Education

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Senior Organizes TED Talk

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Sabrina Khan planning her TEDx event Credits: Sabrina Khan
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Dr. Vincent Racaniello Credits: peoplebehindthescience.com
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Ellen Jorgensen Credits: makerfairerome.eu
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Katherine Schug Credits: 9thannualteensummit2014.sched.org
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Thomas Falconer Credits: twitter.com
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Sabrina Khan hanging up posters for her TEDx event Credits: Sabrina Khan
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SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Sabrina Khan is a senior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School with a vision. Following an assignment junior year to write a TED (Technology, Education, and Design) Talk, she decided to organize and host her own event featuring local speakers with a story to tell.

TED is a nonprofit dedicated to the advance of new ideas. The organization's website spotlights videos of speakers delivering talks and events that take place around the globe. TEDx is a program that allows ambitious individuals like Khan to host their own TED Talk events.

“[I thought] if people are already writing their own TED talks than this is a great way to draw from the school’s assignments and create a bigger event which also incorporates students but has some outside resources and speakers,” said Khan.

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Khan is a participant in the Senior Project program, which allows high-achieving seniors to spend their last month of high school working on a project or internship instead of attending class. She is still booking speakers to join her already impressive lineup.

Speaking at the event:

  • Dr. Vincent Racaniello, a Columbia University professor, discussing the equality of the biome and the microbiome

  • Ellen Jorgenson, founder of the nation’s first community bio-laboratory, talking about the ethical and physical implications of genetics

  • Katherine Schug, a sophomore at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and founder of TeenFAAB (Food Allergies and Anti-Bullying) a website and program with the intent to raise awareness about student allergies 
  • Thomas Falconer, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer for B • OUT, an app that creates an inclusive community for the LGBTQ community to connect

Every day leading up to the event, Khan spends her time reaching out and trying to find more speakers through community connections and online research. She believes the entire process is helping her achieve a skill set that will aid her in college.

Khan spent a month attaining the license from TED and then booked the space and created the event. Determined to avoid “senioritis,” this project is her way of staying active and productive through the end of the year.

“The purpose of this TED talk is to really introduce people to new ideas and opportunities,” said Khan. “I think even after years and years of schooling there are so many ideas we don’t have access to and we’ll just never have the opportunity to learn about so the good thing about TED talks is that they bring them a lot closer to home.

“What I really want is for people to attend this event and for just one person to leave with an idea and run with it,” said Khan.

Khan will be studying engineering at MIT next fall. The event will be held on Monday, June 13 at 6:00 p.m., and tickets can be purchased online for $15 at http://tedxspfhs.com/?page_id=11. The public is invited.

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