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Carolyn Conner Seepersad
West Virginia University, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1996
University of Oxford, B.A., Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, 1998
Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2001
Georgia Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, 2004
Carolyn Conner Seepersad grew up in West Virginia, where she also attended college. She was West Virginia University’s twenty-fifth Rhodes Scholar. At an early age, she excelled in math and science. She is currently an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin.
University of North Carolina, 1974, B.A., American Studies
University of Oxford, 1977, M.A., Politics and Economics
University of Wisconsin, 1980, M.A., Agricultural Economics
University of Wisconsin, 1981, Ph.D., Agricultural Economics
Ford Runge grew up in Wisconsin with two younger sisters, a stepbrother, and a stepsister. He is currently a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Applied Economics and Law and Director of the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy at the University of Minnesota. He also regularly contributes public opinion pieces that appear in the Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, and the Financial Times. He also writes longer pieces. His most recent contribution is an article in Foreign Affairs called “How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor.” It is representative of the work he does, which is designed to get people’s attention.
Scott Bear Don’t Walk was born in Helena, Montana, but grew up mainly in Billings. He has one older brother and a younger sister. As the middle child, he describes himself as very diplomatic, careful, soft-spoken, wary, and pleasing. He is a member of the Crow tribe. His father, an attorney, has worked with various tribes throughout his career. His mother dedicates her time to work on American Indian health issues. He is the twenty-seventh Rhodes Scholar from the University of Montana. Recently, he completed a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at NYU, where he had the opportunity to work with writers Sharon Olds, Breyten Breytenbach, and Kimiko Hahn. He is a published poet and his long-term goal is being a writer. He is currently in the Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago at the Committee on Social Thought trying to fuse epic poetry and academics into something that matters on the reservation.
Jonathan E. Skinner
St. John’s College, 1991, B.A., Liberal Arts
University of Oxford, 1993, B.A., English Language & Literature
University College London, 1996, M.A., Translation Studies
State University of New York at Buffalo, 2005, Ph.D., English
Jonathan Skinner was born and raised in a classic nuclear family in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has also lived in Mexico, England, Italy, and France. He is the author of a poetry collection called Political Cactus Poems and the editor of ecopoetics, a journal exploring creativity mainly in the written form and ecology. Currently, he is an environmental studies professor at Bates College in Maine. He teaches a freshman writing seminar that emphasizes experiential learning. His class included a climb of Mt. Adams in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire and a canoe float on the Androscoggin River. And when he’s at home, he has a view of a wild island populated with bald eagles.
Steven Umin grew up in the Bronx during the 1940s and 1950s as the eldest son of a lower middle class family. He has only one younger sister. He did his undergraduate studies at Yale, where he was ranked first in his class. He planned on becoming a doctor before deciding to pursue law. After law school, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart. Over the years, he has been involved in a wide variety of cases in civil and criminal litigation. He is currently a senior member at Epstein, Becker & Green in Washington, D.C. And since 2000, he has been a mediator for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. Besides making time for art, music, and friends, he also devotes himself to the fight against multiple sclerosis. He is a member of the board of the Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation in London, England, and the Sylvia Lawry Center in Munich, Germany.
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David Satter grew up in Chicago as the oldest of five children. He has one brother and three sisters. He is a journalist/author and a well-known Russia scholar. After his time at Oxford on the Rhodes Scholarship, he worked as a police reporter for the Chicago Tribune and in 1976 became the Moscow correspondent of the London Financial Times. He has written two books, Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union and Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State. His numerous articles and essays have been published in the Los Angeles Times, National Review, New Republic, and the Wall Street Journal. His first book, Age of Delirium, is also being made into a documentary film to be finished this year. In addition, he has made appearances on Russian television networks, CNN, C-Span, and the Charlie Rose Show. He is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Read the rest of this entry »
Jonathan Blake grew up in a small seaside town in New Jersey called Rumson. He is the eldest of three sons. He attended the school where his father was the headmaster and spent his high school years at Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in Connecticut. He has been a communications lawyer at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. since 1964 when he started out as an associate. He remains physically active by playing in three to four tennis tournaments annually and since the first U.S. oil crisis in 1973, he’s been running to work. He has been described as one of the finest lawyers in America and “the most ethical person I can imagine in the law profession.”*
Oluwabusayo Temitope Folarin, or “Tope” as he likes to be called, was born in Ogden, Utah. He has four younger siblings-three brothers and a sister. At the age of 14, his family moved from Utah to Texas. Although he completed his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, he spent a year at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and a semester in South Africa studying at the University of Cape Town. He also worked for an NGO where he interviewed Parliament members about including anti-child prostitution laws within the South African constitution and aided in the development of HIV/AIDS training clinics for rural South Africans. During the summer of 2004, before heading to Oxford, he was a Galbraith Scholar dealing with issues of inequality and social policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He finished his studies at Oxford last summer and he now works for Google in London.
The first part of our exchange was conducted via email. We then continued the conversation by phone. Read the rest of this entry »
David Quammen is an award-winning writer, perhaps best known for his nature column called “Natural Acts” in Outside magazine from 1981 to 1995. His first novel, To Walk the Line, was published when he was 22 years old. He has authored three other works of fiction and seven non-fiction books, including Wild Thoughts from Wild Places, The Song of the Dodo, and The Reluctant Mr. Darwin. His recently published book is Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. He is also a regularly contributing writer for National Geographic.
Below is the transcribed record of a verbal conversation. Neither David Quammen nor I have tried to make it read like a polished, fully grammatic piece of writing. It is what it is: human talk.
Faith Salie was born in Boston, but grew up mainly in Atlanta, Georgia, the youngest of three children. At an early age, she found a love for theater. She attended Northwestern University for a year before transferring to Harvard, where she won the Jonathan Levy Award for most promising actor at the university. She had a brief stint on “Sex in the City” involving a gold lamé outfit and portrayed a genetically enhanced mutant on a couple of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episodes. She has also done years of stand-up comedy and improv, including two seasons in the BRAVO sitcom, “Significant Others.” You can now find her hosting a public radio satirical news and entertainment show called “Fair Game” from Public Radio International. Read the rest of this entry »
Brown University, 1989, BA; English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing
University of Oxford, 1990, M. Phil., English Literature
University of East Anglia, 1991, M.A., Creative Writing
Katherine Eban grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She is the younger of two daughters. Her father practices and teaches law, but he is also a statistician. Her mother is a theater scholar and critic. Katherine is an investigative reporter focusing on public health and homeland security issues. Her work has appeared in the Nation, the New Republic, the New Yorker, and Vogue. In her first book, Dangerous Doses, published in 2005, she unveiled the spread of counterfeit prescription drugs in the American supply chain. Her most current piece appears in the July issue of Vanity Fair. In the article called “Rorschach and Awe”, she exposes the role of CIA-contracted psychologists in military interrogations and torture. Read the rest of this entry »
Yale University, 1960, B.A., Scholar of the House in English
University of Oxford, 1962, Dipl., Anthropology
University of California-Los Angeles, 1963, M.A., Theater Arts
Yale Drama School, 1967, D.F.A., Playwriting
Leslie Epstein spent his childhood in the 1940s and 1950s in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, California. He was part of a Hollywood screenwriting family. His father and uncle, Philip and Julius, wrote classics like Arsenic and Old Lace and won an Academy Award for Casablanca. He is the author of seven novels and three short story collections. His most controversial work was the novel, King of the Jews, in which he examines European Jews who betrayed their own people to the Nazis. He also wrote an autobiographical novel called San Remo Drive in 2003. For over 20 years, he has been the director of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University.
Below is an hour-long talk we had while he ate lunch and cleared the dishwasher at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts.