On May 22, the latest edition of TEDx LeBow, an independently organized event dedicated to “ideas worth spreading,” provided a forum for diverse perspectives by LeBow students. Four student speakers, addressing an audience of friends, family and LeBow faculty and staff as well as prospective students watching an online stream, presented on themes of diversity and inclusion in an open, honest and vulnerable fashion.
In addressing mental health among military veterans, Samantha Yordy, a first-year student majoring in finance, shared some traumatic events from earlier in her life. Adding to that the stress and uncertainty that she faced in her military career over four years serving in the U.S. Air Force, she emphasized that these struggles don’t just affect those who are deployed or who served in combat. Though she says she hears “thank you for your service” from civilians, she wishes that outreach to veterans went beyond this sometimes perfunctory greeting: “How about asking, ‘How can I help you?’ or ‘What I can do for you?’”
Fellow first-year student Tony Wu, a business analytics and finance major, offered a different kind of vulnerability by incorporating singing into his presentation. He sang bits of songs from popular musicals “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen” while reflecting on his experience in the performing arts. After moving from China to attend high school in Minnesota, performing on stage became his gateway to the American experience. Since coming to Drexel last fall, Wu has found Philadelphia to be an especially lively and musical home, with performances throughout the city both on major stages and on street corners by amateur musicians. He encouraged everyone to take out their Airpods and “let Philadelphia perform for you.”
Anmol Singh Kamra, a 2013 undergraduate alumnus and current MBA student, outlined the principles of the Sikh faith and the history of Sikhs in the United States. Dressed in a checkered suit, with his tie paired to match his turban, Kamra noted that with his faith comes a “distinct visible identity” – one that he’s been positively acknowledged for, as well as excluded due to “ignorance and nonsense” about his beliefs. “Why assume? Just ask questions,” he says.
The final speaker, Natasha Filipov, a pre-junior majoring in marketing, provided an incisive take on gender inequality and gender bias in a talk entitled “This Blonde Means Business.” With a presentation that featured visuals from the movie “Legally Blonde,” Filipov made both a funny and forceful case for women to take charge in the workforce and for others to treat them as equals. “We’re stepping into our power, and not just on International Women’s Day,” she says. “We’re not a minority. We deserve to be heard before we’re judged on how we look when we walk into an interview.”
Last week’s TEDx event was the third presented at LeBow as part of Drexel’s Week of Undergraduate Excellence. The full presentation is available for viewing online.