Redefining Normal Each year, TEDxGunnHighSchool aims to center its annual conference's content around a central theme. Previous themes have included Be The Variable, More Than A Number, Trailblazers, Crossroads, New Perspectives, and One Step Forward. Our theme this year is heavily catered towards the new "normal" that everyone has been forced to adapt to with the onset of COVID-19. We wanted to provide people with a new hope, as well as allow others to share their experiences with new ways of living, unique hobbies they picked up, or a changing the norm of their lives.

With our distinguished set of speakers and performers, we hope to provide a conference experience where the audience will explore innovative ways on how they can take reapproach the standard to a better future.

This year's conference has already concluded. See below for this past year's speakers and bios, and go to Past Events to see their talks.


Rebekah Taussig Rebekah Taussig is a Kansas City writer and teacher with her doctorate in Creative Nonfiction and Disability Studies. She has led workshops at the University of Michigan, Davidson College, and Yale University on disability representation, identity, and community. Her work appears in publications from TIME to Design*Sponge. Released by HarperOne in August 2020, her memoir in essays, Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body provides a nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most. She also runs the Instagram platform @sitting_pretty , where she crafts “mini-memoirs” to contribute nuance to the collective narratives being told about disability.
Inés García Representing Gunn's Student Executive Council as the 2020-21 Diversity Commissioner, Inés is a junior at Gunn High School who is incredibly passionate about representation, diversity, and allyship. Throughout the school year, she has coordinated and organized several cultural events including National Hispanic Heritage Month, Día de Los Muertos, Celebration of Indigenous Peoples Week, Black History Month, and more. She has given school-wide presentations for events such as Unity Day, done interviews for Gunn's local media teams under their Titan Broadcast Network and Oracle newspaper, as well as gave a speech at Santa Clara University on her Latina identity. She hopes that this talk will resonate with the Gunn community and redefine the new normal of representation.
Gunn A Cappella Gunn A Cappella Club is an after school, student-run club here on campus. A Cappella Club has been running for 3 years at Gunn, this year known as the Gunn Titones. We strive to bring together the musicians at Gunn and sing some fun, lively tunes! Our club is open to singers and non-singers alike; as long as you have an open mind and a passion to learn about music, A Cappella is for you. We will be performing two songs at TEDx. Our first song is "Night Changes" by One Direction. Our second song is "Epiphany" by Taylor Swift.
Saara Khan Saara was born and raised in Washington, DC and she relocated to California to do her PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. During this time she struggled with how to approach problem-solving and integrated design thinking to reframe her PhD. From this redefinition, she created several novel medical devices (malaria testing, glucose testing, and urinalysis) that put users at the forefront of her work. She continues to teach PhD students how to integrate design thinking in tackling hard problems and challenges others to reframe how they solve everyday problems with the design process.
Chanel Miller Chanel Miller is a writer and artist who received her BA in Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Gunn alum herself graduating with the class of 2010. Her critically acclaimed memoir, KNOW MY NAME, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, as well as a best book of 2019 in Time, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, and People, among others. She is a 2019 Time Next 100 honoree and a 2016 Glamour Woman of the Year honoree under her pseudonym, "Emily Doe."
Ingrid Lee Ingrid Lee is currently a junior, and the TBN executive producer. She is a media specialist with abundant creative skills. She is currently a graphic designer, production manager, public relations manager intern, media intern, photographer, video producer, and broadcast journalist. Her interest in the media industry has started an exciting journey, and she wishes to share this with the Gunn community. She hopes many will be inspired to start their own non-traditional STEM path.
Liz Matchett Liz Matchett is a National Board Certified Spanish teacher and is the World Language Instructional Leader at Gunn High School. Her work exemplifies her certainty that all students can learn languages, world languages are part of the core curriculum, and every language matters. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Masters in Multicultural Education, and a second Masters in Educational Administration. She spent part of her mid-career directing the Stanford World Language Program, where she continues to be a Team Leader. In 2012 she received the CLTA McGraw Hill Award for Outstanding Teacher Leadership. In 2016, she was named the CLTA Language Teacher of the Year for California. In 2019 she was appointed by the State Board of Education to serve as the co-chair of the California World Language Framework Committee. This, coupled with her achievement of National Board Certification, solidified her belief that strong and continuous professional development is one of the keys to keeping teachers engaged and dedicated to the profession. Additionally, she works as a Master Teacher for the Stanford Teacher Education Program and San José State University because she believes that practicing teachers have the duty to support their emerging and new colleagues in order to ensure a dynamic and energetic cadre of educators who are prepared to nurture the next generation of global citizens. She is a founding member of the Global Advisory Panel for CIEE. Outside of language education, she serves on the Woodside Community Theatre Board of Directors, sings with Peninsula Cantare, and is an avid gardener, camper, and hiker. She has two grown daughters and lives in Redwood City with her husband, Richard Vaughan.
Saman de Silva Saman de Silva is a sixteen-year-old junior at Gunn. Having trained under Jace Wittig for the past 3 years as a Baritone, Saman is a classical vocalist who has won various local/regional competitions and participated in other programs, recently including NPR's "From the Top." Saman is an aspiring singer and hopes to see a future in an industry that uplifts and features singers of color. Saman splits his time with music between climate activism, piano, physics, and theatre.
Scott Hwang Scott Hwang is a junior at Gunn. He has participated in Model UN for five years, currently serving as Undersecretary-General for the Gunn MUN club. This experience with MUN and his time following the news have sparked an interest in oratory and in open-minded argumentation, which his speech focuses on. He also plays the trumpet in the Gunn wind ensemble and jazz band, and in his free time, he enjoys playing sports, chess, and music.
Gunn Hip Hop The purpose of Gunn Hip Hop club is to create a space where students interested in urban dance, specifically hip-hop dance, can feel comfortable expressing themselves, dancing, improving their ability, and meeting peers who share a similar interest. Most of our members had little to no previous dance experience, as the club is open to anyone who is interested, regardless of skill level. Through our performance, we hope to showcase the hard work of all of our members, and to spread a love of and appreciation for urban dance.

Gunn Hip Hop will be performing an original, student-choreographed performance.
Mayra Catalán-Orozco Mayra Catalán-Orozco is the Community Partnerships Manager at The Health Trust and Community Engager with Mothers Out Front, which are both Silicon Valley nonprofits. Mayra is passionate about the environment and health, she serves as the Membership Chair of the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, 20’s & 30’s group. She is a strong community and social services professional with a Bachelor’s in Health Science from California State University, Long Beach. Mayra is a transplant from Los Angeles and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and fellow hikers.
Sarah Emberling Sarah Emberling is a senior at Gunn High School.
She will be the MC for our 2021 TEDx conference.