Shazeb Jadoon speaks at TEDxWartburgCollege in 2018.
Shazeb Jadoon speaks at TEDxWartburgCollege in 2018.

Since 2018, Wartburg College students have planned and hosted TEDxWartburgCollege, an independently planned TED event, and this year will be no different. 

Except it will. 

In true 2020 and 2021 fashion, TEDxWartburgCollege will be presented in a 100 percent virtual format on Saturday, March 20, from 9 a.m. to noon. This year’s theme, Questioning the Narrative, was inspired by all those who have fought for social change, especially in the last year.

“Last year, with COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, we all began to question the narrative of things. You question the structure, the leadership, and you question your country. By doing that, you not only reflect on the process, but you also come up with solutions to make things better or to be more engaged with the things that go around you,” said Lura Ajdini ’22, president of TEDxWartburgCollege.

Because the event is online, the team’s secretary and curator, Jenna Smuszkiewicz ’23, said each of the seven presenters were required to submit a video of their final talk by March 1 so that the show can be produced before the March 20 premiere.

Molly Coy ’24, TEDxWartburgCollege marketing director, said preparing for day-of engagement also has been a new task in the COVID era. “Since it will be over Zoom, and the speakers won’t be live, we have to find new ways to ensure people are actively participating and engaging in those important conversations that the speakers will be starting,” Coy said. 

Additional information about the speakers is available and RSVPs for the event are still being accepted at

Learn more about some of the students behind the event by clicking on one the stories below. 

Lura Ajdini

NAME: Lura Ajdini
MAJOR: Graphic Design and Journalism & Communication
YEAR: 2022
HOMETOWN: Prishtina, Kosovo

Jenna Smuszkiewicz

NAME: Jenna Smuszkiewicz
MAJOR: Neuroscience
YEAR: 2023
HOMETOWN: Boulder, Illinois

Molly Coy

NAME: Molly Coy
MAJOR: Journalism & Communication
YEAR: 2024
HOMETOWN: Newton, Iowa

WHY WARTBURG: I started high school in Bosnia at United World College, which is an international high school. At the end of the two years we go through colleges and search and see where we want to apply to study. My first reaction toward Wartburg was that I really liked the logo. It reminded me of my sister’s kindergarten in England and then I went through the website. I saw that Wartburg had a graphic design program, and that was what I wanted to study. Wartburg felt like the right place to be because it felt like home. I didn’t feel like a stranger or anything. Just by seeing the website I had a feeling in me that this is where I was supposed to go and then, when I got the acceptance letter I was so happy. I was like yes, this is where I need to be right now.

WHY WARTBURG: My mom visited Wartburg during her college search, and although she chose a different school, she remembered the campus and the great atmosphere that it had. We visited during my junior year of high school, and I went on a few of the Scholarship Days, as well. I stayed with students on campus for the Science Symposium weekend and for my music audition so I was able to see what living on campus would look like. I really liked that experience, and my admissions counselor was helpful with checking in with me and aiding me through the college selection process.

I also liked the smaller size. My second choice was a lot larger, and at that school I would have to be a music major to get a music scholarship. There were more opportunities for me at Wartburg, and I just got to know the people here a lot more than my second-choice school.

WHY WARTBURG: It was kind of a crazy year for all high school seniors last year. I wanted to pick a school that I was familiar with. I had been to Wartburg and knew about the department, and it seemed like the best option for me at that moment in time.