Unique perspectives featured as TEDxLutherCollege returns


From Left to Right: Dr. Enos-Berlage, Brittany Todd, Cole Blalock, Dr. Laura Meihofer and William Tuchtenhagen (‘23). Photo Courtesy of Korpo M. Selay (‘26).

For the first time in four years, a TEDx event made its return to Luther College, as TEDxLutherCollege 2023 was held on March 11. This year’s theme was “The Great Unveil,” which focused on “new discoveries, new ways of thinking, and new ways of doing things.”


The event was held in the CFL Recital Hall. It was co-sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement (CEPE) and the Student Activities Council. The head organizer of the event was Luther senior Souksakhone Sengsaisouk (‘23).


The first speaker was Luther College Professor of Biology Jodi Enos-Berlage, whose talk “The Power of the Unseen” centered on the role of bacteria and women in solving the current soil crisis. She highlighted how both women and bacteria are seen at the bottom of many systems, which leads to them being unseen. 


“Unseen women landowners offer the greatest potential to save our soil and restore the power to the unseen life-giving universe beneath our feet,” Enos-Berlage said. “Once this is done, we save our ability to continue producing food, save our water, and help save our planet. We all have a role to play in achieving this.”


Pelvic floor physical therapist Laura Meihofer was also one of the speakers. In her talk, ​​”What does everyone have but no one talks about? The Pelvic Floor revealed,” Meihofer spoke about the universality of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the group of 26 muscles that form a hammock across the floor of the pelvis. According to Meihofer, it is important for the human body as it helps with blood circulation, provides structure to the spine and hips and improves sexual appreciation. Meihofer mentioned how common pelvic floor dysfunction is, and concluded her talk by stating the importance of paying attention to your pelvic floor health.


“The pelvic floor is not shameful; it is powerful, beautiful, and necessary,” Meihofer said. “As you leave this event, pay close attention to pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms and educate others about it.” 


R.E.S.E.T. Business Conference founder and Co-Owner of Sugar Bowl Brittany Todd’s talk was titled, “How scaling back can launch you forward.”  Todd focused on how taking a step back in life sometimes is needed to continue pushing ahead. Todd talked about how everyone has their “coffee pot moments”—periods of time where one should wait and take a step back in life. 


“When you organize your to-do list, you put your coffee pot moments at the top because as you wait, you can complete everything else that follows, and this habit turns into a rhythm,” Todd said. “However, this rhythm can become overwhelming, and that’s when you need to take a step back.”


Current Luther senior, William Tuchtenhagen (‘23), gave the fourth talk titled “Bringing About a New Global Energy Market.” Tuchtenhagen’s talk focused on how the current European Union energy crisis is an opportunity for EU countries to invest more in renewable energy and set the stage for the rest of the world to follow. 


“The shift to new and more efficient energy will happen because it will cause a reduction in primary energy consumption,” Tuchtenhagen said. “[This shift] puts less strain on the power grid and makes it more adaptable when shocks and sudden cutoffs like the current crisis happen. Also, shifting towards sustainable energy has the potential to be economically profitable in the long term.” 


The last speaker was professional magician and mental health advocate Cole Blalock. In “Truth Through the Lens of a Liar,” Blalock talked about the power of feeling connected to others and how lying about our feelings can deteriorate our mental health. He talked about how he has spent most of his life learning the art of deception as a magician. However, this experience has also taught him much about humanity and the power of genuine human connection. 


“Happiness shared is happiness amplified. Adversely to that, pain and sorrow shared are pain and sorrow diminished,”  Blalock said. “Connectivity changes situations, and we are better together.”


 In thinking about the entire event, Sengsaisouk viewed TEDxLutherCollege as a chance to promote different perspectives to the Luther community.


“I saw that it was important to create a platform where people can talk about ideas from different angles [and] TEDx was the perfect opportunity for that,” Sengsaisouk said. “I hope the audience can walk away with open minds, new knowledge about how people see the world and challenge themselves to listen to those perspectives.”