Finally after 4 long months, the TEDx I did on 3D Atlanta is finally released on YouTube. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to share this beloved project to the GSU community. It was insane how the opportunity came my way. One day I was sifting through my email, and came across the TEDxGeorgiaStateU application. I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase the 3D Atlanta project to GSU, and decided to apply for it out of whim. I received an email that I was nominated as a potential speaker, and they wanted to interview me.

After talking to Brennan, he suggested that I share some of the maps we have been stitching along with videos of the 3D builds so far. At the interview, I went into further detail about the project, specifically discussing before and afters in Atlanta. How Classroom South used to be Theatre 81, a jazz and blues theatre in the 30s, was my favorite story to share. After showing the pictures along with maps stitchings and both the GSU and Emory 3D build videos, the judges were blown away. I felt confident and excited, but also a bit nervous after the interview. A week later, I was told that I was accepted as a speaker for the TEDxGeorgiaStateU!!

I was stumped on what the theme could be of my talk, and decided to set up a meeting with Brennan to see if he can help me find a universal theme to my topic. We met at Ebrik, and after going through all the notes from the speaker rehearsals, he came up with the idea of beginning the talk with the before and after, showcasing the 3D Atlanta project by showing the stitched maps and the GSU & Emory 3D builds, and finishing it off by discussing what is virtual reality and how it is changing the game in education today. It was then that I was able to come up with the title for the talk “Rediscovering Atlanta through Virtual Reality.”

After meeting with Brennan, I drafted out a PowerPoint to put all my visuals, and prepared for the dress rehearsal. At dress rehearsal, I just went on a rant off the PowerPoint, and the committee approved with a few words of advice. I used redundant language, so I had to be careful, and I put multiple images on a slide, which I was told to just separate into another slide.

The next Friday was the day of the event. I was super nervous and anxious as I came to Centennial Hall. I got set up, and took a seat, watching my fellow speakers nailing their talks. Four talks later, I was introduced by the hosts, and it was my turn to go on stage. Still a bit nervous, I took a deep breath, and tried to not think that I was speaking in front of a crowd of 100, but rather I was giving a presentation to some friends about the 3D Atlanta project. Before I knew it, the nerves left me, and I was able to crack a few jokes within my talk. Minutes later, I ended the talk, and there was an applause. The hosts came back out, and asked me a question about where people can go to learn more about the project. It was then that I switched to the final slide with the SIF 3D Atlanta website, and everyone in the room took out their cell phones to take a picture.

It was a really good feeling to be able to capture the interest of over 100 people within the GSU community. I was lucky to be the last talk before the dinner break. As I was waiting in line for dinner, I had over 10-15 people talking to me congratulating me on a great talk, and asking about more details on the project. It was an amazing feeling of fulfillment to be able to go out and showcase one of my favorite SIF projects at an event like TEDxGeorgiaStateU!!

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