MassChallenge Expert Judge and Mentor

I’m thrilled and humbled to have been invited by MassChallenge, one of the world’s most reputable startup accelerators, to be Expert Judge and Mentor for its programs. As a HealthTech (’23), Fintech (’23), Early-Stage (’22-’23) MassChallenge Expert Judge, my goal is to support and inspire entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and visions as part of the MassChallenge ecosystem. I’m proud to contribute to MassChallenge’s mission to help some of the most promising startups achieve their potential in transforming the world.

Presentation at the Human Development and Capability Association 2022 Conference.

In Between Worlds: An Interdisciplinary Presentation on Liminality, Disability, and Capabilities

On September 21, 2022 I had the honor of virtually presenting at the Human Development and Capability Association Conference, being held in Antwerp, Belgium. As part of my interdisciplinary presentation, I spoke about marginalized populations—including those from minority groups and individuals with pain and disabilities—to inform the audience about the liminal experience of living In Between Worlds. I delved into liminality and the struggle for recognition by individuals who are denied social esteem and dignity due to their so-called ‘discrediting attributes.’ I felt truly privileged by the opportunity to present my work at this renowned conference.

Article published by Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center

Re-Imagining Work in the Post-Pandemic Era: An Arendtian Lens

I’m honored that Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center has included my Xoxi Mendez at Petrie-Flom Centerwrite-up Re-imagining Work in the Post-Pandemic Era: An Arendtian Lens as part of their latest digital symposium titled Build Back Better? Health, Disability, and the Future of Work Post-COVID.

The tragic effects of the pandemic forced humanity to temporarily alter realms of human experience that Hannah Arendt refers to as the Private and the Public. In my article, I write about these constructs vis-à-vis disability and illness, as well as conventions and prejudices that perpetuate ableism, especially in the workplace.

While most people and scholars believe that discrimination against people with disabilities is mostly explained as a social or biomedical problem, I want to add to this debate that Hannah Arendt’s framework helps shed light on previously unexplored reasons of why this discrimination and bias take place.

Presentation at Columbia University‘s 39th Winter Roundtable Conference in Psychology and Education

A Turning of the Tables in Mentorship and Teaching: Disability, Identity, and Power

Xoxi Mendez and her chapterI was so thrilled to present my book chapter titled At the Intersection of Identity, Disability, and Power at Columbia University‘s 39th Winter Roundtable Conference in Psychology and Education hosted by Teachers College! It was a joy to be part of this virtual presentation and to share with the audience strategies to help educators avoid elusive pitfalls in discourse and interaction with students with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities remain vulnerable across educational and social settings and I drew from my own experience with disability to shed light on how to conduct empathetic interactions that Presentation posterreinforce the student’s self-determination, identities, and life-project. I was thrilled there got to be 29 people in the audience who had great questions and comments! You can find a link to the program here and a link to my chapter here. My chapter was published by Information Age Publishing in 2020 as part of the volume Identity and Lifelong Learning in Higher Education. I felt utterly blessed and honored for the opportunity to present at Teachers College!

Showcase Presentation at the 43rd Annual Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Virtual Conference hosted by Southern Utah University

Breaking Boundaries: Using Arendt’s ‘Verwandlungen’ and Music to Catalyze Interdisciplinary Practice

Poster depicting Xoxi Mendez' presentation at Southern Utah UniversityIn this presentation I spoke about how we learn as human beings and why we learn better through the use of interdisciplinary practice. The role of the arts to potentiate learning was an important feature of my talk, which was complemented by vocal performances to provide examples of this type of pedagogical methodology.

Music can afford a constellation of possibilities for pedagogues who seek to introduce alternative teaching formats in higher education classrooms. Introducing alternate and complementary teaching tools reinforce knowledge, helps recreate mental models, and leads to deeper and more interconnected understandings of academic subjects. I also spoke about how prior knowledge can be reworked and consolidated in ways that break boundaries between disciplines.

Presenting and singing at the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference was a true delight! Hearing the audience’s enthusiastic comments and insights was also quite inspiring and encouraging!

Presentation at Brown University’s Equinoxes 2021 Conference

Casting light on The Private: An Artistic, Multidisciplinary Exploration of l’intime

Presenting at Brown University’s Equinoxes Conference was a marvelous experience. My presentation focused on an analysis of Verlaine’s & Fauré’s Clair de Lune using an intertextual framework that employed theories of the Private of Arendt, alongside a focus on saisir l’intime (grasping the intimate). I had a lot of fun creating this interdisciplinary presentation that combined poetry, the pictorial art of the Fêtes Galantes, and music-making –all to get to the core of some concepts that in my view remain elusive in most scholarly analyses of these topics.

Teaching Fellow

Lesley University’s EAGSR 7108 Nature of Inquiry Course

Photo of Xoxi MendezIt was a true honor to be part of the team of Teaching Fellows at Lesley University this past fall 2020! Lending a hand to teach the incoming class of thirty four doctoral students in Educational Studies was a fabulous experience!

My favorite part was assisting students become acquainted with several of the philosophies and methodologies they will be using as they embark in their own doctoral journeys. Nature of Inquiry’s aim is to have students explore and become aware of the issues that reside below the surface of research and inquiry such as assumptions about human nature, conduct and behavior, perception and biases, and prior knowledge.

TEDx Youth@BeaconStreet Speaker

Overcoming the Impossible: My Song of Courage and Determination

Xoxi on nov 9 2019 during her TEDx talk I was honored and thrilled to participate as an invited speaker at TEDx Youth@BeaconStreet’s main event on November 9th, 2019. I drew from my own life challenges to speak about  resilience in the face of adversity. I have a rare, painful neurological condition, yet it is mostly invisible to those without medical training. I spoke about this type of lived experience, stressing the alienation and difficulty of sharing one’s suffering with others. This is a reality shared by many with disabilities and chronic medical conditions.

Speaking directly to the TEDx Youth Speakers, I expanded on my own definition of leadership, which departs from the usual leader/follower dichotomy.  I sang Puccini’s Nessun Dorma as an enactment of leadership expressed through music, ending with the words “vinceró, vinceró” (I will triumph) as an exhortation to carry on with hope and determination despite all obstacles.

To watch the talk, selected to be part of TED’s collection of videos, click here.

Presentation at the 4th Annual Women in Leadership Conference at National University

From the Liminal to the Effective: Leadership in Action

It was an honor to be invited to present again at National University’s Women in Leadership Conference. My talk focused on how the lived experience of patients confronting complex health conditions and their experience of disability is relevant to leaders of all stripes who also find themselves at the focal point of effecting change.

Xoxi Mendez at the Women in Leadership Conference with Noriko Yasuda at the pianoIn this multidisciplinary, virtual presentation, I spoke about some of the methods and techniques leaders can use in their efforts to become transformative catalyzers and visionaries. I spoke about storytelling, framing and intertextuality and how they are crucial to inspire and communicate values, personal history, and mission.

Using poetry and music, I expanded on the embodiment of leadership –a difficult to grasp yet a key concept for a leader. I spoke about some of aspects of leadership that are easily communicated using the arts. In this context, I had so much fun singing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma to expand on these aspects, illuminating Hannah Arendt’s concept of action and grit, and cross-referencing Joseph Campbell’s much alluded and greatly important archetype of the hero’s journey — ideas crucial and insightful to leaders working on changing the world.

Presentation at the South East Costal Conference in Languages and Literature (SECCLL)

Opening Up New Ways of Perceiving Meaning: Exploring Representation and Symbolism in Poetry and Music

As part of this virtual presentation, I had the honor to share my work at the intersection of meaning, linguistics, literature and music. This conference, hosted by the Georgia Southern University, was held in Savannah on April 11th, and I contrasted song excerpts to illustrate processes of meaning-making.

SECCLL LogoIt was phenomenal to share with the audience how our understanding of the world around us is bound by conventions. I tried to exemplify topics regarding conducting research, linguistics and semantics –all using music–to illustrate elusive points about our limitations of making accurate sense of the world. For the SECCLL 2019 program click here, and for my presentation’s abstract click here. It was a true honor to share my work at this wonderful conference and to interact with truly exceptional experts on literature and languages.

3rd Annual Women in Leadership Conference. National University

Xoxi Mendez during her talk transmitted from WGBH On October 26, 2018, I had the honor to present as plenary speaker at National University’s 3rd Annual Women in Leadership Conference. The presentation was streamed from WGBH Studios in Boston. Being in front of a live audience both in Boston and in San Diego, where National University is located, was a complete thrill. I spoke about my life journey, especially about what it feels like to be right at the intersection of identity and disability. With Noriko Yasuda at the piano, I sang Frühglingsglaube by F. Schubert. As in other presentations in the past, I used music to better convey abstract concepts. I talked about leadership, especially about the role of building voices and connection. It was a complete honor and I feel blessed by this opportunity.

To watch the presentation click here.

Presentation at Harvard University

Catalyzing Outcomes: Using Arendt’s Zwischenraum to Improve the Impact of Research

On April 6th 2018, I presented at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Student Research Conference as part of a roundtable discussion. Building upon Hannah Arendt’s Xoxi at Harvardframework of locations, common ground, and her concepts of speech and action, along with her definitions of the private and the public, in this presentation I shed light on the publicity, relevance, and permanence of effective approaches that allow a person’s lived experience–and also scholarship–to become shareable and result in positive change. I discussed a set of heuristics I am elaborating based on Arendt’s Zwischenraum, the “in-between,” given that, as Arendt suggests, when a common Zwischenraum isn’t established, what that does not attain the shareable state provided by the “in-between” is likely to end in the dark–ignored, considered irrelevant or worse, sometimes even assailed and actively suppressed.

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Presenting at Lesley University’s Community of Scholars Day

Leading from the In-Between: Disability, Leadership and Identity

I was honored to have been selected to present at Lesley University’s Community of Scholars Day this past March. I presented on how the daily lives of individuals challenged with physical disabilities illustrate the friction and tension between the identities individuals forge, and the identities society assigns to them. Poster of Xoxi Mendez' presentation at Lesley University on Disability I explored these fault lines by using my own experiences with disability, my scholarly research, and my pedagogical work. I had a wonderful time illustrating some of these very points through music, by performing songs by Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf. To watch extracts of the talk click here.

Radio Transmission of Wanderer’s Nightsong

Mendocino California’s public station, KZYX.org, transmitted my interpretation of Poster with book cover and xoxiSchubert’s Wanderers Nightsong as part of their show Women’s Voices. I was honored to be featured in one show, featuring a fascinating interview with author Caroline Heller about her recent and compelling book Reading Claudius. In her book, Heller tells the story of her parents before, during and after the Holocaust. To listen to the interview and the song click here.

passion cd album coverPassion  CD Album

Other exciting news include the release of my new music CD, titled Passion. You can listen to it or purchase it by going to http://xoxi.bandcamp.com/album/passion-album It’s a passionate and melodic journey into the music of six European composers, and my favorite songs of all time too. Don’t forget to check it out! The poems are included as part of the booklet, with translations too.

Examples of Some Past Presentations:

The Private and The Public in Research and the Arts

On March 2016, as part of Community of Scholars Day, I had the honor of being selected to give a lecture to explore the research process, aiming to shed light on some of the central challenges researchers encounter, including but not limited to: the interpretation of texts, the role of tradition, and the boundaries of time, place, and culture and how this all applies to interviewing as part of qualitative research. I sang music by German and French composers, and used the art of Watteau to shed light on concepts Hannah Arendt later defined as The Private and The Public.

A Musical Exploration of Research and Interpretation

In this presentation I delved into interpretation, the meaning of texts, and what researchers should keep in mind in their efforts to understand the world. A talk about Hermeneutics, it was also an interactive and arts-based pedagogical session where I sang songs by Schubert, Vaughan Willimas, Hahn and others to illustrate some of the main points.

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Evening at IAB

Xoxi performing at IAB

Thanks for stopping by my page! All best, Xoxi