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Dr. Norris to Kick Off TEDxUWLaCrosse Salon Series

Tommy Kolinski, Staff Reporter

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Sept. 19, 2017 marked the Third Season of TEDxUWLaCrosse Salon Series. New Role, New Me?: The Challenge of Identity Transitions was the topic presented by associate professor of Sociology, Dr. Dawn Norris. During this TED Talk identity was the focus. This was an opportunity for the audience to learn more about how identity plays a role in today’s society and some of the struggles that come along with both gaining and losing identities. 

Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) is an organization that is dedicated to providing information and ideas to those that are interested in learning about them (ted.com). The organization pairs up with a live presenter to connect with individuals on a local level and discuss a certain topic. In fact, the “x” in “TEDx” alludes to the collaboration with any organization/topic that wants to be discussed. 

The Challenge of Identity Transitions is a familiar topic to Norris and one she discussed in depth, “Identity is important because it is an understudied topic.”  Norris explained, “To understand identity is to understand another way to address a variety of issues.” She examined this importance during her presentation at the TED Talk. After showing a video related to the presentation, she dove into the complexity of identity and how it can impact an individual both internally and externally.  

While this was Norris’ first time presenting a TEDx, her presentation attracted students and other colleagues alike. UWL student, Hunter Lisko, was in attendance and explained, “I really loved the conversational style that the room was engaged with.” Hunter commented, “I think Dr. Norris did an exceptional job with questions and leaving room for conversation and she directed incredibly well.”  

“I think there is much to be learned from engaging with other people in settings outside of the classroom,” stated Lisko, “and I would hope that each and every UWL student would take the time to engage with one of these TED Talks.”  

If you missed this TEDx talk and are interested in learning more about this topic, don’t worry! Dr. Norris suggested several ways to catch up on what you missed: visit her blog on Psychology Today, read Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, or to think about taking some Sociology classes.  

TED Talks are an opportunity for students and staff to learn additional information about something that they may not otherwise have heard about. Norris explained, “The format provides an opportunity to engage in a discussion. [It’s] about ideas that may be unusual, controversial, or rarely explored.” Next time you hear about a TEDx Talk coming up, stop in and see what you can learn. 

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Dr. Norris to Kick Off TEDxUWLaCrosse Salon Series