TEDxEncinitas Speakers

Shawdi Amini   
Five Little Marbles 

Shawdi Amini is a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy. She is an enthusiastic, self-motivated individual with many interests and a passion for living life to the fullest and helping others do the same. Shawdi is very social, loves to help those in need, and especially enjoys being around children. More than anything she likes to travel and learn about different cultures. 

Matthew Chan  
What is it like to be an American from a third culture perspective?

Matthew Chan is a senior at La Costa Canyon High School. He was born and raised in Singapore to an American-born Chinese mother and British-born Chinese father. He was exposed to an international educational experience that reflected both the British and American curriculums. He moved to California after completing three years of high school at the Singapore American School. 

Isaac Gelman  
"A Population of Students"

Isaac Gelman is a junior at Torrey Pines High School. He dreams of a world where communication connects people, AP English class doesn’t exist, and phones can be left outside of a study room so some work can actually get done. Isaac applied an interest in technology to building a computer from scratch in the seventh grade and serving on the Technology Committee to the Associated Student Body of Torrey Pines High School. He represents his school as the Student Board Representative to the San Dieguito Union High School District Board of Trustees.

Jake Heilbrunn
Off the Beaten Trail

Jake Heilbrunn is the Amazon best-selling author of Off the Beaten Trail: A Young Man’s Soul-Searching Journey Through Central America. A passionate speaker and thought-provoking writer, Jake brings a compelling and authentic message that is striking a chord in people of all ages. At just 20 years old, he has inspired and touched thousands of lives all across the world. Jake is living proof that by having the courage to heed our intuition, we can live remarkable, impactful lives.

Joel Gomez  
Seeing Through It All  

Joel Gomez is in eighth grade at Carmel Valley Middle School. He has been a musician since he first picked up a violin at age 5. Since then, he’s added the piano, ukulele, guitar and vocals to his repertoire. He has performed at many talent shows, recitals, and open mic events. Last summer, he made it to the finals in the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest County Idol Season 8. Joel, who is legally blind due to a genetic vision disorder, also competes as a cross-country and track runner and has won several competitions in his age group. He is a spokesperson and Vision Hero for The Vision of Children Foundation in San Diego.

 John Joseph Hamma  
The Possibility of Conflict

John Joseph is a 12-year old student attending Village Gate Children's Academy in Cardiff. He really enjoys school, his teachers and friends, and loves to read. He has played Suzuki-method violin for three years and has been in Scouting for six years. Public speaking is one of his favorite things to do, and he really likes the idea of TEDx because he wants to make a difference in how people think and in what they do. 

Maya Harrison  
Survival of the Kindest  

Maya Harrison, a senior at La Costa Canyon High School, is originally from an impoverished town in Guerrero, Mexico. After witnessing the scarcity of medical resources in her hometown, she became passionate about providing medical care in impoverished countries. Maya facilitated many community service drives and humanitarian efforts. Her aspiration of becoming a traveling physician stems from her societal obligation to help families like hers in developing countries. 

Linnea Leidy  
Adolescent Activism

Linnea Leidy is a senior at San Dieguito High School Academy. She is active in Speech and Debate, Journalism, Creative Writing, and the Women’s Rights Club, which she founded at her school. Linnea became fairly politically active this year and organized a peaceful walk-out at her school two days after the U.S. election. She hopes to major in human rights/humanitarian policy and work for the United Nations. 

Megan Levan  
Can I change the way you think about immigration? 

Megan Levan is a senior at San Dieguito High School Academy. She loves languages and has studied Spanish, Hebrew, French and Esperanto. An avid dancer, she takes Flamenco dance lessons. She satisfies her passion for travel by participating in the Amigos de las Americas program, through which students volunteer in Latin America while living with host families. She spent one summer in Nicaragua and one in Ecuador through this program, and currently trains new participants for their summers abroad. Megan hopes to continue to explore new places and is considering taking a gap year in India or Bosnia and Herzegovina next year. 

Alynne Powers
Praxis: Straying Away from the Status Quo

21-year-old Alynne Powers is a future entrepreneur who escaped the college debt fiasco by saying no to higher education and rising to the top without a degree. She will be speaking about alternative ways to receive an education, get a job, and how Praxis has played an important role in her life.

Friends, Not Food 

Senna is 11 years old. She loves animals, art and public speaking. She was eight years old when she delivered her first public speech, at TEDx Encinitas, which has 16,000 views on YouTube. The speech was inspired by Senna's experience the year prior helping California Sea Lions and creating a fundraiser that raised more than $1,000. She went on to present at education conferences and schools, sometimes speaking with her mother, who wrote and illustrated the book Senna Helps The Sea Lions (And You Can, Too!) as a continuing fundraiser for marine mammal rehab. In 2016, Senna was featured in the documentary film "Called To Rescue" about farm animal sanctuaries, a new topic for which she is passionate about raising awareness. 

Arianna Trette
A Better Vision for Women

Arianna Trette is in the fifth grade at Village Gate Children's Academy. Arianna is a creative, artistic, imaginative spirit and a voracious reader. A performer at heart, Arianna loves to express herself through acting and singing and has been in several plays and a musical over the past year. Arianna loves serving others and brings her joy, smile, and humor to those who need it the most. She is passionate about volunteering her time and raising money for local charities and organizations designed to improve the well-being of humankind. Arianna cares deeply about the advancement of women and wants to raise awareness, and create change, so working women are able to receive equal pay to working men. 

Ross Urbina  
2 steps to Create Significant Change 

Ross Urbina is a senior at San Dieguito High School Academy. He was a member of the inaugural Carlsbad Student Leader Academy. His team created the Carlsbad Community Citizen Training, an online program showing people how they can help solve some of the city’s problems. Ross is creating a workshop about parenting skills from a youth’s perspective. He is the captain of the Cross Country team at his school and the co-president of his school’s Peer Assisted Listeners club, which provides support and guidance to other students contending with an array of problems.

TEDxEncinitas Performers

Reilly Kanani Crandall

Carlsbad Youth Choir Leader

Reilly Kanani Crandall is a senior at Carlsbad High School. She has participated in varsity show choir for three years, and is now the Director's Assistant at Carlsbad High School and Calavera Middle School, where she arranges and teaches choral music. She is a self-taught musician who aspires to bring communities closer through compositional music and explore its universal qualities to better relationships around the world.

Serina McKendree 

The Spoken Word

Serina McKendree graduated from San Dieguito High School Academy in 2016. She currently attends Mira Costa Community College and hopes to major in Criminal Justice. She has had a passion for writing since she was young, and started writing spoken word poetry last year.

Lizzie Waters

Musical Performance

Lizzie Waters is a junior at San Dieguito High School Academy. She’s been playing the piano for three years, the guitar for two, and writes all her own music. Although she’s only been playing music publicly for a short time, performing her original music for a crowd has quickly become her biggest passion.