2019–20 Fielden Institute Distinguished Lecture Series: topics include economic outlook to technology


Tom Cunningham

One of the most well-known offerings through the Indian River State College (IRSC) Foundation Fielden Institute for Lifelong Learning is the popular Distinguished Lecture Series. For the 2019–2020 season the series focuses on subjects in economics, health, technology, and diplomacy and women’s rights.

 Lectures are offered once per month, December through April, at IRSC Vero Beach and Stuart campuses. Lectures at the Mueller Campus in Vero Beach are offered 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; lectures at the Chastain Campus in Stuart take place 3 to 5 p.m.

Doors open 30 minutes prior to the lecture. Lectures last approximately one hour and are followed by a moderated 30-minute question and answer session. The Distinguished Lecture Series topics this season are:

 December 5, 2019: “The Economic Outlook and Its Risks” 

Tom J. Cunningham, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC).  He is a specialist in open-economy macroeconomic policy and regional analysis. During his lecture, Dr. Cunningham will discuss the economic outlook and its risks.  Forecasting is, at best, inexact.  A detailed discussion of the expected path of the economy, why that is the most likely outcome, what the foreseeable risks are to that outlook, and how to think about economic news in the context of the forecast will be presented.  The intent is for the audience to come away with a better understanding of the interactions of the economy, and to learn how to think about news that suggests a change to the most likely path. 

 January 9, 2020: “A Healthy Diet: What Do We Know and What Is Just Hype!”

Is fat bad for you because it causes heart disease, or is it the carbohydrates in our diets that are bad for us?   Should we buy organic foods for better health even though the prices are higher?  Are you confused with all the food and nutrition information out there?  You are not alone.  Dr. Sarah Booth will discuss how nutrition advice offered to the public can sometimes border on the absurd and how best to navigate the information to achieve a healthy diet.  Dr. Booth is the Director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University, and Senior Scientist and Director of the Vitamin K Laboratory at the HNRCA.

 February 13, 2020: “The Changing Face of Healthcare”

Medicare, employed physicians, huge healthcare systems, lack of primary care physicians and access to physicians, and the Affordable Care Act are just a few of the challenges people face trying to navigate our current healthcare system. During her lecture, Dr. Pat Numann will discuss the structure of the healthcare system and explain how people can successfully navigate this complex system. You will learn how to research the credentials of your physician and access information about your problem. You will learn what steps you can take to assure that your wishes about your healthcare are always carried out. You will learn how to select a healthcare proxy and what that role is in your health.  Dr. Numann was educated at the University of Rochester and SUNY Upstate Medical University. She has held many roles in medical practice, education and administration with the healthcare sector.

 March 12, 2020: “Deep Disruption: How Core Technologies Are Changing Our World & Shaping Current Events”

Behind today’s new products and services are a number of powerful technologies that reinforce one another. The result is massive disruption of industries, social structures and the post-World War II geopolitical institutions. From her days writing code in Silicon Valley, to her leadership in tech-based companies doing business globally, to her support for a brand new scientific discipline, Dr. Robin Burk has been on the cutting-edge of tech-driven change. She earned a Ph.D. Degree in artificial intelligence and information science, taught at West Point for over seven years after the attacks of 9/11, and served as a Chief Scientist at a major R&D organization addressing complex decisions for national security and commercial sectors.

 April 9, 2020: “A Year in Western Afghanistan–Discussing Diplomacy and Women’s Rights”

Monique Quesada is the Diplomat in Residence (DIR) based in Miami at Florida International University and Miami Dade College. Ms. Quesada has been a career Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State since 1988, serving in many countries including France, England, Morocco and Afghanistan. During Quesada’s assignment in Herat, Afghanistan, her mission was to establish a permanent civilian presence in Western Afghanistan by opening a new U.S. Consulate in the area.  Her personal goal was to focus on women’s rights issues. Ms. Quesada’s lecture will highlight these experiences, while also addressing obstacles and outcomes along the way.          

The Distinguished Lecture Series is presented in partnership by the IRSC Foundation and the Ray and Peg Hirvonen Charitable Foundation. Registration for the five-part series is $150 per person for nonmembers; $100 per person for members and peer leaders. If available, individual lecture seats are offered at $35 one week prior to each of the lectures. For more information, or to subscribe by phone, call 772-462-7880. To subscribe online, visit www.irscfoundation.org.

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