PekaKucha packs a punch

New, fast-paced, speech event gives insight


Marc Lopez

Biology professor Parisa Roghani demonstrates osteopathology on LMC student Luwanda Jordan.

Sierra Swedberg, Staff Writer

Attendees at the PechaKucha 20 x 20 event, hosted by the Los Medanos College Honors Club knows it was a fun and interesting way to listen and watch speeches.

Pechakucha itself means to chit chat, a perfectly fitting name for the packed event as the audience got to watch seven speakers present anything they liked while keeping pace with their prepared and timed slides—20 slides showing for 20 seconds each. LMC and Diablo Valley College teachers, and LMC students told a variety stories ranging from the topic of curiosity to living in the jungles of South America.

Energy flowed through the room as the audience was intrigued with the wide variety of interpreting topics and asked engaging questions.

“I truly enjoyed the event,” said LMC speech professor Star Steers. “It was wonderful to have a chance to hear about my colleagues’ passion projects and unique life experiences.”

Chance Nelson was the man behind the curtains who put the event together. He was inspired to organize it from his girlfriend’s experience in grad school and her job as an architect because they use this type of fast-paced detailed speeches in meetings.

“It seemed really interesting, like a fun way to do something that was not as stuffy and formal as like a TED talk, but approachable for everybody,” said Nelson.

LMC student Lorenzo Navales took this opportunity to talk about his passion for movies.

“Guilty pleasure movies are like Chick-Fil-A,” laughs Navales. “You know it’s bad but it’s so good.”

According to Navales, his love for movies started because he used them as an escapism tool on a bad day, which led him to developing an analytical eye. As he analyzed movies that were good and bad, his eyes opened to a different perspective in life.

“If you find the silver lining in movies, you can in life,” said Navales.

More personal life skills were shared by LMC biology professor Briana McCarthy. McCarthy, who is passionate about teaching is also an open water swimmer and uses this hobby for fun and stress relief.

“I think of open water as my playground, sanctuary and therapy.” chuckled McCarthy. “Therapy because you can cry in your goggles and no one will know.”

Besides adding a few tears to the ocean, McCarthy told the audience about her experiences swimming in Asia and Europe, including crossing the English Channel. She added that among her supporters have been whales and manatees and even some jellyfish that cheered her on with some stings.

Just as McCarthy ran into animals, so did DVC German Professor Peter Woods. He’s lived in Suriname, South America with bug-eating geckos, vibrant flowers, jaguars, and the poisonous bushmaster snake.

Woods spoke of how one night he went to grab a pee bucket, accidentally squeezing a coiled-up bushmaster snake sleeping on the edge of it. After encountering it, he ran to grab his machete to comply with the village rules and cut the “only snake that will chase people.”

All participants may not have been stung by a jellyfish or encountered a snake that will chase you, but all the speeches provided a side most attendees wouldn’t know about the presenters.

“My favorite part was that I was left thinking about the presentations even after I’d left the event,” said Steers. “I’m still sitting here thinking about some of the points and ideas presented.”