We're excited to announce Lancaster's very first TEDxYouth event, TEDxYouth@Lancaster!  A TEDxYouth event is a TEDx event created for youth and by youth with the help of adult mentors. TEDxYouth@Lancaster is geared towards students in grades 6 through 12.  The event will take place at the Winter Center, on the campus of Millersville University on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 1-5pm.

TEDxYouth@Lancaster will highlight the best "ideas worth spreading" (TED's slogan) from area students.  We specifically curate tomorrow's stars and many of our former TEDxLancaster speakers have proven that our curation process is a successful one.  TEDxYouth@Lancaster speakers have been selected after our rigorous curation process.  Come see our area's best and brightest at the inaugural TEDxYouth@Lancaster!


Without the support of our partners, TEDxYouth@Lancaster could not take place.  Thank you to our partners for supporting our youth and supporting "ideas worth spreading!"




Akash Banerjee is a freshman at Warwick High School. Growing up in the rather conservative town of Lititz, he has encountered stereotypes and prejudice almost every day of his life.  However, Akash feels there is nothing wrong with stereotypes, if taken the right way.  His talk is a very interesting (and often humorous) perspective.

Akash is part of Warwick High School's choir and band, and has a passion for drama. He also practices Taekwon-do, a Korean martial art. He has a strong passion for public speaking, and is also an advocate for Muslim rights, especially on social media.


Lauryn Chotiner, 12, is a passionate volunteer.  She is an advocate for volunteering and will share in her talk the many benefits, not only for people, but for the economy.  Lauryn just finished 6th grade at Linglestown Middle School, although her passion for volunteering started at a much younger age. She began visiting elderly residents at a local nursing center as a toddler. In second grade, she donated her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths to make wigs for cancer patients. In 4th-6th grades, she created and sold gift boxes to raise money for AFMDA, a red cross affiliate. She has worked in a soup kitchen, baked treats at Ronald McDonald house, and created crafts for hospitalized children through Caitlyn Smiles. She continues to be inspired by volunteers in her community. At school, she’s an active runner on the Girls on the Run team. She enjoys playing piano and tennis, in which she has won bronze medals two years in a row at the Jr. Maccabi games. 


Annie’s talk is one you certainly won’t want to miss.  Annie can hear colors and see sound!  Yes, you read that right.  She has a condition called synesthesia, which is a blending of the senses.  Annie is a sophomore at Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown.  She is a member of the school orchestra and the Hershey Symphony. She has been fortunate to play in some unique events, including a Lincoln Center concert with the Hershey Symphony, the NAfME All-Eastern Convention, PMEA festivals, and alongside the Piano Guys at their concert in Hershey. She is also the pianist for her school jazz band and sings in her school chamber choir. Annie serves as President of her school’s Tri-M chapter. She has also self-released an album entitled “Synesthesia” under the artist name “Annie Elise”. Annie is also focused on academics and is a part of her school’s honor societies and STEM team, which will compete on the national level in June. In the future, Annie hopes to major in a music related field and continue to speak about synesthesia.


Marissa Witmer is an incredibly impressive young woman.  Marissa is 18 and is a recent graduate of Solanco High School, where she served as Class President and President of Spanish Honors Society. Marissa has had the honor of going to the 2016 International Science and Engineering Fair as a Finalist for her project “Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer’s in Type II Diabetes Patients.”  Her research and findings will be the subject of her talk at TEDxYouth@Lancaster.

Marissa is currently continuing her research at Hershey Medical Center and working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for Lancaster EMS. Marissa will be attending Franklin & Marshall College this fall, and plans on eventually attending medical school to become a surgeon. Marissa finds joy in challenging herself to make meaningful change and in inspiring others to do so.



Elizabeth Raff is an innovative, passionate, and enthusiastic educator, who sparks excitement and creativity in her classroom. A 6th grade teacher in the Penn Manor School District, Elizabeth propels students to be lifelong learners by using unique classroom engagement strategies. She creates a model classroom with high expectations and a student driven culture where students are encouraged to ask tough questions and think outside of the box.       

When she is not in the classroom, Elizabeth develops comprehensive curriculum, leads energizing professional development workshops, and supports preservice teachers. An inspiring educator, Elizabeth’s classroom techniques are being utilized around the world and most recently gained the attention of Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera. Elizabeth received her Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Penn State University and continues to pursue research and writing opportunities. Elizabeth resides in Lancaster with her husband, Jeremy.