Laurentians Learn Series

Be "back in the classroom" with today's St. Lawrence faculty and staff members as they lead a virtual discussion on an area of their expertise.

In partnership with the Alumni Executive Council, the University presents "Laurentians Learn," a series of webinars aimed at expanding learning opportunities from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and parents on important and interesting topics.

Watch the Lectures

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Aileen O'Donoghue, Henry Priest Professor of Physics, and Tyler Karasinski '24, NASA Partner Eclipse Ambassador, on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

Not to return to New York for more than a century, this April’s total solar eclipse will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is sure to please. Join research astronomer and Henry Priest Professor of Physics, Dr. Aileen O’Donoghue, and NASA Partner Eclipse Ambassador, Tyler Karasinski ’24, as they explore the sensations of totality, drawing from historical eyewitness accounts, cultural perspectives, and the hidden science that puts it all in motion.

Unsure of what to expect come April 8th? Here’s a sneak peek: dogs will bark, and birds will chirp. Winds will rush as temperatures drop and nighttime descends at midday. The daytime sky will be cast in a spectacular sunset before revealing the stars and a shimmering halo of glitter and light around the Sun. Join us to learn more and explore the beauty of totality right here on campus in our own backyard.

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Alexander Schreiber, Associate Professor of Biology, on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

Tadpole metamorphosis and human perinatal development are strikingly similar processes. Both are accompanied by dramatic developmental changes in lungs, limbs, brain, immune system, and gut in preparation for an abrupt transition from an aquatic to terrestrial lifestyle. The timing of these processes is controlled by the same sets of hormones, and hormonal aberrations may result in premature or delayed metamorphosis in tadpoles, or preterm or post-term birth in humans. Alex Schreiber’s lab at St. Lawrence studies the synergistic effects of stress and thyroid hormones on metamorphosis of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. This presentation discusses the influence of stress hormones on the timing of metamorphosis and childbirth, highlighting some remarkable similarities.

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Daniel M. Look, Rutherford Professor of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics, on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.

Grades, and the process of grading, are disliked by students and professors alike. Yet grading is considered necessary in higher education. What are the objectives of grading and are there other ways to meet these objectives? In this talk, Dr. Look will discuss some alternative approaches, adapted from humanities and writing courses, that he is using for his mathematics courses at St. Lawrence with the intent of re-centering assessment away from grades and toward increasing student knowledge.

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Matt Carotenuto, Professor of History & Hanson Associate Dean of International and Intercultural Studies, and Dr. Michael Wairungu, Assistant Director of Academics and Student Life for the Kenya Semester Program, on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.

For 50 years, St. Lawrence University has established itself as a national leader in off-campus study in Africa. More than 2,300 students have spent a semester or summer term in East Africa, and the program would not be able to offer such a transformative opportunity for students without a vast network of community partners throughout the region. But how are host communities impacted through the powerful experiences they facilitate for our students?

By examining the theme of reciprocity within off-campus study, this talk will draw from recently published collaborative research which uses SLU’s 50 year history in Kenya as a lens to explore the benefits and challenges of ethical community engagement in off-campus study.

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Kevin Angstadt '14, Assistant Professor of Math, Computer Science, and Statistics, and Dr. Jennifer Hansen, Professor of Philosophy on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
From ChatGPT to strikes for AI protections, AI is at the forefront of public interest. In this talk, Kevin and Jennifer will argue that the public curiosity and anxiety surrounding advances in AI are no different from past disruptive technological advances (e.g., electricity, the printing press, the automobile, etc.). They'll look at some case studies with both "positive" and "negative" outcomes to provide a crash course in some of the basic terminology and inner working of AI. Finally, they'll then move into a broader discussion of a more philosophical nature, focusing on how AI relates to human flourishing, values, and truth.

St. Lawrence University’s Alumni Executive Council and the Office of Laurentian Engagement hosted a panel with the Reunion 2023 Alumni Award winners on May 24, 2023. During Reunion Weekend 2023, William W. Dennett '68, M'74, Jeremy T. Smith '73 and Erica Silver Dahl '93 will receive Alumni Citations for their dedication and service to the Laurentian Community, while Christopher L. Bunting ’93 and Francis Chachu Ganya ’96 will receive the Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service.  

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Damon Berry, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, on Thursday, May 18, 2023.
Dr. Berry will discusses his research on the ways that secrecy and religion have been used by American white power groups – historically and currently – to bind and inspire members and to define the groups’ racialist ideologies. How have religious discourse and symbolism been deployed in the creation of white power movements, their political and terroristic activities, and the way they view race and their role in a coming world racial order?

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Jon Rosales, Professor of Environmental Studies on Thursday, March 23, 2023.
Climate change affects large systems, like the polar vortex and permafrost, to more localized concerns like the possibility of backyard ice rinks. In this session, Dr. Rosales will present two of his latest research initiatives, one on the impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples in the Arctic and the other on hockey practice time in the North Country.

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Dr. Aileen O'Donoghue, Henry Priest Professor of Physics, on Thursday, February 23, 2023.
In this talk, Aileen delves into the lovely constellations of winter: Orion, Taurus, Gemini, Canis Major (home of Sirius), and Mars high and bright among them. The Winter Hexagon is at its peak in the early evening sky as Leo rises to chase them past the western horizon to bring us spring. The waxing moon will have close encounters with Jupiter and Mars as February ends. The full moon on March 7, 2023 will light the evenings just before we “Spring Ahead” to move sunset an hour later with Daylight Saving Time. Aileen also explains why we do Daylight Saving Time (no "s" on saving) and what it would be like to NOT have it: to stay either on standard or daylight time.

St. Lawrence University’s Alumni Executive Council and the Office of Laurentian Engagement hosted a panel with the Reunion 2022 Alumni Award winners on May 10, 2022.
During Reunion Weekend 2022, Dr. William A. Van Wie '67, Barbarajean "BJ" Schaefer Blodgett '72, Jeffrey P. Spafford '88, and Dr. Wambui Mutoru '06 will receive Alumni Citations for their dedication and service to the Laurentian Community, while Dr. Edward “Ted” F. Higgins '71 will receive the Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service.  

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Josh Lanza, Esports Coordinator and Super Smash Bros. Coach, and Duncan Stuard '22, Super Smash Bros. team captain, on April 26, 2022.
Esports is the newest addition to St. Lawrence University's athletics program, providing members of the team with the opportunity to take their passion and channel it into strategy, teamwork and competition. The 29-member Saints team, launched in 2020 and managed by Esports Coordinator Josh Lanza and coaches Kyle Jicha, Information Technology System Engineer, and Eric Shinnick, Executive Director of Finance, competes in the Eastern College Athletic Conference in four games. Join Josh Lanza and Duncan Stuard '22, Super Smash Bros. team captain, to hear about the growth of Esports and its place in college athletics as well as the St. Lawrence team's origin and what it's doing for students on campus now, and in the future. 

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Paul Doty, Special Collections & Archives Librarian, and Paul Haggett, Retired Archivist's Assistant on March 29, 2022.
Join Paul Doty and Paul Haggett of the Owen D. Young Library’s Special Collections Department to explore the Laurentian legacies of Harry Reiff, Frank P. Piskor, and Owen D. Young.  Get a sense of how St. Lawrence shaped this trio’s accomplishments, and how those accomplishments also shaped St. Lawrence.  Along the way, you’ll learn about some of the “must-see” materials in our archives, manuscripts, and Rare Book Collections.

Laurentians Learn Series: Presented by Abid Amiri '11, author of The Trillion Dollar War on March 3, 2022.
In this webinar, Abid Amiri will discuss his book The Trillion Dollar War and the impacts felt both at home and abroad of America's longest war.  He will explore the efforts to rebuild Afghanistan during the last 20 years, the decisions and investments made, and the outcomes facing us today.

About Abid Amiri '11:Abid Amiri is an Afghan American currently working as an economist in Washington, DC. He was the policy director for the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan between 2016 and 2018. Prior to joining the Policy Department, he was an economic advisor to the Minister of Finance, Eklil Hakimi. Amiri has a wide range of domestic and international work experience in the development sector. He worked as the economic affairs officer for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington between 2012 and 2014. Moreover, he has worked for a number of nonprofit organizations based in Washington and Afghanistan.

Amiri holds a master’s degree in international development studies from the Elliott School and a bachelor’s degree in economics and global studies from St. Lawrence University in New York. He has a number of publications including his work on "Road Reconstruction in Post-Conflict Afghanistan: A Cure or a Curse?" (2013) and a 2010 article on unemployment in Afghanistan in The Global Journal. Amiri is fluent in Pashto, Dari, and English.

Laurentians Learn Series:  Presented by Dr. Precious Hall, Assistant Professor of Government on January 26, 2022.
Dr. Precious Hall is excited to present on differences in public opinion in the United States. We all have opinions based on a variety of factors, but what exactly does this look like? From the Silent Generation to Generation Z, this talk will discuss the differences in public opinion amongst various groups. Come ready to understand how different generations and different races and ethnicities view subjects such as equality, freedom, justice, and religion and just how much of a “game-changer” the pandemic has been. This talk is meant to help provide context for how different groups view these important subjects, with the hope of bridging what many perceive to be great divides. This talk hopes to serve as a foundation for opening the space for meaningful dialogue and conversation to make us all more invested in our communal citizenship.

Laurentians Learn Series:  Presented by Adam Hill, Associate Professor of Chemistry on December 2, 2021.
Our planet faces twin challenges: providing energy for a rapidly developing world and reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change. Renewable sources capture energy from our environment but face ongoing challenges with economically storing that energy. Join Professor Adam Hill to learn about artificial photosynthesis (AP), which uses sunlight to transform carbon dioxide and water from the atmosphere directly into energy-dense chemical fuels—cheaply storing solar energy while also actively reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Explore the special techniques Professor Hill and his team of SLU students use to synthesize model AP devices and probe their capabilities with pulsed lasers.

Laurentians Learn Series:  Presented by Dr. Ronnie Olesker, Associate Professor of Government on October 20, 2021.
In 2015, the Palestinian Soccer Association campaigned to ban Israel from FIFA (the international soccer federation) for its mistreatment of Palestinians. Israeli politicians referred to the move as “diplomatic terrorism” akin to the massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes in Munich Olympics in 1972, even when it was clear that the campaign would fail. This past summer, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company decided to stop selling its ice cream in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Israel’s president, a moderate, referred to the decision as “a new form of terrorism”. Arizona and New Jersey have already dumped their State bonds from Unilever—Ben and Jerry’s parent company—in response to the decision to stop selling Ice cream in Israeli settlements. Several states are considering similar measures.

These sorts of campaigns against Israel are part of a larger Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which emerged in the early 2000s. The movement directly challenges the legitimacy of Israel’s Jewish identity and its continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. In this talk, Dr. Olesker will explain how Israel’s response to BDS, rather than enhance its legitimacy, has served to further undermine its international legitimacy, especially among American liberals and progressives.
 

Presented by Dr. Steve Peraza '06 on September 23, 2021.
Join Dr. Steve Peraza ’06, Assistant Professor of History at Buffalo State College, for a virtual talk honoring the life and work of the Rev. Jeffrey Campbell ’33. Reverend Campbell was a lifelong educator, Unitarian Universalist Minister, essayist, and poet. He was the first African-American to graduate from St. Lawrence University and the first Black Laurentian to be ordained as a Universalist minister by the St. Lawrence School of Theology in 1935.
 

Lunch 'n Learn: Presented by Dr. Serge Onyper, the James R. Wallace Professorship in Psychology on June 15, 2021 during The Laurentian Celebration.
Growing the University’s endowment was one of the primary goals of The Campaign for Every Laurentian, as it provides critical resources to students and faculty for dynamic research. This is evident in the work of Associate Professor Dr. Serge Onyper, who holds the endowed James R. Wallace Professorship in Psychology. Listen to Dr. Onyper as he discusses his timely research about video conferencing and its effects on sleep patterns.

Lunch 'n Learn: Presented by Bill Short P’09, ’12, St. Lawrence’s current HEOP Director, and Tony Ross ’75, M’78, the inaugural HEOP Director at the University on June 16, 2021 during The Laurentian Celebration. 
The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program has transformed and enriched the St. Lawrence University community for over 50 years and produced graduates who embody the “HEOP Works!” motto today. Listen to Bill Short P’09, ’12, St. Lawrence’s current HEOP Director, and Tony Ross ’75, M’78, the inaugural HEOP Director at the University, as they discussed the origins of the program at St. Lawrence and how it has evolved over the years. Current HEOP students also joined the conversation and reflected on the program today.

The Alumni Executive Council hosted a roundtable featuring the 2021 Alumni Citation and Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service winners as a part of The Laurentian Celebration in June 2021.  This group includes:

• Thomas E. Hoffman ’75, P’20Alumni Citation Recipient
• Gary C. Dake ’82Alumni Citation Recipient
• Mary Neff Peterson ’82, P’12, ’14Alumni Citation Recipient
 Jennifer Johnson Eddy ’82Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service Recipient

The Alumni Executive Council hosted a roundtable featuring 2020 Alumni Citation and Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service winners as a part of The Laurentian Celebration in June 2021. This group includes:

Heidi A. Hansen ’70, Alumni Citation Recipient
Todd R. Haskell ’90, Alumni Citation Recipient
Molly Mullady Arbogast ’91, Alumni Citation Recipient
Donald Danforth III ’89, P’20, Sol Feinstone Award for Humanitarian Service Recipient

(Jamie P. Baker ’89, Alumni Citation recipient, is unable to join for this panel.)

Laurentians Learn Series:  Presented by Dr. Aswini Pai, Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Biology on April 28, 2021
How worried should we be about the severe declines in bee populations?  Dr. Pai will offer perspective on the scope of the problem, particularly as it relates to the wild bee species that she and her students study.  Wild bees contribute to food security by pollinating fruits and vegetables, often buffering the pollination services of the European honey bees.  Dr. Pai will discuss her research on bee communities in St. Lawrence County and will share preliminary results of her findings on how plant diversity in kitchen and ornamental gardens -- an important source of food security, especially in rural areas such as St. Lawrence County -- can help wild bee communities.  She will also highlight ways in which we can contribute to the conservation of native wild bee species.
 

Laurentian Diversity & Inclusion Webinar Series: Session 3 -Presented by John O'Connor, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Student Activities, Ashlee Downing-Duke, Associate Director of Student Activities & Leadership, and Dr. Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion on November 19, 2020.
“Building Ally-ship, Support, and Advocacy for the LGBTQIA Community” with John O'Connor, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Student Activities and Ashlee Downing-Duke, Associate Director of Student Activities & Leadership. In this third session, John and Ashlee will focus on how we can facilitate stronger LGBTQIA communities and work towards safe, inclusive, and informed spaces. A special focus will be given to how this is happening within the St. Lawrence community. This session will be held as a traditional Zoom meeting for increased engagement and interaction during the question and answer period. Dr. Kimberly Flint-Hamilton will also be in attendance for questions.

Laurentian Diversity & Inclusion Webinar Series: Session 2 - Presented by Dr. Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion on October 8, 2020.“Moving Beyond Our Biases” with Dr. Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion. It is no longer enough to observe the hurt and injustice against those in the Black community. We need to move from awareness to action. In this session, Kimberly will present on race today in America through an examination of interpersonal and systemic racism and how biases shape and influence both. Participants will also walk away with anti-racist practices they can take to their own communities. The webinar will allow time for questions and dialogue.

Laurentian Diversity & Inclusion Webinar Series: Session 1 - Presented by Dr. Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion on August 27, 2020.“The Importance of Diversity & Inclusion” with Dr. Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion. Diversity & Inclusion are dominant topics in the national and world landscape, and for good reason. In this session, Kimberly will present on why diversity and inclusion are important for our schools, workplaces, and communities and the harmful consequences that emerge when they are not the focus of individuals or communities. The webinar will also allow time for questions and dialogue.

Reunion Weekend 2020 Faculty Friday Webinar:  Presented by Jeff Frank, Associate Professor and Education Department Chair on May 29, 2020.
Jeff Frank, associate professor and education department chair, lead a webinar on the current state of the Liberal Arts and COVID-19 on Friday, May 29, 2020 as a part of the Reunion Weekend 2020 Faculty Friday. In his talk, he explored how a liberal arts education prepares students for a world of uncertainty while also giving them resources that empower them make meaning when living through extraordinarily challenging experiences like the Coronavirus.

Reunion Weekend 2020 Faculty Friday Webinar: Presented by Dr. Aileen O'Donoghue, Priest Professor of Physics on May 29, 2020.
Webinar with Aileen O'Donoghue, Priest professor of physics, titled "Einstein, Eclipses, and Multimessenger Astronomy" recorded on May 29, 2020 as a part of Reunion Weekend 2020 Faculty Friday. Professor O'Donoghue touches on the basics of General Relativity, including confirmations of the theory by solar eclipses (including the one coming in 2024) and GPS satellites. She' explains gravitational waves, their detection, what events they have revealed and why this is a new era in astronomy.

 

Presented by Dr. Howard Eissenstat, Associate Professor of History on December 17, 2015.

Presented by Paul Graham '99, Associate Professor of English on November 19, 2015.

Presented by Dr. Jennifer Hansen, Associate Dean of the First Year, Professor of Philosophy on April 29, 2015.

Laurentian for Life Week 2015:  Presented by Taylor Casator '15, Dr. Ana Estevez, Dr. Steve Horwitz, Jake Hurlbut '15, Coach Mark Raymond and Vice President Justin Sipher on March 31, 2015.

Presented by Dr. Michael Schuckers, Associate Professor of Statistics, Founding Director of the Martha H. ’62 and Gregg H. Peterson Quantitative Resource Center on March 24, 2015.

Presented by Dr. Erika Barthelmess, Associate Professor and Co-Chair, Biology Department and Project Director, Nature Up North on December 17, 2014.

Presented by Dr. Robert Thacker, Charles A. Dana Professor of Global Studies and English on October 14, 2014.

Presented by Dr. Jeff Chiarenzelli, James Chapin Professor of Geology and Mineralogy on September 17, 2014.

Presented by Dr. Ana Estevez, Associate Professor of Biology and Psychology on April 30, 2014.

Presented by Dr. Fred Exoo, Charles D., Sarah A. & John D. Munsil Professor of Government on March 31, 2014.

Presented by Dr. John Collins, Professor and Chair of the Global Studies Department on February 19, 2014.

Presented by Professor Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Performance and Communication Arts on January 14, 2014.

Presented by Dr. Matt Carotenuto, Associate Professor of History on November 19, 2013.

Presented by Dr. Alan Searleman, Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology on April 9, 2013.