Tune In

The GAA sponsors Think Fast forums designed to connect alumni with UNC faculty and experts about critical events that dominate the public conscience. Additional discussions, including programs listed here, are offered across the University.

Looking Ahead to Juneteenth: Centering Black Parents Voices in the Age of COVID-19 and Racial Reckoning

Thursday, June 17, 1 p.m. (EDT)

Register for the webinar here.

Iheoma U. Iruka and Stephanie M. Curenton, co-founders of Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race Network (RISER) will discuss the intersections between RISER’s research and themes associated with the national Juneteenth holiday. Guest speakers from the National Black Child Development Institute, Points of Access and Zero to will share how their organizations are centering racial equity in their ongoing work to improve the wellbeing of Black parents and families amid the pandemic.

This webinar will share insights and guidance for organizations to help:

● Incorporate the research findings from RISER’s report, “Black Parent Voices, Resilience in the Face of the Two Pandemics: COVID-19 and Racism” into ongoing advocacy efforts.
● Draw on the significance of the Juneteenth holiday as a time for assessment and for planning to uplift Black parents and families and improve their life outcomes.
● Learn the policy implications of the research and action items that will address the needs of Black families who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and racial trauma.

Speakers will be:
● Iheoma U. Iruka, co-founder of the RISER Network; fellow, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute; and research professor, department of public policy at UNC.
● Stephanie C. Curenton, co-founder of the RISER Network and associate professor, Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Boston University.
● Cemeré James, interim president and CEO, National Black Child Development Institute.
● Kim Keating, Zero to Three, senior policy research analys.t
● Cheri Reaves, executive director, Points of Access.

Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 19, 3-6 p.m. (EDT)

Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St.

RSVP here.

The Carolina Black Caucus and Chapel Hill Carrboro NAACP will host a Juneteenth celebration tailgate-style with music, food trucks, poetry, games, speakers and vendors.

Compose Carolina: Summer Music Series

Fridays at noon (EDT), July 9-30

Tune in for livestream premieres of musical works exploring the theme “In the Now” and conversation with the student and alumni composers. Hosted by Carolina Performing Arts in collaboration with UNC’s music department, the series welcomes three new alumni composers –– Alex Van Gils ’10, Trinity Vélez-Justo ’11 and Stewart Engart ’14 –– as well as a group of student composers and musicians, each of whom will explore the theme through their own perspective.

Learn more about the works, the composers, the series schedule and register here.

Cultivating a Global Mindset at Carolina

Wednesday, June 16, 10-11 a.m. (EDT)

Register for the livestream here.

What can strengthen the future of democracy around the globe? How do we train and develop the leaders our world needs?

Barbara Stephenson, UNC’s vice provost of global affairs and chief global officer, discusses her experiences as a U.S. ambassador and her strategy to cultivate a global mindset at Carolina in this live interview led by Susan Gravely ’73 (’79 MSRA), founder and CEO of Vietri, a lifestyle brand offering Italian-inspired and artisan-crafted dinnerware and home and garden accessories.

Senior Week 2021 Last Lecture: Professor Glenn Hinson — “Listen and Engage”

Watch the lecture here.

Read more at UNC’s The Well.

The Last Lecture tradition began at Carnegie Mellon in 2007, when professor Randy Pausch gave a special talk after he learned that his pancreatic cancer was terminal.

At Carolina, the Last Lecture sponsored by the GAA is an informal talk given the month before graduation by a speaker selected by the senior class. Glenn Hinson — associate professor of anthropology and American studies and recipient of a 2021 Chapman Family Teaching Award — was the faculty member invited this year to deliver a talk April 20 on the premise, “If you knew this was the last lecture you would ever give, what would you share with seniors?”

Speaking from a room with many crafts on display, Hinson told members of the class of 2021 about the important African American history and tradition of hand-woven baskets used as fish traps. The traps allowed enslaved people to supplement their meager meals with fresh fish in a way that “didn’t interfere with enslavement’s sunup to sundown labor schedule,” Hinson told them.


And there was another lesson.

“Consider for a moment the conditions of enslavement, a system of perpetual and unrelenting terror, where the guiding white assumption is that the enslaved are fundamentally less than human,” Hinson said. But whenever enslaved people used their creativity and intelligence, “every such act, whether fleeting like the song or sustaining like the basket or the quilt, was an act of both affirmation and defiance.”

In the chat following Hinson’s Last Lecture, a student asked what drove his “curiosity, passion and purpose?”

“The wonder that’s there,” Hinson said. “The world is filled with so many stories. The world is filled with so many experts. We like to say as ethnographers that people are the experts of their own experience. There’s so much to be learned if we simply listen and engage. It transforms who we can be.”

Homegrown Science: A Conversation with Holden Thorp ’86 and More

Thorp event: Tuesday, April 13, 6-7 p.m. (EDT); register here.

In celebration of the 2021 NCSciFest theme Homegrown Science, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will host a virtual conversation led by NCSciFest co-founder Todd Boyette with Science’s Holden Thorp ’86, former UNC chancellor. From Thorp’s vantage point as editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, what challenges does he think will dominate the science literature in the near future? What research is he excited about and how can we get the public more engaged?

The  informal discussion will be followed by audience Q-&-A.

Before he was UNC chancellor, Thorp served as Morehead Planetarium’s director and was instrumental in the establishment of the North Carolina Science Festival, the first statewide celebration of its kind in the nation. He earned his doctorate in inorganic chemistry at Caltech and completed postdoctoral work at Yale.

Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed, general science journal in the world. The Science family of journals includes Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science SignalingScience RoboticsScience Immunology, and the open-access journal Science Advances. Read more about Thorp’s role and the journals’ parent organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and its leader, Sudip Parikh ’95, in “The Scientist’s Scientist,” January/February 2021 Carolina Alumni Review.

Times and registration information for other Homegrown Science events celebrating current contributions of Tar Heels to STEM fields are at these links:

  • For teens: Wednesday, April 14 | Teen Science Cafe: Agriculture, Wildlife and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands
  • For all ages: Friday, April 16 | UNC Virtual Science Expo (all-day event)
  • For all ages: Friday, April 16 | Star Party (virtual skywatching with Morehead)
  • For all ages: Saturday, April 17 | Scientist Saturday at Morehead (Scientist Saturday will be included as a part of a regular ticket purchase to Morehead for April 17. Visitors will be able to view a planetarium show, followed by an exploration of current science research through individual display tables hosted by UNC scientists.)

Debating the Minimum Wage

April 19, 5-6:30 p.m. (EDT)

Register here.

For its inaugural Debating Public Policy Series event, the UNC Program for Public Discourse has invited two UNC faculty members to debate the advantages and disadvantages of President Joe Biden’s recent proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Luca Flabbi, an associate professor and director of graduate studies in UNC’s department of economics, will argue in favor. Paige Ouimet, professor of finance at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, will argue against. The debate will be moderated by Kevin Marinelli, executive director of the Program for Public Discourse.


More about the panelists:

  • Luca Flabbi is a labor economist interested in gender differentials and discrimination, bargaining in the labor market and in the household, and search models estimation.
  • Paige Ouimet has several research projects looking at income inequality and the role of firms. She also has researched ESOP (employee share ownership plans) and employee stock options and their impact on labor productivity, wages and turnover. Her research agenda is concentrated at the juncture of finance and labor economics. She is interested in in how decisions studied in finance impact employee stakeholders, especially how those effects are reflected in firm performance and, hence, corporate finance decisions.
  • Kevin Marinelli, besides serving as executive director of the Program for Public Discourse, is a teaching assistant professor in the department of communication with courses in rhetorical studies, and his scholarship centers on public argument. Currently, he is investigating practices of rhetorical citizenship.

UNC Health COVID-19 Game Changers: Equity in Vaccinations

March 23, noon (EDT)

Register here.

UNC Health is striving to be a leader in equitable vaccination efforts and ensuring that rural and marginalized communities and individuals have an opportunity to be vaccinated. Along with a COVID-19 update, speakers on this virtual panel will discuss COVER NC Principles and highlight vaccine access and outreach strategy.

Panelists will be:

  • Crystal W. Cené ’95, executive director for health equity, associate professor, Division of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology.
  • Robb Malone ’96 (’97 PD), chief operating officer, UNC Health Alliance.

Carolina Population Center Spring Seminars

Carolina Performing Arts @ Home Spring 2021

Grab your virtual front-row seat and enjoy thought-provoking performances.

Think Fast: Institutionalized Racism in America

On May 25, a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd by continuing to subdue him despite his pleas that he could not breathe. The death of Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of the police brought renewed attention to the racist treatment Black Americans face, sparking protests across the U.S. and around the world while reigniting examination of racism in many other areas of society. Click below for a discussion on why institutionalized racism continues to have a stronghold in America and what measures can be taken to combat this systemic problem.

View Livestream

Think Fast … COVID-19: Mental Health and Well-Being

Presented Thursday, April 30

What impact is the COVID-19 pandemic having on mental health? With some stay-at-home orders in place for more than a month, children are trying to learn remotely and have limited access to activities, parents are managing work-from-home life or the loss jobs and everyone is dealing with the absence of social anchors and connections. View a panel discussion of the impact on mental health and well-being on adults and children during these unprecedented times.

View Livestream

Think Fast … COVID-19: The Impact and Implications

Presented Thursday, March 19

What started as an unknown virus from Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, had infected more than 90,000 people in more than 50 countries by early March. While public health systems grapple with responses to the infection, other sectors have been noticeably affected, including national economies, educational institutions and politics. Click in with us to examine the impact of COVID-19 in more detail and from a variety of perspectives.

View Livestream

Video: Lectures & Panel Discussions

The GAA’s YouTube channel offers dozens of lectures and panel discussions that cover a range of topics — from an explanation of the research that will allow us to turn skin into stem cells that kill cancer to Alexander Julian ’69 discussing the history of argyle in Carolina style.