Wednesday, May 25, 2016

HNC Student TED Talks

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to highlight one of the Hopkins Nanjing Center’s most popular weekly student-run events, HNC Student TED Talks.

Every Friday before the Student Committee (banwei) student mixer, a student will volunteer to give a presentation on a topic of their interest. There is always a large turnout given the range of interesting topics. Some previous topics HNC students have presented on include: Deforestation in Indonesia, Suppression of Women in Chinese History, Milk Industry in China and Global Wine Trade.

Joaquin Matek, a first year MAIS student at the HNC, presented one of the most recent TED Talks on Memory and Mnemonics.
HNC Student Joaquin Matek gives a TED Talk on Memory and Mnemonics
I asked him to give a brief statement for the blog on his presentation. He explains, “We often think of memory as something mechanical and humdrum, but it is actually fundamental to our creative prowess as humans, and the greatest feats of memory are predicated on the power of imagination. Whether we are trying to master a foreign language or just trying to remember the name of that new acquaintance, context is important. Context is the web of connections and associations in which our memories are situated, and the more connections that exist for any given memory, the easier it is for us to recall. Mnemonics help us encode and retrieve information by creating additional ‘artificial’ context associated with the thing we want to remember. A memory palace may sound like an edifice only a Sherlock could build, but the basic principle is simply connecting our fantastic spatial memory (our memory of places and how to get around) with a piece of information that might otherwise be forgettable. Finally, as often as we might disparage our memories and wish we could remember more, the ability to forget is actually a crucial part of learning."

All of the students at the HNC have their own personal interests that they bring to the table and share in and out of class. Despite working hard throughout the week, this is always one of my favorite weekly events to go to and learn something new.

Hope this sparks some creative cells in your own memories!


Written by Chelsea Toczauer, MAIS Student