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2012 Speakers



Adam Protter - Eating grubs and precious moments

Michael Costigan - Find Your Passion, Discover Your Future

An internationally acclaimed speaker, Michael is one of the nation's youngest CEOs who was recently named 'Young Business Leader of the Year' by the National Financial Educators Council. "I want teens to know that they can defy the odds, that they don't have to be their past mistakes, and that they can rise above anything life throws at them to help others and to live their dreams." -Michael Costigan

Katie Owens - Active Listening

Katie is a sophomore at Newbury Park High School who loves to act, most recently performing as Templeton (the rat) in Charlotte's Web. She also enjoys playing soccer and lacrosse, as well as giving back to the community. During her talk, Katie will be discussing methods of active listening. Delving into this process which enhances communication and relationships with other people, Katie intends to demonstrate the necessity of not only being the dominant speaker but being the strongest listener as well.


Danny Levy - The Real Danger Of Sharks

Danny is a senior at Westlake High School and is incredibly passionate about the ocean. For the past 6 summers, he has gone to the Catalina Island Marine Institute, a 3 week program that fully enriches one in all things that are ocean; there he dove with sharks, sea lions, and all sorts of marine creatures. Danny enjoys playing lacrosse and surfing as much as possible on the weekends and in his free time. His goal during his talk is to show the importance of sharks to humans. He intends to demonstrate how modern media has demonized sharks and is preventing people from understanding how important these creatures are to the oceanic biological system. Danny believes that now is a time in history where humans have the opportunity to stop the extinction of a vitally important species to a fragile ecosystem.

Daniel Lacey - Seize the Moment

Daniel is a senior at Newbury Park High School. A humble and caring person, he strives for excellence every single day of his life whether it is at work or getting activities done at school. He contributes to his community by serving at his churches and school; Daniel lends a helping hand to anyone no matter the circumstance. Through his talk, Daniel intends to lead others through the process of seizing the moment and making the best of any situation--without losing one's identity in the process. He also hopes to inspire listeners to avoid being spectators in the stands, but rather to become the people on the field getting the job done.


Cheyenne Moreau - Learning Through Adversity

Cheyenne is a junior at Agoura High School who has lived in Malibu Lake for 14 years. 2 years ago, she faced one of her biggest fears on the eve of entering high school. Today she has a 13 year old sister being home-schooled as her mother works to support the family as well as their many animals including horses, tortoises, macaws, dog, cats, owls, hawks, and a gecko. While her life has some unique aspects and a lot to handle at times, Cheyenne believes those are the very factors that have made her who she is today. Cheyenne intends to display that "Seizing the Moment" is not always an obvious opportunity; but rather, the most impactful moments are hidden in one's adversities and that in facing them, one can learn more about his or her strengths.

Brian Chang - What is Knowlege?

Brian is a senior at Westlake High School. He is currently the editor-in-chief and four-year member of his school newspaper, The Arrow. He has gone to the Netherlands, Turkey, and Mexico to participate in international debate competitions, and also enjoys arguing with his brother when foreign countries are unavailable. In his spare time, Brian enjoys watching old classic movies, listening to music, and watching sports with his friends. His talk will explain how the increasing rapidity at which information is received corresponds to the inability for people (especially the youth) to use this information to create concrete change. It challenges the idea that "knowledge is power," that knowledge by itself is simply a means to create change.

Christopher Lam - Do Something That Scares You

Christopher is a senior at Westlake High School whose hobbies include but are not limited to playing trumpet, drawing people, stand up comedy and writing of all types. Holding an officer position in his school's chapter of the organization Future Business Leaders of America, Christopher hopes to major in marketing after high school. He plans to talk about his experiences at California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA), and some of the lessons he learned there that not only applied to art but to life. While at CSSSA Christopher learned a saying he now lives by: "Do something that scares you." He believes that is one of the most important things he learned from that program, and would like to teach others that everyone should do something that scares them.


Varun Bahl - The Identity of Our Generation
Varun is a senior attending Newbury Park High School. His primary extracurricular activities include being an unpaid tutor for high school and middle school students, volunteering at the Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, and being a board member of his school's Interact Club. He aspires to become a physican (preferably a surgeon) and rotarian once he completes his education. Varun plans to solicit awareness in the minds of this generation's youth during his talk. He believes that the current youth generation, despite the vast availability of resources, has not done as prior generations have and has failed to create a distinct identity for itself. Varun hopes to instill passion and a drive to reach for new activities by presenting a need for different sorts of individuals and a variety of opportunities that are available today.

David Wise - The Best Years

David is a senior at Newbury Park High School, and the President of his school's Mock Trial club as well as a pitcher on their varsity baseball team. He plans to go on to study political science in college and attend law school thereafter. Since college application season started, he has been asking himself an outrageous number of questions in regards to what his future may have in store for himself. David wants to break down certain aspects of the years following college graduation such as finding a job, deciding on a place to settle down, and even who to settle down with. He plans to demonstrate how every person's situation is different, and that in reality all of the aforementioned factors culminate during certain pivotal moments in one's life. David hopes to not only ease the stress of other people who are experiencing this same kind of anxiety, but also to help them to get a better handle on what kind of life they want to lead a few years down the road.


Melinda Crown - Do You Know Your Purpose?

Melinda, founder of GIP Foundation Inc., is a single mother of three daughters who recognizes the need for loving, taking care of, and raising children. Melinda has been an active leader in her community throughout the years. She has served in various capacities of school parent associations, the County of Los Angeles Child Care Planning Committee, CSUN Northridge Crisis Hot Line, Rotary International, and has been of assistance to several non-profit organizations. Formed by Melinda in January 2012, The Girls in Power (program) was developed as a workshop series based curriculum meant to empower teens and build thoughtful, purpose-driven girls by providing them a road map for success. Melinda has also recently finished her audio preview of her first Kindle book, Empower Your Girl.

Folklorico Dancers - Dance Folklorico (Performance)

Christine Smith - True Life: I Have Curly Hair!

Christine Smith is a senior at Thousand Oaks High School. Her devotion to helping out fellow students has encouraged her to become the president of her school’s Link Crew. She has a passion for community service and participates in numerous projects though Link Crew such as Walk for Healthy Schools and Earth Day. She also volunteers with Hospice of the Conejo as a peer mentor. Her love for helping others and for psychology influenced her to join the Public Service majors at her school and she hopes to someday pursue a career in Psychology. When she is not helping out students on campus or voulenteering off campus, she pole vaults on her track team at school. Christine believes that any person can seize the moment, and that it does not matter on his or her standing in others' eyes. Through her personal battle with her "curly, unruly, and frizzy hair," Christine learned that every person has one aspect of his or herself that can potentially keep him or herself from realizing who he or she is. During her talk, Christine will reveal how she truly found herself in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

Sravya Singampalli - Discover the Cause You Are Fighting For

Sravya is a senior at Newbury Park High School and a full IB diploma candidate. She has been learning Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance, since she was 7 years old. Sravya is involved with many organizations on campus including Mock Trial, Academic Decathlon, Interact, American Red Cross, and Spanish Club. In her free time, she likes to read, write, and draw. She hopes to pursue a degree in law in college. During her talk, Sravya will investigate bride burning, or the dousing of a new bride in kerosene and setting her ablaze due to insufficient dowry payment--a serious human rights atrocity still prevalent in many East Asian countries. This phenomenon can be traced back to a basic psychological need: to feel confidence in oneself, or the superiority complex. This is defined as a defense mechanism in which feelings of inferiority are concealed by superior behavior. Sravya plans to explore how modern society may rid itself of abuse stemming from the superiority complex, and more importantly, how people may remove it from themselves.

Nadia Lynn - Feminism and the Facebook Phenomena

Jaclyn Lee - The Power of Not Thinking

Jaclyn is a senior attending Newbury Park High School. Her passion for her peers and television journalism led to the creation of her web show, This Teen Life. The show currently has viewers in 27 U.S. states and in 10 different countries. It's success and powerful message has garnered attention from news affiliates across Southern California and has strengthened her desire to use television journalism to impact the world. Jaclyn will discuss building her web show, This Teen Life and website, www.ThisTeenLife.com from the ground up. The show is dedicated to discussing subjects that society condemns, such as self-harm, sexual/verbal abuse, etc. Each episode focuses on a "taboo" topic and shows it from the teen perspective. Jaclyn will also be talking about how and why the "don't think, just do" mentality will lead to success.