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Ignite Fall Speaker Series

September 15 November 10 EDT

This fall Clarkson Ignite invites all students to become inspired about the future. For the President’s Challenge we want you to tackle any opportunity important to you. To help you prepare to meet this challenge, Clarkson Ignite is hosting nine different talks throughout the semester, each focusing on various UN Sustainable Development Goals. These sessions will offer you the ability to understand some of those opportunities better and expand your knowledge. Starting Tuesday, September 15 at 2PM, join us virtually, listen, and ask questions to leading academics, entrepreneurs, and practitioners on topics ranging from energy resiliency, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), mental health, and more! We will host this  nine week series on Zoom, and registration is required. Check for our first link in the Wednesday September 9 announcements! If you have any questions, please reach out to Clarkson Ignite at ignite@clarkson.edu.

Swift Rails, Sustainable Transportation: Challenges and Opportunities

Tuesday, September 15 at 2 PM

Clarkson Ignite welcomes Swift Rails CEO, Kevin Neumaier ‘86, and COO, Tony Gale, for this semester’s first virtual Speaker Series event. Neumaier graduated from Clarkson University in the class of 1986 with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering which he now applies to his passion and career in sustainable transport. Neumaier and Gale first met early in their careers when they worked at Ecology and Environment, Inc. together, and they later reunited as part of the executive team at Swift Rails.

Swift Rails looks toward the future of sustainable transportation. For this talk, Neumaier and Gale will share their experiences and discuss the contemporary challenges innovating and implementing transportation technology. Join us on Zoom to discover a new perspective on the merger of sustainable solutions, the future of transportation, and a discussion of what this future may look like.

Dr. Stephen Bird, The Energy Transition

Tuesday, September 22 at 2 PM

In the coming energy transition, big “innovation buzzwords” include resilience, distributed energy, and the Green New Deal. In this presentation, Dr. Bird will explore how we govern these new, complicated energy systems and whether the public will support and pay for them. Focusing on larger scale microgrids, he and his colleagues ask how much we are really willing to pay for more resilient and sustainable electricity. Can a common energy vision be supported by the public, big energy interests, and governments? Join us on Zoom where Dr. Bird will examine these topics and share a glimpse of the potential future of the energy transition.  

Stephen Bird is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of the ISE’s Adirondack Semester at Clarkson University. He is also a Research Faculty Affiliate with the Positive Energy Project at the University of Ottawa–where he was a Fulbright Research Chair in 2016-17. His research interests include split incentives and smart housing, energy opinion and social acceptance (for fracking, solar, and wind), and technology governance (microgrids and green data centers). He’s worked with the U.S. State Department, the European Commission, and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Robert Thomas, Sustainable Concrete

Tuesday, September 29 at 2 PM

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are blueprints for achieving a better and more sustainable future by addressing the myriad challenges we face as a global society such as failing infrastructure, changing climates, and the dwindling supply of natural resources. Dr. Robert Thomas studies concrete solutions to these problems—literally. His research promotes sustainable and resilient infrastructure through advancements in concrete materials. Join us through Zoom for this talk where he will discuss how the UN SDGs intersect with sustainable infrastructure and materials, identify major challenges faced by the next generation, and show how advances in concrete materials technology can help overcome those challenges.

Dr. Thomas studied Civil Engineering at Clarkson University, attaining his B.S. in 2011, an M.S. in 2013, and his Ph.D. in 2016. His experiences and passions have drawn him to focus his research on infrastructure materials. Dr. Thomas rarely misses an opportunity to express his love for concrete, and we are excited to share that passion with him through this week’s Ignite Speaker Series.

 Dr. Ashleigh Graveline, Mental Health

Tuesday, October 6 at 2 PM

Occupational therapists have a rich history of promoting mental health in all practical settings through the use of meaningful occupations. In this week’s Ignite Speaker Series Dr. Ashleigh Graveline will explore the stigmatization of mental illness and how this impacts our ability to promote preventative mental health services for those in need. She will examine how the current changes and restrictions in this ongoing pandemic are influencing society, including college life, how we should address such changes, and what resources we can utilize to ensure that the pandemic is not having a negative impact on our mental well-beings. 

Dr. Graveline is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Clarkson University. As an occupational therapist, she has over 14 years of experience treating patients in multiple clinical settings, and 10 years of experience concentrated in inpatient mental health settings. Her research has focused on the use of experiential learning in mental health settings to improve student confidence and clinical reasoning skills, the efficacy of comfort rooms to reduce restraint and seclusion on patients, and the impact of weighted modalities to improve comfort measures with adolescent patients. She remains a passionate advocate for promoting preventative mental services within the community setting. 

Dr. Vicki LaFay, Injury Prevention

Tuesday, October 13 at 2 PM

In this week’s Ignite Speaker Series, Vicki LaFay PT, DPT, PhD will focus on innovations in physical therapy practice that challenge conventional healthcare expectations and provide opportunities for interprofessional collaboration, innovation, and technology. Specifically, Dr. LaFay will discuss “embedded physical therapy,” where physical therapy is practiced outside the traditional PT domain (i.e. factories, emergency rooms, military installations), and telehealth, where PTs work with patients remotely, using technology to drive optimal patient/client experiences. She will then explore how embedded PT practice and telehealth have led to creativity, innovation, and technological advances, especially during this unprecedented time.

Dr. LaFay is a clinical associate professor and Physical Therapy program chair at Clarkson University. Her clinical practice and areas of expertise are focused on worksite injury prevention, rehabilitation, wellness, and ergonomics. She is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and an APTA Geriatrics Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults.  Dr. LaFay has served on numerous national and state professional association boards and task forces; she is currently the chair of the New York Physical Therapy Association Practice Committee and a recent delegate at the APTA House of Delegates. Dr. LaFay has published and presented at the state and national level on topics such as PT student clinical performance, collaboration and best practice in PT clinical education, students as knowledge brokers for clinical practice, and PT clinical education leadership.  

Dr. Ali Boolani, Energy and Fatigue

Tuesday, October 20 at 2 PM

Have you ever been energetic and fatigued at the same time? Do you ever look at how certain people walk and immediately think that they’re such a peppy person? This talk focuses on how energy and fatigue are two distinct moods with their own biological correlates. We will also discuss how current feelings of energy and fatigue and predisposition to these moods manifest themselves uniquely in walking gait and posture.

Ali Boolani is an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy. His research
focuses on the biological correlates and biomechanical manifestation of state and trait mental and physical energy and fatigue. He is also interested in finding interventions that can help improve feelings of energy and fatigue.

 Dr. Michael Twiss, Ancient and Modern Plagues: Harmful Algal Blooms

Tuesday, November 3 at 2 PM

As we know, plagues have beset humanity for ages leading people to combat them in various ways. By avoiding certain foods we can protect ourselves from harmful algal blooms which have even been alluded to in early holy books. In keeping with the ongoing theme of 2020, this week’s Speaker Series will introduce you to the plague of harmful algae blooms caused by microbial Cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria were the first photosynthetic organisms to produce oxygen but in recent years our activities have caused them to proliferate in the wrong way, leading to costly and deadly consequences. Join us on Zoom to discover the causes for these blooms and the best solutions to protecting our waters.

Michael Twiss is Yankee who grew up in northern Ontario, and arrived at Clarkson in 2002, following a brief period at Ryerson University (Toronto). Twiss’s expertise is in limnology of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system. His research focuses on aquatic biogeochemistry and he has published over 75 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. Over the past seven years, he has increasingly become involved with Great Lakes environmental policy. His expertise is sought at both international and national levels. He is an appointed member of the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission(Canada/USA), past member of the Great Lakes Advisory Board – Science andInformation Subcommittee of the US EPA, and currently a special government employee of the US EPA . He was recently an elected member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, and served as its president (2018-2019). As an active member of the IJCScience Advisory Board, Twiss is presently co-chair of the Great Lakes Early Warning System – Phase II project, and is a core member of the Great LakesScience Plan work group. His past committee activities at the IJC SAB include co-chairing the Great Lakes Early WarningSystem – Phase I, and co-chair of the Current Status of Great Lakes Connecting Waters work group. Twiss was recently elected to serve as the US Co-Chair of the Smart Great Lakes Initiative, Great Lakes Observing System, and is on the Fulbright Specialist Program roster.

Dr. Yang Yang, Electrochemical Treatment Processes For Wastewater and HABs

Tuesday, November 10 at 2 PM

This week’s Ignite Speaker Series will feature Dr. Yang Yang as he focuses on electrochemical oxidation (EO). EO is a promising technology for decentralized water treatment and environmental remediation. His recent studies found that various oxidants can be produced from water by EO reactions and be locally concentrated at the electrode/electrolyte interface. In this talk, Dr. Yang Yang will introduce several EO processes developed by his group to combat pollutants of public concerns such as toxic algae, viruses, and PFAS. The efficacy of these techniques have been validated in the real environment at pilot scales.

Dr. Yang Yang received his undergraduate degree at South China University of Technology in 2009. Shortly after he earned his doctorate from Tsinghua University in 2014. He was a postdoctoral scholar and then promoted to senior research scientist at Caltech in 2014-2018. He joined Clarkson University in 2019 and built a research group that focuses on the synthesis and characterization of advanced electro-active materials, advanced oxidation/reduction techniques for contaminant removal and pathogen control, and the development and commercialization of decentralized water treatment techniques.