Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 05:51 am est

TEDxNYU names student speaker

Posted on March 10, 2014 | by Claire Scimeca

Lawrence Wu/WSN

Six NYU students competed to have their own TEDx Talk at the next TEDxNYU in April by giving a five-minute speech on March 7 in a competition called the Pitch. CAS sophomore Nia Cavazos won the competition with her discussion called the Contagion Behind Cultural Identity.

CAS sophomore and TEDxNYU vice president Abhinay Ashutosh said this year was the first time a spot at the annual conference was partially decided by the audience.

“It’s a great chance for the audience to get involved with the TEDx community and pick a talk and a speaker they’d like to hear more from,” Ashutosh said. “TEDx, at the end of the day, is all about sharing ideas and expanding your own understanding of the world.”

The speakers’ topics included education, networking for career advancement and activism.

SCPS sophomore Lina Yue said the competition was a good opportunity for students to showcase themselves to their peers at NYU.

“Sometimes NYU doesn’t really have a community, so having this event, bringing everyone together, is an awesome opportunity for anybody to be heard and recognized for what you do,” Yue said.

Stern senior and TEDxNYU president Griffin Dooling said the competition went well, and the speakers were impressive.

“What I enjoyed was how real the talks were,” Dooling said. “I was really impressed by even the ones who stumbled, how well they were able to recover and keep with the story they were telling.”

A student will be speaking at TEDxNYU for the first time this year. The organization is also reaching out beyond the Washington Square campus by bringing in the abroad sites to participate through live streaming.

This year’s theme is Modern Mavericks, and the panelists were looking for a particularly innovative winner, said CAS junior Paris DeYoung, a student on the panel and curator for TEDxNYU.

Next month, Cavazos is launching Newsican, a bilingual project dedicated to diversifying the perspectives of Mexican media, which she said is monopolistic. Cavazos said she might be censored by the Mexican government, but she is willing to take the risk because she wants to make a change in the media.

Cavazos said she will promote her ideas and inform people about her initiatives.

“[The TEDx talk] was like something extra, and I never thought I would win,” Cavazos said. “This is my passion. I just went for it.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 10 print edition. Claire Scimeca is a contributing writer. Email her at 


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