Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 12:00pm to Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 1:00pm
University of Maryland Alumni Association

UMD Faculty are among the world's leading experts, helping to solve the Grand Challenges of our time. Their research has the power to transform lives by advancing our understanding of the world around us. As an alum, you are forever a Terp and we want to make sure you have access to learn, grow, and have fun with our professors here on campus.

Join the Alumni Association this spring for a virtual series featuring some of UMD's most distinguished faculty as they showcase their research and its impact on humanity. See below for the schedule to showcase 6 distinguished faculty in April and May. We can't wait to have you back with us in the classroom - the virtual classroom - and this time with no homework! 

The Art of Waiting in the Digital Age

Wednesday, May 11 | Noon ET
In our drive to eliminate waiting from our lives, we run the risk of losing an essential component to what it means to be human. Waiting is time's great teacher and it is foundational for being deeply connected with each other and with the ideas we hope to learn in a digital age. In this talk, Dr. Jason Farman discusses the history of waiting and technology, providing examples from the past that give us insight about how we should deal with waiting in our sped-up digital age.
Presented by: Jason Farman
Jason Farman is a Professor of American Studies and the Director of the Design Cultures & Creativity Program at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also a faculty member with the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and a Faculty Associate with Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He is author of the book Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, NPR, National Geographic, 99% Invisible, Atlas Obscura, ELLE Magazine, GQ, Aeon, Vox, and others.







Past Faculty-Lecture Series Events:

The Silver Lining: Leveraging the Expertise of Barbers & Stylists to Promote Health Equity and Create Healthier Communities

Wednesday, April 6 | Noon - 1 p.m. ET

Most people don’t know the history of Black barbershops/beauty salons and health. A brief review of the literature uncovers centuries of evidence dating back to the humble origins of dentistry and surgery.  Today, Black barbers and stylists have the trust of the people in their neighborhoods where important conversations of the day are often discussed, and debated in the barbershop/salon. So, in this session, it makes sense that we think back to the original meaning of the red and blue barber pole and make barbershops and salons a place where health conversations and interventions can take place.
View Recording

Presented by: Dr. Stephen Thomas
One of the nation's leading scholars in the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, Dr. Stephen B. Thomas has applied his expertise to address a variety of conditions from which minorities generally face far poorer outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS. 


Paleo Talks: From Ballerinas of Doom to Bone-Crushing Bruisers
Tuesday, April 12 | Noon ET
Tyrannosaurus rex and kin are infamous as among the largest predators ever to stride the land. Yet even these giants hatched as turkey- or goose-sized babies. New fossil discoveries and analyses of their bite forces, senses, agility, speed, and more reveal the shifting ecology of tyrant dinosaurs from swift agile hunters to the gigantic apex predators of their environment.
Presented by: Tom Holtz
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. is Principal Lecturer in Vertebrate Paleontology at the Department of Geology. His research focuses on the origin, evolution, adaptations, and behavior of carnivorous dinosaurs, and especially of tyrannosauroids (Tyrannosaurus rex and its kin). He received his Bachelors in Earth & Planetary Geology at Johns Hopkins in 1987 and his Ph.D. from the Department of Geology & Geophysics at Yale in 1992. He is also a Research Associate of the Department of Paleobiology of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and serves on the Scientific Council of Maryland Academy of Science (which operates the Maryland Science Center (Baltimore, MD). He is also the creator and Faculty Director of the College Park Scholars-Science & Global Change program. In addition to his dinosaur research, Holtz has been active in scientific outreach. He has been a consultant on museum exhibits around the world, and on numerous documentaries. He is the author of the award-winning popular audience books. He is the current editor of the "Life of the Past" series at Indiana University Press. He received the 2018-2019 Provost's Excellence in Teaching Award for Professional Track Faculty.

British History on the Small Screen: Why Period Drama Television Matters

Monday, April 18 | Noon ET
Period drama television, like romance novels, has traditionally been dismissed by historians as trivial entertainment, most likely because the targeted audience has been women. Yet, as recent studies show, more people learn history not from academic books but from television programs. This talk will survey some of the most popular dramas to hit our TV screens in recent years (such as Downton Abbey, Poldark, Outlander, Bridgerton, and Call the Midwife) to show how such TV programs indeed "do" history, in particular, restoring the lives and voices of those previously marginalized by historians: from the working class and POC to victims of domestic abuse and rape, and the LGBTQ community. These dramas also perform functions that should not be ignored: they provide pleasure and reveal how nostalgia for the past shapes our fantasies, consumer habits, and social media experiences, as well as how we engage with history on multiple levels.
View Recording

Presented by: Julie Taddeo
Julie Taddeo is a Research Professor of History at UMD, College Park. She specializes in Modern British social and cultural history with a focus on issues of gender, class, and sexuality. She is the author and co-editor of several books, including, Rape in Period Drama Television: Consent, Myth, and Fantasy (2022); Diagnosing History: Medicine in Television Period Drama (2022); Conflicting Masculinities: Men in Television Period Drama (2018); Doing History in the Age of Downton Abbey (2019); Catherine Cookson Country: On the Borders of Legitimacy, Fiction, and History (2012); Lytton Strachey and the Search for Modern Sexual Identity (2002). She frequently gives public history lectures on such topics as the British Royal family; Victorian scandal and crime; and the relationship between history, nostalgia, and period drama television.


The Language Seed

Monday, April 25 | Noon ET

Wherever there are humans, there is language. Communities of humans in the farthest corners of the world have language. When people are isolated from a language, a new language emerges. Other animals that co-exist with us do not acquire language, despite similar exposure. These facts suggest that language is a species-level property - a biological capacity that is nearly definitional of being human. Yet, human children are not born speaking or understanding a language. Rather, over a period of years they acquire the language of their community, suggesting that language is a social property - a result of experience and interaction. How can language be both a biological property of our species and a consequence of experience? In this talk, I discuss how the human mind is equipped with a capacity for language learning - a cognitive seed that when exposed to certain environmental conditions grows into a language. We will explore how the mind adds structure to experience and allows a language to grow. At the same time, we will explore how scientists test for linguistic structure in children before they are able to produce sentences of their own.
Presented by: Jeff Lidz
Jeff is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, where he directs the Project on Children's Language Learning and the Infant & Child Studies Consortium. He is a member of the executive committees of the Maryland Language Science Center and the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program. Lidz's work examines how children acquire their first language. This work uses a combination of psychological, computational and comparative linguistic tools in order to separate out the contributions of human nature and the environment in the acquisition of language.






The Science Behind Skin Aging

Friday, May 6 | Noon EST
The Science Behind Skin Aging Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare, accelerated aging disorder that affects only one in 8 million children. Because there are less than 250 people worldwide that suffer from this genetic disorder, HPGS doesn't receive as much attention in the scientific community as other diseases. However, researching a cure for HGPS has led to some big insights about skin aging and how to best slow it down in healthy adults. In this talk, I will discuss HGPS, the science behind skin aging, and a commonly overlooked laboratory dye—methylene blue—which might be the secret to improving the longevity of our skin.
Presented by: Kan Cao
Kan Cao received a B.S. degree in Biology from Nanjing University China in 1997, and a Ph.D. degree in Biology from Johns Hopkins University in 2005. She did her postdoctoral fellowship in genomics at the National Institutes of Health with Dr. Francis Collins between 2005-2010. She is an associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at the University of Maryland College Park. Dr. Cao studies molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying Hutchinson Gilford progeria syndrome, a rare premature aging disease, and the normal human aging process. In 2018, she founded Mblue Labs (, which provides revolutionary anti-aging technology to consumers around the world. The company's clinical skin & sun care brand Bluelene ( uses the patented ingredient Methylene Blue to repair and protect skin on the mitochondrial level. Dr. Cao was named the New Scholar in Aging by the Ellison Medical Foundation in 2011, received the Board of Visitors junior faculty award from the University of Maryland in 2013, and was the finalist of the Invention of the Year by the University of Maryland in 2016. In 2018, she received Norma M. Allewell Prize In Entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland. 

Free to attend


Ellie Geraghty,