Born outside of Detroit, I am a senior in the College of Arts and Science. Growing up, I developed an odd obsession with the idea of a person and how people can do all the spectacular things they do. This fascination drew me into two separate fields: the arts, where I could examine the human experience the human perspective, and medicine, where I could explore the physical composition of the human body. I began composing new skills and new knowledge to pursue these ideas, finding new programs and clubs to carry my interest. Perhaps most important, I became involved with Forensics, a form of competitive public speaking where performers told stories but without costume and a chair as a sole prop. Through forensics, I discovered the ability to speak and yell out the passions swelling inside me, sewing analysis of everything from the latest brain research to modernist novels.
Arriving at Vanderbilt, I could never stop chattering about these passions and eventually decided to major in both Neuroscience and English to indulge them. But beyond these, Vanderbilt helped develop entirely new ideas and skills. I became involved in public arts, finally getting a chance to convey the human experience that had so entranced me. And sadly, I had to leave other things behind, including my love of acting and public speaking. However, when a chance to speak at TEDxVanderbilt popped up, I felt my same urge to yell out again and display my newest passion: juggling.
Having joined the Vanderbilt Juggling and Physical Arts Club, I fell in love with the circus arts, a thrilling challenge. I fell deep into a new obsession finding all sorts of videos and ideas on the internet, shattering the boundaries of anything I thought possible. Juggling allowed me to perform again as the club puts on a show every year called Juggleville, featuring routines choreographed by club members. Juggleville hooked me into this whole world of circus and what it could mean for me. Juggling inspired me to continue pursuing all the topics I loved and to continue my bizarre mix of arts and science.
Since my first Juggleville my freshman year, I have participated in each show since and even choreographed multiple routines. Moreover, juggling pushed me towards neuroscience research where I determined my future career as a medical researcher. Through research, I can again challenge the limits of human knowledge seeking to understand our minds and our abilities. More importantly, by researching the brain, I could examine the greatest questions of human capability and gain a new understanding of humanity. Through research, through art, and through juggling, I realized I truly had a message I could spread.
Ready to embrace public speaking again, I decided to apply to TEDxVanderbilt hoping to spread my love for all three separate topics. To my surprise, I was invited to speak. Looking back to my public speaking days, I am terrified and excited to bring back this old skill and demonstrate what new ones I have since gathered.
How do you look at the objects in your hand? Do you give a pen, a plate, or a laptop a second thought? Probably not, right? But what if you did?
I want to explore that question through the art of juggling. As an art, juggling challenges the limits of creativity and uses objects for things they were definitely not made for. On the other side, juggling shows a unique and surprising effect on the human brain, changing the way we view objects in motion. Juggling forces all those who practice it to find new ways to manipulate their objects and surroundings. I hope this talk can convince you to do the same.