TEDxBryantU sign
Eighth TEDxBryantU aims to share diverse perspectives and spark conversations
Feb 15, 2024, by Stephen Kostrzewa
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Everyone has a message to share, says Zakary Bradbury ’25, executive lead director of TEDxBryantU 2024 — a story or piece of wisdom that they feel can help others. But sometimes that dream goes unrealized. “Maybe they're scared, or a little bit shy, or they just haven’t found the right outlet yet,” he suggests.

It’s his team’s role to help them bring their personal stories to as many people as possible, says Bradbury. “TEDxBryantU is a place for people who have really strong and powerful ideas and want to share them.”

Bryant University’s eighth TEDxBryantU conference, featuring talks and presentations from Bryant students and alumni, will be held on Sunday, February 25 from noon until 2 p.m. in the university's Janikies Theatre and is free and open to the public. TEDxBryantU “swag,” including pens and tote bags, will be given out to attendees on a first come, first served basis and refreshments will be provided after the event.

Licensed by the TED media platform, TEDxBryantU is an independently organized, student-run initiative that showcases new ideas about how we can improve and better serve the world. The conference has become an important tradition at Bryant ever since student Samantha Scoca ’18, inspired by the university’s culture of innovation, applied for a TEDx license and brought the conference to campus in 2018.

“Through My Eyes” is the theme for this year’s conference, a choice, notes Bradbury, that was meant to highlight the personal nature of the talks and the diverse perspectives that will be shared. “Our idea was to feature stories about the events that shape us — the ones that have a profound impact on our lives — and how we can use them to make an impact on the lives of others,” he states.

The presenters for TEDxBryantU 2024 were chosen from a range of applicants and represent a variety of disciplines and life experiences. “It speaks to the uniqueness that everyone at Bryant brings to the university,” says Bradbury. “Those differences gives us the opportunity to learn from each other.”

This year’s TEDxBryantU speakers include:

  • Andy Dorsey ’26, an Actuarial Mathematics major who joined the Bryant University Honors Program as a way to challenge himself and learn more about himself in the process. Through this talk, and sharing his experiences, Gabrielson hopes that the TEDxBryantU audience will learn how to better understand, and face, the challenges in their lives.
  • Matthew Fiore ’25, a Management and Psychology student, is the owner of Summerfield’s Bricks, an online LEGO reselling business, and president of the Bryant Builders club, where students can express their creativity in a relaxing atmosphere. In his talk, Fiore will discuss the importance of neurodiversity and aims to spark conversations about acceptance, understanding, and the power of diverse viewpoints.
  • Andy Gabrielson PA-S  ’24, a Physician Assistant graduate student at Bryant University, is a board-certified medical laboratory scientist who has been working in and studying medicine for more than 10 years. His talk is on the importance of repetition and how failure is not just an opportunity, but a key to success.
  • Amanda Norris ’19 is a general merchandise executive team leader at Target who graduated from Bryant with a Bachelor of Science in International Business, a concentration in Management and a minor in Italian. She has managed hundreds of employees during her time at Target and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in Global Business Management. Her talk is on the impact of a positive mindset and how it can fundamentally change the way employees view their work life.
  • Christopher Skerritt ’24MBA is a vocational expert and vocational counselor at Kincaid Wolstein Vocational and Rehabilitation Services. As a certified rehabilitation counselor, certified life care planner, fellow of the American Board of Vocational Experts, and IPEC certified professional, he has extensive experience helping individuals at all stages of life and ability enter and re-enter the workforce. Skerritt’s talk will focus on the importance of vocational counseling and finding your best fit in the world.

Bradbury and his team of student volunteers handle all aspects of planning and executing the conference, from choosing speakers to aiding them in preparing their talks to organizing logistics. It’s a lot of work, he says, but every member of the team is driven by a passion for the event —and are just as excited to learn from the speakers as the audience.

“I hope the attendees are able to have a good time and take home some ideas that will help them in their lives, but we’re also excited for the conversations they’ll have with the speakers and one another,” he says.

And that conversation will continue after the event concludes, says Bradbury, as the talks are shared with an even larger audience through YouTube and the TED platform — bringing Bryant-sourced ideas to the world. “That’s a really good feeling — to know that you’re a part of that,” he affirms.

To register for TEDxBryantU, visit https://forms.gle/WoQmFdwnWttDhH2y6.

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