Past DSS Speakers


Daniel Behn: Monarch Butterfly Conservation in Mexico and Regenerative Tourism

In this presentation, Behn gave an overview of environmental regulation in Mexico including different levels of protection, challenges and success stories; monarch butterfly context, mountain life, communities and the black market; regenerative tourism: sense of place, alternative models of local development, and enhancing spiritual connections. Daniel Behn is an environmental educator and professor at Universidad del Medioambiente and also works as a guide mainly for Natural Habitat Adventure and the Environmental University of Mexico.

Dr. Louis Forline: The Persistence and Cultural Transformation of the Awá: A Critical Look at the Transition from Foraging to Farming in the Brazilian Amazon

In this presentation, UNR Professor Louis Forline discusses the global forces at work that impinge upon the Awá and other Amazonian peoples as we embark on the 21st century. We will explore the internal mechanisms they have employed to maintain themselves intact in the face of forced assimilation and the partnerships they have created with NGOs, researchers, and activists to enhance their survivability in a rapidly changing world. Watch a video of this recorded event!


Dr. Donald C. Johanson: The Lucy Story (Canceled)

Although the 3.2 million-year-old Ethiopian fossil skeleton, known as Lucy, was found some 45 years ago it still plays a vital role in our understanding of how humans evolved. Why is Lucy still so important today? How well has she stood the test of time since her first announcement? What does she have to tell us about our place in nature? Finally, does Lucy have a future? These and other questions will be illustrated and considered.


Karen Gedney: Looking at Prisons Through a Different Lens; Holistic Approach to Prison Reform

They say every medical doctor has stories to tell of difficult cases, miraculous recoveries and the patients who touched their lives. For Dr. Karen Gedney, these stories are framed from behind the bars of the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, where she served for thirty years as a doctor for the inmates housed there. Her topic, Looking at Prisons Through a Different Lens; Holistic Approach to Prison Reform offers her insights based upon her experiences that are recorded in her memoir 30 Years Behind Bars: Trials of a Prison Doctor.


James R. Doty, MD: The Power of Compassion to Change Lives

Doty is a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), where he researches the neuroscience of compassion and altruism. He is also a philanthropist funding health clinics throughout the world and has endowed scholarships and chairs at multiple universities. He serves on the board of a number of nonprofits, including the Charter for Compassion International and the Dalai Lama Foundation.


Joseph J. Grzymski, PhD: "DRI and DNA: The Biggest Little Community Population Health Study: Genotyping for Improved Health Education and Outcomes in Northern Nevada"

The Renown/Desert Research Institute Community Health Project: Understanding Social, Economic, and Environmental Determinants of Health in Northern Nevada

Dr. Grzymski, Senior Director of DRI's Applied Innovation Center and Associate Research Professor, Computational Biology and Microbiology at DRI, discussed the motivations behind the Renown/DRI Community Health Program, a few initial results, and some observations on engaging our community in human subject research. Northern Nevada is a diverse geographic, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic setting that makes remarkable population health research possible. We hope to create meaningful, sustainable change in caring for people, improving health, and better understanding disease.

Steven Nightingale: The Culture and Literature of Spain

Reno native Steven Nightingale is a widely anthologized poet, novelist, and essayist. For his presentation, Steven drew from his book, "Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God", which has been acclaimed by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among many others. It was named one of 2015's best travel books by The Telegraph and The Independent. His most recent book is titled, "The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace".

See Also: Distinguished Speakers Visit TMCC in November

Douglas Stoup, "Polar Exploration and Climate Change"

Douglas Stoup has skied to the North and South Poles more times than anyone on earth. Stoup supports the work of climate science researchers by reporting direct observations and measurements from his polar trips, and by creating new types of equipment that further their studies. He has witnessed recessing glaciers in Greenland, warming water temperatures in polar regions, and seen changes in krill populations. He has helped scientists by inventing equipment that helps when gathering data in cold places. One example is a type of polar beacon that helps track environmental changes. He has also designed an ice bike that can be used to travel over snow in Antarctica that would be faster than traveling by skiing.

See Also: Antarctic Adventurer to Give Presentation


Marc Dantzker, Producer of The Sagebrush Sea

Dantzker and a select panel from the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Council (SEC) discussed the pros and cons of adding the Greater Sage-Grouse to the Endangered Species List. The panel members addressed consequences of listing (or not) the Sage-Grouse and other sage habitat species, factors affecting the decline of the Sage-Grouse and also stakeholders, and related land use issues. This discussion was held five days prior to the announcement of that decision, with the intention of helping the public better understand the complex issues involved. The film, The Sagebrush Sea, was also shown.

See Also: Speaker Series Features PBS Producer & Film on Sept. 10

Dr. Jorge Victor Gavilondo, Accomplished Scholar

Dr. Gavilondo has more than 40 years of experience in biotechnology and cancer research and is author and coauthor of more than 150 scientific articles and 5 books. Dr. Gavilondo has served as the President of the Latin American Immunology Association and travels throughout the world sharing and explaining scientific discoveries pertinent to biotechnology and cancer research. Dr. Gavilondo's presentation was "Cancer Immunotherapy: Harnessing Our Body's Immune Defenses to Fight Disease".

See Also: Scientist, Photographer from Cuba to Speak at TMCC


Darrell Lockhart, PhD, Associate Dean, UNR College of Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of Spanish

Larger than Life, The Oversized World of Gabriel García Márquez and Fernando Botero introduces the magic realism of author García Márquez, and the artistic style, painting and sculpture of Botero. This program will compare the two Columbian masters, who lived at approximately the same time, both mixing reality with an exaggerated fantasy world. The Latin American cultural style of magic realism is an intriguing form that has been adapted by American filmmakers to produce entertaining and epic motion pictures such as Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Life of Pi.


Fred Kaufman, Executive Producer for PBS Nature

For two decades, Kaufman has been a leading executive in the natural history genre. As the executive producer of the acclaimed Nature series, he has won multiple Emmy and Peabody Awards and has overseen the series from 1991 to the present. During his tenure, Nature has been honored with more than 600 industry awards. Kaufman was named the recipient of the 2012 International Wildlife Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award for Media.

Ruth Anne Kocour, Author

Kocour takes us on her journeys to K2 and Pakistan's tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, Kashmir, Tajikistan, and China, which are the subject of her book, Walking the War Zones of Pakistan.


Lucy R. Lippard, Author

The Mixed Blessings Symposium was held Nov. 8-10, 2012 at TMCC and the Nevada Museum of Art, and featured presentations and creative projects of American Indian art, literature and film. The symposium featured a keynote address by Lucy R. Lippard, author of Mixed Blessings, New Art in a Multicultural America. Mixed Blessings is the first book to discuss the cross-cultural process taking place in the work of contemporary Latino, Native-, African-, and Asian-American artists.


Sam Abell, National Geographic Photographer

Abell's work has been published in National Geographic for three decades. An acclaimed landscape photographer, he is the author of several best-selling books on photography including the well-received The Life of a Photograph. Abell is also a writer and an influential teacher throughout the world. This event was sponsored by Canon.

Dr. Donald Johanson, Paleoanthropologist

Dr. Johanson is one of the world's most recognizable paleoanthropologists and most well-known for his finding of a 40% complete skeleton of a previously unknown type of ancient hominid, which was named "Lucy". Committed to sharing and explaining scientific discoveries to the general public, Johanson's outreach efforts have spanned multiple mediums--including television, books, and the award-winning science website "Becoming Human".


Maggy Anthony, Author

Author of Jung's Circle of Women: The Valkyries presents on her experiences at the C.G. Jung Institute of Analytical Psychology and older women as role models.

Mme. Jehan Sadat, World activist and Educator

Madame Jehan Sadat, the wife of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, has presented the face of the modern Arab woman to the western world through her activities at home in Egypt and her participation in numerous international events. She spoke on how she challenges the popularly held world-view of the Middle Eastern woman.

Stephen Venables, Mountaineer

Venables describes his life of adventure, from the Southern Ocean to the summit of Everest.


Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egyptologist

Presentation on Ancient Egypt, specifically the death of King Tut.

Sir Chris Bonington, Mountaineer

One of the most successful expedition leaders in the history of mountaineering with a reputation as an outstanding motivational speaker.


LeRoy DeJolie, Navajo Photographer

An insider's view from his lens of the tribal landscape, dancing and traditions of Native Americans in the desert Southwest.

Marilene Phipps, Painter, poet, and short story writer from Haiti

God, Love, and the Leap of Frogs


Joyce Tenneson, Photographer

The Story of a Woman: A Thirty-year Career in Art

Paul Zarzyski, Poet

Cowboy Poetry


Dr. Shaker, Chairman, Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs

The Middle East: Challenges for the Future


Native Voices Festival

Building Bridges Between Cultures


Philippe Cousteau, The Philippe Cousteau Foundation

Continuing a Legacy: Waters of the World


Camille Cellucci, Visual Effects Producer for the film Titanic

Making Movie Magic


Malcolm Miller, Renowned British Scholar

The Stained Glass and Sculpture of Chartres Cathedral

Swami Prapannananda, Vendanta Society of Sacramento

Hinduism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow