Resources for Alumni Volunteers

Speakers: World Issues

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, PhD, Distinguished University Professor Center for Latin American Studies and Director of LASER

Bio and Topics

Frederick Luis Aldama is Distinguished University Professor, Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor of English, University Distinguished Scholar, and Alumni Distinguished Teacher at the Ohio State University. He is the 2019 recipient of the Rodica C. Botoman Award for Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring and the Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award. He is the award-winning author, co-author, and editor of over 40 books. In 2018, Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comicswon the International Latino Book Award and the Eisner Award for Best Scholarly Work. He is editor and coeditor of 8 academic press book series as well as editor of Latinographix, a trade-press series that publishes Latinx graphic fiction and nonfiction. He is creator of the first documentary on the history of Latinx superheroes in comics (Amazon Prime) and co-founder and director of SÕL-CON: Brown & Black Comix Expo. He is founder and director of the Obama White House awardwinning LASER: Latinx Space for Enrichment & Research as well asfounder and co-director of the Humanities & Cognitive Sciences High School Summer Institute. He has a joint appointment in Spanish & Portuguese as well as faculty affiliation in Film Studiesand the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences.In 2020 he debuted his children’s book The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie.

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Topics: Diversity and education; especially creating Latinx pipelines from high school to college and from undergraduate to professional and graduate school; Diversity in pop culture, including comic books, film, TV; Importance of humanities in everyday life; Storytelling Science

*Available for virtual presentations

BermanDouglas A. Berman, Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Director, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Bio and Topics

Professor Douglas A. Berman attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After graduation from law school in 1993, Professor Berman served as a law clerk for Judges Jon O. Newman and Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After clerking, Professor Berman was a litigation associate at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison in New York City.

Professor Berman came to Ohio State in 1997 and his principal teaching and research focus is in the areas of criminal law, criminal sentencing and drug policy. Professor Berman has co-authored two casebooks, Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes and Guidelines, and Marijuana Law and Policy: Cases and Materials and serves as an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

During the 1999-2000 school year, Professor Berman received The Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is given to only 10 people each year from an eligible pool of nearly 3,000 faculty members. Professor Berman was one of the youngest faculty members ever to receive this award, and he was subsequently asked to chair the university committee that selected recipients in the 2002-03 school year.

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Topics: Marijuana reform; Mass incarceration/criminal justice reform; Drug policy; Federal criminal justice politics and sentencing

*Available for virtual presentations

*Available for golf outings

Trevor Brown, Dean, John Glenn College of Public Affairs; Executive Dean of the Professional Colleges

Bio and Topics

Dr. Brown joined the Ohio State University as a faculty member in the School of Public Policy and Management in 2001. He received a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Political Science from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana and a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University, Stanford California. He previously held the position of Pasqual Maragall Chair Visiting Professor at the University of Barcelona’s Department of Economic Policy and Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University. From 1994-2013, he served in managerial roles for the Parliamentary Development Project, a U.S. Agency for International Development funded organization that provided technical assistance to the Ukrainian parliament. He continues to teach graduate and undergraduate courses on rebuilding failed and weak states and public management.

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Topics: Public Policy and Management, Public Sector Contracting

*Available for virtual presentations

Dr. Ian Davis, BSVSc, PhD, ATSF, Professor College of Veterinary Medicine

Bio and Topics

I received both my Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences degrees (the latter the British equivalent to the D.V.M.) from the University of Bristol, England, in 1989 and 1992, respectively. I went on to receive my Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in July of 2000. In 2006 I moved to The Ohio State University (OSU), where I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences.  My studies since joining OSU have been oriented towards improving our understanding of the impact of viral infections (primarily influenza A) on lung function. The goal of these studies is to identify novel host determinants of influenza, which can be targeted therapeutically, and I have recently filed a patent for a novel influenza treatment, which is in the process of being licensed for further clinical development.

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Topics: How far have we come since the great influenza pandemic of 1918? When Vaccines and Drugs don’t work, what’s next for Influenza? Your tax dollars at work, how science gets done in the 21st century.

*Available for virtual presentations

HarrisJim Harris, PhD, Lecturer, Department of History

Bio and Topics

Dr. Jim Harris is an historian of modern Europe (with a focus on Great Britain) and the history of science, medicine, and the environment. He received his Ph.D. from, and is currently a lecturer in, the department of history at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on the history of public health, infectious diseases and the history of the human sciences, as well as global environmental history and the history of the First World War.

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Topics: History of Medicine (i.e. 1918 Influenza, History of Vaccines); European History since 1789 (especially that Great Britain); The Anthropocene/Climate Change

*Available for virtual presentations

HerrmannRichard K. Herrmann, PhD, Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of Arts & Sciences, emeritus

Bio and Topics

Former Director of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and former Chair of the Department of Political Science. Also served on the PolicyPlanning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, when James Baker was Secretary of State. Has written extensively on U.S. foreign policy and especially its relationships with Russia, China and in the Middle East. He has also written on European politics,NATO and the European Union. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. Taught for 36 years at Ohio State, receiving the Arts and Sciences Student Council Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009-2010.

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Topics: U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy (design, formulation, and future); Russian politics and Moscow’s foreign policy, especially in Europe (e.g. Ukraine and NATO) and in the Middle East (e.g. Syria); Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and U.S. policy in the Middle East; The politics of NATO and the European Union; The rise of China and U.S. relations with China, Japan and South Korea

*Available for virtual presentations

HorackJohn M. Horack, PhD, Professor and Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy, Sr. Associate Dean, College of Engineering Interim Director, Center for Avia6on Studies

Bio and Topics

Dr. John M. Horack is the inaugural holder of the Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy, with a joint appointment between the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, in the College of Engineering, and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He is also the Senior Associate Dean of Engineering, and the Interim Director for the Ohio State Center for Aviation Studies. Before coming to Ohio State in 2016, Dr. Horack served as the Vice President for Space Systems at Teledyne Brown Engineering, as the Vice President for Research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and spent nearly two decades as a NASA Civil Servant, performing original theoretical and experimental research in high-energy astrophysics, cosmology, and gamma-ray bursts, as well as serving as a member of the Senior Executive Service, leading the Science and Mission Systems Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

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Topics: Space Exploration/Astronomy/Astrophysics; Leadership, Motiva6on, Organizational Development; Science and Engineering in the Public Interest; Aviation/Aerospace

*Available for golf outings

*Available for virtual presentations

Casey Hoy, PhD, Faculty Director, InFACT, the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation; Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management

Bio and Topics

Casey Hoy, has held the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management and provided leadership to the Agroecosystems Management Program of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center since 2006.  He is the Faculty Director of the Ohio State University Discovery Themes Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation, InFACT, an investment of more than $100 million over the next 10 years in resilient and sustainable food security, including 30 new faculty hires across the University.   The program seeks balance between prosperous farms, sustainable communities and healthy environments and to build local and regional economies across the rural to urban continuum, starting with food systems. This Center brings together needed expertise across the food system value chain. It brings current science and technology to bear on relocalization of food systems to support healthy communities and healthy ecosystems.

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Topics: Food Security; Sustainable Agriculture; Healthy Agroecosystems

*Available for virtual presentations

Dr. Nicole Kraft, Associate Professor of Clinical Communication

Bio and Topic

Dr. Nicole Kraft spent 25 years as an award-winning reporter, editor and magazine journalist, while working also in public relations for professional sports and government communications.  She joined the Ohio State School of Communication in 2010, and her areas of expertise include news, sports and feature writing, social media, sports communication, media law and ethics, and academic use of mobile technology. Her focus in teaching and research has been in utilizing technology in journalism and global education, as well as the intersection of sports and society. Her dissertation developed a grounded theory regarding academic use of mobile technology among student-athletes.

Additional roles: Director: Sports and Society Initiative; Chair: Council on Distance Education, Library and Information Technology; Apple Distinguished Educator

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Topics: Fake News, 1st Amendment and Free Speech, Sports and Society, iPad Learning

*Available for virtual presentations – can do virtual presentation with Jeff Trimble

Larry Krissek, Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences

Bio and Topics

Dr. Krissek joined the faculty at Ohio State in 1982.His teaching has ranged from introductory courses on geology to graduate courses on sediments.He has received teaching awards from Ohio State’s Stone Lab, the School of Earth Sciences, and The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Larry’s research focuses on understanding Earth’s climate history as recorded in sediments and sediments and rocks. He has worked in Antarctica, led Ohio State’s Study Abroad program to Antarctica, and sailed on nine scientific ocean drilling cruises.

Topics: Antarctica; Geological Hazards; Reading Climate History from the Ocean Floor; Geologic Setting of Lake Erie

*Available for virtual presentations

Mitchell Lerner, PhD, Professor of History, Faculty Associate, Mershon Center for International Security, Director, Institute for Korean Studies

Bio and Topics

Mitchell Lerner is associate professor of history at The Ohio State University. His research and teaching focus is on modern American diplomatic and political history during the Cold War, with an emphasis on U.S.-Korean relations. He came to Ohio State in 2000, and is now the director of the Institute for Korean Studies.Lerner has received fellowships and grants from the Korea Foundation, Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library, Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library, and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, where he won the Kovler Fellowship in Foreign Intelligence in 2001. He has served as editor of Passport: The Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations Review. In 2005, Lerner won the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

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Topics: U.S. / Korean Relations; East Asia

*Available for virtual presentations

Peter Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military History

Bio and Topics

Dr. Peter Mansoor, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), is the General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military History at The Ohio State University and a frequent commentator in the media on national security affairs. A 1982 distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he earned his doctorate from The Ohio State University. He assumed his academic position in September 2008 after a 26 year military career that included two combat tours and which culminated in his service as the executive officer to General David Petraeus, the Commanding General of Multi-National Force-Iraq.

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Topics: World War II, Iraq War, The Surge, The War Against ISIS, U.S. National Security

*Available for golf outings

*Available for virtual presentations

Kendra McSweeney, Professor 

Bio and Topics

Kendra McSweeney is a geographer whose current research seeks to understand how the cocaine trade impacts the landscapes through which drugs are trafficked. She works mainly in Central America, where indigenous territories and biodiverse forests are being destroyed by their encounter with drug traffickers. How and why does this happen? The answer lies in large part with choices made here in the U.S., especially around our approach to the War on Drugs. She also does research in Appalachian Ohio, to understand how people and forests co-exist there. Her research has appeared in Science, Nature, and in Environmental Research Letters. She currently serves as the elected Chair of the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG). In 2005 she received Ohio State’s highest teaching honor, the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

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Topics: War on Drugs and Central America Deforestation, Indigenous Peoples in Latin America

MillerHarvey Miller, PhD, Bob and Mary Reusche Chair in Geographic Information Science; Professor, Department of Geography; Director, Center for Urban and Regional Analysis

Bio and Topics

My scholarship focus on urban transportation, sustainability and geospatial data science. I use new sources of mobility and urban data to understand human dynamics at a range of geographic scales –local, neighborhood, community and regional. My lens for viewing these dynamics is sustainability –environment impact, social equity and economic innovation. As Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, I engage community partners to help them address urban challenges with the best science and data available. I am also interested in smart cities and the future of urbanity.

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Topics: Transportation and cities, Smart cities, Sustainable mobility, Mobility and social equity, Future of cities

*Available for virtual presentations

Tom Rieland, General Manager, WOSU Public Media

Bio and Topics

Tom Rieland has served as General Manager of WOSU Public Media at The Ohio State University since 2002. WOSU includes Central Ohio’s PBS, NPR, and classical music stations. Tom has over 30 years of experience in broadcast journalism and management, including a Master’s degree in Journalism. WOSU’s radio operations were named the best in Ohio by the Associated Press in 2020 in competition with other public and commercial stations. WOSU’s local television programming have been winners of numerous regional Emmy awards and nationalhonors for programming such as Columbus Neighborhoodsand Broad & High. Tom was recently elected to a second term on the PBS Board in Arlington, VA.He is the author of Sparks Flew –WOSU’s Century On The Air, published by the Ohio State Press. After 50-years at the Fawcett Center, WOSU is on the move, transitioning to a new headquarters and studios in mid-2021 as part of the Campus Partners 15+High development.

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Topics: WOSU’s century of broadcasting; Ohio State’s role in the birth of educational broadcasting; the future of public media; building a media facility for the future

*Available for golf outings

*Available for virtual presentations

Ian M. Sheldon, Anderson Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy

Bio and Topic

Ian Sheldon is currently the Andersons Chair of Agricultural Marketing Trade and Policy in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at Ohio State. He earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Salford in 1981, and before coming to Ohio State in 1990, he was a lecturer in Economics at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. His main research interests are in international economics and public policy. He was elected Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in 2019.

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Topic: International Trade and Policy

*Available for virtual presentations

StaleyDavid J. Staley, Associate Professor of History

Bio and Topics

Dr. David Staley is an associate professor of history and a futurist at The Ohio State University. He is the author of four books:

• Alterative Universities: Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education

• Brain, Mind and Internet: A Deep History and Future

• Computers, Visualization and History

• History and Future: Using Historical Thinking to Imagine the Future

He serves as host of the podcast “Voices of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences,” and has been the host of the “Buckeye Biography,” an online course on the history of Ohio State produced for the Sesquicentennial. Everyspring semester, David teaches the course “The Ohio State University: Its History and Its World” with University Archivist Tamar Chute.

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Topics: The History and Future of The Ohio State University; Technology Trends and their Future Implications (Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, the future of work, the future of education, e.g.)

*Available for virtual presentations

TarvinAndrew Tarvin, Humor Engineer

Bio and Topics

Andrew Tarvin is the world’s first Humor Engineer, teaching people how to get better results while having more fun. Andrew graduated from The Ohio State University, Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering and a minor in playing videogames. After graduating, Andrew worked as global project manager at Procter & Gamble wherehe managed million dollar projects for a $350 million business, earning multiple internal awards for his leadership, communication style, and the jokes he included at the ends of emails. In 2009, he started Humor That Works, a leadership development company that helps organizations use humor to increase engagement, relieve stress, and reduce turnover. Since then, Andrew has helped more than 250 organizations, including P&G, GE, IBM, ESPN, Microsoft, the FBI, PepsiCo, and the International Association of Canine Professional. He is a best-selling author, has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and Forbes, and was recently recognized as a ‘Visionary Under 40’ by the P&G Alumni Network. His TEDx talk on the skill of humor has been viewed more than seven million times, only half of which were his mother. He loves chocolate and tweeting puns.

Topics: Leading on Your Feet:  The Art and Science of Leadership through Improvisation; Humor That Works: The Missing Skill for Success and Happiness at Work; Effective-er Virtual Presentations: How to Increase the Impact of Your Message in a Virtual World

*Available for golf outings

*Available for virtual presentations

Jeffrey Trimble, Professor School of Communication and Department of Political Science

Bio and Topic

Disinformation – the purposeful spread of false or misleading information — is an ancient phenomenon but has exploded in recent years thanks to modern technologies including social media. Reality increasingly is being distorted by fake videos, fake people and cries of “fake news.” And it’s getting easier to generate fakes and to spread them instantly and virally. What are the consequences of the rising tide of disinformation? Can anything be done to fight fakes without endangering our fundamental values including freedom of speech? What will happen if we fail to rein in disinformation?

Trimble has been an international journalist, editor and media manager for more than 35 years. He came to Ohio State in 2018 as Lecturer in the School of Communication and the Department of Political Science.

Trimble served most recently as Deputy Director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the U.S. government agency that oversees all U.S.-funded non-military international broadcasting, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Watch Video >>

Topic: Fake News, The Media

*Available for virtual presentations – can do virtual presentation with Nicole Kraft

WinslowChristopher Winslow, PhD, Director, Ohio Sea Grant & Stone Laboratory

Bio and Topics

Christopher Winslow, PhD is the Director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program and The Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory. As director, he oversees all aspects of the program including developing goals, objectives and policies for the program; hiring and managing staff; maintaining facilities and equipment; overseeing fundraising and budgets; writing proposals and serving as principal investigator; awarding grants and scholarships; public speaking; donor development; overseeing development of Stone Lab curriculum; hiring faculty; coordinating legislative/ congressional interactions; and leading/serving on state, regional and national boards, task forces, committees and groups. He is currently managing >150 grants totaling $14,000,000 in areas such as algal bloom science, fisheries, green infrastructure, dredging, crude oil transport, and pharmaceutical and personal care products. Winslow’s recent publications include topics such as phosphorous reduction, usage impairment criteria for large waterbodies, and fish passage through man-made structures in Lake Erie.

Topics: Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

*Available for virtual presentations

Full speaker list