Students lead TEDxCUNY’s comeback conference


TEDxCUNY | Flickr

Kayla Aaron

TEDxCUNY will hold its 6th annual conference on March 10. This is the first time the conference is running in four years.

TEDxCUNY is an entirely student-run organization, led by co-organizers Emily Madray, a sociology major from Macaulay Honors College at John Jay College and Katiera Dickinson, a forensic psychology major from John Jay College. Both organizers have been involved in TEDxCUNY since their freshman years.

Madray is passionate about furthering other people’s education and attributes it to her love of TED Talks and her grandfather who was a school principal in Guyana.

Madray said the conference is “By CUNY students, for CUNY students” and that it is important to “Amplify student CUNY voices on the TEDx stage.”

Dickinson said she wants this event to be impactful and for the team to choose topics that are relevant to the CUNY community.

“[I hope students] have a good time and get to interact with students from other campuses.”

“It is not easy, but worth it,” the co-organizers agreed.

There are four committees they oversee that help get the job done.

Typically, students start planning the conference right after the previous one has ended. While the process is typically one year long, slight adjustments were made to this year’s process. The team started recruiting speakers in August.

There are 10 diverse and invigorating speakers slated to speak at the conference Friday. Speakers have different areas of expertise such as professor Emily Rice, who teaches astrophysics at the Macaulay Honors College.

Additionally, there are two student speakers who were chosen through a pitch competition held back in December.

Another speaker is Sherman Browne, who is from the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is the founder of the AIMHigh Empowerment Institute, a program that helps supplement education in schools that are lacking resources or holds contracts to help bolster a schools’ educational programs.

Browne’s original career plan was to be a rapper, but he ended up going to business school at Monroe College and subsequently earning his M.P.A from NYU.

“No matter what you are going through, the people who you meet help you to get where you want to go,”

“Your identity does not need to be fixed,” he said.

His talk will be about “decoding the puzzle pieces of life,” and how an individual can use the people that they meet, the places they grow up and their community and the purpose you serve to grow your identity and purpose.

“This will be a transformational experience!” Browne said.

All CUNY students and affiliates, including faculty and staff, can get complimentary tickets to attend the conference. Students are not required to attend the entire conference, but are welcome to attend whichever sessions they want. However, all students must RSVP.

Every student that attends the conference will receive a free swag bag if they register. Any student who wants to be involved in planning next year’s conference should contact the team after the conference on March 10.

Editor’s Note: Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, The Ticker’s News editor is a co-director for TEDxCUNY’s Speakers and Programming Team. She had no involvement in the editorial process for this article.