Hometown Engagement Project Speakers
The Hometown Engagement Project is a place-base category for speakers who have a special "Hometown" connection to particular places in our state. They may have grown up there, they live there now, they conduct their research there and/or it has an impact on that community.
While these speakers are open to requests from anywhere around the state, they have a special place in their hearts for their hometowns -- and they would especially appreciate receiving an invitation to speak there! Hometowns are listed in red, below speaker names.(Tip:
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College of Letters & Science | Psychology
Hometown: Greendale, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Allyson Bennett's research centers on how the interplay between early environments, experiences, and genes contribute to individual variation in psychological and physical health across the lifespan. A longitudinal and multidisciplinary research approach with nonhuman primates provides a controlled experimental avenue for better understanding the long-term consequences of early experiences and environments, as well as areas of plasticity and potential for recovery. A central question in her work is how aspects of physical and social environments affect biobehavioral development. Thus, part of her research takes a comparative approach to evaluate specific features of the environments and experiences of laboratory animals. In turn, the work provides empirical evidence to inform evolving standards for animal welfare, particularly those that also affect scientific outcomes. The quality and progress of both science and animal welfare depend on policies and practices that are evidence-based. Her expertise in psychological science, coupled with a commitment to science education allows her to contribute to public dialogue and collaboration with diverse stakeholders in evolving standards for humane and responsible research to promote health for people and nonhuman animals.
Talks by Allyson Bennett:
1. The Role of Genes and Environment in Health and Development
2. Nonhuman Primate Research
3. Psychological Science Applied to Practices and Policies about Animal Welfare
4. Undergraduate Research Opportunities
School of Medicine & Public Health/Engineering | Radiology/Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Janesville, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Chris Brace is an Associate Professor with the Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering. He grew up in Janesville, WI. He received BS degrees in physics and electrical engineering from UW-Milwaukee, and MS and PhD degrees in electrical and computer engineering from UW-Madison. His research topics include image-guided interventional oncology, thermal therapies such as radiofrequency and microwave ablation, medical imaging, and applications of electromagnetics in medicine. His research helped spur the local startup NeuWave Medical into a successful business that has served thousands of cancer patients throughout the world. He teaches about medical devices and biomedical engineering design, and has been involved in local efforts to improve teaching and mentoring.
Talks by Christopher Brace:
1. Interventional Oncology: A Fourth Pillar of Cancer Care
2. Microwave Ablation: Technical Development and Clinical Application
Department of Nursing
Hometown: Edgerton, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Lisa Bratzke studies cognitive impairment of patients with coronary heart disease, who, according to health data, suffer from concentration or memory difficulties. With coronary heart disease on the rise - 40 percent of the U.S. population is projected to have some form of it by 2030 -- she is examining ways to slow deteriorating cognitive function in this population, thereby improving quality of life for individuals with chronic heart failure.
Talks by Lisa Bratzke:
1. Cognition and Aging
2. Cognition and Cardiovascular Disease
3. Cognition and Multi-Morbidity
4. Alzheimer's Prevention
College of Letters & Science | History of Science
Willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Talks by Tom Broman:
School of Nursing | Psychiatry and Health Policy
Hometown: Muskego, Waunakee - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Dr. Bryan is a clinical associate professor in the School of Nursing. She teaches in the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Dr. Bryan maintains an active clinical practice at Journey Medical Health Center, where she serves people who live with severe and persistent mental illness. She is on the Steering Committees for a SAMSHA SBIRT training grand and a Buprenorphine Prescribers Study to help alleviate the national opiate epidemic.
Talks by Gina Bryan:
1. Severe and Persistent Mental Illness
3. Opioid Epidemic
4. Serotonin Syndrome
5. Stress and Coping
School of Medicine and Public Health | Surgery
Hometown: Suffern, NY
Willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Dr. Burlingham serves on the editorial board of Transplantation. He is also the chairman of the University of Wisconsin Spring Immunology Seminar Series. Dr. Burlingham has developed a highly respected transplant basic research program that focuses on acquired immunologic tolerance. His laboratory hopes to gain insight into graft acceptance by studying transplant recipients who have survived after stopping immunosuppressive drugs. Specifically, his research focuses on the natural exchange of soluble antigens and low numbers of white blood cells that occurs between mother and child during pregnancy and nursing. The lab's working hypothesis is that this exchange, which leads to persistence of bone marrow-derived maternal blood cells within the offspring ("microchimerism") may induce a "natural" form of tolerance. This tolerance, if harnessed, may allow for drug-free acceptance of transplanted grafts.
Talks by William Burlingham:
1. Strategies to Achieve Organ Transplant Acceptance Without the Side Effects of Lifelong Immune-Suppressive Drug Therapy
2. Split Tolerance: Lessons From Mother on How to Fight Cancer
Professor and Vice Provost
School of Engineering | Civil Engineering and Provost's Office
Hometown: Lodi, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Steve Cramer's research focus is on the interrelated topics of construction materials and the structures they form are the the basis of our infrastructure. The scope of his activity includes study of the mechanical behavior of wood and wood-based materials, the design and analysis of wood structures, and the performance of concrete construction materials. His research includes developing linkages between properties of wood microstructure and macrolevel mechanical performance of wood construction products. He has on-going activities to develop new structural analysis methods for wood trusses. These methods have been applied to advanced design specifications. Part of this research involves the study of the performance of wood assemblies subject to fire. His extensive laboratory research on the performance of concrete materials for infrastructure applications such as pavements continues to grow. Studies include examinations of suitability of new concrete aggregates in relation to the freeze-thaw performance of concrete. He is also continuing a study, which began at UW-Madison in 1910, examining the long-term properties of concrete. His research is a blend of experimental and numerical work. His graduate students are part of the research team directed at solving real problems related to structures and materials used in construction.
School of Medicine and Public Health | Medicine/Endocrinology
Hometowns: Fort Atkinson, McFarland - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Dawn Davis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. She grew up in Fort Atkinson, WI. She received her BS in Biochemistry from UW-Madison. She then received her MD and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. She completed her clinical training at University of Washington in Seattle and at UW-Madison. She currently practices endocrinology at the UW and VA, runs a federally funded research program focused on diabetes and obesity, and teaches in the graduate and medical schools.
Talks by Dawn Davis:
1. Type 1 Diabetes
2. Type 2 Diabetes
4. Thyroid Disease
5. Careers in Science and Medicine
6. Advancement of Women in STEM Fields, Academics, and Leadership
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences| Horticulture
Hometowns: Fond du Lac, Appleton - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Irwin Goldman's research focuses on three main fields of study: horticulture and human health, vegetable crop genetics, and vegetable breeding.
Talks by Irwin Goldman:
1. Why Medicine Needs Agriculture
2. Take Two Onions and Call Me in the Morning
3. Plants and Human Well-Being
College of Letters & Science | History
John Hall is primarily interested in the ethnohistorical examination of military conflict and cooperation between the Native peoples of North America and European colonial powers. More generally, he is interested in Native American and early American history with particular emphasis on the Revolutionary Era and the Early Republic. Within the field of military history, his research has focused on "small wars" involving irregular forces and U.S. defense policy. He is currently working on a military history of Indian Removal in the southeastern United States.
Unavailable for talks until further notice, as Professor Hall will be serving as a historian for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Read all about it here.
Talks by John Hall:
1. Automatons and Carabinieri: The Future of Armed Conflict
2. Irregular Warfare during the American Revolution
3. Indian Alliance Politics in the Western Great Lakes
4. The Future of Warfare
5. The Black Hawk War
6. Indian Removal as Ethnic Cleansing
7. The Citizen Soldier in Myth and History
8. Warriors, Soldiers, and Managers: The Evolution of Military Occupations from Antiquity into the Future
College of Letters and Science | Chemistry
Hometown: Kenosha, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Robert Hamers is a native of Kenosha and received his undergraduate work at UW-Madison. After receiving his Ph.D. from Cornell University he was a research scientist at IBM's TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Hamers returned to UW-Madison as a faculty member in 1990, building up a research program centered on chemistry at solid surfaces and interfaces. He is currently the Steenbock Professor of Physical Science and Director of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, a multi-institutional research center focusing on enhancing sustainable use of nanomaterials. Hamers is also the co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Silatronix, a start-up company focused on improving the performance and safety of lithium ion batteries.
Talks by Robert Hamers:
1. Make Renewable Energy Safer: The Silatronix Story
2. Nanotechnology Everywhere: Nano for a Sustainable Planet
School of Medicine and Public Health | Bio-statistics and Medical Informatics
Hometown: Sheboygan, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Christopher Harrrison has been behind the scenes helping address biomedical research areas by helping to facilitate Computational research on large protected data sets. Additionally, Christopher has also started two companies from his work, focused on secure storage and large scale analysis of protected data.
Talks by Christopher Harrison:
1. Large Scale Computing on a Budget
2. Facilitating High Throughput Computing in the Medical Sciences
School of Law | Department of Criminal Law
Hometown: Nekoosa, Eau Claire - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Cecelia Klingele teaches courses in criminal law, Constitutional criminal procedure, policing, sentencing, and corrections. In addition to her teaching and research, Professor Klingele is a faculty associate of the Frank J. Remington Center and the Institute for Research on Poverty. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the UW-Madison Teaching Academy, an organization of faculty and instructional staff dedicated to promoting effective teaching and learning on campus and nationally by encouraging innovation, experimentation, and dialogue.
Talks by Cecelia Klingele:
1. Criminal Justice Reform: What's Changing, What's Not, and Why
2. Incarceration in America: Understanding Changes in Prison Populations
3. Punishment Outside the Box: Community Supervision in Wisconsin and Beyond
4. The Challenges of Modern Policing
Department of Psychiatry | School of Medicine and Public Health
Hometown: Fond du Lac
Research-Based Hometown: Oshkosh
Fond du Lac
-wiling to speak anywhere in the state
Dr. Koenigs was born and raised in Fond du Lac, WI. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Neurobiology from UW-Madison, and his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Iowa. Dr. Koenigs completed a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC before beginning his current position as a faculty member in the UW-Madison Department of Psychiatry.
Talks by Michael Koenigs:
1. Inside the Psychopathic Mind: What Brain Science is Revealing About Criminal Behavior
2. Revising Neurocircuitry Models of Mood and Anxiety Disorders
3. The Role of the Prefrontal Cortex in Emotion and Social Behavior: Evidence from Brain Science and Implications for Law
4. The Neurobiological Basis of Violence
College of Letters & Science | Botany/Statistics
Hometown: Wauwatosa, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Bret Larget is Professor in the Departments of Statistics and of Botany at UW-Madison. His research interests include collaborations with biologists from many fields and, in particular, the development of statistical methods to better understand evolution. He teaches statistics graduate students how to consult with scientists and teaches biologists how to do data analysis. He currently serves as faculty co-chair on the Committee on Women in the University. As a third generation graduate of Wauwatosa East High School, Professor Larget maintains ties to his home community.
Talks by Bret Larget:
1. Statistical Evidence for Common Ancestry Among Primates
2. Why reconstructing Evolutionary History from DNA Sequences Impact your Health, Why the FDA banned Triclosan in Soap, and More!
Graduate Research Assistant
College of Agricultural & Life Sciences | Bacteriology
Hometowns: Mukwonago, Marshfield - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Alex Linz is a PhD student in microbiology at UW-Madison. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she is passionate about the natural world, both seen and unseen. Alex currently combines those interests by studying the ecology of bacteria in lakes.
Talks by Alexandra Linz:
College of Engingeering | Electrical & Computer Engineering
Hometown: Madison, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Po-Ling Loh is an assistant professor in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Statistics at UW-Madison. From 2014-2016, she was an assistant professor in the Wharton Statistics Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Po-Ling received an MS in Computer Science and PhD in Statistics at UC Berkeley, and a BS in math and minor in English from the California Institute of Technology. She is a native of Madison, Wisconsin.
Talks by Po-Ling Loh:
1. Statistical Modeling of Complex Networks
2. Robust Statistics for High-Dimensional Data
College of Letters & Science | German
Research-Based Hometown: Areas of WI with Amish/Mennonite/German Presence. Willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Mark Louden is a linguist who received his training in Germanic linguistics at Cornell University. A fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch, he has published extensively on this language and other German-American varieties, as well as Yiddish. In addition to his position as a Professor of German, he co-directs the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies and is affiliated with the Center for Jewish Studies and the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture.
Talks by Mark Louden:
3. The German Language in America
4. What Is Pennsylvania Dutch
5. What Is Yiddish?
Arthur Andersen Alumni Professor
School of Business | Accounting
Hometowns: Jefferson, Middleton - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Brian Mayhew is the Arthur Andersen Alumni Professor of accounting, and a CPA. His teaching and research focus on the role of public accounting and auditing in the economy, including topics such as auditor independence, audit quality, fraud, and related party transactions. He also speaks on the integration of teaching and research. He was raised in Jefferson WI, and currently lives with his family in Middleton, WI.
Talks by Brian Mayhew:
1. The Integration of Teaching and Research in Business Schools
2. Improving Auditor Independence and Audit Quality
3. Are Related Party Transactions Red Flags?
School of Education | Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
Hometown: Edgerton, Middleton - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Julie Fisher Mead is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. Dr. Mead researches and writes about topics related to the legal aspects of education. Dr. Mead's research centers on legal issues related to special education and legal issues raised by various forms of school choice.
College of Letters & Science | Urban & Regional Planning
Research-Based Hometown: WI Cities & Villages with the WI Economic Development Corporation
Willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Alfonso Morales, PhD (Northwestern), is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning (College of Letters and Sciences) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is originally from rural New Mexico with roots in family farming there and in West Texas. He has established a nationally and internationally recognized and policy-relevant program of research on street vendors and marketplaces that has described the organization and consequences of marketplace processes historically and across populations. He has extensive experience with students in community-based outreach and research.
Talks by Alfonso Morales:
College of Letters & Science| Psychology
Hometowns: Mauston, Reedsburg - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Paula Niedenthal grew up in Chicago, spending her summers on a family farm between Mauston and Reedsburg in Wisconsin. There, her father, an ordained minister, substitute preached for local pastors. Paula attended the University of Wisconsin (her mother's alma mater) as an undergraduate, and earned a PhD from the University of Michigan in 1987, with both degrees in Psychology. Paula is now a professor of Psychology at UW-Madison. She teaches about the function of emotion, facial expression, emotion regulation, happiness, and how emotions affect memory and decision-making.
Talks by Paula Niedenthal:
School of Engineering | Electrical & Computer Engineering
Hometown: Greendale, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Rob Nowak is the McFarland-Bascom Professor in Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his research focuses on signal processing, machine learning, optimization, and statistics. The BeerMapper and NEXT systems are recent applications of his research. Rob is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as being affiliated with the departments of Computer Sciences, Statistics, and Biomedical Engineering. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, a member of the Wisconsin Optimization Research Consortium and Machine Learning at Wisconsin, and organizer of the SILO seminar series.
Talks by Rob Nowak:
College of Agricultural & Life Sciences | Nutritional Sciences
Hometown: Oak Creek, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Dr. Olson has worked in community-based nutrition research and programs for 25 years, starting with positions at The Kellogg Company in research & development and marketing. She now works at UW Madison doing research and outreach to help individuals and families make the healthiest choices possible in nutrition and health.
Talks by Beth Olson:
Professor and Chair
College of Agricultural & Life Sciences | Biological Systems Engineering
Hometowns: Sheboygan, Madison - willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Douglas Reinemann is proud to call Sheboygan his hometown and to have found a place at the University of Wisconsin, where the boundaries of the University are the boundaries of the state. His work as a Professor has given him the opportunity to see a world of ideas and places to bring back to the place he calls home.
Talks by Douglas Reinemann:
School of Veterinary Medicine | Pathobiological Sciences
Hometown: Janesville, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Eric Sandgren was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin, and then spent eight very enjoyable years as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After receiving Veterinary and PhD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, he returned to Madison where science first became exciting to him, as a member of the faculty at the School of Veterinary Medicine. While in this position, he studied cancer genetics using mice, but also became responsible for the regulation of animal use in research. He now combines his background in research, veterinary medicine, and bioethics to lead discussions about how to decide when and if it can be appropriate to use animals for this purpose.
Talks by Eric Sandgren:
College of Letters & Science | Anthropology
-willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Sissel Schroeder is an archaeology professor and department chair in Anthropology and a faculty affiliate with American Indian Studies, the Center for Culture, History, and the Environment, and the Nelson Institute. She is a Wisconsin native, born in Madison and raised in Wausau. She attended Luther College as an undergraduate, where she majored in Anthropology and Biology, received her M.S. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her a Ph.D. in Anthropology from The Pennsylvania State University.
Talks by Sissel Schroeder:
School of Medicine | Pediatrics
Hometown: Green Bay, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Christine Seroogy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Christine grew up in Green Bay and received a BS in Microbiology from UW Madison. She completed her medical education at the University of Minnesota, UC San Diego, Harvard Medical School, UC San Francisco and Stanford. She joined the faculty at UW Madison in 2003. She cares for children with immune deficiencies and her research is focused on understanding how environments shape the immune system.
Talks by Christine Seroogy:
College of Letters & Science | LaFollette School of Public Affairs
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
-Willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Tim Smeeding is the Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics . He was director of the Institute for Research on Poverty from 2008-2014. He was named the John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow, American Academy of Political and Social Science, in 2017, and was the founding director of the Luxembourg Income Study from 1983-2006. Professor Smeeding's recent work has been on social and economic mobility across generations, inequality of income, consumption and wealth, and poverty in national and cross-national contexts.
PhD, RN, CPNP Current Postdoctoral Fellow| 2017-2018 Assistant Professor
School of Nursing/School of Medicine & Public Health | School of Nursing
Hometown: Eagle River, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Traci Snedden is a jointly-appointed Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Nursing and School of Medicine and Public Health. She will begin an Assistant Professor role in the Fall of 2017. Her diverse clinical background reflects a long history in the areas school health, critical care and emergency medicine. Out of these experiences, in addition to her own childrens' sport-related injury, grew her research interest in adolescent and young adult concussion. Traci focuses on the functional effects of concussion, most specifically those that are school-related.
Talks by Traci Snedden:
Associate Professor, Faculty Director of Distance Graduate Credit Programming
School of Engineering | Engineering Professional Development
Hometown: Stanley, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
James Tinjum's overall consulting background and research/teaching interests are inter-disciplinary, covering facets of geotechnical, environmental, transportation, geological, and energy engineering. From a broad perspective, he conducts research in energy geotechnics, the beneficial reuse of industrial byproducts, remediation of metals-contaminated sites, and rail substructure material testing and modeling. He developed these research interests as a consulting engineer for 10+ years at two internationally prominent engineering firms and through discussions and interactions with practitioners participating in his national continuing engineering short course programs.
School of Nursing | Nursing
Hometown: Milwaukee, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Dave Vanness is an Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Prior to joining the UW faculty, he received a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000 and worked as a research consultant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. Dave's work is at the intersection between clinical medicine, data science, medical decision-making and health policy. The goal of his research and teaching is to make healthcare more effective and more affordable by helping manufacturers, payers, patients and clinicians make better decisions.
Talks by David Vanness:
2. Healthcare Research: Back to the Bayes-ics
School of Nursing | Nursing
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Research-Based Hometowns: Madison, Milwaukee
-Willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Earlise Ward conducts community-based clinical researchfocused on older African American women's mental health. Her research examinestheir beliefs about mental illness, whether these beliefs may serve as barriersto seeking mental health services, and coping behaviors in response to mentalillness. This line of research is geared to develop more culturally appropriateand effective mental health interventions for older African American women.Professor Ward's current research projects have used a life-course perspectiveand the Common Sense theoretical framework.
Talks by Earlise Ward:
1. Perceptions of Depression Among Older African American Women
2. A Culturally Adapted Depression Intervention for African American Adults
Assistant Campus Planner
Campus Planning & Landscape Architecture | Facilities Planning & Management
Hometown: Antigo, but willing to speak anywhere in the state.
Aaron Williams provides facilities planning services in support of the long-range physical planning activities of UW-Madison. As a practicing landscape architect with fifteen years of experience, his UW responsibilities include site specific projects as well as being the liaison for the city of Madison zoning approvals in regard to campus development.
Talks by Aaron Williams:
1. Campus Master Plan Update: Extending Our History- Embracing Our Future
Juli Plant Grainger Professor of Economics
Economics | College of Letters and Science
Noah Williams is the founding Director of the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE) and Juli Plant Grainger Professor of Economics at UW-Madison, where he has been on the faculty since 2008. A native of Menomonie, Wisconsin, he was previously on the faculty at Princeton University. His research focuses on macroeconomics, particularly monetary policy, social insurance programs, and financial markets. He has published widely, and co-authored several papers with Nobel Prize recipients Lars Peter Hansen and Thomas Sargent. A PhD and BA graduate of the University of Chicago, he is a consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and a member of the Economic Advisors Roundtable organized by the WMC and WEDC. His research on state economies, which underlies the work of the Center, has been supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Talks by Noah Williams:
1. The Wisconsin Economy: Trends in State Incomes, Output, Employment, and the Impact of Policy
2. Taxes and Fiscal Policies: Impacts of Taxes and Government Spending, both State and National. Proposals for Tax Reform
3. Monetary Policy: Impacts of Changes in Interest Rates and other Central Bank Instruments on the Economy
College of Letters & Science | Geoscience
Hometown: China (Interested in speaking anywhere in WI)
Huifang Xu's research focuses on interdisciplinary study of (1) crystal chemistry of clays, rock-forming minerals, and nano-crystals; (2) role of nanopore in controlling geochemical reactions; (3) roles of microbes in controlling mineral shape, structure, and compositions; (4) mineral interface-induced carbonate mineralization: a fundamental process relevant to carbon sequestration; (5) Formation mechanism of banded iron formation (BIF) and dolomite / dolomitization; and (6) functional minerals for environment clean up and renewable energy applications.
Talks by Huifang Xu:
1. Moonstones, Sunstones, and Science Behind Their Beauty