Monday, October 29


For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may know that I gave a talk at the TEDxTU event last Thursday evening.

Photo courtesy of my cousin Hannah's Instagram 
The “TED” in that string of letters stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” and refers to the world-renowned nonprofit “devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.” The most famous and accessible feature of TED is its TEDTalks—short talks by various people about their ideas—which can be viewed for free online.

The “x” means that this event was independently organized; that is, the actual TED organization did not help or monitor the planning or organization of this event beyond initial approval and instruction. And the TU, of course, stands for Tulane University. A group of highly dedicated Tulane students put on this entire event by themselves, and it was an incredible success.

I got an email at the beginning of the summer asking me to apply to speak at the TEDxTU event planned for the fall. I was excited for the chance to get involved even before I was actually a student at Tulane! In order to apply, I had to make a rough draft video generally about what I would include in my final talk. Shortly after receiving my invitation to apply to TEDxTU, the director of the program I was working at over the summer asked me to talk to the kids there about my video and what has come of it (some of you might remember this story from one of my previous blog posts). To kill two birds with one stone, I had that talk filmed, edited it, and submitted it to the TEDxTU organizers, explaining that I would tailor my actual talk to more closely fit the TED event.

It was a long wait before I heard back about my application, but about a month or so after school started, I finally received another email: I was in! I had to attend two rehearsals before the event so the organizers could check my progress, but besides that, I was on my own. I cut down my speech from the summer to about a third its original length and altered it to more appropriately fit the occasion. I went to two rehearsals and got some valuable feedback from the organizers as well as from other TEDxTU speakers. After cutting some here, changing some there, my speech was finally ready—now I just had to memorize it!
Because I had given the speech several times (over the summer and in the TEDxTU rehearsals) and had read it to myself many more times than that, it wasn't too difficult to memorize. Still, when October 25 rolled around, I was nervous. The event was hosted in Dixon Hall on Tulane's campus, the main theatre for concerts, musicals and other large productions. I arrived early on the day to practice, and I was ready to go.

The event went swimmingly. Almost five hundred people from Tulane, New Orleans and elsewhere attended. I was the seventh of twelve speakers, with actual TED videos interspersed throughout. The other speakers were excellent, and as soon as the official videos of the event are posted online, I will put them on my blog so you all can see them. The man who spoke right after me said something that really rang true: “There have been so many interesting talks tonight, I forgot to get nervous!”

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I was speaking alongside men and women who had started their own businesses and non-profits, who had been a part of rebuilding post-Katrina New Orleans, who help New Orleans' homeless every day. I was so honored to share my story and everything I've learned from it with so many people. I hope to remain involved in the TEDxTU organizers on campus, so that I can help Tulane continue to share ideas worth spreading for years to come.

Update: You can view the unofficial video of my talk here. Sorry about the vertical format, it was taken with an iPhone! I will post the official video as soon as it is available.

Update Update: You can now view the OFFICIAL video of my talk here! (The link above will no longer work.)

Wednesday, October 17


Hello all! It's been awhile since I've written (school has been pretty busy—but amazing!), so I thought I would post a quick update on what's going on with “It Only Takes a Girl” and me.


Photo from
A Swiss organization called “Genève Tiers-Monde” (GeTM) based in Geneva, Switzerland, emailed me a few days ago asking if they could show my video at a special event called “Step into Action organized by Euforia” on November 30. According to the GeTM, “the purpose of our non-profit association is to improve the living and health conditions of poor countries.” Step into Action is a project that “offers young people from 16 to 19 years old the opportunity to explore their responsibilities as global citizens during an interactive and playful track. The event also offers them an occasion to rethink their role in society by taking action in their local environment.” I am very honored that GeTM would like to show my video “so that young people can become aware also about children and women discriminations and treatments.” To learn more about it, please visit this website.

What's Your Brave?™

Several months back, I was interviewed for a book project called What's Your Brave?™ which “shares the insights and acts of everyday courage of teenage girls from across the United States.” I have kept in contact co-author Paula Grieco, who recently asked me for a few sentences in response to the question "What one piece of advice would you give your younger self regarding body image now that you are in college?" for the new e-guide for parents of daughters, “Body Brave: A Manifesto on How You Can Help Your Daughter Develop a Healthy Body Image.” If you are interested, you can find my quote and inspiring stories from several teen girls in this wonderful e-guide for free when you sign up for weekly updates here.

Newcomb Scholars

Some Newcomb Scholars and Linda Sax,
author of The Gender Gap in College
Tulane University and Newcomb College used to be two separate institutions, with the latter being a “women's coordinate college provided for a separate president and faculty who were given the power to determine policy and the course of study for Newcomb students as separate and distinct from the education of the men.” Josephine Louise Newcomb, the founder of Newcomb College, “first wrote to the Administrators of the Tulane University Educational Fund of her desire to establish a college in memory of her daughter, Harriot Sophie” on October 11 (which just so happens to be the International Day of the Girl—and my birthday!), 1886. Today, the two schools are consolidated into the Newcomb-Tulane College, “the home for all male and female undergraduates.” However, there remain some connections to Newcomb's female history; for example, the Newcomb Scholars Program. This program, according to its website, is “a unique opportunity for incoming women at Tulane who are interested in an academically enriching and shared four-year experience through undergraduate research, seminars, and experiential learning opportunities.” There are twenty Newcomb Scholars in each class at Tulane; twenty young women who encourage, support and inspire each other in their work, actions and ambitions. I applied to this competitive program at the beginning of the school year, and today I got a call saying I made it to the interview round of the selection process. I feel as though Newcomb Scholars is just the right fit for me here at Tulane. My interview is this Friday morning—wish me luck!