TEDxBryantU 2021
Bryant University will host the fourth annual TEDxBryantU, "Breaking Barriers," on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In an unprecedented year, TEDxBryantU 2021 offers guidance in “Breaking Barriers”
Dec 15, 2020, by Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University will host the fourth annual TEDxBryantU"Breaking Barriers," on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual attendance is available in addition to limited seating in Janikies Theatre on a first-come, first-serve basis during preregistration.

TEDxBryantU, a student-run initiative that is independently organized but licensed by the TED media platform, offers an inspiring opportunity to listen to members of the Bryant community who will share ideas about ways we can improve and better serve the world by “breaking barriers.” The 2021 theme, inspired by the social, economic, and political barriers that have been broken throughout this unprecedented year, encourages innovation and perseverance within the Bryant University community.

This year’s featured speakers include one faculty member, two alumni, three students, and one guest speaker. They will cover a broad range of topics including breaking into your dream profession, taking control of your mind to overcome mental health challenges, and transforming virtual health care.

The seven speakers were hand-picked from a competitive applicant pool “because of their diverse perspectives and extreme passion to inspire others.”

According to TEDxBryantU Lead Organizer Kyle McPherson '22, the seven speakers were hand-picked from a competitive applicant pool “because of their diverse perspectives and extreme passion to inspire others.” Each talk is intended to leave the audience with actionable steps to shatter the barriers they face.

McPherson is joined by a committee of seven dedicated students – Ana Lucas ’22, Club Facilitator; Emily Kwalek ’22, Lead Curator; Anh Nguyen ’22, Assistant Curator; Ullas Tadisetty ’21, Marketing; Richard Sarkisian ’22, Treasurer; Justin Ngo ’22, Event Manager; and Alejandro Vaquerano ’23, Secretary – who have worked tirelessly, and remotely, to adapt and deliver a safe and impactful event to the Bryant community.

Amanda Whitham ’21, who served as Club Facilitator for TEDxBryantU 2020, will moderate this year's event.

TEDxBryantU 2021 Speakers


  • Stefanie Boyer, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing, will present "Learning How To Get What You Want"


  • Steven Craffey ’86, healthcare consultant and FAA-certified flight instructor, will present "Thriving Through Adversity"
  • Rita Williams-Bogar ’76, President & CEO of Personal Development Solutions, LLC, President of the National Alumni Council, and Chair of the Board of Trustees Diversity Equity, & Inclusion Committee, will present "Surpassing Your Personal Best!"


  • Ramon Fille ’22 will present "The Hidden Life of Being an Immigrant"
  • Melissa Hernandez ‘21 will present "Do It For You, Not Your Resume"
  • Olivia Valenti ’21 will present "SySTEMic Misogyny: Why Women do not Win Nobel Prizes at Same Rate as Men"

Guest Speaker

  • Liv Sain, motivational mental health speaker and bestselling author, will present "Liv to Pop: How to Get to Your Chewy Center"

TEDxBryantU came to Bryant when Samantha Scoca ’18, inspired by Bryant’s culture of innovation, applied for a TEDx license and formed a committee with five other dedicated students. TEDxBryantU has sparked larger conversations on “Grit, Passion, and Heart” and “Keys to the Future,” which are still being discussed today. Watch former TEDxBryantU talks from 20182019, and 2020.

Find out more

TEDxBryantU 2021 is free and open to the public. Additional information, including details on registration, will be available at TEDx.Bryant.edu in mid-January.  

About Bryant University

For 158 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Bryant delivers an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education that inspires students to excel. With approximately 3,700 graduate and undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, and Barron's. Visit www.Bryant.edu

About TEDx, x= independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual gathering in Vancouver, Canada, TEDWomen and TEDGlobal conferences, and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world, then made available, free, on TED.com and other channels. 

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities; and the educational initiative TED-Ed.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED, on Instagram at https://instagram.com/ted and on Snapchat at tedtalkshq.


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