Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

5 questions with Delaware’s youngest TEDx co-organizer ever

15-year-old Kathryn Young is behind June's "Us...Today" event in Wilmington. Plus, a roundup of upcoming Delaware events and recent tech and biz Power Moves.

TEDx co-organizer Kathryn Young.

(Courtesy photo)

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a newsletter alongside a roundup of Technical.ly’s best Delaware reporting from the week, job openings and more. Subscribe here to get updates on Delaware tech, business and innovation news in your inbox on Thursdays.


Happy June, Delaware! This month means Pride, Juneteenth, Immigrant Heritage Month, and on Technical.ly’s own editorial calendar, Racial Equity in Tech Month.

Also happening this month: On Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to noon, there will be a special TEDxYouth@Wilmington event at Theatre N. Featuring eight speakers and the theme “Us…Today,” the focus is on stories of under-25-ers navigating the COVID-19 era.

Something notable about the event is that it’s led by Delaware’s youngest TEDx co-organizer ever, 15-year-old Kathryn Young. She’s a rising Middletown junior, a member of college access nonprofit TeenSHARP and the daughter of TEDxWilmington organizer Dr. Dan Young.

Below, we asked her five questions about her experience. Some answers have been edited for length.

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Technical.ly: How long have you been involved with TEDx?

Young: I have been involved with TEDx for a long while, actually. Back in 2014, when I was 8, I was asked to moderate an event. At the time, I was petrified about the very notion of speaking in front of a crowd, but I was still able to persevere and complete the task successfully. To this day, I still feel a sense of pride when I look back at that moment. In the years following, I participated in several other TEDx events, primarily by setting things up before guests arrive and opening for the moderator and speakers.

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For this event and past ones, my father has been the primary reason for my participation. Without his help, I never would have even dreamed of being where I am today. I am eternally grateful to be in a position that allows me to provide others the opportunity to share the topics they find endearing and important with the rest of the world.

Has TeenSHARP impacted your journey?

I joined TeenSHARP at the end of my eighth-grade year, about two years ago. The program was recommended to me, and I quickly realized that it would become incredibly valuable in the college admission process. TeenSHARP has taught me crucial skills that have aided me in my journey through the first few years of high school. Primarily, they have helped me improve my leadership abilities, which I believe has assisted me substantially with helping to coordinate this TEDx event.

What has been the biggest challenge in planning the event?

Overall, my biggest challenge in planning this event has been my lack of experience. For instance, I often receive emails from our speakers, most (if not all) of whom are older than me, asking for advice on their videos and speeches. Providing them with critique can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when I’m unsure whether my advice would hinder them. Trying to help coordinate an event of this magnitude is incredibly new for me, but I have been learning every step of the way and have gained a little more confidence in doing so. There is quite a lot that I do not know yet, meaning I often have to seek out the answers asked by the speakers, but I hope to gain more knowledge and become a more reliable resource as time goes on.

Do you plan to continue your involvement with TEDxWilmington?

Simply put, I have been involved with TEDx for seven years, and I do not intend to cease my participation anytime soon. With TEDxWilmington, I have gained an additional level of appreciation for the work that goes into planning an event like this. For this particular one, I have taken on the role of co-organizer. However, with the next event that I work on, I intend to serve as the primary organizer. Naturally, there are a plethora of things I need to do to equip myself for such a responsibility, but I am quite excited about that.

What are your other plans as you head into junior year (and beyond)?

In terms of academics, I intend to double the number of AP courses I am taking and remain on an honors track. I want to continue my involvement with the arts by auditioning for more shows and musicals in my community, joining choir, and taking up some sort of leadership position in my school’s art club. I am also going to continue volunteering at my taekwondo studio and perhaps go for another black belt. Outside of extracurriculars, I intend to apply for a greater number of scholarships and summer programs. Beyond that, I am just going to see where life decides to take me and go from there.

Register for the event

As always, if you have a story you think might be a fit for Technical.ly (including guest posts by local experts), drop us a line at delaware@technical.ly.

Upcoming Delaware events

  • The Hotel du Pont’s Le Cavalier will be participating in National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday, June 3, with partnerships with Wilde Thyme and Stateside Vodka, donating all profits from the day to Everytown.
  • For the first time, the Emerging Enterprise Center will participate in the City of Wilmington Art Loop on June 3. It will feature one of its newest incubator residents, the Bridge Art Gallery, as well as the exhibition BryteLighters, featuring cross-medium collaborations with Alcohol Ink Artist Bryant Small.
  • June 3 will also kick off the “Award Winners” exhibit of the work of Delaware’s Individual Delaware Division of the Arts Artist Fellows at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover. It will run through July 23.
  • The Delaware Pride parade and festival is happening on June 4 in Downtown Dover.
  • This month will also bring the return of Futures First Gaming’s Girls Who Game event on the 18th. More on that soon.
  • TIL (on the r/WilmingtonDE subreddit) that you can use your library card to check out day passes at Delaware State Parks, the Brandywine Zoo, and museums including Hagley and the Brandywine Conservatory. Availability is limited.

Power Moves

  • Wilmington Alliance has a new full-time team member: Community Engagement and Programming Coordinator Langston Cotman, who will be focused on West Center City. Prior to this role, Langston ran after-school arts programming in Baltimore City and was a farmer for two years.
  • And did you see Technical.ly’s third annual RealLIST Connectors? Check out our latest roundup of Delawareans keeping the local tech and business community close.
Companies: TED
People: Dan Young
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