Keynote Speaker Webcasts


Keynote Speaker for 2016


Dr. Edem S. Agamah is an Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  He is the 2014 award winner in volunteerism and Community Service for the American College of Physicians, Illinois Chapter. Dr. Agamah founded the International Health an Development Network (IHDN) in 1996. Since 1996, he has led over 280 volunteers, including 30 college and medical students, on 27 mission trips to Ghana, where they learned and provided care for tens of thousands of villagers in Southeastern Ghana.

Webcast of Dr. Agamah’s Address 


Keynote Speakers for 2015

Jericho BrownJericho Brown’s first collection of poetry, Please, won the 2009 American Book Award. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Bunting Fellowship from Harvard University, a Whiting Writer’s Award, and his poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, The New Republic, A Public Space, The American Poetry Review, and The Best American Poetry. His 2014 collection of poetry, The New Testament, was recently published by Copper Canyon Press. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston and an M.F.A. from the University of New Orleans. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University. For more information about Dr. Brown go to

Webcast of Dr. Brown’s Poetry Reading


Photo by Josh Blanchard

Sonja Lyubomirsky (Harvard, A.B., summa cum laude; Stanford, Ph.D.) is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Her teaching and mentoring have been recognized with the Faculty of the Year (twice) and Faculty Mentor of the Year Awards, and her research has been honored with a Templeton Positive Psychology Prize and grants from the Science of Generosity Initiative, Templeton Foundation, and NIMH. Lyubomirsky’s best-selling 2008 book, The How of Happiness, has been published in 23 countries, and the 2013, Myths of Happiness, in 20 countries. Her work has been featured in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, as well as TV shows (20/20, The Today Show, Good Morning America), radio shows (NPR), and feature documentaries across the globe. For more information about Dr. Lyubomirsky go to

Webcast of Dr. Lyubomirsky’s Address


Keynote Speakers for 2014

Dorothy Allison Dorothy Allison received mainstream recognition with her novel Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award. The novel won the Ferro Grumley prize, an ALA Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing, and also became a bestseller and award-winning movie. Her short story collection, Trash (1988), won two Lambda Literary Awards and the American Library Association Prize for Lesbian and Gay Writing. Cavedweller (1998) became a national bestseller, NY Times Notable book of the year, finalist for the Lillian Smith prize, and an ALA prize winner. Adapted for the stage by Kate Moira Ryan, the play was directed by Michael Greif, and featured music by Hedwig composer, Steven Trask. In 2003, Lisa Cholendenko directed a movie version featuring Kyra Sedwick. The expanded edition of Trash (2002) included the prize winning short story, “Compassion” selected for both Best American Short Stories 2003 and Best New Stories from the South 2003. For more information about Ms. Allison go to

Webcast of Ms. Allison’s Presentation


Peter Karieva - SmallPeter Kareiva is the Chief Scientist and a Vice President for The Nature Conservancy.  He is a recognized leader in the conservation community.  Prior to taking on his leadership role with The Nature Conservancy, he was Director of the Division of Conservation Biology at NOAA.  He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and authored more than 100 articles.  He is co-author of the 2011 textbook, Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature.   His work is international in scope conducting research, consulting, and teaching in 20 countries.  In 2007, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected him as a fellow.  A 2012 profile of Kareiva in Greenwire was titled, “Myth-busting Scientist Pushes Greens Past Reliance on ‘Horror Stories.’”  More information about Dr. Kareiva is available at his Nature Conservancy profile,

Webcast of Dr. Kareiva’s Presentation


Keynote Speakers for 2013


Mary Jo BangMary Jo Bang, M.F.A.
Mary Jo Bang is the author of six books of poems, including The Bride of E (2009) and Elegy (2007), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her translation of Dante’s Inferno, with illustrations by Henrik Drescher, was published by Graywolf Press in 2012. She received an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University. Ms. Bang is currently a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis.

Webcast of Ms. Bang’s Poetry Reading


Ryan EwingRyan Ewing, Ph. D.
Ryan Ewing is an Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Alabama. He is currently exploring the surface of Mars with the NASA Curiosity team. Dr. Ewing studies how wind shapes planetary surfaces and how the resulting geomorphic record is archived in ancient rocks. His research uses field work, remote sensing, and numerical modeling to unravel the paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental records locked within these wind-blown sediments and rocks across these worlds. Dr. Ewing’s presentation is titled, “Mars’ Past and Present Dynamic Environments.”

Webcast of Dr. Ewing’s Address



Keynote Speakers for 2012

bonniejocampbell_003Bonnie Jo Campbell, M.F.A.
Bonnie Jo Campbell is the author of numerous books including, American Salvage, Q Road, and Once Upon a River. Her work has been awarded the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Prize for short fiction, the Pushcart Prize, and she was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in fiction. Ms. Campbell received her M.A. in Mathematics and her M.F.A. in Writing from Western Michigan University. She currently lives in Michigan and teaches writing in the low residency program at Pacific University in Oregon.

Webcast of Ms. Campbell’s Literature Reading


CyntiaFisher_002Cynthia Fisher, Ph.D.
Dr. Cynthia Fisher is a Professor of Psychology with appointments in the Linguistics Department and the Beckman Institute Cognitive Science Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her field of professional interest is language acquisition; she studies the beginnings of sentence comprehension by infants and toddlers. Dr. Fisher is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica in Taiwan, and at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. Dr. Fisher’s presentation is titled, “Learning Words and Rules: The Early Developement of Sentence Comprehension.”