Say What! Tobacco-Free
Virtual Conference

July 26 – 28, 2021


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recognize the importance of the role that youth play in creating lasting, positive changes concerning tobacco prevention and control.


To this end, the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University has designed the Say What! Texas Tobacco-Free Virtual Conference to be the most engaging, fun and effective experience in helping youth and adults find their passion for tobacco prevention and living a healthy, tobacco-free life!


Not only do participants discover their true calling to protect their friends and family members from the

dangers of tobacco and nicotine products, but they also learn cutting edge strategies, information, and tools and techniques on youth leadership and prevention from

some of the country’s greatest experts in the field of tobacco prevention.


The 2021 Virtual Conference has ended. Whether you were or weren’t able to join us this year, scroll down to watch each Teen Ambassador session, some of the amazing keynote speakers, and a few fun highlights.

Conference Selfies!

#SayWhatConf   |   #KnowTheTruth   |   #TakeAStand   |   #LiveTobaccoFree

Keynote Speakers

Shaun Derik

Affectionately known as "The Speaker for the Dreamer,” Shaun's expertise in effective youth engagement derives from his 10 years in youth development (R.E.A.C.H. Communications, Inc), 8 years in prevention (Youth to Youth International), and 5 years in philanthropic event planning.  His most notable work has been in Character Development serving such worthy causes as The Mississippi Department of Education’s DropOut Prevention program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York Youth Advocate team training, The National Police Activities League, and ABC Virginia’s Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Project.


Most recently, Shaun was asked to host the West Virginia Gamechangers Opioid Awareness Conference where he engaged and inspired over 200,000 live via PBS broadcast.

Dr. Victor DeNoble

Victor J. DeNoble, Ph.D. was recruited in 1980 by the Phillip Morris Research Center to build a secret research lab and to develop a cigarette with reduced heart risk. After successfully identifying a nicotine substitute that did not elevate the heart rate in animal models, his attempts to publish his work were suppressed by Philip Morris. He was eventually fired, and his laboratory and data were seized.


In 1994, after a decade of being silenced by a secrecy agreement, Dr. DeNoble became the first whistle-blower to testify before Congress about his research conducted within the tobacco industry. His congressional testimony was the cornerstone for sweeping changes in public policy regarding tobacco use. Dr. DeNoble is also the subject of the film documentary "Addiction Incorporated" released in 2011.

Matt Ransdell Jr.

At the age of 19, Matt was offered his first opportunity to speak professionally at a national youth leadership summit and he hasn’t slowed down since. Thirteen years later, Matt has built a national reputation amongst our nation’s youth and adults through speaking, teaching, coaching, and mentoring. Be it at a keynote, group workshops, one-on-one coaching, or Zoom conferences and classes, Matt speaks with love and encouragement for all.


Beyond speaking, Matt also works in the entertainment industry. His career has included regional and national musical theatre tours, TV and film, commercials and voiceovers.  Most recently, Matt has served as a director, writer, and producer in the entertainment industry. Both careers not only began at the age of 19, but grew at the same time, and have truly complimented each other over the past 13 years.

Judson Laippy

Judson Laipply M.Ed., CSP is an enigma wrapped in an anomaly contained inside a quandary. Combining comedy and content, laughter and learning, energy and engagement Judson gives his audiences both instant joy and lasting impact. He’s been seen on the Today Show, Ellen, Oprah, GMA, and more.


He is the world’s first YouTube celebrity and his finale “The Evolution of Dance” has over a billion impressions. He’s been speaking and performing for over 21 years. He is also an Ironman Triathlete, terrible singer, and reformed Kool-Aid eater. Learn more at

Teen Ambassador Sessions

The Health Effects of Tobacco   
TA Presenters: Micah & Max

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. In fact, tobacco kills more people than car accidents, suicides, murders, AIDS, alcohol, and illegal drugs combine. This session will uncover how tobacco products, secondhand smoke and aerosol can negatively impact your health and the health of others.

Tobacco on a Global Level    
TA Presenter: Daegen

The tobacco industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry that profits off lying and deceiving our country and countries around the world. While we have laws that help protect us from Big Tobacco, other countries don’t. In this session, you’ll learn about how the tobacco industry markets to other countries, pretends to be the “good guys,” and what advocates are doing to fight back.

Emerging Killers
TA Presenter: Alex

You’ve seen them at your school, advertised in your community, and maybe even in your friend groups. Vaping and e-cigarette use is rising rapidly among youth, but what are these emerging killers and what do they look like? In this session, you’ll hear about the emerging products Big Tobacco has lined up to keep youth hooked, how they’ll be marketed, and the impact they can have on your health.

Tobacco and Environmental Concerns 
TA Presenters: Kayla & Kevin

You know using tobacco is bad for your health, but what about the health of our planet? What happens to all the cigarette butts and e-cigarette waste that is thrown out and disposed of recklessly? Is secondhand smoke and aerosol dangerous to the environment, too? Not only will you learn about the impact of tobacco products on the environment, but how you can positively influence your own community to help protect our planet.

Youth Panel

Say What! Youth Group of the Year Panel
TA Presenters: Kayla

Watch this year’s top performing youth group, HTB Strikers, as they discussed some of their proudest accomplishments over the past few years, the struggles they encountered this year and how they were able to overcome them, words of advice to take your advocacy efforts to the next level as well as what they are most looking forward to this school year.

Sketch Comedy Show

Say What! Reacts Show
TA Presenters: Ruben & Alex

Get ready to laugh uncontrollably as Say What! Teen Ambassador Alex De La Paz and Consultant Ruben Garza discuss and react to everything. From funny pet moments and Zoom fails to epic talent, they cover it all and hold nothing back! These two combine their hilarious personalities to offer you the best comedy show in town.

If you have any questions, contact us at

877-304-2727 or

SAYWHAT! | Live Tobacco-free

Say What! EST. 2011







Toll Free: 877.304.2727

Local: 512.245.8082

Mailing Address

Texas School Safety Center

ATTN: Say What Program

Texas State University

601 University Drive

San Marcos, TX 78666

Say What! was created and designed by young people from across Texas and connects students interested in eliminating tobacco from their schools and communities. The Say What! movement is funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services through a contract with the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University.