These alumni were among the five speakers for TEDxAustinCollege, offering “Ideas Worth Spreading” on October 3 in Ida Green Communication Center’s new Sally and Jim Nation Theatre before a safely distanced and masked audience.
Brittnay Connor ’14 is a Dallas ISD teacher who has focused her career on making positive change for schools and students on the brink. She shared her perspectives of the truth about “these kids” and “those teachers” so often mentioned in the media. She said that kids and teachers in even the most difficult circumstances are resilient, innovative, and working harder than most know. She also offered advice on how to meaningfully support teachers and kids in the public education system.
Betsy Walling Furler ’89 lives in Houston, Texas, and is the founder and CEO of For All Abilities. She is an expert in employee and student accommodations and a pioneer in the use of mobile apps for individuals with disabilities. Betsy pivoted her training as a speech pathologist into a career in tech, determining how to make technology accessible for people with diverse abilities. She said she has seen time and again that the “dis”abilities people have are really the differences that help them stand above the rest. She believes that differences are superpowers and challenges her audience to adopt that attitude.
Tim Crossley ’20 believes it is fear—fear of the unknown, and fear of failure—that prevents people from achieving their dreams. For Tim, there is no greater teacher than his time on the football field. He shared personal experiences with fear, and how he uses it as a motivator instead of allowing it to hold him back. Tim graduated in May 2020 and is finishing his Master of Arts in Teaching degree in the Austin College Austin Teacher Program. He is in front of the classroom this year, teaching middle school Texas History and coaching football, basketball, and track in Mesquite, Texas.