by Petoi, tried out slime samples from Dots N Stripes and got an up-close look at the Vinci electric bike.
At lunch, students had the chance to sit down with local business mentors to ask questions and receive advice.
Videos of this year’s TEDxHarker speakers are expected to be uploaded to the TEDx YouTube channel in the coming months.