Come see TEDxMeritAcademy at the Rio Theatre on Sunday, Sept 24, 2023 - Merit Educational Consultants

Come see TEDxMeritAcademy at the Rio Theatre on Sunday, Sept 24, 2023

We have an exciting lineup of speakers this year! Join us to learn about ideas worth spreading.

A Drug-Free Alternative Treatment for IBD by Nicholas Tran
Today, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is rapidly spreading with the Westernization of our diets, causing an influx of unhealthy processed foods which cause catastrophic and irreversible damage to our gut. IBD is lifelong and unpredictable in nature, casting a heavy toll on a patient’s mental health, especially those diagnosed with early onset IBD. Nicholas discusses the gaps within IBD treatment and offers his own solution, an app focused on improving patient quality of life through positive nutrition.
     At 14, Nicholas was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He fundraises to find a cure and organizes events to bring his community together. Nicholas also enjoys playing golf with his dad, and with his free time, he explores ingredients and creates new and friendly recipes that spice up the culinary delights of IBD patients.

Spice, Medicine, or Both?: Turmeric & Health by Neha Surendar
Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old holistic healing system, focuses on balancing bodily systems to maintain health. A critical ingredient in Indian cooking and medicine, turmeric has a long tradition as a versatile spice. As Western healthcare becomes more focused on pharmaceuticals, Neha Surendar believes turmeric and its antioxidative properties should be part of the conversation about treating a variety of conditions. Her talk challenges the audience to consider how turmeric can impact their health.
     Neha Surendar is a high school senior who lives in Texas. She competes in Speech & Debate, ranking among the top 25 students in Texas. Neha embraces her Desi culture and recently took an interest in learning about its culinary traditions. Upon graduation, Neha intends to study neuroscience and pursue a career in healthcare.

Using Technology to Address Homelessness by Aidan Levan
In 2022, San Jose spent $116 million on homelessness. As the homeless population rises, action must be taken. Aidan Levan created an app called Loved Ones Are Found to help connect the homeless with their loved ones. Through crowdsourcing, this app can locate the homeless and reconnect them with their families while also getting them off the streets. Whether families are looking for their lost homeless loved one or a homeless person is looking for their family, people can reunite through the app.
     Aidan Levan is the creator of the app, Loved Ones Are Found. He is fascinated by mechanical engineering, guitars, and cars. He plays lead guitar in his band, and he enjoys to play rock music. Aidan just came back from South Africa and Vietnam. He loves to travel with his family and play with his two poodles. He hopes to become a mechanical engineer and design cars.

Track a Gun: A Crowdsourcing Solution to Active-Shooter Violence by Kiran Sunil
Over the past 9 months, there have been over 25,000 deaths by gun violence. Kiran created Track A Gun, an app that empowers communities to prevent gun violence. Through crowdsourcing, this app can help people share what they see and hear in real time so victims can decide to run for shelter, hide from the shooter, or protect loved ones during an active-shooter incident. Join Kiran to learn how innovation and the power of collective action can foster safer, more connected communities.
     Kiran Sunil is a high school senior from San Jose. He enjoys playing tennis and basketball, as well as participating in programming and robotics competitions. He aspires to continue studying computer science, and pursue a career in software development. He is determined to leverage technology to reduce gun violence.

How Vaping is Affecting More Than Just Your Lungs by Mehtaab Dhillon
Vaping is this generation’s new medium to consume nicotine and weed, and like cigarettes, users are getting more than just nicotine and weed. A concerning portion of the youth is falling victim to the propaganda of Big Tobacco who has framed vaping as a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes. New research shows that this is the case. With the recent global pandemic, it is important to understand vaping’s effects of vaping on our immune system and with the help of controlled research, expose Big Tobacco’s lies.
     Mehtaab Dhillon is a high school senior from the Central Valley. He aspires to become a physician and master communication to become the most effective physician possible. Along with effective communication, Mehtaab wishes to create a healthier society fueled by his passion for Biology and Chemistry. For fun, Mehtaab enjoys distance running and spending time with family.

Trauma on the brain by Daisy Payton
The neurobiological effects of PTSD can vary based on personal touch. PTSD is caused by extreme trauma and is seen most in women and people of color. Research shows that long term experience of traumatic stress has drastic impacts on specific structures of the brain, like the prefrontal cortex. These disruptions can affect the ability to regulate emotion, learn, and form new memories and it looks different in every gender, demographic and stage of development. It is treatable.
     Daisy attended the University of San Francisco and received her degree in Psychology and minor in Neuroscience. Currently, she runs her family’s ranch and cares for her hoard of animals. She’s applying to Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience PhD programs this fall and plans to research genetics, neural basis of emotion, and psychopathology.

Bang for Your Buck: 3 Ways to Get Resilience by Michele Roush
With the backdrop and effects of the COVID pandemic, climate change, national political divide, and global conflict, we have maintained a semblance of normalcy, while living life forward. Complex challenges continue to unfold as we boldly step into our future. It’s natural at times to feel vulnerable and worn out by “the perfect storms” while trying to maintain loving connections and achieve our best outcomes. We can plan ahead to bolster our resilience reserves with three easy practices.
     Director of NLP Consulting & Training, Michele helps individuals and groups become more healthy, happy, and resilient. In clinical psychology, she worked in crisis, pain management, and recovery milieus. For 25+ years she has coached participants and staff at NLPU’s certification programs at UCSC.