St. Mary’s Academy junior Zumee Hasan speaks at TEDx Youth


St. Mary’s Academy junior Zumee Hasan is a self-described “eternal optimist armed with empathy” who fills her free time with countless activities. In early 2020, as the pandemic was just becoming a reality, Zumee, along with another SMA student, founded the Portland Student Pandemic Response (PSPR), an “online-based nonprofit aiming to create a place for local students to dedicate their extra energy and drive to the many local communities that are facing increasing issues through the pandemic.”  At SMA, she founded and leads the SMA Muslim Student Association, participates in Women of Color in Action, Students of Color PDX, the Robotics team and is a Marian Singer. To top off this impressive list, Zumee is the US Student Advisor for Nourish Bangladesh, an NGO focused on raising awareness about the country’s experience with food insecurity and actively contributing to improving the well-being of its people.

Through these myriad experiences, Zumee became increasingly aware of what it means to be part of Gen Z, especially as a Muslim.  Zumee soon realized she had a story to tell and began to consider ways to share it.   While scrolling through Instagram, Zumee came across an ad for TEDx Youth at Lincoln Street, a dedicated space for young people to share their voice and “change the world with a single idea.”  Sharing her story through this large platform soon became a reality for Zumee as she was selected to be a speaker at this year’s event.

Zumee shares that the process for preparing for the event was very similar to working on a paper for school, starting with an outline, rough draft and then many rounds of editing.  She gives thanks to both the team of TEDx advisors as well as her St. Mary’s Academy teachers for their guidance and helping her get her talk to the final product.

In her talk, Zumee challenged the characterization that Gen Z “cares too much,” a notion she countered by stating “We care because we have to.  Gen Z has been left with a world where we experience so much so early.  School shootings, a health care crisis, economic insecurity…all before the age of prom.”  She adds, “Deep in my heart I know things have to change, and I can be part of that change.”

To learn more about TEDx Youth at Lincoln Street and to share your voice like Zumee, visit