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TED-Ed Weekend 2016: Meet the speakers!

By Laura McClure on December 2, 2016 in News + Updates, TED-Ed Clubs


TED-Ed Weekends are designed to amplify the voices of TED’s next generation and celebrate the TED-Ed Clubs community. During a TED-Ed Weekend event, student attendees enjoy a full day of inspiring ideas, interactive workshops, and riveting TED Talks in the newly created theater at TED Headquarters in New York City. Below, check out the amazing youth speaker lineup for the first TED-Ed Weekend event, which happened on December 3, 2016:

Ashton Cofer is a 9th grader in Columbus, Ohio. Last year, his FIRST Robotics team won the Google Science Fair for developing a process to convert Styrofoam waste into activated carbon for purifying water. Ashton also has three patents under his name.

Irfhana Zakir Hussain attends high school in Fremont, California. She is a proud volunteer youth educator at the International Tamil Academy and even helped plan the opening ceremony of the Global Diaspora Tamil Education Conference. As a young Muslim woman, she has experienced discrimination concerning her religion. Irfhana decided to share her ideas via TED-Ed Clubs after realizing that, unfortunately, she was not alone.

Sean Fredella is a 10th grader in Mountain Brook, Alabama. He’s proud to say that he has met the New York Yankees and talked with the legendary Derek Jeter. In the past eight years, Sean has battled cancer four times. Today, his goal is to help find a cure for pediatric cancer by raising awareness through sports.

Gabriela Shimako recently graduated from Asociación Escuelas Lincoln International School in Argentina, where she was a proud member of TED-Ed Clubs. As a feminist, Gabriela is passionate about updating public knowledge about feminism.

Jim Patrick is a 2nd grade student in San Diego, California. He chose to talk about math for his talk because he feels it is important for kids to understand how it works and why they should learn it in school. One thing that always makes Jim laugh? The funny creations on

Estée Park is a first-year student at the University of Notre Dame. Previously, she attended high school in Atlanta, Georgia, where she helped her soccer team win a state championship. Estée loves kayaking and is passionate about gender equality and pro soccer — two ideas that come together beautifully in her TED-Ed Weekend talk.

Ryan Ng attends high school in Penang, Malaysia. Ryan has always been interested in public speaking and debating, but what really jumpstarted his love of TED Talks was seeing Adora Svitak on stage. Ryan also loves art, calligraphy, and urban sketching expeditions.

Jaleah Colbert is a 7th grade student in Atlanta, Georgia. As a young film director and movie maker, Jaleah encourages all kids to be creative and independent — and to go for their dreams. One thing that always makes Jaleah laugh? Unplanned funny incidents.

Enzo Cox is a 4th grade homeschool student in South Carolina. A young maker and shaker, Enzo loves creating video games, acting in the theatre, and doing improv. He is also a drummer, and has been playing the drums since he was 3.

Esha Karthi Raj is an 8th grade student in Bangalore, India. She loves art, sports and cooking. As a young chef, Esha has learned many life lessons in the kitchen. In her TED-Ed Weekend talk, she shares a few of her favorite ideas.

Jasper Coombes-Watkins is a 13-year-old student in Australia. He enjoys playing video games and proudly claims he can finish a 600-page book in less than a week. When he’s not reading or gaming, you can find Jasper studying other topics, including martial arts.

Brett Lewis attends high school in Birmingham, Alabama. As a TED-Ed Club Member, he is thrilled to speak about an idea he loves: the power of peer helpers. One thing that always puts a smile on his face? Making other people smile.

Analia Wu was first introduced to TED Talks by her high school English teacher in Buenos Aires, Argentina. No stranger to culture shock, Analia is now a first-year student at the University of Michigan, where she is thrilled to study entrepreneurship.

Aishwarya Chodankar is a 12th grade student in Mumbai, India. She loves learning and has a keen interest in Bharatanatyam Classical dancing. One movie that always makes her laugh? Minions.

Petrina Nomikou was born in Greece and currently attends high school in Argentina. She joined her school’s TED-Ed Club because of her passion for learning new languages, and in her TED-Ed Weekend talk, Petrina examines the ways that language can shape thought. In her spare time, you might find Petrina banging on her drum set or chuckling at sarcasm.

Olivia Chapman is an 8th grade student in Kirksville, Missouri. She joined TED-Ed Clubs as part of her school’s gifted and talented program. In her talk, Olivia examines the differences between equality and equity in education. One thing that makes her laugh? Bad voice impressions.

Anika Paulson is a first-year student at the University of Minnesota. In high school, Anika joined a TED-Ed Club because she wanted to experience the journey of creating her own TED Talk. She loves music and plays three instruments: guitar, bass and ukelele.

TED-Ed Weekend events are for students in TED-Ed Clubs. Apply to start a TED-Ed Club now so you don’t miss out on TED-Ed Weekends in 2017! To learn more about the TED-Ed Clubs program or to create your own club, visit TED-Ed Clubs.

Tags: TED-Ed Weekend, TED-Ed Weekends