SUNY Potsdam Looks to the Future with 2013 Academic Festival


The SUNY Potsdam 2013 Academic Festival will examine “Making the Future,” with a whole slate of free activities planned for campus and community from April 10 to 13.

The 2013 SUNY Potsdam Academic Festival will examine how we can all impact the world of tomorrow—starting today.

Titled “Making the Future,” the triennial festival will showcase cutting-edge research and creative thinking for students, faculty, staff and the North Country community from Wednesday, April 10 to Saturday, April 13.

“We want to encourage students to take control of their own paths forward—after all, they are the future. Rather than focusing on what I call the ‘flying car’ vision of the future, we want to look at concrete issues,” said Dr. Martin A. Walker, festival chair. “For all of us, we hope that the festival will show how the things we do now can affect the world we build together.”

As a celebration of academics on campus, the “Making the Future” Academic Festival will bring together students, scholars and community members in a series of lectures, panel discussions, workshops, seminars, displays and performances.

All events are free and open to the public, and many students will be granted permission to leave their classes to participate.

For more information, visit:

The “Making the Future” festival will examine human rights, education, astronomy and space, sustainability, nanotechnology, leadership, archaeological lessons for the future, the evolution of communication and information, and much more.

The 2013 Academic Festival keynote speakers include former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Dr. John Warner, co-founder of the field of green chemistry.

Townsend, who is the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and niece of John F. Kennedy, will speak about “Women Taking Power Seriously” in a public presentation on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. In addition to her keynote speech, Townsend will also participate in a panel discussion along with labor organizer Jane LaTour, examining Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book on women’s empowerment, “Leaning In.” The discussion will be offered on Thursday, April 11 at 2 p.m. in Kellas 105.

Dr. Warner will open the festival with “Green Chemistry: New Eyes and New Ideas in Science,” on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Kellas Hall Room 106. Dr. Amy Cannon, who is the co-founder along with Dr. Warner of the Beyond Benign Foundation, will present “Transforming the Classroom to Safer, Green(er) Chemistry!” from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 in Kellas 104.

Please note that there are overlapping events on both Thursday and Friday, so be sure to view the full festival schedule before marking your calendar!

For the full schedule of events, visit:

Highlights of the festival include:

• Wednesday, April 10:
o The 2013 SUNY Potsdam Academic Festival will kick off at 11 a.m. with a Latin American/global music performance by the Caramelo Trio in Brainerd Hall, followed by a session led by North Country Public Radio journalist David Sommerstein, entitled “Radio in the Digital Age: Podcasting and Radio’s Revival,” from 1 to 2 p.m. in Kellas 104.
o Dr. John Warner will offer the opening keynote address, “Green Chemistry: New Eyes and New Ideas in Science,” from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Kellas 106.
o The evening will conclude with the first in a trio of film screenings, all led by Dr. Abdelkader Cheref. The 2006 Algerian film “Days of Glory” will run from 9 to 11:30 p.m. in the Knowles Hall Conference Center.

• Thursday, April 11:
o Columbia University Professor Dr. Charles Hailey will present “New Eyes Probing the Universe: NuSTAR, ‘The Black Hole Finder Mission,’” from 10 to 11 a.m. in Kellas 104.
o David Sommerstein, the host of “The Beat Authority” on NCPR, will discuss “Shattering the ‘World Music’ Label,” from 11 a.m. to noon in Kellas 105.
o There will be a panel discussion, “A Sustainable Future: The Promises and Pitfalls of Individual Action,” from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Kellas 106.
o NASA mission operations specialist Danny Krysak discusses “Journey to Mars: The Rover Curiosity,” from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by NASA planetary scientist Dr. Ryan Zeigler, speaking on “Earth’s Moon: What we have Learned since the Apollo Missions,” from 2 to 3 p.m., and a showing of lunar rock samples on loan from NASA from 3 to 4 p.m., all in Kellas 106.
o “Making Our Futures Together,” a session about antiracism activism, will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. in Kellas 104.
o Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Jane LaTour will discuss “Women ‘Leaning In’ to Attain Power” from 2 to 3 p.m. in Kellas 105.
o NASA staff scientist Dr. Steven Jones will speak about “Space Exploration Applications of Aerogels” from 4 to 5 p.m. in Kellas 106.
o Dr. Amy Cannon will discuss green chemistry in education from 5 to 6 p.m. in Kellas 104.
o Townsend’s keynote speech, “Women Taking Power Seriously,” will be offered from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at The Crane School of Music.
o The day will conclude with the screening of the 1966 cinema classic, “The Battle of Algiers,” from 9 to 11:30 p.m. in the Knowles Conference Center.

• Friday, April 12:
o Learn from the lessons of the past in a discussion of ancient agriculture in Eastern North America, led by Dr. Tim Messner, from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by Dr. David Starbuck’s presentation about archaeology in the 21st century, from 11 a.m. to noon, and concluding with a panel discussion, all in Kellas 105.
o “Competing Visions for the Future of K-12 Education: National and International Perspectives,” will be presented from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Kellas 104.
o Director of Libraries Jenica Rogers and Dr. Antony Williams, head of cheminformatics for the Royal Society of Chemistry, will discuss “The Future of Scholarly Publishing” from 11 a.m. to noon in Kellas 103. Williams will also lead a session on “The Future of Scientific Information and Communication,” from 1 to 2 p.m. in Kellas 104.
o Environmental activist Dominic Frangillo, one of the youngest elected officials in New York State, will present “Be the Change You Seek: Running for Office,” from 1 to 2 p.m. in Kellas 105.
o Mohawk multimedia artist Shelly Niro will screen and discuss her film “Kissed by Lightning: Haudensaunee Oral Tradition in the 21st Century” from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in Kellas 105.
o Kristen van Hooreweghe will present a screening of the documentary “A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet” from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in Kellas 106.
o Dr. Cheref’s Algerian film series will conclude with a screening of the acclaimed 2002 movie, “Rachida,” from 7 to 10 p.m. in Kellas 106.

• Saturday, April 13:
o Syracuse University Professor Dr. Steven Blusk will present “God Particle: The Higgs Boson,” from 10 to 11 a.m. in Kellas 104.
o Sean O’Brien will offer a workshop on “Using Technology to Explore New Dimensions of Popular Culture,” also from 10 to 11 a.m., in Kellas 103.
o The annual Rock and Fossil Fair, sponsored by SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Geology, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in Timerman Hall. This family-friendly event is open for children of all ages, and features a fossil dig, a fluorescent mineral “cave,” face painting, and much more.

To find out more about the 2013 Academic Festival at SUNY Potsdam, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.