2019-20 HYPE Speakers

Speakers for the HYPE Career Ready® Program will expose students to inspiring stories of leadership, dedication, and success. Each HYPE Day will feature one keynote speaker to kick-off the day.

Scott Dikkers

September 19, 2019 | Job Search Skills

Creator of The Onion

Scott Dikkers encourages everyone to think outside the box and seize opportunities to create something new. He is co-founder and the longest-serving editor-in-chief of The Onion, which evolved into one of the most popular humor destinations in the world with millions of readers and followers. The Onion has spawned countless viral videos, three TV series and two New York Times best-selling books. With a comic’s command of timing, Scott paints the picture of a starry-eyed kid who loved reading Mad Magazine and dreamed of one day getting his work published, to improbably founding the world’s first humor website and heading up America’s longest-surviving humor publication.

Frank Warren

October 23, 2019 | Values

Creator of PostSecret

Frank Warren demonstrates the power of sharing your hopes, dreams, fears and failures and how PostSecret became the catalyst for his passionate commitment to mental health advocacy. What started as a community mail art project in which people anonymously share never-before-voiced secrets has since captured our collective imagination and evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. Several New York Times best-selling books, national art exhibits and an album and theatrical production later, PostSecret website has become the most visited ad-free blog in the world. PostSecret has also raised over $1 million for suicide prevention and earned Frank a Mental Health Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Ibtihaj Muhammed

Ibtihaj Muhammad

November 19, 2019 | Conflict Management

Athlete, Olympic Bronze Medalist (fencing)

As a young Muslim-American athlete, Ibtihaj Muhammed struggled with the restrictions wearing a hijab imposed on the requisite sport uniforms – until she discovered fencing and finally felt she could be true to herself. She attended Duke University, where she was a three-time All-American and the 2005 Junior Olympic Champion. A member of the U.S. National Fencing Team, Ibtihaj jousted her way into the history books at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro wearing her hijab, ultimately helping the women’s fencing team earn a bronze medal. In 2018, she published her memoir, “Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream,” which details her journey to become the first athlete to compete in hijab for Team USA. Ibtijah serves on the State Department’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport Initiative as an official sports ambassador.

Bryan Terrell Clark

January 28, 2020 | Collaboration


Terrell Clark shares life-changing lessons from his career on Broadway and work in arts education and philanthropy to empower young people to leave their mark on the world. Bryan is a rising actor and singer-songwriter, known for his starring role as George Washington in Hamilton: An American Musical on Broadway. In keeping with the theme of his life’s work, Bryan has made it his mission to help as many young people as possible find their unique purpose in life. He connects his experiences on Broadway and in the entertainment industry to relatable, real-life issues, like tackling insecurity and finding motivation, while inspiring audiences to use their past to fuel their future and discover the best version of themselves.  

Christine Brennan

February 25, 2020 | Communication

Sports Journalist, USA Today

Christine Brennan is an award-winning national sports columnist for USA Today, a commentator for ABC News, PBS NewsHour, CNN and NPR, a best-selling author and nationally-known speaker. Twice named one of the country’s top 10 sports columnists by the AP Sports Editors, Christine was the first woman writer at The Miami Herald in 1981 and the first woman to cover Washington’s NFL team as staff writer at The Washington Post. She was the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media and started a scholarship-internship program that has supported more than 130 female students over the past two decades.

Fredi Lajvardi

March 26, 2020 | Work Styles

Nationally-Recognized STEM Educator

Fredi Lajvardi kindles your innate sense of ingenuity with his remarkable first-hand account of how he transformed a group of high school students into a national champion robotics team. Fredi captivated the country when he led his team of disadvantaged teenagers in a university-level underwater robotics competition, where they defeated leading schools, including top-ranked MIT. Their story inspired the acclaimed documentary Underwater Dreams and was also adapted into the major motion picture, Spare Parts. Honored with numerous awards for his spirited passion for teaching, Fredi continues to serve as a prominent advocate for the importance of STEM education nationwide.

HYPE Speakers are selected by a committee aided by suggestions from the campus community. 

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