DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Voices of Strength: DePaul students to present virtual TEDx-style talks

Voices of Strength: DePaul students to present virtual TEDx-style talks


Better together

Do you need a break? A few words of inspiration? Next week, on June 9, join DePaul students from the College of Communication as they present a virtual lunchtime idea-fest, Better Together: Voices of Strength During the Distance.

Nine students will present nine TEDx-style talks – five minutes each. Topics will range from homeschooling to racial and economic disparities writ large during COVID-19. The event is open to the public, and interested attendees should register here.

The idea-fest is the culmination of the class, “YOU, on the TEDx Stage." First created in fall 2019, the class teaches students how to articulate an idea based on their own knowledge and experience. In addition to exploring the world of TEDx talks, students develop strategies with speaker coaches to present on a TEDx-style stage.

The fall course culminated with Pitchfest, an event giving students the opportunity to present their two-minute pitches for a TEDx-style talk to a panel of judges for feedback. Students then went on to apply to actual TEDx events, including undergraduate Priyanka Podjale, who was selected to speak at TEDxDePaulUniversity.

This spring quarter, however, COVID-19 led to the cancellation or postponement of all TEDx events, including TEDxDePaulUniversity.

“I had to pivot because there would be no upcoming TEDx events for this cohort to target in that same way," says Deborah Siegel-Acevedo, adjunct faculty member and TEDxDePaulUniversity speaker coach. “Instead of having the students work toward pitches, I had them develop very short TED-style talks with the idea that we would create a virtual event ourselves. We planned the event collaboratively, and I'm thrilled they will have a virtual audience. These are voices we need to hear."

Despite the upheaval caused by COVID-19, students enrolled in the class not only adapted to remote learning, they also embraced the opportunity to have a platform to share their voices amidst the crisis.

“This course not only made me a better writer and speaker, it also gave me the ability to put together moving talks to change lives and make a difference in the world for the better," says Amber Farooqui, a DePaul student who will present at the idea-fest.

DePaul student Joli Daninger, who also will present, described how the experience teaches you that all voices matter. “It gave me the confidence that I have a voice and that people want to hear my story," Daninger says. “I learned that I am not just a student. I have my voice, and my voice matters."

Siegel-Acevedo will teach “YOU, on the TEDx Stage" once again this fall. Contact Siegel-Acevedo or visit her website for more information. 

​Better Together: Voices of Strength During the Distance
Tuesday, June 9
12 – 1 p.m.
Register here (access will be sent by email)