Alfred University News

Bergren Forum returns to in-person format

The Bergren Forum, sponsored by the Division of Human Studies and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has returned to its traditional in-person format, meeting from 12:10 to 1 p.m. on Thursdays.

The Bergren Forum, sponsored by the Division of Human Studies and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has returned to its traditional in-person format, meeting from 12:10 to 1 p.m. on Thursdays.

Today's Bergren, featuring Joey Quiñones, Assistant Professor of Sculpture, was held in Roon Lecture Hall, in the Science Center. Subsequent Bergrens may return to their traditional location in Nevins theater, in the Powell Campus Center. 

Quiñones' Bergren, “Americanoiseries," was connected to her research on 18th century decorative arts, highlighting the global nature of the slave trade and the complex social relations produced throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America.

As per tradition, the audience is welcome to bring a brown bag lunch to each Bergren Forum. Coffee and tea will be served. Those not able to attend the Forum in person may access it through a Zoom link, which will be the same each week.

Following is the Bergren Forum fall 2022 semester schedule beginning next week.

Sept. 15: Maureen Weiss and Sibyl Wickersheimer,  “Scene Shift: Shifting the narrative around what it means to be a teacher, a designer, and a collaborator before and after the pandemic.”

Maureen Weiss, Associate Professor of Performance Design and Technology at Alfred University, and Sibyl Wickersheimer, Associate Professor of Scenic Design at the University of Sothern California, will discuss the process of curating their book, Scene Shift: US Designers in Conversation.  They will elaborate on their findings, as well as cover the new pathways that emerged to broaden the definition of what it means to be educators, artists, and collaborators in conversation with a post-pandemic world. 

Sept. 22: Peter von Stackleberg,  “Art and Artificial Intelligence: Are Artists Obsolete?”

Peter von Stackelberg, Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, will discuss how Artificial Intelligence can be used to produce art, including visual, musical, literary, and other forms of artistic expression.  He will show examples of works he has produced using AI, and will talk about some of the creative possibilities that AU’s new Prunty-Russo Media Lab offers to faculty, students, and staff.

 Sept. 29: Neil Jacobs,  “Discovering World Music”

Neil Jacobs, an internationally renowned 12-string guitarist,  will discuss his diverse and unlikely travel experiences leading to a wealth of musical knowledge, while performing examples of the music on the12-string guitar. 

Oct. 6: John D’Angelo, “It’s Nobel Prize Week! The History, and Inequity of Alfred Nobel’s Prize “

The Nobel Prize is one of, if not the best-known award in modern human society.  Why did Alfred Nobel create the award?  Why are the recipients so “homogeneous”?  Why are they sometimes skipped? Are the awards ever controversial? Are Nobel Prize-winning works ever proven “wrong” after the fact?  How many Nobel Prize winners were also criminals, war criminals, scientific fraudsters, or political prisoners?  How did someone hide from the Nazis a pair of Nobel Prizes in plain sight? John D’Angelo, Professor of Chemistry, will discuss these questions and more.

Oct. 13: Meredith Field, “Abortion. Whose Opinion Matters?”

Abortion is highly politicized in the U.S.  However, that is a relatively recent phenomenon.  Meredith Field, Assistant Professor of Sociology, will highlight key points in the legal and sociopolitical history of abortion in the U.S., focusing on increasing state-level abortion restrictions in the 21st-century, and how those policies might relate to the recent Dobbs v. Jackson SCOTUS decision. Ultimately, Professor Field will ask the audience to consider what the Dobbs decision, when juxtaposed with public opinion, says about the current state of U.S. democracy.

Oct. 20: Ted Forsyth, “The Power of FOIL: Using NYS's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) as a (criminal justice) research tool”

In this lecture, Ted Forsyth, Alfred University alum and Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice, will explain what FOIL is and how to use it. He will then explore how FOIL can be used to gather data around different research interests, including economics, politics, criminal justice issues, and health data. After exploring some of his current work, he will conclude with tips for those interested in pursuing the use of FOIL as a research tool.

Oct. 27: Susan Morehouse and Lynn O'Connell,  “Is There a Doctor in the House?”

Lynn O’Connell, Professor of School Psychology, and Susan Morehouse, Professor of English, accompanied by their dogs, Blue and Jam, will discuss the role of therapy dogs on college campuses.

Nov. 3: Amanda Taylor Lipnicki, “Math, Art, and Culture in Finland and Iceland”

Bridges is an organization fostering connections between mathematics, science, technology, and art.  Each year, they host an international conference featuring talks about peer reviewed publications from the intersection of these fields as well as an art show in the same spirit.  In this lecture Amanda Taylor Lipnicki, Associate Professor of Mathematics, will discuss her experiences at the Bridges conference in Helsinki in August 2022 as well as tidbits from a stopover in Iceland.

Nov. 10: Kevin Adams, Samantha Dannick, John Hosford, and Mechele Romanchock, “What is Information Literacy Anyway?”

Information literacy is not just for research projects! Alfred librarians Kevin Adams, Samantha Dannick, John Hosford, and Mechele Romanchock will present a brief overview of information literacy theory followed by practical strategies for fact-checking, avoiding misinformation, and applying information literacy concepts in daily life.

Nov. 17: Isaac Matson, “Sand, Sweat, and Swearing: Experiences as a Mechanized Infantry Platoon Leader at Ft. Bliss, Texas”

Issac Matson, a U.S. Army veteran with an MA in military history, will provide an overview of one junior officer’s experience in an Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), while participating in equipment testing as part of the US Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), and an intensive pre-deployment train-up. He will offer a first-hand account of the daily rituals that comprise an infantry platoon, as well as the physical and emotional stressors that soldiers must deal with even while on a non-combat mission. 

Dec. 1: Geoff Lippa, “We are living in an “RNA World”: exploring the importance of RNA from evolution to vaccines.

What is RNA, or ribonucleic acid? What is its function? How is it different from DNA? Which nucleic acid came first, DNA or RNA? These are the start of many questions scientists have been asking about RNA since the discovery of nucleic acids in 1868 by Friedrich Miescher. Since 2010, 30 scientists have been awarded Nobel Prizes for experimental work that includes studies of RNA. In 2020 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their work on CRISPR-Cas9 (a method to edit DNA). Today we have RNA-based treatments for muscular dystrophy, macular degeneration, and COVID-19.  Geoff Lippa, Assistant Professor of Biology, will explore our RNA-centered world and a time of great discovery.