Service Schedule

Grace Wolf-Chase, Ph.D., Astronomer, Adler Planetarium
Oct
21
10:30 AM10:30

Grace Wolf-Chase, Ph.D., Astronomer, Adler Planetarium

The Interactive Cosmos: Star Formation, an Evolving Web of Relationships

About the Speaker: Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase is Astronomer at Adler Planetarium, an Associate at the University of Chicago, an Affiliated Faculty member of the Zygon Center for Religion Science, and Vice President of the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science (CASIRAS).  Her position at the Adler integrates academic research in her field of expertise (star formation) with public education, particularly through engaging people around the world in “citizen science”.  Wolf-Chase holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Arizona. A life-long Lutheran, she resides with her spouse in Naperville, IL and has three adult children in college.


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Nancy Rotering, J.D. Mayor of Highland Park
Oct
14
10:30 AM10:30

Nancy Rotering, J.D. Mayor of Highland Park

A Conversation about Legislation to Ban Civilian High Powered Weaponry

Nancy Rotering is Mayor of Highland Park. As an attorney, Ms. Rotering joined McDermott Will & Emery working on health care matters. In 2008, she shifted her focus to government work and served as a Legislative Aide to State Representative Karen May.  Rotering is the first female mayor of Highland Park, IL.  She was elected in April 2011 and re-elected in 2015.  A two-term mayor, she shook up City Hall with a major reform of city government that resulted in transparency, accessibility, collaboration and ethical accountability.  She led the charge to pass one of the nation’s only local assault weapons bans. Nancy successfully fought the NRA all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Stanford University, an MBA at Northwestern University and a law degree at the University of Chicago. She and her husband Rob have four sons.

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John Levine, Board Member, BackYard Nature Center
Oct
7
10:30 AM10:30

John Levine, Board Member, BackYard Nature Center

Connecting with the Wonders of Nature

About BackYard Nature Center: When we think of wonders of nature, at first blush, a beautiful sunset might come to mind with its myriad shades of oranges and reds.  With BackYard Nature Center (BYNC), we discover a sense of exhilaration, magic and mystery in nature.  To introduce children to the wonders of nature and get them off their screens, BYNC connects with teachers, school officials, New Trier Township, Winnetka Park District, Forest Preserves of Cook County, The Alliance for Early Childhood, Chicago Wilderness friends, service-minded and faith-based organizations, volunteers and contributors.  BYNC brings to the fore the opportunities for children's unstructured play in nature.

About the Speaker: John Levine is involved in both restoration and education initiatives for BYNC. His focus on the board is in the areas of marketing, resource development, and planning. A passionate advocate for nature, John has volunteered with such organizations as The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and Lincoln Park Zoo. He brings BYNC marketing and business management skills, having held leadership positions in the consumer products industry and founded a consulting practice in marketing and innovation. He also writes novels for children. John has a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He lives in Northfield.

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Ahmad Sadri, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Islamic World Studies, Lake Forest College
Sep
23
10:30 AM10:30

Ahmad Sadri, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Islamic World Studies, Lake Forest College

The Rise of Fundamentalism and the Decline of Reform Thought-Judaism, Christianity and Islam

About the Speaker: Dr. Ahmad Sadri, Professor of Sociology and Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College, received his B.A. and M.A. degrees at the University of Tehran and his Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research.  He is the author and editor of numerous books including Max Weber’s Sociology of Intellectuals and Reason Freedom and Democracy in Islam, as well as more than one hundred articles.  He wrote a column for Daily Starof Lebanon, and has appeared on the BBC, Al Jazeera, and National Public Radio.   In recent years Sadri wrote a weekly column for Etemad-e Melli, and Irandokht, reformist newspapers in Iran that have since been closed down.   His most recent translation of the Epic of the Persian Kings has sold 15,000 copies and has been turned into a shadow play.

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Mike Meiners, Master of Architecture, IIT, CEO Hackstudio, Evanston
Jan
21
10:30 AM10:30

Mike Meiners, Master of Architecture, IIT, CEO Hackstudio, Evanston

Going Together: The Power of Groups in the Pursuit of Individual Goals

Mike Meiners, CEO of Hackstudio, will speak on the topic, Going Together: The Power of Groups in the Pursuit of Individual Goals.  He will illustrate how pursuits that challenge our courage, authenticity, grit and respect are doomed by our brain structure to fail in the long term.  He will share research from bestselling authors Brené Brown and Simon Sinek, as well as stories from his experience helping kids, teens and adults “get their dreams done” and will share practices that LSUS can employ to help its members stay in the fight as they pursue their individual goals - all while drawing everyone a little closer together.

Hackstudio helps kids learn to succeed by being who they are. At Hackstudio, kids benefit from and contribute to a culture of support that encourages everyone to show up as themselves. In freeing them to pursue their deep passions and interests, Mike Meiners and his team set the stage for kids to develop identity through struggle and build their own knowledge, skills and relationships in order to reach their goals. Mike has a Master of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.  He previously operated Meiners Design, where he designed company identities, earned patents and won a national furniture design competition.

 

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Don Sandel, Director of Talent Development, Astellas, Northbrook
Jan
14
10:30 AM10:30

Don Sandel, Director of Talent Development, Astellas, Northbrook

Linking Happiness to a Successful and Productive Life

Don Sandel, Director of Talent Development at Astellas in Northbrook, will speak on the topic, Linking Happiness to a Successful and Productive Life.  With the recent advances in neuroscience, we have seen compelling research around the old paradigm that it is success first and then happiness later and how this has been turned on its head. (Happiness actually precedes success!) In fact, the brain literally changes when we are happy, optimistic, and positive versus neutral or negative.  By retraining the brain and developing new positive mental models, we can improve our mindset, our resiliency, how we respond to negative challenges, and inspire our own performance--no matter the venue or focus area.

Don Sandel has a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University.  Since graduation, he has amassed a number of highly specialized certificates in Human Performance Improvement, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, and, most recently, Applied Positive Psychology.  Don’s expertise is in the field of positive psychology, specifically how a positive mindset enables higher performance.  He is a sought after speaker on the topic, often presenting at local, national and international conferences, and has been published nationally. He has built programs for United Airlines, Allscripts and Astellas Pharma Inc.

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Stephen Asma, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Columbia College Chicago
Jan
7
10:30 AM10:30

Stephen Asma, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Columbia College Chicago

The Evolution of Imagination

Dr. Stephen Asma, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia College Chicago, will speak on the topic, The Evolution of Imagination.  Imagination is a major part of our inner lives.  Indeed, it makes up a “second universe” inside our heads.  We invent animals and events that don’t exist, we rerun history with alternative outcomes, we envision social and moral utopias, revel in fantasy art, and meditate on what we could have been and what we might become.  Guided by neuroscience, animal behavior, evolution, philosophy, and psychology, Dr. Asma burrows deep into the human psyche to look right at the enigmatic but powerful engine that is our improvisational creativity—the source of our remarkable imaginational capacity.  Imagination is neither a miraculous muse, nor a mechanical circuit of the brain.  Instead, Asma argues, it is one of our earliest forms of cognition, and we can still access it today.

Asma is the author of ten books, including The Evolution of Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 2017), The Evolution of Emotion: Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition with Rami Gabriel (Harvard University Press, forthcoming), On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears (Oxford University Press), and The Gods Drink Whiskey (HarperOne).  He writes regularly for the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Skeptic magazine, and Aeon.   Asma has been an invited lecturer at Harvard University, Brown University, the Field Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Fudan University (Shanghai), University of Macau, Aarhus University Denmark, and many more. 

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Sunday, November 26 Dr. Shane Larson addresses the Question on Life on Other Worlds
Nov
26
10:30 AM10:30

Sunday, November 26 Dr. Shane Larson addresses the Question on Life on Other Worlds

Ever since we realized that the stars were distant suns, we have wondered if there were also planets circling them, and speculated as to whether or not there might also be life on them. In the last two decades,  new planets have been discovered at a prodigious rate.  But what about life?  Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." We'll chat about what we know of other worlds, what we think life might be like, and how we are attempting to explore the profound question of whether or not we are alone in the Cosmos.

Dr. Larson is the Associate Director at CIERA, Northwestern University astrophysics center   He works in the field of gravitational wave astrophysics, specializing in studies of compact stars, binaries, and the galaxy.    He received a B.S. in Physics from Oregon State University in 1991 and then earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics (1999) from Montana State University.  He is an award-winning teacher, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, contributes regularly to a public science blog at writescience.wordpress.com, and tweets with the handle @sciencejedi.

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Dr. Neal Grossman, Associate Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago,  UUA Principles and the Near-Death Experience
Nov
19
10:30 AM10:30

Dr. Neal Grossman, Associate Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago, UUA Principles and the Near-Death Experience

The near-death experience (NDE) has been the subject of scientific investigation since Raymond Moody’s book, Life After Life, was published about 40 years ago.  These investigations have crossed many areas, from phenomenology (what do NDErs say they have experienced?) to epistemology (how do we know that the NDE is real?) to psychology (how are NDErs affected by their experience?).  In his presentation, Professor Grossman will focus mostly on the psychological dimension of the NDE.  He will argue that the NDE appears to induce personality or psychological changes in the experiencers, so that they become more naturally aligned with UUA principles.

Neal Grossman  has a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from Indiana University.  His special interests are Spinoza, mysticism, and the epistemology of parapsychological research.

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