Hastings College Lecture Series presents Innovation

Hastings College had many speakers on campus this last week for the annual Hastings College Lecture Series (HCLS). The speakers ranged from an LGBTQ historian to a competitive eater and New Yorkers to Nebraskans. They all came to the college to speak on the Student Symposium’s topic of innovation.

These speakers touched on different topics, but all involved a central theme of innovation. The first speaker, astrophysicist and entrepreneur Dr. Brian Kloppenborg ‘06, spoke in the Wilson Auditorium on “Achieving innovation in the workplace: from solo inventor to a government employee.” Competitive Eater and President/CEO of Eat! Be Mary! Inc. talked on “Eating and Equality: Opportunity and Representation in Sports.”

Some focused on a change in the way society perceives those who are gender- and sexuality-nonconforming. Associate Professor of History at Kansas State University Phil Tiemeyer spoke on some of his research about the elimination of gender-based workplace discrimination in the 1960s and 1970s in his presentation “LGBTQ Rights, the Law, and the Peculiar Case of the Male Flight Attendant.” He previously wrote a book titled, “Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the history of the Male Flight Attendants,” where he researched the history of men working within the profession and the breakthroughs related to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Others challenged listeners on how they perceive art and social practices. Alicia Grullón focused on how people can change their perception of politics by way of performative art and practice.

“We all have so much in common. Everyone is having a hard time; we all have needs. This is the foundation of personal connection: need,” said Grullón. 

Many of the speakers are from many different states, but two are HC alumni. Mikaelah Molifua ‘17, is the HC cheer and dance team coach. Molifua has been battling cancer since 2013, and gave her presentation on what it is like to coach with cancer. After her presentation, Molifua received a standing ovation.

HIV/Sexual Health Education Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education Chris Junker spoke on addressing sexual health in Nebraska schools. She emphasized on why it is so important to provide safe learning environments.

“It is a great honor to bring this information to future educators,” Junker said. “When given the right information, school students can be safe, thus being able to learn at the highest degree.”  

Caitlin Smith/Collegian

According to HCLS Student Symposium Co-chair Alli Kennon, the college was very excited to have these speakers come to the campus. She continued, saying it was a great opportunity for the campus to hear from people outside of school. She also thought it was a great opportunity to hear opinions students may not have heard before.

“HCLS is a great networking opportunity, a great opportunity to hear prominent speakers and to connect with speakers that other colleges wouldn’t have the opportunity to,” Kennon said.  

Co-chair Nathan Navratil was very excited to be a part of the committee because it gave the students the opportunity to bring in who they wanted.

“We are student-led. That means it has the students’ passion. Because of this committee, hopefully every student feels represented in these speakers,” Navratil said. 

With some of the best attendance the event has had in years, HCLS committee and faculty were well pleased with the event, according to Kennon.