At TEDxYouth@Hewitt 2014 speakers and performers will follow the theme “Worlds Imagined.”  Keep checking back as we build our slate of speakers and performers.


Samantha Stephens (Speaker)

Samantha Stephens is the chef/owner of OatMeals, the world’s first oatmeal bar.  She is also Quaker Oats’ Creative Oatmeal Officer.  Sam is originally from Fairfax, VA, and made the move to NYC in 2000 to attend Baruch College, where she majored in Psychology and minored in French.
A desire for healthy living and eating right became essential for Sam that first year in NYC when the ‘freshman 15’ quickly became the ‘freshman 30’.  Living on a budget and focusing on health & wellness, Sam started eating oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner, and thought of many creative ways to jazz it up.  Reading about the numerous, outstanding health benefits of oats led her to want to share her oatmeal recipes, knowledge of oats and its amazing qualities with everyone she knew.  The idea for an oatmeal bar blossomed but took many years to come to life.
Sam started working in the investment banking world after college.  Her passion for NYC’s flourishing restaurant scene inspired her to attended courses at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies in Food Writing, and also in Business Management.  She took that passion a step further when she graduated from The French Culinary Institute’s Pastry Arts Program in 2010.
After over 11 years of research and nearly giving up on her crazy oatmeal idea, Sam finally opened OatMeals at 120 West 3rd St in New York City’s Greenwich Village on June 27th, 2012.  Quaker Oats soon took notice of Sam’s concept and creativity and named her their Creative OatMeal Officer in 2013.  She works with Quaker to help people see oatmeal in new and exciting ways!  OatMeals has become renowned for the original and unique recipes of its signature sweet and savory oatmeal bowls, oat-based pastries and baked goods.  Sam has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, and has been featured in countless newspapers, magazines, and digital media including The Wall St Journal, Huffington Post, Self and NY Magazine.
When not working in the store and experimenting with oatmeal and oatmeal pastries, Sam participates in speaking engagements at NYU, educating students about oatmeal health facts and avoiding the “freshman 15.”  She also recently participated on a panel at NYU on “The Rise of the Female Entrepreneur.”
Eva & Melissa Shang (Speakers)

Eva Shang is an 18-year-old sophomore at Harvard University and Harvard Campus Editor-at-Large at the Huffington Post. Originally from Philadelphia, she is a social activist who is passionate about criminal justice and education. She is the founder of the Student Prison Alliance, a national network for students working in prison education and reform.

Eva has been recognized in Dell’s inaugural “12 under 22” and by Philadelphia City Council as a “Rising Star” of the Next Generation of Women’s Leadership. She currently serves on several boards, including State Farm, Dell, and American Association of University Women, and has spoken at TEDx events and conferences around the country. Her writing has been featured in the Boston Globe, USA Today, xoJane, and the Harvard Crimson.

Eva and her sister Melissa launched a viral petition for a disabled American Girl doll that was featured in Cosmopolitan, USA Today, CBS, HLN, IB Times, and other major news outlets. The two sisters are currently working on launching a web platform for teens and preteens with disabilities.

Follow her on Twitter at @eva_shang.

Melissa Shang is an 11-year-old who goes to Tredyffrin Easttown Middle School. Born with a form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Melissa is a disability advocate and an American Girl fan. With the help of her sister Eva, Melissa launched a viral petition of a disabled American Girl doll that was featured in Cosmopolitan, USA Today, CBS, HLN, IB Times, and other major news outlets and raised massive public attention to disability representation in children’s toys. Currently, Melissa is working on launching a web platform for teens and preteens with disabilities.

Melissa loves to sing, read, and hopes to one day be a singer or a music teacher. Her favorite song is “Let it Go,” from the Disney soundtrack of Frozen.

Follow her on Twitter @shang_melissa.


Matthew Wilkins (speaker)

Matthew Wilkins is a co-founder of Pedal Forward, an organization providing sustainable solutions to poverty and transportation issues through the manufacturing, sale, and use of bamboo bicycles.  Matt received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from The George Washington University in 2012 and completed his M.S. in 2014, also in Biomedical Engineering, while working as The Dean’s Fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at GW. He comes from a family of cyclists whose idea of a vacation typically involves enjoying the road on two wheels. In addition to his work with Pedal Forward, Matt has worked on the Program Team for the Clinton Global Initiative, where he helped identify speakers and generate content for the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. He also worked as the Transportation Commitment Mentor for The Clinton Global Initiative University where he was responsible for the development of all transportation related commitments. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of The Nyota Fund, a non-profit scholarship fund that provides full academic scholarships to secondary school students who exhibit both high academic potential and strong financial need in Tanzania’s Ngara District. While his education is in engineering, Matt has a passion for international development and public health, and designed and currently teaches a course at GW which bridges the gap between all three.

Melissa Kathryn (Speaker)

Melissa Kathryn is a Body Image Expert, helping women and girls of all ages around the world to fall in-love with themselves and their bodies through healthy living and positive thinking.  She created a unique method that combines nutrition, fitness, mindset, and styling so we achieve lasting change, overcome limiting beliefs, and thrive in our lives in bodies we love.


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