Resources for Alumni Volunteers

Speakers: Diversity, Education and Student Retention

To request a speaker, please complete the Speaker Request Form.

*Please note, making a request does not guarantee your speaker will be available. Please wait for confirmation from the Alumni Association before advertising your event.

View full speaker list for additional speech topics.


AldamaFrederick Aldama, Professor, Department of English – Humanities

Bio and Topics

Frederick Luis Aldama is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at The Ohio State University, United States, where his lectures and publications use the advances in the cognitive and neurosciences to shed light on all subjects that make up the humanities. He is editor and author of 20 books. He is founder and director of LASER. He is also founder and co-director of the Humanities and Cognitive High School Summer Institute at The Ohio State University.

Topics: Why the Humanities Matter; The Neurobiology of Parenting; Creating Pathways to Education for Underrepresented (socioeconomic, ethnic, race); What your brain does when you go to the movies, play video games, read novels, and peruse comics

Brian EdmistonBrian Edmiston, Professor of Drama in Education, College of Education and Human Ecology

Bio and Topics

The author of four books, numerous articles, and the recipient of both research and teaching awards, Dr. Edmiston presents nationally and internationally on classroom drama’s potential to transform education. His most recent book is Transforming Teaching and Learning with Active and Dramatic Approaches: Engaging Students Across the Curriculum.  Brian Edmiston has been teaching and learning through drama in the elementary, secondary, and college classroom for over twenty years. He teaches courses in the drama education program and studies how drama can integrate the curriculum and develop ethical awareness in students. In 1991, he received the AATE Research Award.  In 2009 he was the recipient of the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award.

Topics: Dramatic approaches to transforming education; learning wisdom and ethics through dramatic inquiry; “If we’re not doing Shakespeare I’m not coming to school”: engaging reluctant learners by dramatizing classic literature.

Jim FowlerJim Fowler, Assistant Professor, Executive Director The STEAM Factory

Bio and Topics

Jim’s teaching employs technology through his collaboration on MOOcalculus (online “cow-culus” course).  Ohio State has reached hundreds of thousands of learners all around the world with these lectures.  Jim is the Director for the Ohio State’s STEAM Factory.  He has his undergraduate degree from Harvard and PhD from University of Chicago.

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Topics: Mathematics is Fun; mathematics education; summer math camps for high schoolers

Steve GavazziSteve Gavazzi, Professor

Bio and Topics

Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D. is a Professor of Family Science in the Department of Human Sciences in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Dr. Gavazzi’s most recent work involves research and program efforts regarding the substantial impact that campus and community leaders have on town-gown relationships. He has written a book entitled “The Optimal Town-Gown Marriage: Taking Campus-Community Outreach and Engagement to the Next Level” that was published in 2016. His work on town-gown issues makes ample use of the training he received as a family therapist, and has given rise to the development of a typology and a measurement tool that draw parallels between campus-community relationships and marriages. With West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee as a co-author, his book Land-Grant Universities for the Future: Higher Education for the Public Good will be published in 2018 by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Topics: Ohio State, 6 Communities 6 Campuses; The Land Grant University Mission for the 21st Century

J. Nwando Olayiwola,  Chief Clinical Transformation Officer & Associate Clinical Professor, University of California San Francisco

Bio and Topics

Dr. Nwando Olayiwola is a double graduate of The Ohio State University.  She was the Ohio State University Homecoming Queen in 1996-97.  In 2011, she was named one of the Top 100 Buckeyes You Should Know by the Ohio State University Alumni Association. In October 2012, she received the Early Career Achievement Award from the Ohio State University College of Medicine, which is presented “to an alumnus who has made significant contributions in the community, scientific or academic achievement before the age of 40.”  She is currently serving in her second term as the Health Sciences representative for the Ohio State Alumni Advisory Council.  Dr. Olayiwola has been a leader in harnessing technology to increase access to care for underserved and disenfranchised populations and is an expert in the areas of health systems reform, practice transformation, health information technology and primary care redesign.  Since 2007, Dr. Olayiwola has been named one of America’s Top Family Doctors by the Consumers Research Council of America annually.

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion; Charting your own career; Leadership with Grace; Healthcare Redesign;  Minority Women’s Empowerment

StaleyDavid J. Staley, Associate Professor of History

Bio and Topics

Dr. Staley conducts research in digital history and teaches classes on historical methods and on the history of the Ohio State University. Professor Staley also serves as Director of the Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching. He is the author of Computers, Visualization and History, one of the foundational texts in the field of digital history, and History and Future: Using Historical Thinking to Imagine the Future. His book, Brain, Mind and Internet: A Deep History and Future, was published in the fall of 2014. He serves as President of Columbus Futurists, the local chapter of the World Future Society, consulting with organizations and lecturing frequently on future trends. He is currently at work on a “speculative design of the future of higher education,” and has written on future trends in higher education.

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Topics: How Technology is Changing Higher Education; Future Trends in Higher Education; The Ohio State University in the Year 2030

SutterPaul M. Sutter, Astrophysicist

Bio and Topics

For those who want to know how the universe works, Paul Sutter is a new, fresh voice in science communication. An astrophysicist, writer, speaker, producer, and on-air host everywhere from podcasts to TV, Paul strives to bring science to new audiences. By breaking down formidable concepts, emphasizing the human and artistic aspects of the scientific process, and making science accessible with his characteristic conversational, humorous approach, Paul is the one and only Agent to the Stars.

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Topics: Ask a Spaceman; Science 

Full speaker list