On Monday, March 30, 2015, SUNY Buffalo State will once again play host to the regions only youth focused TED style conference, [email protected]’s InnovationNEXT. In its second year, the conference aims to provide a forum that exposes young minds to new thoughts and ideas and facilitates the unleashing of powerful concepts that can change the world.

Community leaders, thinkers, doers and visionaries will gather from 9:00am-2:00pm on March 30, inside of Mildred Campbell Social Hall, at SUNY Buffalo State to provide keynote addresses in support of this exciting and ground-breaking conference for the youth of Western New York. Eight young, innovators will be featured at this year’s conference, speaking on topics that include: kid entrepreneurship, utilizing dance as a form of therapy for depression and global activism.

“Much of our day-to-day experience proves to undermine our imagination, yet imagination is the golden key to problem solving and happiness.” said Gerard Puccio, Ph.D., Chair & Professor, International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State. “TEDx presentations provide brief explorations into topics sure to tantalize the imagination. Come and inspire your imagination.”

Committed to providing the region’s young minds with ideas worth spreading, [email protected]’s committee opened auditions for young speakers earlier this year and has been working with educators throughout the area in efforts to identify and prepare the most innovative students for this process. This year’s line-up of speakers include Zandra Cunningham, Kid Entrepreneur, a student from Nardin Academy; Julian Love, teen break dancer and student at Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology; Raquel Ireifej, Roots & Shoots Ambassador and student at Manhattan College; Thomas Dreitlein, Spoken Word Poet and student at SUNY at Buffalo, Erika D. Gault, Ph.D., Writer and Poet, Professor at Medaille Collge; Charles “Chuckie” Campbell, Rapper and Professor at Bryant & Stratton College; Eric “Critt” Crittenden, acclaimed musician and educator and Steven Cornelio, a Comminications student and Media expert from SUNY Buffalo State. Buffalo City Councilmember and Majority Leader, Masten District, Demone Smith will play host at this year’s conference.

“Our committee of leaders, influencers and educators is extremely excited to be able to provide the youth of Western New York with the opportunity to share ideas and thoughts that can ignite and encourage conversation, collaboration and action within their own communities. And we’re confident that we have created that forum for them within the [email protected] experience,” said Christina M. Lopez, Independent Organizer of [email protected]

-Below is a partial list of the 2015 [email protected] speakers. Visit the [email protected] speaker page for their detailed biographies.-



HOST: Demone Smith, City of Buffalo Councilmember and Majority Leader, Masten District

A native of Buffalo, Smith is a graduate of School #69 and Burgard High School.  He received his BA in Political Science from Wilberforce University. In 2004, he began his career in the Erie County Legislator where he served as Chair of the Finance and Management Committees, Vice-Chair of the Community Services Committee and as a member of the Public Safety Committee. Serving as City Common Council Member for the Masten District since 2008, he was elected Majority Leader in 2012.


Zandra Cunningham, “The Business of Being a Girl”

At 14, Zandra is [email protected]’s youngest speaker. At 9, she created her own line of bath and body products to encourage young women to be beautiful young leaders. An ambassador to the “Educate A Girl,” Program, Zandra works outside of the box to spread her message of being a strong, confident and educated woman. When not tackling the challenges of being a kid entrepreneur, she keeps busy with her studies at Nardin Academy.


Tom Dreitlein, “Voice Through Action”

A sophomore at SUNY at Buffalo, Tom is currently pursuing a joint degree in English and Communication. A two time winner of the Pure Ink Poetry Slam, he has competed as a member of the Pure Ink and Nickle City Poetry Slam teams. Most recently, he placed 1st at the Youth Buffalo Niagara International Poetry Slam, and currently serves as a member of the Living Poet Society, a premier feature of Buffalo Poetry.


Charles “Chuckie” Campbell, Ph.D., “Bond or Barrier: Language and Society”

Chuckie is a musician, poet, fiction writer, editor, publisher, and educator. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing from University of Southern Mississippi and is a professor at Bryant & Stratton College. In addition to his academic achievements, he is the recipient of the 2014 ALL WNY Music Awards for “Best Hip Hop/Rap Performer” and “Best New Artist.” He is also the founder and editor of Sunsets and Silencers, a print journal for art, literature, and culture.


[email protected] brings together innovators, explorers and teachers and seeks to illuminate, inspire and activate them to encourage conversation, collaboration and action. Together with our community and corporate partners, we work to provide Western New York’s youth with a forum that encourages and facilitates the unleashing of powerful ideas and concepts that can change the world. Find out more by visiting www.tedxyouthbuffalo.com.


About TEDx: x = independently organized event. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)


About TED: TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 1984, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives.


At a TED conference, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Roger Ebert, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brian Greene, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. On TED.com, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free as TED Talks videos. A new TED Talk is posted every weekday. Through the Open Translation Project, TED Talks are subtitled by volunteers worldwide. Through our distribution networks, TED Talks are shared on TV, radio, Netflix and many websites.


The TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. Selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos. The annual TED Prize grants $1 million to an exceptional individual with a wish to change the world. The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED-Ed creates short video lessons by pairing master teachers with animators, for use in classroom instruction or independent learning.

For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit http://www.ted.com/registration


Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED