2014 TEDxYouth@Laredo Theme: Home
Where are you from? What defines a home? What is the history and nature of the places you most love and most dislike? What can you do to make the places you live, work and play better? Join us at the 2014 TEDxYouth@Laredo conference to talk about and hear how your community is answering these questions. An evening of dialog, exploration and action awaits.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Guerra Centre Reception Hall 6:30 PM - 10:30 PM Start your application to attend below!
U.S. Congressman (20th District of Texas)
Joaquin Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 16, 1974. A second generation Mexican American, he was raised on the city’s Westside and is a proud product of the public school system. The Castro family’s history in the United States began nearly 100 years ago when his grandmother, Victoria Castro, came to Texas as a young orphan. In the spirit of the American Dream, she often worked two and three jobs at a time to be able to give her daughter (Joaquin’s mother, Rosie) and her grandchildren a better chance in life. Joaquin has worked hard to seize the opportunities created by the sacrifices of his grandmother and prior generations. After finishing high school a year early, Joaquin left San Antonio to graduate with honors from Stanford University in 1996. He then went on to attend Harvard Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate degree in 2000. Upon his return to San Antonio at 28 years old, Joaquin joined a private law practice and was elected into the Texas Legislature. He served five terms as state representative for District 125. In 2012 Joaquin was elected to serve in the U.S House of Representatives as representative of Texas Congressional District 20, which covers a large portion of San Antonio and Bexar County. Joaquin’s identical twin brother, Julián Castro, was elected in 2013 to his third term as Mayor of San Antonio. Joaquin’s respect for public service developed at a young age and was deeply influenced by his parents’ involvement in political movements and civic causes. His father, a retired teacher, and his mother, a renowned community activist, instilled in him a deep appreciation for the democratic process and the importance of serving one’s community. Outside of the legislative chamber, Joaquin has demonstrated a strong commitment to his community. He created the Trailblazers College Tour, personally raising money to send underprivileged students on college visits, giving them exposure to some of the nation’s best institutions of higher education. He also created SA READS, San Antonio’s largest literacy campaign and book drive. Over 200,000 books have been distributed to more than 150 schools and shelters across the city. He has also taught as a visiting professor of law at St. Mary’s University and as an adjunct professor at Trinity University. Joaquin is active on several boards of education-related, non-profit organizations, including the National College Advising Corps, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ (NALEO) Taskforce on Education. As Congressman, Joaquin continues to be a tireless advocate for those who call San Antonio home. From supporting military families to investing in education, Joaquin remains committed to helping mold an Infrastructure of Opportunity for San Antonians and Americans around the country.
Singer + Songwriter
When Aly Tadros was offered her first paid gig, she had three original songs under her belt. The set time called for two hours. She took it anyway. Four years and over 700 shows later, that gutsy attitude has defined her as an ardent and auspicious voice among young singer/songwriters. Spacious and melodic, salty and moving, her classical guitar writhes in a fusion of Latin, Middle Eastern, and American folk and pop. “[Aly’s vocals] sound fresh, genuine, and from the gut,” says Bootleg Magazine, complementing Tadros on her weather beaten yet angelic timber. An early interest in travel led Tadros to leave hometown of Laredo, Texas at age 17, moving between Turkey, Spain, and her father’s native Egypt. Immersing herself in Spanish, Turkish and Arabic language studies, she developed a keen ear for contemporary and traditional world music. The San Antonio Current attributes Aly’s unique folk-stylings to her extensive travel, calling her “born to fingerpick and execute a perfect Cuban clave…a musical sponge that absorbs everything she hears wherever she goes.” Indeed, Aly refuses to even pick up a guitar pick; all her instrumentation is done by the self-taught skill of finger-picking. This dedication to her craft extended to an all-night drive through Mexico to find a real vihuela, a traditional Mexican stringed instrument, when she was living in the Mexican state of Jalisco. After hearing one firsthand during a mariachi jam-session, she drove 12 hours through mountainous terrain to get to Paracho, Michoacan, just to purchase an authentic one. “By the time I was done traveling, the most obvious choice was to study politics and reclaim my place as the backseat dreamer,” Aly recalled. But by her second year at Sarah Lawrence College, Aly was spending more time behind her guitar than her textbooks. “And then one night, as if a switch went off, I realized school wasn’t for me. Instead of cramming for a final, I wrote my first song.” From there, Aly made her home in Austin, Texas, dedicating her time to songwriting and live performance. She released her debut CD, Things Worth Keeping, produced by Duane Lundy (Jim James, Ben Sollee, These United States) in August 2009 amidst her first and second national tours. The self-booked tours spanned seven months, and twenty-five U.S. states. Winter of 2013, she relocated to Brooklyn, NY after completing her ninth US and third European tour. Aly also helped form The Sweetness, a collective of like-minded singer-songwriters. Within their first month as a group, they recorded with famed producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes’ Is This It, Regina Spektor’s Soviet Kitsch) and mounted a North American and European tour, which was documented for an independent film commissioned by the Stuttgart Film Akademi. The film portrays the band in its formative months and will be released in Germany in 2013. In addition to numerous national radio, print, and digital press, Aly’s DIY releases and tours have received coverage from USAToday.com, MTV Buzzworthy, Paste Magazine, and American Songwriter Magazine. She endorses Fender ukuleles and Guild Guitars. This winter & spring Tadros tours across North America, Europe & the UK in support of her sophomore release “The Fits”.
Dr. Ray Keck
Dr. Ray M. Keck is the fifth president of Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). He took office Sept. 1, 2001. Keck, who was raised in Cotulla, Texas, was previously the University's provost and vice president for academic affairs. Prior to that, he served as associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Language, Literature and Art at the University's College ofArts and Humanities. He originally joined Laredo State University (TAMIU) in 1979. He worked at the University until 1983 serving as assistant professor of Spanish and assistant to the president. He returned in 1994 as associate professor of Spanish. Before returning to the University, Keck held several teaching and administrative positions with secondary schools including St. Anne's Belfield School (Charlottesville, Virginia), Potomac School (McLean, Virginia), and Episcopal High School in (Alexandria, Virginia). He holds his Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University. His A.B. was also earned at Princeton. He was a Rockefeller Brothers Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School. In addition, hehas participated in summer programs at Bryn Mawr College in Madrid and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He is the author of numerous publications including a book, Love's Dialectic: Mimesis and Allegory in the Romances of Lope de Vega. His publications also include "Bach's Legacy: A Musical Offering," in American Music Teacher; "Cide Hamete, Melquíades, Alba Trueba: Marco narrativo y tema en Cervantes, García Márquez y Allende" (Cide Hamete, Melquíades, Alba Trueba: Narrative Framework and Theme in Cervantes, García Márquez and Allende) in Crítica Hispánica ; and "Playing for Apollo: the Technical and Aesthetic Legacy of Carl Weinrich" in The Diapason. Keck is also an accomplished organist, with a specialty in J.S. Bach. He has performed as a guest artist across the State and nation and on numerous occasions with the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra. He is married to the former Patricia Cigarroa. The couple has three adult daughters: Teresa, Joyce and Lacey. Daughter Joyce and husband Danny Rafati recently presented the Kecks with their first grandchild, Adam Salah Rafati, born Aug. 10, 2007. Joyce and Danny are currently completing medical residencies at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Allison Ramirez has been involved in a passionate and consuming love affair with all things fashion since the tender age of four (accompanied with the secret of kidnapping her mother’s heels and countless fashion magazines, of course). She was born in and spent the majority of her life in the state of Arizona, but has always had strong ties to Laredo, Texas. At the age of fifteen, her family moved to the city to reconnect with their loved ones, and it was at this particular time that Allison truly discovered her love of the fashion industry. She is currently twenty one years old, and has been the sole operator of her personal style blog for almost four years. Allison is a junior at TAMIU, studying English and Communications; she has a divine love for coffee, wearing too much jewelry, and her adorable dogs. As mentioned by one of her favorite bloggers, “You’ve got to dig to find what you really dig.” Allison couldn’t possibly think of a simpler way to capture her journey in the fashion journalism world. In the summer of 2009, she made her very first Blogger account and proceeded to drag her friends and her Canon Powershot camera all over Laredo in order to share her personal style with the blogosphere. The idea that a simple girl could make an impact in such a cutthroat industry, regardless of where she lived completely captivated her. Allison proceeded to record her everyday outfits and inspirations up until she made the rash decision to attend a different university. It was this exact mishap that brought her back to Laredo with an overwhelming desire to continue striving towards her dream. Allison then launched her former Blogspot account into her own website and rediscovered her love of fashion blogging. She was then connected with the inspiring team behind the college fashion website, CollegeFashionista, and has been writing her weekly street-style column for nearly a year. As Allison finally rekindled her love for her long lost passion, it was as if the fashion world took notice, and she was given several thrilling opportunities. Allison has authored several editorials for CollegeFashionista, as well as taken part in several styling campaigns with The Zoe Report, Seventeen Magazine, and Macy’s. Allison notes that she is eternally grateful for all the doors that were opened as soon as she moved back to Laredo, for at least from her perspective, she has shown the world that the state of Texas truly is innovative in terms of fashion. Nevertheless, she feels as we grow and our perceptions change, our clothing choices follow suit, which is the driving force behind her love for fashion. It is a constant presence that evolves everyday, capturing our innermost feelings and allowing us to dictate the image we project upon the world. It gives us the power to make a strike instantly, declaring who we are with a single glance. Allison admits that some of her best discoveries and undoubtedly those that lie closest to her heart, are those found at her newfound home on the Texas-Mexico border.
Ricardo Vazquez De Lara
Business Student & Mentor
Ricardo Vazquez De Lara is a student at The University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a senior at the Red McCombs School of Business and is in the integrated Master in Professional Accounting (iMPA) program. Known to his friends as Ricky, he was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico until his dad got a job as a pilot in Laredo during the summer of 1998. The great majority of Ricky's childhood in addition to his entire grade school years were spent in Laredo, where he was a part of the United High School Engineering and Technology Magnet program. He graduated tenth in his class during May of 2010 and moved to Austin to begin his college education as an accounting major. Early on in his college career, he became involved in the local UT Student Chapter of a national organization known as ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting). Thanks to this organization, Ricky has been able to network with various professionals, develop his leadership skills, obtain internships with two of the "Big 4" public accounting firms, and, in October of 2011, was awarded the Jorge A. Caballero Student Leader of the Year Award. Having developed a deep passion and sincere gratitude for ALFPA and its mission, Ricky served as president of the organization during his sophomore year at UT. In addition, during his time as president, the UT ALPFA Student Chapter was awarded the 2012 Student Chapter of the Year Award for the central region. Ricky now sits on the Austin ALPFA Professional Chapter Board of Directors as Director at Large, where he helps connect students with professionals for both networking and professional development opportunities. Ricky has served as a Student Fellow for a UT organization known as Project MALES since 2012. As a student fellow, he mentors local at-risk high school students who have a statistically high probability of dropping out of high school or not continuing on to higher education post-graduation. Ricky works closely with those students to serve as a positive role model while encouraging their academic success and pursuit of goals in life. In addition to these organizations, Ricky is also involved at the University Catholic Center on campus within the International Schoenstatt Movement. His personal interests include sightseeing, building puzzles, spending time with his friends, and meeting new people. He is known by his peers as being "outgoing and genuine," while having a "charismatic personality" and a "fun sense of humor." Ricky plans on getting his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license to start his career as a tax accountant upon graduation while still living out his adopted personal motto, "lift as you climb."
Third Year Law Student
Alejandra Ávila is a third-year student at The University of Texas School of Law in Austin. Born in Mexico City, Alejandra moved to Laredo, Texas as a sophomore in high school along with her parents and younger brother. An ESL student at Alexander High School, she managed to graduate in the top 5% of her class and participate in numerous athletic and academic programs. Alejandra then joined the TAMIU Honors Program as a President’s Scholar, where she majored in Business Administration and earned a Certification of International Studies. At TAMIU, Alejandra studied abroad in China and France, was part of the Women’s Soccer Team, led various student organizations, participated in Model United Nations, and won several awards, including Freshman of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year. She was also a student mentor and participated in numerous community service projects. She graduated first in her class. Passionate about social justice, Alejandra decided to attend law school. At UT Law, she has worked in various courts, clinics, and government institutions, including: the White House, the Department of Justice, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Texas Supreme Court, and the UT Immigration and Transnational Worker Rights Clinics. Alejandra has also worked as a legal research assistant and participated in Georgetown Law’s Visiting Program in Washington D.C, where she learned about international criminal law. She has completed over eighty pro bono hours through numerous projects, generally benefiting the Latino community in South Texas. She is particularly interested in civil rights, border issues, and public policy. After law school, Alejandra hopes to pursue a career in public service.
Harvard Senior + Plant Based Food Advocate
Vegan, Latino, and Texan are words typically not used in the same sentence unless the word “not” is in there. For Arturo Elizondo, however, they have come to define him in ways very few words have. From a pescetarian, to a vegetarian, and ultimately a full-fledged vegan, the journey has not always been the easiest–especially when considering the other two descriptors: Latino and Texan. Though he could have never envisioned life without meat, the sheer breadth and diversity of his experiences while studying, traveling, and working contributed to his shift from an essentially carnivorous diet to his two years as a vegetarian and almost one year as a vegan. It was during his time at Harvard that the idea finally took shape as he sought to learn as much about the world as he possibly could. He began in Brazil by studying Portuguese while simultaneously serving in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. Afterwards, he was selected as a seminar leader for the Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China (HSYLC) in Beijing to teach some of China’s brightest students about the central role Latinos will play in our country’s shifting economic and political landscape through his seminar on “The Changing Face of America: A Look into the Implications of the U.S.’s New Demographics.” In Geneva, Switzerland, he studied “International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy” for a semester where he learned firsthand from United Nations experts and wrote a paper on China’s rising meat consumption as an issue of national security that would later inspire this TEDx talk. Arturo’s professional development cemented his interests in both the public and private sectors as tools to potentially impact food justice. In the summer of 2012, he interned at the White House in the Executive Office of the President during the first term of the Obama Administration. He previously interned with U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Upon graduation, Arturo recently accepted an opportunity to work under the first Latina Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. In that role, he will be the sole intern in the Chambers of the Supreme Court. In the private sector, Arturo spent this past summer in Mumbai, India working for a Swiss investment bank, Credit Suisse, within its hedge fund facing part of the business primarily focusing on the banks’ American clients. He also served as an Analyst Intern for ICG, a boutique strategy consulting firm in Silicon Valley specializing in international higher education. Most recently, he was a legal intern with CANANA Films in Mexico City, which is the production agency of Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz. Arturo Elizondo is a senior at Harvard University concentrating in Government with a focus field in Comparative Politics and will be graduating in May 2014. Arturo was born and raised in Laredo, Texas with stints in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.
Every generation has a defining movement in which it’s citizens identify themselves with. Today, we find young people across the world redefining industries and events; simultaneously altering the way we, as a society, see the world we live and thrive in. TEDx is a quintessential community for leaders across the world to showcase their visions, talents, and experiences that are shaping tomorrow’s world today. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations) Check out our official event listing on the TED Website!
All press requests should be sent to Krissy Gutierrez. Krissy is the the official spokesperson for TEDxYouth@Laredo. Please note that TEDx event organizers are not able to speak for the TED Conference. Any inquiry regarding TEDxYouth@Laredo should be sent to: Krissy Gutierrez TEDxYouth@Laredo Press Curator firstname.lastname@example.org While we appreciate any coverage, we kindly ask that all journalists and/or bloggers be respectful of the difference between the TED and TEDx brands. The 'x' in 'TEDx' stands for "independently organized events." Any headline or text which implies "TED" is coming to Laredo is misleading. For more information on TEDx, visit http://www.ted.com/tedx.
My name is Anna. I am the type of person who constantly tries to be as positive as I can be. I love, and have great appreciation for anything pertaining to the field of art.
Lead + Sponsorship Curator
Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, Jonathan is currently an Texas A&M International University alumni and a Co-Founder at Rebranding the Border, a local non profit organization. Jonathan is passionate about all things techie, civic-minded, and entrepreneural.
Sergio is currently a senior at Texas A&M International University, pursuing a degree in communication and marketing. Currently, Sergio is helping make brands remarkable through the nationally recognized public relations brand, MRY, and their subsidiary, Spotify.
Social Media Curator
Jacqueline is a Political Science major at Texas A&M International University. Her involvement in educational and volunteer initiatives revolve around community development and empowerment in the South Texas region.
Agar obtained her Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology this past May at Texas A&M International University. Agar is currently working as a Human Resource Administrative Assistant at Lewis Energy Group in Encinal, Texas. Among Agar's many passions, Agar cites helping the youth of Laredo grow through this conference as one of her passions and goals.
Efren Chavez Jr.
Efren currently holds a Bachelor's of Arts from Texas A&M International University in Political Science with a minor in Marketing and is currently pursuing a masters in Public Administration. Among Efren's other passions, youth and city image rehabilitation are his areas of focus. Efren currently serves as co-founder of the organization Rebranding the Border.
My name is Kristian Gutierrez, I am twenty-one years old and currently a student at Texas A&M International University, with a focus on Mass Communications. Upon graduation, I intend to pursue a graduate level degree in Public Relations and one day use my skills to pursue a career in the field of Political Public Relations.
A sophomore at Texas A&M International University, Irene is currently pursing a major in psychology with a minor in chemistry. Her insatiable hunger for knowledge has gained her a spot in the University Honors Program. In addition, Irene has been strengthening her leadership skills by partaking in numerous leadership organization on campus and is currently working on a certificate in International Leadership at TAMIU.
TEDxYouth@Laredo Copyright 2013
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