Academic Speakers Program


View 2015-2016 Academic Speakers

View 2014-2015 Academic Speakers

View 2013-2014 Academic Speakers

View 2012-2013 Academic Speakers


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.


More to come...

University Scholars Organization

Learn about USO.

Visit USO >

Academic Speakers Program

Learn More >