Samara Lectures Speakers
HIV+ Playboy Playmate, Bodybuilder, and Fitness Expert
At the age of 18, Rebekka became a Playboy Playmate after being chosen to be Miss September 1986, a culmination of her childhood dream. For the next four years, she led an exciting life as a Playmate, traveling, modeling, and attending star-studded parties. However, she was often tired and bruised easily. At the age of 22, she was diagnosed with HIV.
Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade
The modern-day slave trade is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, enslaving more than 30 million individuals today. Slavery is wrapped up in almost every industry’s supply chain, tainting the food we eat, the clothes we buy and the electronics we love. Combating this $32 billion-dollar-a-year industry takes enormous effort as well as a large framework of diligent abolitionists. David Batstone offers an inspiring and detailed look at the efforts of modern-day abolitionists and multiple pathways for getting involved, whether that means volunteer opportunities or simply shopping with social justice in mind.
The Sex Diaries Project on Campus
What's really going on behind closed doors on your campus?
Arianne Cohen spent six years collecting 3,500 anonymous seven-day sex diaries from people all over North America and the world – including college towns. In The Sex Diaries Project On Campus, she takes you on a tantalizing tour through the sometimes shocking, always entertaining real diaries of college students, creating a compelling portrait of sex and sexuality on campus today that will forever change how you look at relationships.
The Power of Hope
"Lost Boy" Helps Rebuild South Sudan
At the age of 10, Gabriel Bol Deng was separated from his family and became a refugee; after twenty years of separation he returned to his home village in Sudan and founded 'HOPE for Ariang', a non-profit supporting education. An inspiring story about the power of hope.
The Atheist Next Door
As a rotating host and regular contributor to The Atheist Experience and The Non-Prophets, Russell Glasser has spent around fifteen years publicly debating with believers of all stripes. During this time he's answered all the questions and heard all the misconceptions about atheists, such as: "Why do you hate God?” “If you don’t believe in God, then who created the world?” "Aren't you afraid you'll go to hell?” "How can you understand the difference between right and wrong without a God? What’s stopping you from going on a crime spree right now?”
From Comix to Comics to Graphic Novels:
A First Person History of Independent Comics Over the Last Half Century
Gary Groth became an activist-publisher when he co-founded The Comics Journal and Fantagraphics Books in 1976. Groth narrates the coming-of-age story of the comics form from the underground comix revolution of the late 1960s to the rise of alternative comics in the ‘80s to today’s graphic novel renaissance from his unique perspective as a keen observer and active participant.
Exploring Intersecting Identities Through Story
Eliaichi Kimaro initially went to Tanzania to document her family’s stories and her father’s tribal culture. But when she sat down with her Aunts, she unearthed stories about surviving violence that her Aunts never even shared with each other. The dialogue that began in a hut on Mt Kilimanjaro evolved into a documentary that is transforming the lives of viewers halfway around the world.
Reflections on Resistance:
Dignity in the Face of Atrocity
Jen Marlowe is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, playwright and human rights activist. Through film, writing, theatre and other artistic platforms, Jen seeks to share the resilience and courage of those who have been marginalized and oppressed and are choosing resistance with nonviolence, humanity and dignity.
Geomorphologist, Environmental Author
The Hidden Half of Nature & Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
Prof. David Montgomery really likes dirt.
He explores what the Earth's soil tells us about our health, our history and our future.
Create Your Wellness Playbook:
Stay Healthy in College and in Life
M. Nicole Nazzaro – author, Olympics sports journalist, and wellness success story – offers a message of hope for those who want to stay healthy in an unhealthy world. After losing her father to heart disease, the number-one killer of Americans, when she was a college sophomore, Nicole Nazzaro embarked on a successful sportswriting career without realizing that she was making the same health mistakes as her father.
Astronomer Phil Plait talks about Bad Astronomy with a humorous look at popular science myths and misconceptions.
Phil’s latest talk is ‘Where Has Our Curiosity Taken Us?‘ – all about Mars and the Curiosity rover.
Speaker, Filmmaker and Activist
Socheata Poeuv is the founder of Khmer Legacies, which has the goal of recording 10,000 testimonies of survivors of the Cambodian genocide by encouraging children to interview their parents. Her award-winning documentary New Year Baby documents her family's story of survival and healing.
Lessons from Little Rock
All the seats at the hamburger joint were reserved for white patrons, so 13 year old Terrence Roberts ordered food to go. While waiting, he impulsively sat down at the counter and then realized a hush had fallen over the place. Suddenly everyone seemed to be looking at him threateningly. He canceled his order and left. As he walked home, Roberts remembers wondering "what it would take for (him) to be treated like a real human being."
Two years later, in 1957, he volunteered to be one of the 'Little Rock Nine' who desegregated Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Human Face of Immigration
Sarah Stuteville and Alex Stonehill are international journalists who have covered the US immigration system for over a decade. They use real stories to put a human face on the immigration debate, and are the creators of the documentary, Barzan, the story of one man's being accused of terrorism and subsequent deportation.
The Twilight Series: Native Image and Myth
Elissa Washuta, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, is often asked whether she’s on Team Edward or Team Jacob. The answer is neither: when young women are asked to choose between a Native character who transforms into a savage wolf and an alabaster vampire with endless wealth, everyone loses. Elissa Washuta’s hard-hitting talk points out some of the many issues related to the depiction of Native peoples in Twilight and why misrepresentation matters.
Things I Want to Punch in the Face
Lumbersexuals. Bucket Lists.
Twenty-minute coffee prep.
People who hog the sidewalk. Passwords.
Jen wanted to punch them all. That’s when she decided to turn her frown upside down. She created Things I Want to Punch in the Face — a blog, a book, and now a lecture that uses her signature cheeky humor to diffuse her frustrations.
Islamophobia & Guantanamo Bay
Former U.S. Army Muslim Chaplain James Yee has experienced religious discrimination first hand. He first saw it as a Muslim chaplain stationed at the Guantanamo detention center, where he observed religious abuses against the prisoners. After objecting to the abuses, he was accused of being a spy himself. Now, with his name cleared, James Yee fights the prejudices that lead to hate crimes and the violation of constitutional rights of American Muslims in our society.