Campus speaker series asks the question: What’s Next?

Joe Broehl and Eboni Arnold are co-directors of TEDxUMiami. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami
By Jenny Hudak

Joe Broehl and Eboni Arnold are co-directors of TEDxUMiami. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

Campus speaker series asks the question: What’s Next?

By Jenny Hudak
TEDxUMiami, a TED Talk event, will host University and community speakers on campus on Thursday to discuss thought-provoking topics.

Sitting in her ninth-grade classroom, Dija Thomas remembers watching her first TED Talk. Enthralled with the range of topics discussed through the series, she envisioned one day sharing her perspectives with an audience on a TEDx stage. 

When she arrived at the University of Miami, Thomas, a senior from Miami studying public relations, realized her vision could finally come to fruition through TEDxUMiami.

“When I found out there was a TEDx series on campus, I decided I needed to go for it,” Thomas recalled. “I was able to see my peers and my mentors give TED Talks through TEDxUMiami in the past. It feels amazing to finally have the opportunity to deliver my own and have the space to share my ideas.”

The TEDxUMiami speaker series returns to the Shalala Student Center Ballrooms on Thursday, April 14. TED, an acronym for technology, entertainment, and design, is nonprofit aimed at spreading ideas around the world, typically in the form of short, powerful talks. TEDx events are affiliated but independently organized versions of TED Talks designed to stimulate dialogue at a local level.

“TEDx is an awesome opportunity at the University that encourages anyone in the community who has an idea worth sharing to give a TED Talk,” said Joe Broehl, a senior studying political science and co-director of TEDxUMiami. “This TEDx is particularly special for me since it will be our first event since the start of the pandemic.”

The theme of this year’s event, “What’s Next?” taps into each speaker’s life experiences and how they carry those experiences into the future. The idea, Broehl said, serves as a call for action and contemplation by examining reality, reflecting on experiences, and culminating in our collective rebirth.

“"What we were thinking about coming out of the pandemic was, ‘What comes next for us in our own lives, our careers, or even in the realm of science and technology?’” Broehl added. “We wanted our speakers to focus on what their life experiences taught them and how others can relate to that for what comes next for them.” 

Eboni Arnold, a senior studying neuroscience and TEDxUMiami co-director with Broehl, joined the organization three years ago, hoping to ignite a passion for change in others.

“I hope this series of TEDx sparks new ideas and inspiration for our local community,” Arnold said. “This event is an opportunity to give our community and our students a platform to speak. That can be a huge deal, especially because the students who are speaking might not have a seat at the table in other spaces.”

Split into three sessions, 11 speakers will address audiences on the environment, mental health, diversity and inclusion, and motherhood and college. Speakers hail from throughout the community, including University of Miami students, alumni, and faculty and staff members. Thomas’ talk will discuss how preparing for disaster has bred resilience in her life.

“Growing up in Miami, many of us are accustomed to preparing for hurricanes,” Thomas said. “I’ll be discussing how preparing for a storm helped me prepare to deal with negative emotions in life and particularly associated with the pandemic, and how to use that to have a different view on life. I hope to encourage others to have that introspection in their own lives to handle different challenges and strong emotional moments.”

The event is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Shalala Student Center Ballrooms. Sessions are one hour and include three speakers per session. Attendees will be required to be present for the whole session.

View the full lineup of TEDxUMiami speakers and their topics.