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Dr. Lawanda Ravoira speaks at TedX

Past TedX speakers offer lectures on campus packed with intriguing, challenging messages

In Jacksonville University’s effort to give back to its community, the University has partnered with TEDxJacksonville to present innovative and challenging ideas 60 minutes at a time. 

Past TEDx speakers focus on providing well-formed, thought-provoking ideas in presentations from 4-5 p.m. every Monday in Gooding Auditorium. Talks are free, open to the public and followed by discussion.

“The lectures increase the involvement in Jacksonville and showcase that we know what’s going on in the local, national and international community,” says Professor of English, Honors, and University Scholars advisor Janet Haavisto, who co-hosts the speakers with Associate Professor of Mathematics and Honors Faculty Advisor and Technology Specialist Daniel Moseley. Professor Haavisto has organized the project since 2018.

The past TEDxJacksonville speakers provide University Scholars with for-credit, professional development aimed at helping them become more multifaceted individuals, she said. Prior to the weekly TEDx lectures, University Scholars view the speaker’s TEDx presentation on YouTube and prepare discussion questions.

Future topics include discussions of political involvement, young women’s rights, mental health, hunger, arts leadership and teaching engineering to kindergartners.

Previous topics ranged from leadership courses for at-risk youth to our love affair with guns to recognition of intersexuality as a gender alternative.

“Professor Moseley and I teach students how to take advantage of opportunities that exist on the JU campus,” said Haavisto. “This year we have it down pat and want to get the word out on and off campus so that those who are not in the University Scholars program can also participate in these discussions.”

Future presentations include:

  • The Most Important Title in American Democracy: Mr. Chris Hand, attorney and former Chief of Staff for Mayor Alvin Brown’s administration, focuses on the importance of responsible citizenship. Oct. 7
  • See the Girl:  Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, President and CEO of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center: See the Girl, promotes advancing the rights of girls, young women, and those that identify as female, especially those in the juvenile justice system. Oct. 14
  • Peer Support and the Changing Landscape of Mental Health: Ms. Jeanine Hoff, founder and director of Where Is the Sunshine?, a not-for-profit organization advocating for early intervention for people dealing with mental health issues, urges greater access to and reliance on peer support for more consistent therapy. Oct. 21
  • At the Intersection of Hunger and Health:  Do We Have the Courage to Act?: Mr. Bruce Ganger, former Executive Director of Second Harvest North Florida, devotes his energies to helping feed families who struggle to feed themselves and benefit from proper nutrition. Oct. 28
  • Can You Learn Engineering in Kindergarten?:  Ms. Melanie Flores, industrial engineer and MIT graduate, created a training curriculum for kindergartners and elementary school students to teach them to design, engineer, and build prototypes of their solutions to real-world problems, then present them in an “Engineering and Design Showcase.” Nov. 4
  • Art and Arts Leadership: Ms. Joy Young, Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and performing artist, provides leadership for the arts in the Jacksonville community, advocating for collaboration, partnerships, and strategic planning to enhance the area’s arts environment. Nov. 18

By Christina Sumpter