Elizabeth Galbreath shared the stage as one of our brilliant and creative minds at TEDxVirginiaTech 2015. As the only VT student participant last year, we asked her a few questions about her experience and what advice she has for other students who may be interested in nominating themselves or others.
Why did you nominate yourself to be a speaker?
Well, I was pretty nervous at first, and I didn’t tell anyone because you almost feel embarrassed because no one else is nominating you. But I thought, “Hey. Why not?” This is something that I really wanted to do. It’s a dream of mine to be able to say that I did a TED(x) talk, and I didn’t want to take the chance of not going for it, so I nominated myself. This is an experience that I don’t want to miss out on just because someone doesn’t know that it’s a dream of mine.
Why did you choose that topic?
Oh my gosh – I love 4-H. I could talk about it for 10 years of my life. I think what I’ve learned the most at Virginia Tech is what it really means to be a part of a community, which goes so well with 4-H’s motto. Here at Tech, you see that picturesque view of service and we have a phenomenal view of what it means to serve others. I wanted to highlight the difference between Ut Prosim and Service. Ut Prosim is making that decision to serve everyday, not just the big service programs, but making it a lifestyle. And the people in Tanzania deserve credit in showing me that there are different ways to serve and embody Ut Prosim.
What did it feel like being on stage at TEDxVirginiaTech?
It was….wow! Honestly, an incredible group of speakers. The showering of support from my family and friends, and from the Virginia Tech community was overwhelming. I really felt like I could do anything because of them. I’ve grown up in 4-H, and the 4-H Program is something that is really close to my heart. I wanted to be able to share my story with others about how it has influenced me as a person. But one thing I did was really prepare for this talk, and that preparation showed. I would recite my speech in the car on the way to Tech (I had 8 minutes to talk and my car ride was 8 minutes – it was perfect timing!). It is always better to be over prepared. I actually messed up on the stage, but it doesn’t show in the video, and people said they didn’t notice. I’m really proud of myself because I worked really hard. Honestly, it is the best day I’ve ever had.
What opportunities has this experience offered you now that you’re done?
This is the opportunity that keeps giving back to me. It’s really cool to think that my talk is available to anyone all over the world. In fact, the people I mentioned in my talk have said, “I saw your video online!” It is such a unique thing, and that’s a really great feeling. It has fueled my fire to keep speaking about Ut Prosim and its meaning and importance.
As the only VT student last year, how would you encourage your fellow students to participate?
Be confident that your story is something to be told. Nothing can be lost in sharing a story that can impact one person. You don’t have to be a world-changing scientist to take the stage, you just need something that people can relate to and possibly inspire them. Another thing is that people will support you like they did me. They will be proud of you and will make you proud of yourself.
Elizabeth’s TEDxVirginiaTech talk “Redefining Service” can be found here.
TEDxVirginia Tech will be held Thursday, November 10, 2016 at the Moss Arts Center. Nominations for speakers are being accepted until April 22!