Pacific announces speakers for inaugural TEDx event


TEDxUoPacific will take place April 6, 2024, at Faye Spanos Concert Hall.

University of the Pacific is bringing together thought-provoking speakers for its inaugural TEDxUoPacific event to explore everything from food accessibility to innovative technologies.

Pacific has selected 11 speakers to share “ideas worth spreading” at the April 6 event in Faye Spanos Concert Hall. Tickets are available at $8 for students and $30 for other attendees.

The speaker lineup includes The CW’s “Jane the Virgin” actress Andrea Navedo, aerospace business leader Paul Hylenski, entrepreneur and Berkeley Law lecturer Olga Mack, food activist and chef Liesha Barnett and Pacific student Daniel Jovan Pulido ’25, among others. 

“Our theme is ‘Disrupt’ and the intention behind that is to have a variety of speakers who are disrupting in their own field,” said Assistant Vice President for Student Life Josh O’Connor, “TED is all about the speakers’ lived experiences, but the audience members can also relate to each one of these talks.

“Our goal is to make sure that every call to action in these talks can relate to people here in Stockton, California, the United States and the world.”

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, began in 1984. Speakers present short but impactful talks that are intended to inspire people to action in their communities. TEDx events are licensed, locally organized programs that bring people together to connect and share ideas for a TED-like experience.

“The topic I'm speaking about is looking at obstacles as opportunities,” Pulido said. “I've had three kidney transplants and more than 19 years of dialysis. I have had kidney issues since birth, and I've always found a way to see opportunities and fight through these challenges. There are always going to be obstacles, and seeing the positives through them is a skill.”

The event also serves as an experiential learning opportunity for students in Pacific’s Media X department, an innovative program that prepares students for traditional and digital media.

“We are working with more than 20 students who are doing everything from marketing to capturing sound,” O’Connor said. “They’ll be operating the cameras and providing full editing of the talks. When we are done with this project, we’ll have 11 TEDx videos students can put into their individual portfolios.”

Senior Asher Bloom ’24 is helping with the event as both a MediaX student and part of the planning committee.

“I have always been a fan of TED, so to be a part of bringing TEDx to University of the Pacific students has been special, “Bloom said. “I've learned so much about engaging in a real-world project and how it's different than the classroom.”

Most existing TEDx events in the region are in San Francisco; three are in Sacramento. Pacific has the only licensed TEDx event in the San Joaquin Valley. TEDxSanJoaquin was previously held at the university in 2011 and 2012.

The full list of speakers and topics includes:

  • Mia Love - Embracing Neurodivergence
  • Paul Gordon Hylenski Jr. - Gamification at Work
  • Jazmarie Clay LaTour - The Healing Power of Poetry 
  • Liesha Mckinley-Barnett - Food: Culture, Diversity & Community
  • Sara Vogel - Pleasure and Power: Why Pleasure Must Be Part of Consent Education
  • Natalie Perkins - Revolutionary Doing: Teaching with Intention
  • Gregory Nicolas - Medicine Made Just For Us: The New Frontier Of Preventative Healthcare 
  • Jasmine Uchi - Vegan Medication
  • Andrea Navedo - Otherness is our Strength
  • Daniel Jovan Pulido – Obstacles as Opportunities
  • Olga Mack - Putting the Heart in AI

Learn more about the event and follow TEDxUoPacific on Instagram for updates.