Marywood alum presents TEDxTalk for student mental health


Photo credit/ Katlynn Whitaker

A headshot of Katlynn Whitaker.

Katlynn Whitaker has concerns about mental health in K-12 schools, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. To express those concerns and to reach out to students, Whitaker is presenting a TEDxTalk advocating for student mental health.

Whitaker explains that during COVID, she faced struggles with anxiety and her mental health in general. She adds that during the process of her fight, she wished she learned the various techniques she and many other people use to help their mental struggles much sooner. Because of these struggles, Katlynn decided to apply for the upcoming TEDxTalk in Scranton.

“There were just things that I wish I had learned in school a lot earlier. I thought it could definitely have helped me,” said Whitaker. “And so it kind of sparked this little idea. And then the call for Ted entries came out.”

Since graduating from Marywood, Whitaker has worked in Web Design with FreshySites and currently works for Riger Marketing Communications in New York. She hopes that the TEDxTalk is the start of her becoming more involved in the local community.

“COVID kind of put a halt on any extra endeavors I wanted to do during that period. So I wanted to kind of get back involved with the community and go from there,” said Whitaker.

Sue Jenkins, Whitaker’s former advisor at Marywood, will be attending the event, and advocates for Whitaker’s topic of discussion for her TEDxTalk.

“I’m excited to go and hear her talk,” Jenkins said. “I know, from my perspective as a university professor, and supporting all of our students, no matter their ability or disability, I think it’s good that we include mental health awareness in that discussion.”

Whitaker expresses hope that her talk will leave a lasting impression on her audience.

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“Everyone’s talk seems to, in one way or another, have a mental health touchpoint,” said Whitaker. “So I’m looking forward to really seeing that and just really emphasizing the importance of talking about it because it’s a very important subject that I think having a basic conversation about can make a huge difference and go a long way.”

The Scranton TEDxTalk will be hosted on September 17 at 3 p.m.. Tickets can be purchased on their website.

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