Academic Speakers Program

Weston Smith - September 13th

Crossing the Line - An Insider's Story


Weston Smith spent five years as a CPA on the audit staff of Ernst & Young. He was subsequently recruited to a management position with Healthsouth Corporation, and ultimately became CFO. During his tenure at Healthsouth, the company grew from 13 locations to an international corporation with over 2000 locations, and became listed on the New York Stock Exchange and entered the Fortune 500. However, hidden underneath Healthsouth's glimmering corporate image, a multi-year $3 Billion accounting fraud developed. In what Weston describes as "finally doing the right thing" he blew the whistle on the fraud in 2003. Since then, he has become an outspoken advocate of ethics and integrity - not just in business - but through all walks of life, and has spoken to thousands of professionals and university students. "The need for ethics and integrity isn't just a business story. They are the foundation for worthwhile goals and accomplishments in life". Weston Smith has been featured on CNBC and as a guest of Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Channel.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin College of Business and Global Affairs


John Geer - September 26th

Negativity and the 2012 Presidential Election: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


John G. Geer is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University, earning his PhD in 1986 from Princeton University. He secured his BA from Franklin and Marshall College, with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1980. Geer has published 5 books and over 25 articles on presidential politics and elections, and is now Editor of The Journal of Politics. His most recent book is Gateways to Democracy. In 2006, he published In Defense of Negativity: Attacks Ads in Presidential Campaigns, which won Harvard University's Goldsmith Prize. He has also published From Tea Leaves to Opinion Polls and Nominating Presidents. Geer's articles have focused on such topics as turnout, public opinion, partisanship, and representation. He has provided extensive commentary in the news media on politics, including live nation wide interviews for FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, and NPR. Geer has also written 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, and the 2009 the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching. Currently he is Chair of the Department of Political Science and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Poll.


James Rose - October 1

The University of Tennessee Living Light house: Beyond the Solar Decathlon


James Rose, BArch, AIA, NCARB, CSI, LEED AP (Senior Lecturer, Interim Director, Institute for Smart Structures, University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design) a faculty member since 2004, James is the recipient of numerous awards for his teaching and built work. He was faculty advisor and architect of record for the 2011 UT Solar Decathlon team and author of the Materials and Resources course in the UT/RedVector Online Certificate in Sustainable Design. He has co-authored numerous papers on building technology with colleagues at UT and ORNL. James is an architect, educator and furniture designer with a keen interest in the intersection of material and process. His research and practice focuses on sustainability, design/build education and the development of a language of regional modernism appropriate to Southern Appalachia.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Department of Agriculture and Applied Sciences


Charles "Les" Johnson - October 23

Paradise Regained: How Space Technology Can Benefit Life on Earth


Les is the co-author of two science fiction and three popular science books. Baen Books published Les' first science fiction novel, Back to the Moon, (written with co-author Travis Taylor) in January 2012. In June, Baen released his latest science fiction project, Going Interstellar -- a collection of original short stories and science fact essays describing how an interstellar voyage might actually occur. In his day job, Les is the Deputy Manager for NASA's Advanced Concepts Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.


He is the co-author of three published popular science books, Living Off the Land in Space (Springer/ Copernicus 2007), the 2008 PROSE Award finalist, Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (Springer/Copernicus 2008), and Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth (Springer/Copernicus 2009). While at NASA, Les managed NASA's Interstellar Propulsion Research Project, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, and the Science Programs & Projects Office at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.


He was the technical consultant for the movie, Lost in Space and the upcoming movie, Europa Report. NPR, CNN, Fox News, The Science Channel and The Discovery Channel have all interviewed him about space and space exploration. In January 2010 he appeared in the "How to Build A Starship" episode of Michio Kaku's new Discovery Science Channel series, "Physics of the Impossible." He appeared on the Discovery Science Channel in three episodes of their series about interplanetary and interstellar exploration called Exodus Earth.


Les was the co-investigator on a Japanese space experiment that flew in August 2010. He was the Chief Scientist for the ProSEDS space experiment, twice received NASA's Exceptional Achievement Medal, and holds 3 space technology patents.


He earned his Master's degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and his Bachelor's Degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. He has numerous peer-reviewed publications and was published in Analog. He has been a frequent contributor to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the National Space Society, The World Future Society, and MENSA.


David Coffey - November 8

The Civil War at 150


Born in New Mexico and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, David Coffey holds a Ph.D. from TCU. He is professor of history and chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he offers classes in US and Latin American history. His books include John Bell Hood and the Struggle for Atlanta; Soldier Princess: The Life and Legend of Agnes Salm-Salm in North America, 1861-1867; and Sheridan's Lieutenants: Phil Sheridan, His Generals, and the Final Year of the Civil War. He has contributed to ten major historical reference works and served as an editor on three award winning projects, including the Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. He recently completed editing work on a new multi-volume encyclopedia of the Civil War. Coffey is the 2012 recipient of UTM's prestigious Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award.


Robin Rogers - February 4th

Green Chemistry, Technology, & Innovation


Dr. Robin D. Rogers obtained both his B.S. in Chemistry (1978, Summa Cum Laude) and his Ph.D. in Chemistry (1982) at The University of Alabama and currently serves as Distinguished Research Professor, Robert Ramsay Chair of Chemistry, and Director of the Center for Green Manufacturing at UA. In 2007 he was also Chair of Green Chemistry and Co-Director of QUILL at The Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland (UK) before returning full time to The University of Alabama in 2009. In 2009, he was named Honorary Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute for Process Engineering in Beijing.


Rogers holds 12 issued patents and has published over 685 papers on a diverse array of topics. His research interests cover the use of ionic liquids and Green Chemistry for sustainable technology through innovation and include Materials (advanced polymeric and composite materials from biorenewables), Separations (novel strategies for separation and purification of value added products from biomass), Energy (new lubricant technologies and selective separations), and Medicine (elimination of waste while delivering improved pharmaceutical performance).


He has been cited over 24,000 times and has a Hirsch index of 73. In 2006, Rogers was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and in 2009 was selected to the inaugural class of ACS Fellows. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. In 2010, he was named a Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Senior Scientist for the Institute for Process Engineering, Beijing, China. He was awarded the American Chemical Society Separations Science & Technology award in 2011 and became an ACS Division of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Fellow in 2012.


Rogers is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the American Chemical Society journal Crystal Growth & Design. He is also an editorial board member of Separation Science & Technology, Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, and Chemistry Letters, as well as a member of the international advisory boards for Green Chemistry, Chemical Communications, and ChemSusChem.


He has had an influential role in the expansion of interest and research in ionic liquid systems, his initial paper on ionic liquid/aqueous partitioning (Chem. Comm. 1998, 1765) effectively kick-started interest in applying ionic liquids to clean separations. In 2005 he was awarded the US Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (Academic Division) for work related to the use of ionic liquids in sustainable technology. This technology was licensed later that year to BASF.


Rogers has co-organized a variety of meetings and symposia on Industrial Applications of Ionic Liquids and he has started a company (525 Solutions) to enhance the commercial viability of new technologies. The breadth of educational, research, editorial, and service endeavors gives Rogers a broad perspective on science and engineering research, development, and technology transfer.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Student Members of the American Chemical Society


Core Ensemble - February 11

Of Ebony Embers-Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance


The Core Ensemble was formed in 1993. The Ensemble has commissioned a series of music theatre pieces which highlight social justice issues and celebrate the diversity of American culture. The Core Ensemble has been touring for nearly twenty years and has performed in every region of the United States. The ensemble has released three CD recordings on New World Records. Funders have included the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Barlow Foundation, the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Humanities Council, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and ArtsLink. International touring has brought the ensemble to venues in Australia, Russia, Ukraine, England, and the Caribbean. The Core Ensemble was a winner of the McDermott Award for Excellence in the Arts, a $10,000 prize awarded annually by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Performances have included such prestigious venues as the Guggenheim Museum, Central Park SummerStage, the Chautauqua Institution and a concert recorded for National Public Radios' Performance Today. Recent tours have brought the Ensemble to venues from Key West, FL to Anchorage, AK, and from Las Cruces, NM to Orono, ME.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin College of Humanities and Fine Arts


Diane Nash - February 21

The Civil Rights Movement and Social Change for the 21st Century


Ms. Nash is a native and current resident of Chicago, Illinois. After the 1960s, she held several administrative positions in social service agencies in Chicago and was a housing and real estate consultant. Currently, she lectures at colleges and universities and continues to be an activist in civil rights and peace issues. Ms. Nash has a daughter and a son who are adults and she is a grandmother. Ms. Nash is a leader in the Civil Rights movement. Her work is discussed in the book Freedom Riders 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault. She has appeared on and in the TODAY Show, the PBS American Experience film, FREEDOM RIDERS directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, the Spike Lee Film, FOUR LITTLE GIRLS , the PBS series EYES ON THE PRIZE: America's Civil Rights Years - 1954 to 1965, and A FORCE MORE POWERFUL, an award-winning documentary on the use of nonviolence, globally. Ms. Nash was chairperson of the student sit-in movement in the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters (Nashville, Tennessee, 1960), one of the founding students of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (1960), and coordinator of the Freedom Ride (from Birmingham, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi, 1961). Ms. Nash has received numerous honors, including one of six awards at the March on Washington (1963) presented to Negro Women Freedom Fighters, the War Resisters' League Peace Award for 1965, and the John F. Kennedy Library "Distinguished American Award" in March, 2003.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Civil Rights Conference


Omar Wasow - March 11

An Insider's Perspective of Cyberspace


Described by The New York Times as "Silicon Alley's Philosopher-Prince," Omar Wasow's work as the Executive Director of and the Internet Analyst for NBC has earned him a reputation as a leading commentator on the challenges and opportunities of new media and the new economy. Whether online or on-air, Wasow constantly works to demystify technology issues and provide an accessible window into the geek world he lives and loves. In that capacity Wasow tutored Oprah Winfrey in her first exploration of the Internet in the 12-part series Oprah Goes Online. Wasow's success as a credible and friendly guide to the Internet led Newsweek to name him one of the "fifty most influential people to watch in cyberspace," and People to call him the "Sexiest Internet Executive."


Wasow has also achieved remarkable success as an online entrepreneur. A perpetual pioneer, he founded the visionary cyberspace community, New York Online, in 1993 and guided the Internet presence of such illustrious clients as Consumer Reports, The New Yorker, Pfizer, Samsung and the Government of Martinique. His success in web design and new media applications helped to shatter early myths that the Internet was a financial dead end. He is also currently pursuing a doctorate in African American studies and political science at Harvard University.


Wasow's keen insider's perspective, sharp wit and anecdotal style captivate audiences and reveal web-related marketing and business strategies that work. In fact, Successful Meetings Magazine named him one of the "21 Top Speakers for the 21st Century." His stories of actual online successes and failures as well as the many ways the Internet is transforming our social, political and economic futures provide a compelling new vision for life online. In the 2012-2013 academic year Wasow will join the Department of Politics at Princeton with a post-doctoral fellowship and, in the fall of 2013, begin teaching as an Assistant Professor.

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Division of Student Affairs


William Klemm - March 28

Better Grades, Less Effort


A noted educator and researcher in neuroscience, Dr. Bill Klemm is a Distinguished Alumnus of Auburn University and a Distinguished Member of Sigma Xi, He has served on the official Editorial Boards of twelve scholarly journals, and edi- tors of 45 research journals have asked him to peer review approximately 1,000 manuscripts.


He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed scholarly papers on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from molecular models of membrane function to human cognition. He has written 50 book chapters and has authored 17 books. His most recent books are Better Grades, Less Effort, 2011 (Benecton), Atoms of Mind, 2011 (Springer) and Memory Power 101, 2012 (Skyhorse/Norton).


He is widely known for his expertise in science education, and his contributions to science education include the development of numerous graduate and under- graduate courses in three departments at two universities. At Texas A&M, he has served on the Graduate Education Committees of three colleges (Agriculture, Science, and Veterinary Medicine). He pioneered in the development of Internet- based collaborative learning environments, co-creating a software program called FORUM that was the forerunner of Internet "wikis." He has authored much of the science curriculum material for middle schools at the web site,


Each month, he writes a newspaper column for baby boomers about memory, attentiveness, perception, and similar topics that are based on studies in the medical and neuroscience literature. He maintains a blog site, "Improve Your Learning and Memory." He also writes a blog for Psychology Today, whose editors have tagged many of his posts as "essential reads." His blog posts have drawn over a quarter million reader views.


In recent years, he has been listed in successive editions of Marquis "Who's Who in America" and "Who's Who in the World."

Co-sponsored by: UT Martin Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society

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