Student Programming Association reveals remaining 2018 distinguished speakers

February 21, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Student Programming Association Lectures Committee has announced the remainder of its Spring 2018 Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, on March 22, and Grant Imahara, a former host on "Mythbusters," on April 10. Previously announced speakers include Real Talk: Diversity, a panel featuring Noor Tagouri, Sonia Nazario and Brian Mosteller, on March 20; and W. Kamau Bellm on April 3.

Tarana Burke

8 p.m. March 22, Heritage Hall, HUB-Robeson Center

Burke will share the story behind the genesis of the viral 2017 TIME Person Of The Year-winning "me too" movement, and give strength and healing to those who have experienced sexual trauma or harassment. The simple yet courageous #metoo hashtag campaign has emerged as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment — and Burke’s powerful, poignant story as creator of what is now an international movement that supports survivors will move, uplift and inspire.

Penn State Students with valid ID will be able to pick up tickets in the HUB Robeson Center and the Student Programming Association Office at a date closer to the event. Said date will be released later via the Student Programming Association’s social media accounts.

Grant Imahara

8 p.m. April 10, Alumni Hall, HUB-Robeson Center

Imahara brings the world of animatronics, special effects, pop culture, and science alive as he shares what he has learned about engineering, modelmaking, and innovation in Hollywood. Imahara is the co-host of the Netflix original series, “White Rabbit Project,” and a special FX modelmaker who has reached celebrity status in animatronics engineering. On “White Rabbit Project,” Imahara and his co-stars investigate the science behind the greatest inventions, the most daring heists, and unusual pop culture events in American history. Prior to Netflix, he was one of the hosts of the popular, long-running, Emmy-nominated science reality show “Mythbusters.” With a showman’s charisma and sense of scientific curiosity, Imahara gives others a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes look at his work on “Mythbusters” and “Star Wars,” as well as the world of engineering and innovation in entertainment.

Penn State Students with valid ID will be able to pick up tickets in the HUB Robeson Center and the Student Programming Association Office at a date closer to the event. Said date will be released later via the Student Programming Association’s social media accounts.

"Real Talk: Diversity"

SPA will host a panel of speakers for "Real Talk: Diversity," at 8 p.m. on March 20, in Alumni Hall, HUB-Robeson Center.

Noor Tagouri had a history-making appearance in the October 2016 “Renegades” issue of Playboy, in which she was the first woman ever within its pages to wear a hijab. Tagouri has achieved game-changing breakthroughs on her journey to become the first hijabi journalist on commercial U.S. television. As she continues to break barriers with gusto, Tagouri inspires audiences to pursue their passions, stay true to their identity, embrace their differences, and let their light shine.

Sonia Nazario is a leading advocate responsible for generating national attention to critical social issues including immigration, hunger and drug addiction. With more than 20 years of reporting and writing about social issues for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, she is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Enrique's Journey," her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S.. In 2015, she was honored with the Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award from the Advocates for Human Rights.

Brian Mosteller has had a front row seat to the U.S. presidency of Barack Obama, for whom he served during Obama's entire eight-year administration. Described by the Washington Post as the “anticipator in chief” and the “unsung hero of the administration,” Mosteller was tasked with seamlessly orchestrating the behind-the-scenes details of the president’s daily work life, including the planning and implementation of White House functions, speeches, State visits and meetings. In 2016, Mosteller made history of his own when he married his partner in a ceremony officiated by former Vice President Joe Biden. An important representation of the Obama administration’s staunch dedication to championing and advancing issues around diversity and equality, Mosteller offers firsthand insight on these critical issues. 

Penn State Students with valid ID will be able to pick up tickets in the HUB Robeson Center and the Student Programming Association Office at a date closer to the event. Said date will be released later via the Student Programming Association’s social media accounts.

W. Kamau Bell

8 p.m. April 3, Alumni Hall, HUB-Robeson Center

As host of the CNN docu-series “United Shades of America,” Bell travels the country, offering viewers a rare yet eye-opening look inside the various subcultures of American life. Bell first captured audiences’ attention with his thought-provoking one-man show, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour,” and later, with his widely praised FX comedy series, “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” His edgy yet level-headed view of the world leaves listeners with a more hopeful understanding of the country’s challenges, as well as conversation-stoking takeaways on humanity and social change that will have the audience contemplating the state of the union long after he has left the stage.

Penn State Students with valid ID will be able to pick up tickets in the HUB Robeson Center and the Student Programming Association Office at a date closer to the event. Said date will be released later via the Student Programming Association’s social media accounts.

Students, both undergraduate and graduate, interested in joining SPA's Lecture Committee for the 2018/2019 academic year can apply online at: https://goo.gl/forms/FWADsCdaa8F8hAHf1. Applications are open now and close on Saturday, March 10. 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 21, 2018