Archive for June, 2019

Daisy Hernandez – a closer look

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! This week, we’re going to take a closer look at journalist/memoirist/creative writing professor Daisy Hernández!

Describing her newest publication, Daisy notes “ with my comadre, the author Bushra Rehman, I co-edited the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. That first edition came out in 2002. USA Today calls the book 1 of the ’27 Things To Read If You Care About Women Of Color’ and Buzzfeed says it’s 1 of ’19 Books On Intersectionality That Taylor Swift Should Read.’ I’m thrilled to share that a new edition of Colonize This! will be published in July 2019.”



Indeed, we are getting early reports of the new edition of Colonize This is being added to Women’s Studies/Ethnic Studies/Sociology course assigned texts!


(Daisy Hernández visits Davidson College)


“As a memoirist, journalist and cultural activist, I’ve been speaking at colleges, conferences and organizations for the past twelve years on feminism, race, immigration, queer issues, and spirituality. I love sharing with audiences the lessons I’ve learned and the ways that we can create inclusive and racially just communities.”

Daisy Hernández is also the author of the award-winning memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed. The former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has reported for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate, and she has written for NPR’s All Things Considered and CodeSwitch. Her essays and fiction have appeared in Aster(ix), Bellingham Review, Brevity, Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Juked, and Rumpus among other journals. A contributing editor for the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, Daisy is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Ohio.

Daisy writes: “I grew up in New Jersey where I heard the best stories about Cuba and Colombia and this lady who knows how to eat an avocado so you won’t get pregnant. It’s also where I first learned about feminism, queer identity, race and immigration in the Americas. You can read these stories in my memoir, A Cup of Water Under My Bed, which won the 2015 IPPY award for best coming-of-age memoir and the 2014 Bisexual Book Award for best memoir. The memoir is now available in Spanish with a new afterword about underwear and the politics of language.”



Let us know if you’d like to bring Daisy Hernández to speak to your organization, campus, or conference!


—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!


Jeff Lieberman – a closer look

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! I had a problem this week; couldn’t decided between writing about a scientist, an artist, a musician, a designer, or a roboticist.

Therefore, we’re going to take a closer look at Jeff Lieberman who manages to be all of these things.


And ‘looking closely’ is a central idea in Jeff’s world. Here’s how he describes himself:

Jeff Lieberman explores the connections between the arts, sciences, education, creativity, and consciousness. He hosted ‘Time Warp’ on the Discovery Channel, reminding us how little our senses detect and understand about reality. He composes music in the duo Knolls. He shows sculptures internationally, exploring our unseen interconnectedness and interdependence. Having finished four degrees at MIT (Physics, Math, Mech. Eng., Media Arts + Sciences), he is exploring how the evolution of consciousness can cease human suffering.


Jeff’s desire to understand the universe, or at least understand what parts of reality are revealed to us, runs deep, as can be seen in this excellent TedX talk.

His most recent art installation, “The Life of Tree” (see video), is a kinetic sculpture that simulates a tree’s reflection in water; a metaphor for how all scientific theories are only a reflection of the underlying reality. Depending on the distortions of our theories, the reality is seen more or less clearly.

You can see videos of more of his kinetic work here. To really appreciate the art and science of the work, you need to see them in motion!


Jeff’s DISCOVERY Channel show TIME WARP still pops up on Discovery and Science channels, and continues to be aired around the world. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a great sample!

In a world of increasing specialization, it’s reassuring to know there are still great minds working to integrate their understanding of physics, art, and the wider world like Jeff Lieberman.

And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!


A Closer Look – Civil Rights activist Lateefah Simon

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! Today, we’re taking a closer look at civil rights/human rights champion Lateefah Simon!

(Lateefah, second from left, at recent dedication of the Oscar Grant mural at Fruitvale Station in San Francisco)


A nationally recognized advocate for civil rights and racial justice, Lateefah has over 20 years of executive experience advancing opportunities for communities of color and low-income communities. Raised in San Francisco, Lateefah began organizing at age 15 for the Center for Young Women’s Development. At 19-years-old she was appointed Executive Director of CYWD, where she served 11 years and brought the organization to national acclaim. At 26, her work earned her the distinction of the youngest woman ever to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. She went on to lead the creation of San Francisco’s first reentry services division under the leadership of then District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. Lateefah later served as Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Program Director at the Rosenberg Foundation.

Currently, Lateefah is President of the Akonadi Foundation, an organization that funds and nurtures racial justice movement building to eliminate structural racism and expand opportunity for youth of color. She is also a California State University Trustee, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016 to serve the largest public university system in the world.


She was elected to represent the seventh district on the Bay Area Rapid Transit District board of directors in 2016. Her motivations for running included her reliance on BART, as someone legally blind and unable to drive. Her priorities for BART are affordability, accessibility, and accountability for transit-dependent people and working families.

Please contact us for more information about having Lateefah Simon speak at your institution or conference!


—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!


A Closer Look – Mathematician/NY Times Columnist Steven Strogatz

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! We’re back from holiday break and ready to start a new year. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at mathematician/author/New York Times contributor Dr. Steven Strogatz.

Steven Strogatz is an applied mathematician who works in the areas of nonlinear dynamics and complex systems, often on topics inspired by the curiosities of everyday life.


OK, stop right there … I can hear your brain shutting down when you read ‘nonlinear dynamics’. Take a deep breath, turn off your math anxiety, and continue!


He loves finding math in places where you’d least expect it—and then using it to illuminate life’s mysteries, big and small. For example: Why is it so hard to fall asleep a few hours before your regular bedtime? When you start chatting with a stranger on a plane, why is it so common to find that you have a mutual acquaintance? What can twisting a rubber band teach us about our DNA? An award-winning researcher, teacher, and communicator, Strogatz enjoys sharing the beauty of math though his books, essays, public lectures, and radio and television appearances.

In his book Sync, Strogatz tells the story of the dawn of a new science. He explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from the electrons in a superconductor to the pacemaker cells in our hearts. He shows that although these phenomena might seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection, forged by the unifying power of mathematics.

Each short chapter of his book The Joy of X provides an “Aha!” moment, starting with why numbers are helpful, and moving on to such topics as shapes, calculus, fat tails, and infinity. Strogatz explains the ideas of math gently and clearly, with wit, insight, and brilliant illustrations. Assuming no knowledge, only curiosity, he shows how math connects to literature, philosophy, law, medicine, art, business, even pop culture and current events. For example, did O.J. do it? How should you flip your mattress to get the maximum wear out of it? How does Google search the Internet? How many people should you date before settling down?

His newest book Infinite Powers is a brilliant and endlessly appealing explanation of calculus—how it works and why it makes our lives immeasurably better. Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket. Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down to earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number—infinity—to tackle real world problems, breaking them down into easier ones and then reassembling the answers into solutions that feel miraculous.


Strogatz is the math teacher you wish you’d had!


Please contact us for more information about having Steven Strogatz speak at your institution or conference!


—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!