PAST SPEAKERS: 2015
Andrew Gonzalez is a 3rd year general surgery resident and lecturer in health policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He recently returned to clinical duties after spending two years in Ann Arbor conducting health services research at the University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy (CHOP) under a National Institutes of Health T32 training grant. His research focused on measures of hospital quality.
A true Chicagoan, Andrew is a proud 2002 graduate of Whitney Young High School. He then attended UIC where he earned a Bachelors of Science in Biology (GPPA-Medicine), a Medical Doctorate, and a Masters of Public Health in healthcare policy and administration. In between college and medical school, Andrew earned a Juris Doctor from Chicago’s John Marshall Law School where he was a member of the Law Review. An active health policy commentator, he blogs for PolicyRx.com and tweets under @DrAGonzMD.
Dr. Nikos Varelas is a Distinguished Professor of Physics and an Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UIC. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a University of Illinois Scholar. Over his career as an experimental particle physicist, he has focused his research on studies of the strong force, the search for the most fundamental building blocks of matter, and the hunt for the Higgs boson. He is currently performing his research at the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland where he was a member of the team of scientists who discovered the elusive Higgs boson in July 2012. In his talk, he will discuss the importance of the Higgs boson discovery, how it leads to a deeper understanding of the fundamental workings of our universe, and the new questions that it raises.
Irina Jordan is the founder and owner of ARTISURN, a successful online marketplace of progressive handcrafted cremation urns, jewelry and keepsakes. Prior to ARTISURN, she ran a think tank dedicated to research focused on ensuring trustworthiness and correctness of public information.
Irina is an advocate of the “good death” movement and all that it involves: death cafes, death salons, death midwives, home funerals, green burials, legalizing the right of people to choose when to die if faced with a terminal condition, and how to accept the inevitability of death to live our lives to the fullest. She wishes to talk openly about this sacred space where we face and embrace our doubts, fears, and our uniqueness as human beings.
Myisha Cherry is a philosopher and essayist. She does research in moral psychology as well as social and political philosophy with a focus on the nature and role of emotions in the private and public spheres and character and gender. The end goal of her work always begs the question: How can philosophy aid in the empowerment and liberation of those who are marginalized and oppressed? A former educator at the Fortune Society and Faculty Associate at John Jay College’s Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics, she is also passionate about the relation between character, forgiveness, race, and the criminal justice system. Her work in this area has been published in Philosophy and the Wire (OpenCourt) and in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Philosophy and Race.
She not only writes for academic audiences, but she also is dedicated to public philosophy. Cherry is a blogger at The Huffington Post and a producer and host of the UnMute Podcast. She has also appeared on BET and HuffPost Live and has given talks at SXSWedu. She has taught philosophy at the university level for a decade at colleges such as the City University of New York, St. Johns University, and Long Island University. Myisha Cherry is also a proud double recipient of an HBCU education (she has a B.A. in philosophy from Morgan State University and Masters of Divinity from Howard University). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Colette Ghunim is a 23-year-old recent graduate of Northwestern University. She is currently co-directing a documentary in Egypt, called “The People’s Girls”, which focuses on the issue of sexual harassment in Cairo. While in college, she produced and edited several videos for non-profit organizations in the United States, Costa Rica, India, and Egypt. She is passionate about utilizing video and film to positively alter perspectives and policy, as well as foster cross-cultural understanding. Her dream is to become an independent filmmaker, based out of her suitcase.