The student organizers at the TEDx Syracuse University conference are excited to unveil the speakers who will be presenting at the annual event this April. The team has always made it a point to select speakers from a variety of professions and locations, and this year is no different. Because there were more applications than ever before, this year, the conference will give nine speakers a chance to share ideas worth spreading. The conference will be the largest the organization has ever hosted.

The overarching theme for this year’s conference is TEDx Syracuse University Presents: NOW.

According to Co-Lead Organizer and Executive Producer Christopher Sekerak, “we chose ‘NOW’ as our theme due to its ambiguous meaning in both a literal and metaphorical sense.  To elaborate on my point, ‘literal’ in regards to the exact moment the viewer watches the talk and ‘metaphorical’ since our talks pertain to a variety of current topics and/or ideas.”

The speakers will discuss a wide range of topics. Below is the list of the speakers and a brief summary of their talks: 

• John Torrens is an entrepreneurship professor at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University who is also the founder and president of multiple companies in health care and education. He will be examining how ADHD is an entrepreneur’s superpower, not a disability.

• Komal Sharma is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, and the winner of several pageants, such as Miss Teen India International 2012. She will be discussing her “elixir of life” and will be explaining her Theory of Imperfection.

• Neha Kulkarni is a researcher, technologist, and world-backpacker. Her talk will discuss how ancient philosophy, when combined with empirical data, may be the best source of practical solutions/insights for today’s toughest issues.

• Anthony DeMario is a senior business development representative at Terakeet, and an on-air talent on HOT 107.9 Syracuse. He will be discussing his personal battles with anxiety and depression, being impacted by suicide, and the importance of sharing your unique voice to help others find their voice.  

• Elisee Joseph is a statistician, Google programming scholar and an economics professor at Queens College and Marymount Manhattan College. He will be explaining how we can determine the outcome of a sporting event without the explicit use of a scoreboard.

• David Zuleta, a native of Colombia, is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University and the founder of ModoScript, a healthcare company that has received interest from some major players in the healthcare industry. He will be discussing the drug abuse epidemic in the United States and explain how to cut the cycle that leads to drug usage.

• Duane Hughes is an executive in financial services in New York City. Entitled “Check Your Preference,” Duane’s talk will explore the origins of our preferences for certain types of people over others, how those preferences may affect our effectiveness at work and tangible strategies we can adopt to check our preferences and improve our results. 

• Jonathan Jackso
n is the Head of Corporate Brand and Co-Founder of Blavity, a media and technology company focused on empowering Black millennials, and a 2018 Knight Visiting Neiman Fellow at Harvard. He will be talking about how we perceive about black people from places we haven’t heard of, and what it means to make it “out of nowhere.”

• Jill Catherine, born and raised in Syracuse but currently living in Hawaii, is a wellness coach, mentor and body image educator who was previously the director of communications for the department of student affairs at Syracuse University. She will be discussing how our culture’s obsession with image-based body ideals can be reformed so we as people can reach our full potential.

TEDx Syracuse University’s 2018 conference is slated to take place on April 21, 2018 at the Slocum Auditorium on the Syracuse University campus. Tickets for the conference will go on sale in late March. They are $8 for Syracuse University students, and $15 for the general public. All information will be posted on the TEDx Syracuse University website and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages in the coming weeks. The event will also be livestreamed through the TEDx Syracuse University website: