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Anika Paulson ’20 Takes Part in TED

A young woman holding a guitar
Amber Siddiqui ’20
Publication date: 
April 13, 2017
"Music helps you connect to people and to yourself and helps you understand the world." Anika Paulson ’20

She might be a freshman, but Anika Paulson '20, a biology major and music minor, has already been chosen to give two TED Talks. Paulson delivered one of these prestigious presentations at a TED-Ed conference in New York in December and is scheduled to give another in Vancouver later this month.

TED Talks are speeches given by remarkable people who have gained prestige for their ability to captivate audiences in only 18 short minutes. Paulson was asked to present "Music Is Everything" in New York. There she was asked by TED curator Chris Anderson to speak at the official TED conference in Vancouver on Thursday, April 27.

Paulson originally gave her talk as a junior in high school for a Theory of Knowledge class. In it, she focused on how music relates to her own life story and to everyone else's all around the world.

"I talk about how music helped me become who I am and how it has helped me through changes in my life, and it is a representation of all of life and the world," she says. "We listen to our own song and feel it and are comforted by that."

A young woman playing guitar onstage at TED

Paulson's enthusiasm for music dates back to elementary school when she started playing piano. As the years went by, she got even more involved in music.

"In high school I was a part of different types of bands, and doing it became a part of who I was," she says. "Music helps you connect to people and to yourself and helps you understand the world, which is just beautiful."

Paulson's plans for the future lean more toward psychiatry than music. However, her reasons for choosing this career path overlap with her interest in music; both, she says, give her a chance to make life better for "people who are struggling."

Paulson believes the University of Minnesota, Morris has given her many opportunities to focus on music, since its close-knit community makes it easy to be involved in the music program. Jazz ensembles provide opportunities with which she is especially pleased.

"Jazz has helped me and really challenged me as a musician," says Paulson. " It has allowed me to be better and to learn a new style and skill set of music."

About TED

TED is a non-partisan and non-profit organization that focuses on the spread of strong ideas through brief talks about all topics ranging from science to business to global issues in 110 different languages. More information is available at