When FIU Media Relations decided to host a TEDx event at FIU in 2012, the Communication Arts Department stepped up, and today remains an important behind-the-scenes supporter of the event. This year, however, Communication Arts will also have an onstage connection in the form of student Alexa Chavarry. Chavarry is a member of the student organization: the TEDx FIU Club. The club is sponsored by the Communication Arts Department. With the support of her fellow club members, Alexa submitted her video application to be a speaker in the 2013 TEDx FIU event. Her video application was selected from over 100 applications and she is one of only four students chosen to be a TEDx speaker.
Alexa (19) is the creator of butterfly-project.tumblr.com, an anonymous blog that has helped thousands, including herself, recover from self-injury, eating disorders, addiction and suicide. Today, the blog has more than 14,000 followers who have submitted their stories of struggle, hope and recovery.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and is synonymous with big ideas delivered in short, direct “talks” that showcase passion, innovation and inspiration. These talks are featured online at TED.com and at TED events around the globe. Approved organizations can present “TEDx” events of their own, honoring the TED concept and format. In this, its second year, TEDx FIU will again showcase the pre-event efforts of speaking coaches Joann Brown, chair of the Communication Arts Department and Char Eberly, Assistant Director of the CommArts Studio.
Communication Arts faculty Nurhayat Bilge serves as the faculty advisor to the club. She reports that club members were in awe of Alexa’s talk from the first time she presented it to the group. “When Alexa first told her story and shared her idea, we were all blown away. We knew that if she was brave enough to tell her story, every person within the sound of her voice would be deeply moved.”
Any student wishing to develop his or her public speaking skills and perhaps create a “TED talk,” can join the TEDxFIU Club. Meetings are on Wednesdays at 3pm in VH 219 on the MMC campus.
To see Alexa and the other TEDx speakers in person on November 7 at 5:30pm, ticket holders can attend the main event at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center at MMC. For those who want to watch for free, there will be live streaming online at TEDXFIU.com, in the Graham Center Pit on MMC, and at the College of Architecture + The Arts’ Miami Beach Urban Studios (420 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139).