Learning Through Research

NCUR 30 Plenary Speakers



Thursday, April 7, 2016     

David George Haskell  


Talk: "One Year, One Square Meter of Forest: An Experiment in Ecology, Contemplation, and Literature."   

From The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature
What lies beyond the theories we impose on nature? This year I have tried to put down scientific tools and to listen: to come to nature without a hypothesis, without a scheme for data extraction, without a lesson plan to convey answers to students,            without machines and probes.

I have glimpsed how rich science is but simultaneously how limited in scope and in spirit. It is unfortunate that the practice of listening generally has no place in the formal training of scientists…. We are poorer for this, and possibly more hurtful.

What gifts might a listening culture give its forests?



David George Haskell will serve as the opening plenary speaker for the 30th Anniversary National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Haskell’s work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world. His book The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (Viking Penguin, 2012) was awarded the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award for 2013 and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction and runner-up for the 2013 PEN E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. 

His second book, Songs of Trees, will be published by Viking Press in the spring of 2016.

Haskell holds the BA in zoology from the University of Oxford and a PhD in evolutionary biology from Cornell University. He is a professor of biology at Sewanee: The University of the South. His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution, and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Wildlife Fund, among others. Haskell’s classes have received national attention for the innovative ways they combine science, writing, contemplation, and action in the community. 

Read about David Haskell's teaching and rambles on his blog at www.dghaskell.com



Friday, April 8, 2016

Bryant Terry

“Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.”  --Chef Alice Waters


Award-winning chef, educator, and author Bryant Terry opens the second day of NCUR 30. Terry is a national leader in the movement to promote healthy eating and food justice. 

His fourth book, Afro-Vegan, was named one of the best cookbooks of 2014 and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work category. Terry's other books include The Inspired Vegan and the critically acclaimed Vegan Soul Kitchen and Grub, co-authored with Anna Lappé. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Essence, and Vegetarian Times, among others.
Terry was recently named a 2015 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award winner. He has made dozens of national television and radio appearances and hosts Urban Organic, a popular web series.  Terry holds the BA in English from Xavier University in Louisiana and the MA in history from NYU. Check out Bryant Terry's website and blog at 






Saturday, April 9, 2016  

Dianne Stewart  




Talk: “Whispers of Obeah and the Intellectual Habit of Listening:  One Scholar’s Path to Retheorizing African Heritage Religions in the Diaspora”


Dianne M. Stewart , Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Emory University, is the featured speaker on day three of NCUR 30.  

She is the author of Three Eyes for the Journey: African Dimensions of the Jamaican Religious Experience and a number of articles and essays covering a wide array of topics in African and African diaspora religious studies.  

Stewart has done extensive fieldwork in Africa and the Caribbean, including 17 months as a Fulbright Scholar conducting archival and ethnographic research in Democratic Republic of Congo. She holds the BA from C
olgate University, the MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, and the PhD from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.