Academic Speakers Program


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John Geer

Making Some Sense of the 2016 Presidential Election

October 3rd, 2016 at 6:30PM in the Humanities Auditorium


John Geer

John G. Geer is Vice Provost for Academic and Strategic Affairs at Vanderbilt University, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Poll. He earned his PhD in 1986 from Princeton University. Geer is past editor of The Journal of Politics. Geer has published widely on campaigns, elections, and public opinion. He is author of In Defense of Negativity: Attacks Ads in Presidential Campaigns, which won Harvard University’s Goldsmith Prize in 2008. Geer is about to publish the fourth edition of Gateways to Democracy (2017). He has provided extensive commentary in the news media about American politics, including live nationwide interviews for FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, and NPR. Geer has also written numerous op-ed pieces for Politico, The Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, and Chicago Tribune. His lecturing has earned him a number of awards at Vanderbilt, including the “Squirrel Award,” the 2004 Birkby Prize, the 2005 Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the 2009 the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching, and the 2014 Vanderbilt Alumni Education Award.


Heather Wilkins

Adventures Studying Birds at Reelfoot Lake.

October 25th, 2016 at 7PM in Watkins Auditorium


Heather Wilkins

Wilkins received a Bachelor of Science in natural resources management with a concentration in wildlife biology from UT Martin. Wilkins later received her master’s degree in biological sciences from Eastern Kentucky University, where she studied communication in red-bellied woodpeckers, and a doctoral degree from Mississippi State University, where she studied the winter foraging ecology of yellow-bellied sapsuckers. Wilkins is currently a professor in the UT Martin Department of Biological Sciences where she teaches a variety of courses, including ornithology, animal ecology and conservation biology.


Steven Snowden

Creative Communion: Music Composition as a Collaborative Process

November 18th, 2016 at 6PM in the Blankenship Theater, Fine Arts Building


Steven Snowden

The music of Steven Snowden has been described as “Beguiling… combining force with clarity” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “Wonderfully dynamic” (Interlude Hong Kong), “Rustic, red-blooded” (New Music Box), and “Marvelously evocative” (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Writing music for dance, theater, multi-media installations, and the concert stage, he is equally at home writing acoustic and electro-acoustic music and has taken a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and live electronic audio manipulation as a tool for improvisation.


Snowden’s work often deals with concepts of memory, nostalgia, and the cyclic nature of historical events as they pertain to modern society. While his musical influences are deeply rooted in bluegrass, folk, and rock, he utilizes non-traditional techniques and processes to compose works that don’t squarely align with any single genre or style.


A native of the Ozarks countryside, he began composition studies in 2002 at Missouri State University and subsequently earned his Masters degree at the University of Colorado and Doctorate at the University of Texas. In 2012-2013 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, researching and implementing motion tracking technology as a means to facilitate collaboration between music and dance. In 2013-2014, he was a visiting professor and composer in residence at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is the co-founder/director of the Fast Forward Austin Music Festival and currently resides in Austin, Texas where he works as a freelance composer and rides his Harley through the Texas Hill Country whenever weather and time allow.


Dr. Szabolcz Marka, Professor of Physics at Columbia University, on Gravity Waves, November 29th ... more details to come soon!


Kwame Rose

Social Justice in the Age of Black Lives Matter

February 23rd, 2016 at 7PM in Watkins Auditorium


Kwame Rose

Kwame Rose is a social activist, artist, and writer. He is known for having boldly held mainstream media, particularly Geraldo Rivera of Fox News, accountable for its inaccurate representation of protestors during the Baltimore Uprising. Since then Kwame traveled the Country speaking at some of the most prestigious universities and college campuses about the unrest in Baltimore, and the issue of policing Black communities. More recently Kwame was a producer and host for The Real News Network.


Kwame was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. His passion for public speaking once earned him a full scholarship to the University of Texas at San Antonio as a member of the Debate team. As a student, he advocated for hip-hop-infused education as a means to educate the youth and give a voice to the voiceless. After the completion of his freshman year, deteriorating social conditions in his hometown of Baltimore prompted the permanent return of the young activist with a firm commitment to improve and serve his community.


In 2013, Kwame helped form the organization Brothers In Action, Inc., a mentoring group for young Black males in Baltimore City. He served on the Executive Board until recently stepping down to launch BE Foundation, in an effort to not only highlight Black youth but also, help them excel in pursuing their dreams and aspirations. Realizing that one way to ensure that the stories of oppressed communities were told accurately, Rose began writing for several media publications including Mashable, Huffington Post, and USA Today about the issues of his generation.


Dr. Amy Bix

Girls Coming to Tech: A History of American Engineering Education for Women

March 23rd, 2016 at 6PM in Watkins Auditorium


Dr. Amy Bix

Dr. Bix is an associate professor in the History Department at Iowa State University and director of ISU’s Center for Historical Studies of Technology and Science. Originally from the Chicago area, she earned her Ph.D. in the history of science from Johns Hopkins University. She has been at Iowa State since 1993, where she teaches courses in women's history; the history of technology; history of medicine; history of American popular culture, the history of women in science, and more. Her most recent book is "Girls Coming to Tech: A History of American Engineering Education for Women" (MIT Press, 2014). In 2014, Bix won the Betty Vetter Award for Research from WEPAN (the Women in Engineering ProActive Network), recognizing notable achievement in research related to women in engineering. She is currently writing her next book, which will explore the more recent history of women, gender, and engineering work.


More to come...

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