Meet Our Speakers

Marina Barnett

Dr. Marina Barnett

Associate Professor of Social Work at Widener University

In her teaching practice, Dr. Marina Barnett focuses on advocacy and commitment to social justice, assessment, working with diverse populations, and the use of technology. Her vision for her students is that they see themselves as leaders capable of engaging any population. Her courses demonstrate the social work values of partnering with clients, non-judgementalism, and valuing the uniqueness and capabilities of individuals. An assessment of strengths is an integral aspect of both her teaching and her practice. Dr. Barnett believes that every person has inherent strengths and gifts that enable them to contribute to society and address their own issues. She seeks to inspire others to take control of their own education, to become active participants in their own lives and in their communities, and to be dedicated and committed to the eradication of social injustice.

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Stone Soup: A Recipe for Community Organizing

Angela M. Corbo

Dr. Angie Corbo

Associate Professor and Chairperson of Communication Studies at Widener University

Dr. Angie Corbo teaches courses in public relations, leadership, gendered communication, interpersonal communication, and organizational communication. Her research areas include promoting mental health resources on college campuses, political communication, organizational culture, and ethical guidelines for media coverage in cases of suicide. Dr. Corbo is an active member of the National Communication Association (NCA) and serves as Public Relations Division Chair. She has delivered more than 50 conference presentations at international, national, and regional conferences. Her conference presentation topics include a range of contemporary issues such as #MeToo, the reflective assessment process, pedagogical models for teaching civic engagement courses, crisis communication strategies, high impact practices in higher education, and reinventing new norms during COVID-19. Dr. Corbo was recently elected as the faculty chair and is the co-director of the SURCA (Summer Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities) program.

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Belonging and Inclusion: Beyond Buzzwords

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Mr. Ryan M. Raiker, PCM, CDMP

Business Consultant; Process and Marketing Expert; and Adjunct Professor at Widener University

As a digital-first marketing leader, Ryan Raiker has experience creating marketing systems built around effective strategic planning, customer empathy, compelling content, and operational efficiency. He brings a strategic viewpoint to reimagine how people work and businesses operate. He is a recognized thought leader in business, technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and process. Raiker also serves as an adjunct professor in the fields of business management, entrepreneurship, communications, and digital media informatics. Raiker actively writes in publications on Medium and has been featured on NBC,, MarketWatch,, Data-Driven Investor, Insurance Innovation Reporter, Yahoo News, and more. You can learn more about him at

Define Your Personal Brand and Leave a Legacy in the Digital Age

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Ms. Natalie Sassi

Nursing Senior at Widener University

Natalie Sassi is a senior in Widener University’s School of Nursing Honors Program. She is an active member of the Widener University Student Nurse Association, as well as the Widener University Sexuality and Gender Alliance. Outside of school, Ms. Sassi is a scholar for the Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (PA AHEC), and she intends to serve vulnerable populations after graduation. During her undergraduate studies, Sassi has devoted much attention to uncovering factors influencing health care access and delivery. Her groundbreaking work and honors presentation on the nurse’s role in helping to combat human trafficking inspired her TEDx Talk.

Nurses Can Combat Human Trafficking

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Dr. Erol Veznedaroglu (Dr. Vez), MD

Cerebrovascular Neurosurgeon; Professor and Director of Drexel Neurosciences Institute; and Chair of Global Neurosciences Institute

Dr. Veznedaroglu is one of the most experienced cerebrovascular neurosurgeons in the country and an internationally renowned, comprehensively trained vascular neurosurgeon. He is a professor and director of Drexel Neurosciences Institute at Drexel University College of Medicine and holds the Robert A. Groff Chair in Neurosurgery. As chair of Global Neurosciences Institute, Dr. Vez, as he is known, leads a team of some of the nation’s most experienced neurosurgeons specializing in complex conditions of the brain. In addition to providing clinical care, Dr. Vez is the primary investigator of numerous clinical and basic science studies related to cerebrovascular disease and is a nationally recognized academic leader in cerebrovascular care. To learn more about Dr. Vez, visit

Technology & Innovation in the Neurosciences

Become a TEDxWidenerUniversity Speaker in 2023

We are planning for our fall 2023 TEDxWidenerUniversity event. Do you have an excellent idea for a TED Talk that will spark conversation and could improve lives? Are you willing to work hard with a vested coaching team to hone your talk? Are you able to attend several rehearsals in person at Widener University’s Chester Campus? If so, then we’d love to hear from you.

Please send a 150-word bio and a summary of your talk idea, along with links to any publishing or media credentials, to Jeannine McKnight at