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TEDx At Barry: The Event

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

By Jeanelle Jacobs

Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) aims to spread messages and information through the voices of others in the form of short talks and they did just that in February when they touched down at Barry. 

Dr. Vincente Berdayes, Department of Communications Chair - Photo Credit to Jimmy Muniz

TEDx is an initiative designed with the overall mission of TED in mind. Thanks to TEDx, the spirit of TED is kept alive through independently hosted events that are held at various schools and organizations across the country. 

The event was held on Feb. 20 at Barry’s David Brinkley Studio at 5:30 pm. The organizing team, which included students and faculty chose the theme “Designing Our Future.”

Turki Alharbi was the curator and main organizer. Other Barry student Maria Vila Santander was the event’s co-organizer. Dr. Vicente Berdayes, communications department chair, advised the team. 

Other Barry faculty like Dr. Dale Hartz, visiting instructor of management; Dr. Mariely Valentin-Llopis, visiting assistant professor of communications; and Karen Stalnaker, director of campus ministry all formed the speaker’s committee—the group in charge of selecting the speakers for the event. 

Lastly, John Muslin worked out staging and production and Barry alumna Nina Escalante handled marketing. 

A large amount of work was put in to bringing the event to fruition. 

Dr. Hartz, visiting professor of management, informed The Buccaneer that there was a two-step process to selecting speakers. After submitting an online application, 60 applicants were vetted and narrowed down to a final 12. These finalists then sent in a video to the team who then chose the six speakers for the evening. 

The six speakers delivered riveting speeches that captured the audience's attention and educated them on how to enhance their future.

Tracy Litt, creator of Choice Work, a methodology designed to improve happiness, prosperity, and fulfillment, was the first speaker who talked about overcoming fears for a better future.

Keenan Harrell, community relations coordinator at the Baltimore Ravens, followed with a talk on using sports to transform communities and youth. 

The third speaker was Chilean industrial engineer Juan Francisco Hidalgo who took the stage to showcase how businesses will be enhancing the world. He was followed by Nathan Sykes, CEO of marketing company Howdy Interactive, who spoke about it never being too early to care about finances. 

Lastly, two professors took the stage to share their expertise. Florida International University biology professor Dr. Phillip Stoddard spoke on rising sea levels and the threat it poses to the environment. Then, Barry’s own Dr. Anita Závodská, associate professor of environmental sciences, took the stage to show how to properly dispose of waste to care for the environment in the long run. 

Dr. Anita Zavodska mid presentation - Photo Credit to Jimmy Muniz

Dr. Závodská believes that events like these line up with the core commitments of the university perfectly.  

Photo Courtesy of BarryU Tedx photographer

“Providing the platform for new and meaningful ideas allows for their dissemination far and wide,” said Závodská. “This brings people together to work on solving human, social, economic, and environmental problems together.” 

Santander, event organizer and finance senior at Barry, also believes that TEDx is a great addition to Barry programming. She said that both students and faculty can gain a lot from the sharing of different ideas which is a big part of the mission. 

"It is of great importance because it not only allows Barry to gain more recognition but also it allows students to broaden their horizon on a different array of topics," said Santander.

Students agree with this sentiment. English sophomore Lana Sumner-Borema attended the event and felt lucky to experience it. 

“Having an event like this on campus encourages students to think outside the box,” said Sumner-Borema. “All of our professors would love for us to have critical thinking skills, though sometimes we get hooked on perfecting our knowledge that we forget how to use it. Having events like this on campus reminds us why we are learning.”

Barry University's first TEDx event was well-attended and conveyed ideas that will be useful.

“I stand proud of the accomplishments the TEDx team was able to achieve—from the selection to the speakers to how the event played out,” said Santander. "I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with such amazing people and learn so much from faculty, staff and the speakers.” 

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