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Bridging the Gap: Campus Voices at TEDx Savannah

a white man, two African-American women and a middle eastern man

(May 8, 2017) – On May 19, a faculty member, a staff member and two students from Armstrong State University will speak at the sold-out TEDx Savannah 2017 event at the Jepson Center in Savannah. Independently organized by volunteers at Inspire Savannah, Inc., Savannah’s annual TEDx event is devoted to spreading ideas and encouraging dialogue about those ideas.

This year’s theme is “Bridge,” and speakers will consider the topic from a variety of perspectives. Quianna Lavant, just graduated from the Professional Communication and Leadership program. Her message is one of resilience and faith.

“Everyone in the world will not see the greatness in you, and sometimes it can become discouraging, but we as individuals have to focus on those who do,” says Lavant. “I have an idea that educators in particular have an obligation to ‘bridge’ that gap of doubt that kids in poverty-stricken communities are made to feel.”

Army veteran Phil Gore, the director of Armstrong’s Military Education Outreach and Success program, will share the difficulties that many military community members face when crossing over into civilian life.

“I think if our community gains a better understanding of the transition process and its impact on the military-affiliated population, then we will be in a better position to support the shift from military to civilian life,” says Gore.

Nipuna Ambanpola, an Armstrong undergraduate Economics student from Sri Lanka and founder of the nonprofit organization IVolunteer International, will explore the significance of fostering welcoming communities, both in Savannah and abroad.

“I am a volunteer advocate,” notes Ambanpola. “I believe that when people volunteer more, we mobilize communities to increase understanding, inclusivity and tolerance, which in return elevates the quality of our lives.”

Regina Bradley, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and African-American Literature at Armstrong and a 2016 Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellow at Harvard University, will highlight stories and experiences of the black community in the South after the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Bradley says, “I'm looking to connect the audience to not only my scholarship as a Southern hip-hop expert but also to present ways hip-hop is useful in updating conversations about race and Southernness.”

On Armstrong’s campus, faculty, staff and Savannah community members will be able to view TEDx Savannah on May 19 via livestream in the Ogeechee Theatre, from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., free of charge.

“The livestream is a great way for our campus to show support for our speakers,” says Armstrong Communication Instructor Karla Jennings. “This is an opportunity to interact with each other about the ideas presented at TEDx Savannah and for the campus community to interact with the greater Savannah community.”

Jeff Bush

“The professors at Armstrong really expand your vision of what a degree field is all about. They push you to see how any major is applicable in the real world.”

Jeff Bush
Class of 2013