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Meet One of NU’s TEDx Student Speakers, Jackson Walker!

Name: Jackson Walker

Year: Freshman 

Major: Political Science and International Studies

Hometown: Edina, MN

Birthday: Aug. 3, 1994


What is the topic of your TEDx Talk?

My topic is “Finding my long lost twin.” That’s kind of metaphorical I guess, but its about traveling back to India last winter. It’s about how going back to my home country for the first time affected my life and my future plans. I talk about what it was like growing up Indian in Minnesota, since Minnesota is more of a Scandinavian and German place, and then what led me to go back to India and what sorts of things happened while I was there. 

Why did you return to India?

I went with my mom in a group of 30 people–the premise of the trip was adopted parents going back with their kids. We got to spend time at different schools and really just experience what everyday life is like and how that could impact my future plans and what I hope to do with my life. 

What was the hardest part about being chosen as one of NU’s 4 student speakers?

The speech writing is a lot of work; I’m going to be honest. Once I gathered my ideas, it was trying to get it on paper and finding the right way to say it that was the hardest part. Making sure I was saying what I wanted to say, not too much and not to little. I’ve been working with some professors and other people in Medill to refine it and make sure it’s written as well as it can be. At this point it’s just a matter of practicing and getting it down to the point where I don’t need any note cards or notes at all. 

What has the process been like after being chosen and have you talked to the other student speakers?

Medill does the main planning and the logistical things. I did get a chance to meet 4 or 5 of the other speakers last week. We got to talk generally about the whole experience and how excited we are to hear each others talks. I mean, there is such a wide range of topics being covered and it is very exciting. 

What is the goal of NU’s TEDx Talk?

The aim is to portray the wide variety of ideas and the power of the ideas coming out of the Northwestern community. We are trying to paint a picture of Northwestern where great ideas are formed and are played out. Ultimately for our video’s to appear on the actual TED Talk site, it would have to have a certain number of viewers or liked critically by the TED board.

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Jackie Montalvo


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