Students overcome obstacles, again will stage TEDx

March 25, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

After being in Ethington Theatre the last three years, TEDxGrandCanyonUniversity was moved to New City Church in Phoenix.

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

The first four editions of TEDxGrandCanyonUniversity provided a special form of event-management education for students.

The fifth one? More like crisis management.

The all-student GCU team successfully navigated the challenges of bringing people together during the pandemic and created a safe harbor for the 2021 version of the annual event, scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at New City Church, 1300 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. (Get tickets here.)

But take a listen to what they had to go through to find their way through the maze of COVID-19 protocols:

“The biggest thing was our venue, trying to figure out where we’re going to hold it,” said Steven Owens, the TEDxGCU President this year. “We went through the whole process of, ‘Do we do an online event? Do we do an in-person event? Do we do a hybrid? Do we do it on campus? If so, who can come and who can’t come?’”

New City proved to be the perfect solution because it is a large venue that, with physical-distancing protocols, will be able to accommodate a crowd of similar size to the usual gathering in Ethington Theatre.

Holding the event off campus also solved the issue of whether the public could attend. Per those protocols, attendance would have been limited to students if it had been in Ethington again.

The students also rounded up another impressive list of speakers and performers. They are:

Amanda Nighbert


Registered dietitian specializing in weight-loss nutrition

Nighbert seeks to empower others to break the all-or-nothing mindset and find sustainable change for long term weight-loss success. With 20 years of knowledge and experience, she provides upper-level nutrition education and support and has cultivated a brand that focuses on giving participants the leading tools and resources to help reach the best versions of themselves. Her goal is to provide the most current, cutting-edge nutritional techniques that not only provide results but are also sustainable for life.


Jason Schechterle


Former Phoenix police officer

On March 26, 2001, the Phoenix native and Air Force veteran was involved in an on-duty crash that almost ended his life. He recovered from the life-threatening burn injuries and returned to work. Today, Jason is a proud father and motivational speaker, and considers himself the luckiest person in the world.





Dr. Lisa Strohman


Clinical psychologist, author, public speaker

Strohman established Digital Citizen Academy to proactively educate students, educators and parents on the issues resulting from technology use and misuse. She has spent more than a decade working with adolescents and families in her private practice and a career working with schools to address challenges with student mental health and well-being.



Jodi King and Chris Rademaker


Canadian contemporary Christian music

Chris Rademaker and Jodi King are a husband-wife duo from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their first album, released in 2013, did well on the music charts and earned positive reviews.






Tye Dutcher


Paralympic swimmer

A member of Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Dutcher is in training for the Tokyo 2021 Summer Games. He lost his right foot in a traumatic accident at a young age and is a realistic motivational speaker. “I am saved by my faith in Jesus Christ and desire to continually serve, encourage and inspire others through my life,” he said. “In short, if I can inspire at least one person, then I know I have achieved success.”



Dr. Anthony Orsini


Practicing physician and author

Orsini is a frequent speaker on the topic of effective and compassionate communication in medicine and business. As President and founder of The Orsini Way, he has trained thousands of health care providers, first responders and business leaders on how to build trusting relationships through better communication.



Zach Honarvar


Business entrepreneur

Honarvar is the founder of One Day Entertainment (ODE), a diversified entertainment and media company in Los Angeles that represents some of the most respected creator brands, such as Yes Theory, Airrack and the Cheeky Boyos. In everything he does, his purpose is to empower creators and entrepreneurs to “do better business” and take bets on themselves so they can turn their creative talents into real, lasting impact and wealth.


Tyson Motsenbocker


Lyricist and songwriter

Motsenbocker grew up amid the apple orchards and pine forests in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in north central Washington state. It’s the pastoral sound of his childhood that has defined the sound of his music, even among the freeways and fast pace of his new Southern California home. He has released two EP’s, “Until it Lands” and “Rivers and Roads,” and has shared the stage with the likes of David Bazan, Vance Joy and James Bay.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


Related content:

GCU Today: New tradition suits GCU’s stylish TEDx production

GCU Today: Students’ coaching of speakers is the talk of TEDx

GCU Today: Students’ TEDx production gets a standing ovation

GCU Today: Speakers, listeners ‘part of something great” at TEDx

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