Katie Disalvo, Contributing Writer, Chattanooga, Tenn. — The students of the UTC Brock Scholars, formerly University Honors, are encouraging students a professors alike to voice ideas on diverse and interesting topics.

The conferences are called “Brock Talks” and resemble the TED Talk lecture series, a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation.

Student Assistant Director for the program Jaya Todai, Chattanooga junior, organized and started the series this year.

“Right now it is pretty much all honors kids participating, but that’s not what I want,” Todai said. “I want students and faculty and professors to discuss what they are passionate about.”

The series is over for the current semester, but Todai said it will continue as long as there is a drive and curiosity.

Issues discussed in the past have been “Building Credit in College,” “Rape Culture” and “Homogenization of the Media in America.”

“People have been really enjoying all the topics,” Gregory O’Dea, director of the Brock Scholars, said. “I think when someone attends one of the talks, they get an idea for another.”

O’Dea said turnouts have been really great with audiences around 30 or so.

Although the series is open to any student or faculty member, ideas can be denied. Lecture ideas must be submitted to brocklectures.wordpress.com/about/ and approved by Todai

“If the topic is not reasonable it is up to my discretion,” said Todai. “I usually follow up with the student at least twice before a presentation.”

Todai said she helps students who are new to presenting to narrow the topic so the discussion will not be too long.

The lectures are 30-45 minutes long and take place in the Guerry Center reading room. A Q&A takes place after each lecture.

“People love being able to respond to the speaker during the Q&A,” said Todai. “It really just turns into a seminar during the discussion.”

Applications for Spring 2013 are now open.

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