Bucknell hosts first TEDx event in five years

Juliette Gaggini, Investigative Editor

Bucknell hosted its first TEDx event since 2018 this past Sunday. The event took place from 7-9 p.m. at the Campus Theatre.  

The theme of this year’s event was “The Essence of a Changing World,” where the audience heard many perspectives and thoughts regarding different aspects of the changing world we live in today from the five guest speakers. 

“This past weekend was a huge success,” Lead Organizer Sahana Paravantavida said. “I was thrilled to see that the event was sold out and we sparked a lot of good conversations.”

The event was kicked off by an introduction to the speaker series from Paravantavida. The audience was introduced to the theme and also got to hear introductions on each speaker from Christian Wall ’26.

The first speaker was Gracyn Shaw ’25, who gave a speech titled “Being All One Can Be: A Changing Armed Forces.” Majoring in International Relations, Russian, and Classical Studies, Shaw shared her experience as a woman in ROTC. In addition to her experience as a woman in the military, Shaw’s speech focused on changes within the military and how new forms of power, such as AI, call on diversified skills within the military today.

The second speaker was Dr. Robyn Eversole, the Howard I. Scott Professor of Practice in Social Entrepreneurship in the Freeman College of Management at Bucknell. Eversole’s speech was titled, “Rural Communities Taking Charge of Change.” 

Drawing on her experiences as an anthropologist and expert in rural regional development, Eversole gave insight to her findings on what constitutes change in rural communities and who is at the forefront of that change. Eversole left the audience thinking about what kind of change they want to see in their rural communities and inspired them to take action on those changes. 

The third speaker was Gabby Diaz ’25, an Education and Political Science double major at Bucknell. Diaz’s speech was titled, “The Labor of Diversification of Higher Education.” Diaz addressed the expectations placed on students and faculty of color at a predominantly white institution such as Bucknell. Discussing her own encounters in different spaces at Bucknell, Diaz shined a light on certain challenges she has experienced on campus.

The fourth speaker was Dr. DeeAnn Reeder. Reeder is a professor at Bucknell and a bat biologist whose research explores the relationships between bat health, ecosystem health, conservation and humaa disease risk. Her speech, titled “Bats are Superheroes”, took the audience on a funny and inspiring journey through understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of bat species.

The final speaker was Kendy Alvarez ’06. Raised in Lewisburg and a Bucknell alumni, Alvarez now serves as the Mayor for the Borough of Lewisburg. She spoke about her positionality in the town, being that she has lived here since the age of five, and the local development over the years.

Student, Molly Garrahy ’24, attended the event and was inspired by the speakers. “The student speakers were really impressive and it was so great to hear their perspectives and stories in such a professional way,” she said. 

In addition, Garrahy enjoyed getting to hear from the Mayor of Lewisburg and see a bridge between the Bucknell community and the town. “The mayor’s story left a mark as she embodies the idea of existence in resistance,” said Garrahy. 

When reflecting on the speakers, Paravantavida said, “our speakers, all from a wide variety of backgrounds, left a lasting impression on our audience. The reason we chose these speakers was because they all gave a glimpse into the community’s unique character.”

The Bucknell community is excited to continue with future TEDx events after the success of this year’s event. Students are already beginning the selection process for future leaders of the organization here on campus. The current staff is also working on a website which should be up soon.

“In the past, TEDxBucknell was a platform used to ‘burst the Bucknell bubble.’ This year, and in years to come, I hope we use it to showcase the ideas and experiences of individuals in this area. What work they do, how their experiences shaped them into who they are today, and the lessons they have learned throughout,” Paravantavida said. 

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