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.


Scroll down to see what the Say What! Virtual Conference has to offer this year!

The Say What! Virtual Conference offers a variety of opportunities to get the most out of one of the best youth advocacy and leadership events in the country for all youth groups working on tobacco-free policies, tobacco prevention related issues, and other projects that may be occurring in the school or community.

What To Expect

Monday, July 26th &
Tuesday, July 27th

Wednesday, July 28th


This year’s Conference will offer several main sessions for both youth and adults on Monday and Tuesday. Participants will hear from Say What! Teen Ambassadors and youth groups as well as experts from diverse fields.

Conference will also feature:

     - Celebrity guest appearances.

     - Virtual teams competing for prizes.

     - Updates from the Texas Capitol.

Conference will also include three separate sessions on Wednesday.


Adult & Sponsor Session: Adults and youth groups sponsors will have the opportunity to find their motivation and inspiration to continue empowering youth tobacco preventions efforts as we all gear up to return to school and work in-person.


TA Information Session: Youth going into 9th -11th grade who are interested in applying to become a Say What! Teen Ambassador will have the opportunity to learn about the application process and hear from TAs discuss what it means to be a Teen Ambassador.

Peers Against Tobacco Virtual Mixer: Youth going into 12th grade who are interested in continuing their tobacco prevention efforts during college can attend the Peers Against Tobacco mixer! You'll learn everything you need to know about preventing vaping and tobacco use among your friends and other students while in college.



Tobacco Prevention Project Planning

This year’s conference will have a second part solely dedicated to assisting youth groups plan and prepare to implement a youth tobacco prevention project of their choice. Youth groups will be able to register for a special one on one planning meeting with Teen Ambassadors and staff to assist you in your groups’ tobacco prevention efforts for your school and/or community.

Meetings will occur on Zoom and throughout the month of August 2021. Information on how to register for this exclusive opportunity will be available after Conference.

Who You'll Hear From

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



How to Participate

Host your own watch party! While we want to encourage safe social interactions, we also want you to join with your friends and family. Participating in this year’s virtual conference is as easy as logging into Zoom from home, work, or your youth group’s organization.

When you register, you'll have the opportunity to tell us if you'll be hosting a watch party. Say What! staff will follow up with you to collect the names and t-shirt sizes of those watching with you. Should you need technical assistance getting a watch party set up, contact us at and we'll help you get everything figured out.


The Teen Ambassadors have created fun challenges and competitions you and your friends or family can participate in, so bring your competitive spirit for the opportunity to win exclusive Say What! swag.


Registration for the Say What! Virtual Conference is FREE! Each participant will receive the following materials in the mail:

          - Commemorative Name Badge & Lanyard

          - Conference T-Shirt & Patches

          - Certificate of Attendance


The first 30 youth groups who register to host a watch party for the virtual conference will also receive an exclusive Virtual Conference Kit complete with limited edition Say What! gear like hats, bags, t-shirts, and more!


Ready to join the Virtual Conference? Click the button below!


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.