At TEDxYouth@Hewitt 2013, speakers and performers will follow the theme “The Spark.”
Austin is the host/creator of the Broken Legs Podcast. Recent theatre credits include “Electra in a One-Piece” (Wild Project), “Intimacy Idiot” (Ars Nova), “Never Norman Rockwell” (Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row), “I Am A Moon” (3LD), and “The Blue Balloon” (New York Theatre Workshop). Film credits include several independent features and dozens of shorts, and many commercials. Graduate of Columbia University with a degree in Civil Engineering.
Sophie Beem is a 14 year old singer-songwriter who discovered her passion at a performing arts camp when she was 11. Now a freshman at The Hewitt School, she balances a demanding curriculum while building her performance skills after-school and singing live whenever she can. At 13, she tried out for The XFactor USA to see if this was something she really wanted to do and if she felt comfortable on stage. She sang in front of thousands of people including the judges, Demi Lovato, LA Reid, Britney Spears, and Simon Cowell. Simon said “there are some people who are born to do this, and you are one of them.” She got four yes’s and she made it to the top 40 out of 250,000 people. Sophie’s music genre as described by Clive Davis is Rock/Folk, but she likes to add some Pop now and then. Currently, she has been performing her original songs at places such as The Bitter End in NY and Stephan’s Talk house in the Hamptons. This is only the beginning for this emerging artist who dreams of sharing her music with the world.
Brent Comstock began his creative endeavors in rural Nebraska at the age of 12 by fixing computers and making websites. Six years later, Brent has founded and been on the founding teams of many start-up companies throughout the United States. As Founder and Chief Innovator of BCom Solutions, Brent develops digital marketing strategies and technology integration plans for start-up businesses, churches, and non-profits around the world. In his “free time,” Brent engages with audiences as a motivational speaker and innovation coach, helping young adults reach their full potential.
While in high school, Brent was extensively involved in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), an association consisting of 250,000 members. He served as the National Vice President of FBLA and is a multi-time state and national champion. In addition to pursuing his entrepreneurial endeavors, Brent actively participates in many musical ensembles. In high school, Brent was the first person from his high school to be selected to the Nebraska All-State Chorus for three consecutive years. He also served as both an accompanist and director for ensembles around the country. Brent is currently a Robertson Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is double majoring in religious studies and business, all while pursuing his passion for entrepreneurship.
Rachel DeAlto is a flirting and communications expert, matchmaker, author, and coach. Rachel is dedicated to helping people achieve their goals in love, life, and business.
Rachel believes in the art of communication, and its inherent value in all aspects of your life. Rachel developed her communications expertise through her undergraduate degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and later as a practicing trial attorney after receiving her Juris Doctorate at Seton Hall University School of Law.
Rachel has been featured on a multitude of media outlets including: The TODAY Show, CNN/HLN, Access Hollywood, The Steve Harvey Show, Fox News, BetterTV, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, iVillage, Redbook, Yahoo Shine, YourTango and is a featured expert with Howcast.com.
A self proclaimed born entrepreneur, Austin’s first endeavor was at the tender age of five when he took his favorite childhood toy, Legos, built and resold them to neighbors door-to-door. After stints working everywhere from investment banks to concert promoters, Austin took the plunge into entrepreneurship and became a partner in Student Intern Network, a start-up focused on providing college students professional development opportunities.
Jessica Greer Morris is a human rights advocate and published playwright listed in Newsweek as one of 150 Fearless Women who “shake up the world” for her innovative leadership at Girl Be Heard and was just awarded SELF Magazine’s Women Doing Good Award. For more information about her role at Girl Be Heard, go to her TED talk called I’m Sexy and I Know It. or Women You Should Know.
Jessica brings her expertise in the area of public health, strategic management and communications to Girl Be Heard, having been a global consultant for many years. In this capacity, Jessica became a principal at Man Up Campaign and engaged 100 young activists from 25 countries, to launch a global, youth-led campaign to stop violence against women in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup.
Jessica also wrote and starred in a New York Times-acclaimed one-woman show, Searching for a Mensch in the 1999 and met her husband during the run while crawling on a piano in a red satin dress singing Cole Porter. She has produced theatrical work for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women conference, TED Women, a special performance at the White House, NYC Fringe Festival, the Estrogenius Festival and took Girl Be Heard on a five-city tour with the United Nations Girl Up Foundation.
Before her global consulting work took off in 2006, Jessica spent six years as the Director of Community Relations at the New York City Department of Health. During her tenure at the Health Department, she often served as a media spokesperson during times of crisis (post September 11th) and the ensuing politically charged anthrax and SARS eras that followed. Before working at the NYC Health Department, Jessica was the District Manager of Manhattan Community Board No. 4 (1994-1998) where she received accolades and honors for her advocacy work with communities throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. She also worked as a senior manager at the NYC Police Department and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, always with a focus on community grassroots organizing.
After graduating from Columbia University with a Masters in Public Health, Jessica was asked to serve as the Acting Director of the Executive MPH Program at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Subsequently, Jessica was sought out by another division at Columbia to work as an HIV/AIDS consultant for the International Center for AIDS Care and Prevention, one of the largest AIDS-service providers in the developing world. She also served as the Communications and Development Director at Family Care International promoting reproductive health strategies for hard-to-reach, poor populations in Africa and South America. Jessica lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband and feisty, identical twin boys.
Justin LeBlanc was a contestant on the Lifetime television production Project Runway Season 12 where his fashion designs earned him a showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, New York. He is from Raleigh, North Carolina and is an assistant professor at North Carolina State University in the College of Design. Justin was born deaf and has relied throughout his life on artificial means to provide some semblance of sound. The lack of natural hearing heightened his other senses resulting in a perception of the world that differs from that of a hearing person. He senses the world and all of its wonders through sight, touch, scent, and taste, but sound is often a distraction. This notion has inspired the idea and direction of his work and his artistic explorations in fashion, art, and storytelling.
James Parris was born in 1969 to A Doctor/Nurse couple in New York City. He attended the prestigious High School of Art & Design in New York City, where he studied illustration, drawing and painting technique. He continued his design studies at Pratt Institute before joining the animation team at the Walt Disney studio, where he contributed to the box-office triumphs of ‘The Lion King’ in 1993 and ‘Tarzan’ in 1998.
James’ ultimate goal of live-action filmmaking brought him to Los Angeles, where he was invited to join the Digital Character team at Sony Pictures Imageworks to help make the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie a record-breaking box-office smash. As a visual effects artist, James helped breathe life into teleporting mutants, dancing lizards, transforming alien robots, swashbuckling raccoons and murderous snakes – as well as working with Digital Domain’s Oscar-winning visual effects team on ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’.
Having recently formed Paper Tiger Films, James has directed his own short films and is pursuing development of sci-fi feature projects.
Sofia Stafford (Speaker)
Sofia Stafford is a freshman at Duke University pursuing global health studies.
In high school, Sofia was very involved in community service and social justice work both domestically and internationally. These experiences opened her eyes to the lack of opportunities facing girls and women around the world and to the field of global health. Sofia founded and chaired the Service Board at Hewitt and served as a National Teen Advisor for Girl Up, a campaign of the UN Foundation that works to empower and educate girls in developing countries. One of the highlights of her high school career was curating and serving as a mentor for the TEDxYouth@Hewitt conference. In addition, Sofia loves to dance and has been dancing flamenco since she was eight years old and was on a competitive hip-hop dance team for ten years.
As a Robertson Scholar at Duke, Sofia looks forward to finding ways to combine her passions for global health, service, and women’s rights in both her academic and extra curricular pursuits. She currently serves as a freshman representative for Duke’s umbrella organization for community service, Duke Partnership for Service, and as an undergraduate representative for the Global Health Institute’s Student Council. In addition to her own blog, ActBold.org, Sofia is regular contributor to AOL’s Huffington Post College and a freshman blogger for Duke Admissions.
Alexandra Wexler is a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York, where she covers the markets for commodities like sugar, cocoa and cotton. She graduated from Hewitt in 2006 as a member of the 13-year club, and went on to attended Duke University, where she was the captain of the Equestrian Team and studied abroad in Greece and Cape Town, South Africa. She graduated from Duke in 2010 with a BA in Political Science, minor in English and certificate in Journalism and Media Studies. Alexandra then continued her studies at Stanford University, where she received a Master’s in journalism in 2011, after completing a thesis article on China’s role in the resurgence of elephant poaching in East Africa. While at Stanford, Alexandra won the Daniel Pearl Memorial Journalism fellowship, awarded to a single student annually. After graduation she interned as a general assignment reporter covering local news and real estate in the Hong Kong bureau of The Wall Street Journal.
Malcolm Wicks (Performer)