Inaugural Season: December 2017 through 2018 for 5 Great Talks!
Confirmed Great Talks & Speakers
Cyber Wars, the Secrets, the Spies
DATE: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 @ 7pm
VENUE: Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Former NSA Senior Executive And Whistleblower
Thomas Drake served as a senior executive at the NSA from 2001 to 2008. He brought his concerns about wasteful spending at the NSA and the government’s surveillance program to a Baltimore Sun reporter. He was later charged by the Obama Administration with leaking classified information under the Espionage Act, but the charges were ultimately dropped.
Discover more about Thomas Drake:
- “Meet Thomas Drake” film project featuring Edward Snowden
- Smithsonian magazine article
- New Yorker magazine article
- Wikipedia page
Computer Science Professor
Michael W. Hicks is a Professor in the Computer Science department and UMIACS at the University of Maryland and is the former Director of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2). His research focuses on using programming languages and analyses to improve the security, reliability, and availability of software. He has explored the design of new programming languages and analysis tools for helping programmers find bugs and software vulnerabilities, and explored technologies to shorten patch application times by allowing software upgrades without downtime. He has taught a variety of innovative security courses, including a MOOC on software security offered by Coursera. He also led the development of a new security-oriented programming contest, “build-it, break-it, fix-it,” which has been offered to the public and to his Coursera students.
Discover more about Michael Hicks:
Dana Priest - MODERATOR
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
Washington Post investigative reporter and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Ms. Priest became the third John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in 2014.
Priest has spent the majority of her career focusing on national security, military operations and U.S. intelligence agencies. She uncovered secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and deplorable conditions for veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.
Discover more about Dana Priest:
We the People: A Crisis of Identity
DATE: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 @ 7pm
VENUE: Maryland Public Television
Johns Hopkins University
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and History
Professor Jackson earned a doctorate in English and American literature at Stanford University and has held fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, the Stanford Humanities Center, the Ford Foundation, and the William J. Fulbright program at the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. He began his teaching career at Howard University and also taught at Emory University before returning to his hometown to teach at Hopkins. Dr. Jackson is the author of My Father’s Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War (Chicago 2012), The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics (Princeton 2010) and Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius, 1913-1952 (Wiley 2002). Two of his books have been finalists for the Hurston-Wright Prize and The Indignant Generation won the 2011 William Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association and the 2012 Black Caucus of the American Library Association award for non-fiction. His forthcoming biography of Chester Himes will be published by W.W. Norton in 2017.
- NPR review of Jackson’s new biography on Chester Himes
- Jackson Named Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Hopkins
- Interview with Lawrence Jackson
Maryland Democratic Party Chair
Kathleen Matthews has worked in the nation’s capital and Maryland for 40 years as a journalist, communications and public affairs executive, and Democratic political activist. She ran as a Democrat for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District in 2016 and was elected Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party on May 6, 2017. She serves on the boards of Emerge Maryland and Girl Scouts of the National Capital Area, and is active in the Women’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County. Kathleen was the chief communications and public affairs officer for Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel company, and one of Maryland’s largest and most respected employers from 2006-2015. In that role, she was responsible for the company’s global brand public relations, corporate communications, government affairs, social responsibility, and and foundation for people with disabilities.
Prior to her career at Marriott, Kathleen was an award winning news anchor and reporter at the ABC-TV affiliate in Washington, DC for 25 years, where she covered local news in Maryland and the nations capital. Matthews has been awarded multiple journalism awards, including nine local Emmys, the Human Rights Campaign’s Straight Ally Award, and Washingtonian of the Year for her community service.
Kathleen is a 1975 graduate of Stanford University, and a 2004 Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. Her husband is American political commentator, talk show host, and author Chris Matthews.
- Kathleen Matthews listing on Maryland Democratic Party website
- Washington Post article on Matthews elected as Chair of MD Democratic Party
Social scientist & Professor of sociology at American University in Washington, DC.
Ernesto Castañeda conducts research on migration, urban issues, health disparities, vulnerable populations, and social movements. He compares immigrant integration and ethnic political mobilization in the U.S. and Western Europe. He has conducted surveys and ethnographic fieldwork in the United States, France, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Algeria, and Morocco; and published on remittances and development; integration and transnationalism; hometown associations and diaspora organizations; urban exclusion; the border fence; transnational families and the children of migrants left behind; health disparities within immigrant, public housing, and homeless Hispanic populations.
He received a PhD in Sociology from Columbia University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at Columbia University, Baruch College-City University of New York, and the University of Texas at El Paso. He has been a visiting scholar at the Sorbonne, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at the New School for Social Research, and the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford. He is affiliated with the Center on Health, Risk, and Society and the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University, where he is an Assistant Professor of Sociology.
Star Trek Technology, Innovations, and Ideas—for Real
DATE: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 7pm
VENUE: Friend’s School of Baltimore
Electrical & Computer Engineer in Robotics
Robert Armiger is a member of the Principal Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He leads the Biological Sciences and Engineering Group, which performs research at the forefront of Warfighter Protection, Synthetic Biology, and Advanced Biomedical Systems. His current projects include developing neuroprosthetic technologies for restoring function to wounded warfighters, as well as modeling and simulation of human and surrogate systems to understand injury mechanisms due to blast, blunt, and ballistic threats. In 2015, he was named the Maryland Academy of Sciences Outstanding Young Engineer.
Armiger received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA) in 2003 and an M.S. in biomedical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) in 2006.
Discover more about Robert Armiger:
- JHU Faculty Profile
- Video on Robert Armiger Produced by the Maryland Science Center
- Press Release on Maryland Academy of Sciences Award
Joel D. Green
NASA Space Science Institute Project Scientist
Joel Green is the Project Scientist in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Insitute — the Home of Hubble and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescopes, working closely with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Previously he was a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated with a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Rochester. A New Yorker who spent twelve years in upstate NY, six years in Austin, and now a resident of scenic Baltimore, he has acquired a fondness for crab and barbecue, cowboy boots and hats, sunshine, and Civil War battlefields.
Harris L. Edge
Army Research Lab Director, Aberdeen Proving Ground
Harris Edge is currently the Acting Division Chief of the Autonomous Systems Division of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. He has a BS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware. Part of his duties is to coordinate ARL Laboratory activities in unmanned systems mobility and manipulation research. He serves as the ARL liaison to the Robotics Collaborative Technical Alliance in the area of dexterous manipulation and unique mobility, and has served as the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Technology Lead in the area of unmanned mobility and manipulation. His current research is in the area of operations in constrained space, which involves design and fabrication of a multi-rotor thrust vectoring propulsion system for the study of generation and control of human-scale forces and moments for interactions with the environment.
Mr. Edge is also participating in an effort to develop technologies to enable Soldiers to program limbed unmanned platforms to perform work without writing text-based code. As part of the Weapons Analysis Branch, Mr. Edge performed research for hardware-in-the-loop simulation and designed and programmed prototype unmanned ground vehicles fielded in Iraq. In previous years Mr. Edge has performed research in the VTD unmanned aerial vehicles program, and served as Deputy Division Chief from 2004-2007. He has instrumented and programmed several UAV platforms for autonomous flight that include Micro UAVs, drones and UAV gas turbine jets. Previous to his work in robotics, he was part of an ongoing effort to use computational fluid dynamics, (CFD) to model the aerodynamics of guided projectile and missile configurations. His work in CFD led to performing many diverse duties such as running an experiment at ARL’s transonic experimental facility to writing software for multiprocessor high performance computers, (HPC). He was a leader in the Aerodynamics Branch adoption of high performance multiprocessor computers for use in CFD and was among the first to harness the potential of HPCs for CFD computations of fin-stabilized guided munitions, and multibody munitions dispersal. He modified and adapted CFD codes for use on the CM-5 and other parallel HPCs and workstations. This improved capability had a major impact by allowing complex high-resolution computational models to be used for computations on HPC systems where they could be performed in a timely manner. Mr. Edge received several awards for his research in this area.
Sherri Braxton-Lieber - MODERATOR
Dr. Braxton-Lieber currently serves as the Director of Instructional Technology at UMBC where she is responsible for leading the Division of Information Technology’s (DoIT) strategy for end-user support of instructional technologies including online, hybrid, and traditional “face-to-face” technologies. With over 19 years of experience in traditional classroom instruction and adult education strategies grounded in instructional design models, she also possesses over 16 years of experience using learnSherri – photoing technologies in higher education settings, including the design and facilitation of online and hybrid courses. As a result, she has extensive working knowledge of numerous learning management systems including Blackboard, Sakai, and Desire2Learn (D2L). . In addition, Dr. Braxton-Lieber is the DoIT representative on the USM Academic Transformation Advisory Council, a group spearheaded by the William E. Kirwin Center for Academic Innovation.
Dr. Braxton-Lieber earned a Doctor of Science in Computer Science with Minors in Educational Leadership and Management Science from the George Washington University. She also holds a Master of Science in Computer Science with a Math Minor from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Wake Forest University.
Truths, Myths and Breakthroughs in Medical and Cancer Research
DATE:Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 7pm
VENUE: Maryland Science Center
A pioneer in the field of cancer genomics
Bert Vogelstein is director of the Ludwig Center, Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at The Johns Hopkins Medical School and Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. A pioneer in the field of cancer genomics, he has studied colorectal cancers, revealing that they result from the sequential accumulation of mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. These studies now form the paradigm for modern cancer research and provided the basis for the notion of the somatic evolution of cancer. Together with Martin Nowak at Harvard University, he developed many mathematical models to understand the evolutionary process of cancer which lead to various hypotheses about mechanisms and timing of progression and seeding of metastases.
Dan Vergano - MODERATOR
Dan Vergano is a science reporter for BuzzFeed News in Washington D.C. bureau, where he focuses on science and politics. He was previously a staff writer/editor at National Geographic, and senior science writer at USA TODAY. He is on the judging panels for both the AAAS and NAS science writing awards, and is a board member of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW).
Discover more about Dan Vergano:
Into Music: the Lines, the Heat, the Business
DATE: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 @ 7pm
A conversation about the lines that cross over music cultures and genres, to what it is that makes some music hot—nor not—and the business that seems to rule it all.
Musician / Hip Hop Producer
Wendel Patrick has been referred to as “David Foster Wallace reincarnated as a sound engineer” by Urbanite Magazine and as “wildly talented” by the Baltimore Sun. He has been referred to by XLR8R magazine as “a hip-hop producer that could easily make any fan of Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, or Madlib flip out.” The alter-ego of classical and jazz pianist Kevin Gift, Wendel Patrick is rapidly making a name for himself as a producer to be recognized. His five albums, “Sound:”, “Forthcoming”, “JDWP”, “Passage” and “Travel” were all produced without the use of samples, with Patrick playing every note of every instrument. What is perhaps most astounding and perplexing to listeners is that there are actually no instruments…he crafts all of the instruments, and every note, electronically.
Equally at home performing on stage with his band, behind two turntables, beatboxing, improvising, or playing a Mozart Concerto on stage with orchestra, Wendel Patrick has toured Europe on several occasions and performed throughout the world with renowned spoken word artist and poet Ursula Rucker (The Roots, 4Hero). In 2014 Wendel Patrick traveled to Australia as a guest lecturer, speaking about music production and entrepreneurship in the arts at The Australian Institute of Music in Sydney and Melbourne. In 2011 Wendel Patrick co-founded the Baltimore Boom Bap Society, with Erik Spangler (DJ Dubble8) that performs monthly improvised hip hop shows with hand picked musicians and emcees. The monthly event was chosen by the Baltimore City Paper as the “Best New Hip Hop Night” of 2012. Wendel Patrick’s music has also been heard across the country on NPR stations, most notably on “OUT OF THE BLOCKS: 3300 Greenmount Ave.” an award winning program he co-produced with radio producer Aaron Henkin for WYPR that has been featured by the Third Coast International Audio Festival and Hearing Voices as well as the BBC. The program was also chosen as “Best Radio Project” of 2012 by City paper.
In addition to his music Wendel Patrick is an avid photographer and videographer. His photography has been featured on NPR, and he shoots all of the accompanying documentary photography and videography for “OUT OF THE BLOCKS”. He has filmed and directed numerous music videos for other artists.
Wendel Patrick/Kevin Gift majored in both music and political science at Emory University and earned his M.M. in Piano Performance as a scholarship student at the Northwestern University School of Music in Evanston Illinois. He was a full time professor of music at Loyola University in Baltimore where he taught piano, introduction to music theory, music history and electronic music production for eleven years from 2002-2013. Since 1998 Wendel Patrick has spoken at hundreds of programs in elementary schools in Baltimore City and throughout the greater Maryland area through Young Audiences of Maryland and The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s former Arts Excel program. In the Fall of 2016 He will be teaching Hip Hop Music Production: History, Theory and Practice at The Peabody Music Conservatory, the first such course in the conservatory’s history.
Musician, Radio Host, Author & Comedian
Dave Hill is a comedian, writer, musician, actor, radio host, and man-about-town originally from Cleveland, Ohio but now living in New York City in a totally sweet apartment with a party deck and everything. Hot chicks come over to hang out and eat cheese plates and stuff with him all the time and it’s awesome.
Dave is a musician who currently sings and plays guitar in the power pop band Valley Lodge, whose song “Go” is the theme song to HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. He was also a member of Cleveland rock bands Sons of Elvis and Cobra Verde as well as Diamondsnake, a heavy metal band with Moby. Additionally, Dave has played guitar for Walter Schreifels and muscle metal band Thor and bass for Lucy Wainwright Roche and former Faith No More singer Chuck Mosley. He also contributed musical scores to films such as Dirty Deeds, Shoot First and Pray You Live, and then some other ones besides those two.
Dave hosts his own radio show The Goddamn Dave Hill Show on WFMU in Jersey City, New Jersey every Monday night from 9pm to midnight and is also a frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life. He has also appeared on podcasts like WTF with Marc Maron, The Adam Carolla Show, The Nerdist, and then roughly 78 other ones besides those.
Anyway, on the show business front, Dave has appeared on Comedy Central’s @midnight and Inside Amy Schumer programs, TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and and TruTV’s Comedy Knockout among others. He is a frequent on-air host for HBO and Cinemax and has been on channels like MTV, VH1, BBC-America, and the Sundance Channel a whole bunch too. Dave also starred in his own television program The King of Miami on the Mojo Network, which was cancelled even though Dave really liked it. The show also aired in the United Kingdom on Sky TV’s Film24 Channel. And you can still watch The King of Miami on Hulu too, which Dave is super pumped about. Oh, and Dave was a correspondent on Hoppus on Music starring Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus on the Fuse channel, which ruled. Dave has been on other shows and in obscure movies too but let’s keep moving for now.
Dave performs live comedy over the world and has appeared at such festivals as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, San Francisco Sketchfest, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Sasquatch Festival, Bumbershoot, Bonnaroo, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, the Crap Comedy Festival in Oslo, Outside Lands in San Francisco, and then some other ones too. He has also performed comedy at Sing Sing Correctional Facility twice and even ripped some guitar solos inside a Mexican prison once. In 2007, Variety magazine named Dave one of their “10 Comedians to Watch,” something he still won’t shut up about.
Dave is the author of two books, Tasteful Nudes (St. Martins Press, 2012) and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (Blue Rider Press 2016). He has also written for the New York Times, GQ, Salon, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, New York Observer, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, VICE, Guitar World, and a bunch of other places too. Comedy legend Dick Cavett called Dave “a major figure among American comic writers, past and present,” which is pretty much the coolest thing that has ever happened as far as Dave is concerned.
Discover more about Dave Hill:
Acclaimed as a pianist with “astounding musical authority” (Columbia Free Times), Susan Zhang made her orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Augusta Symphony. She has since been featured as a soloist with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Aiken Civic Orchestra. She has performed in numerous venues in North America, Europe, and Asia, including the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (Rochester, NY), Woodruff Arts Center (Atlanta, GA), Capilla de Musica de las Bernardas (Burgos, Spain), Qingshan District Government Hall (Wuhan, China), El Cerrito (Caracas, Venezuela), and the Escuela de Música Mozarteum (Caracas, Venezuela). Her recordings have been broadcast on South Carolina Public Radio.
Susan was a prizewinner of the Thousand Islands Chopin Competition, the Bauru-Atlanta Competition, the Burgos International Music Festival Competition, the Arthur Fraser International Concerto Competition, South Carolina MTNA Young Artist Competition, and the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition. She has spent summers at Pianofest in the Hamptons, Banff Piano Master Class, Burgos International Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and the Southeastern Piano Festival. In the summer of 2014, she was featured as a guest artist in the Southeastern Piano Festival’s Alumni Celebration and Piano Extravaganza concerts.
Susan is also Co-Director of The Concert Truck, an award-winning mobile concert hall that brings live classical piano concerts to diverse populations for free. In collaboration with Rice Music House, The Concert Truck launched in April 2016, performing throughout the city of Columbia, SC in outdoor public spaces, schools, and underserved areas. In the summer of 2017, The Concert Truck went on its first multi-state tour, including locations in the Baltimore/DC area and South Carolina as well as a three-day residency with Minnesota Public Radio. The Concert Truck has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio, Dayton Public Radio, South Carolina Public Radio, and SCETV’s Carolina Money.
Susan began her studies at the age of six. She received her Bachelor of Music degree and Graduate Certificate in Performance from the University of South Carolina and her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music. Her previous primary teachers include Marina Lomazov, Joseph Rackers, and Enrico Elisi. Susan is currently studying at the Peabody Conservatory with Boris Slutsky.
Aaron Henkin - MODERATOR
Radio Producer WYPR
Aaron creates and produces original radio programs for WYPR. His current project is the neighborhood documentary series, Out of the Blocks. His past work includes the long-running weekly cultural program, The Signal, and the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, Tapestry of the Times. Aaron’s stories have aired nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, PRI’s Studio 360, & The World.