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Interior of James F Veninga Theater

Faculty share their knowledge and expertise with the Wausau community

In-person and streamed live on YouTube from UWSP Wausau’s James F. Veninga Theater, our HANK Talks feature our talented faculty, talking about what they know best.

Each talk starts at 7 p.m. and lasts about 30 minutes. They are followed with a live Q&A session.

Series Archive

The Fall 2023 Series Schedule

“The Neuroscience of Doomscrolling: The Case for a Healthier Relationship with Social Media” | Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Jason J. Siewert, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Education and Prevention Coordinator
View the video presentation here 

“The Healing Power of Chemistry: The Role(s) of Chemistry in Developing New Pharmaceuticals” Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Penny Workman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
View the video presentation here

“The Last Revitalization of Downtown Wausau: Remembering the ARTSblock Project” | Tuesday, November 14, 2023
As the community awaits the renaissance of the former Wausau Center Mall site, it may be instructive to look back at the last catalytic downtown redevelopment project, the expansion of the historic Grand Theater into ARTSblock. Conceived in 1995 and completed in 2002, ARTSblock involved public-private partnerships, aspirational planning, reality checks, the community’s largest non-hospital fund drive, and ultimately the transformation of the central city. Jim O’Connell, former executive director of the Performing Arts Foundation, will detail the steps, missteps, and serendipity that defined the process.
Jim O’Connell, M.A.
Associate Professor – Arts Management
Arts Management Coordinator
View the video presentation here. 

The Spring 2023 Series Schedule

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: The Relevance of History | Tuesday, February 21, 2023
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, against the great majority of pre-war expectations, will soon enter its second year with no clear end in sight. During this HANK Talk, we will emphasize the role that competing understandings of History have played in the decisions of the war’s most important participants and discuss how future historians may likely present its importance.
Jeff Leigh, Ph.D.
Professor of History
View the video presentation here

The James Webb Space Telescope: An Amazing First Year | Tuesday, March 14, 2023 – postponed until March 28, 2023
We will explore the amazing first year of NASA’s latest great observatory—The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). We will discuss the scientific discoveries and breakthroughs that have been made to date.
Aaron Steffen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Astronomy
View the video presentation here

Genetic Engineering and Biofuel Production: Making Better Yeast | Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Kristine Prahl, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
View the video presentation here

Prof. Lisa Siewert 
Senior Lecturer of Geography and Geology
Ancient Local Rocks: A Geologic History of Marathon County

Dr. Jason Siewert
Licensed Psychologist, Education & Prevention Coordinator
The Pessimist’s Guide to Good Mental Health

Prof. Tim Buchholz
Associate Professor of Music
Music and Maps: A Perspective Through the Eyes of a Jazz Musician and Adventure Racer

Prof. Scott Sybeldon
Senior Lecturer of Business
Bob Geldof and Live Aid: Elements of Visionary Leadership

Dr. David Barry
Associate Professor of Sociology
Desert Planets, Clones, and Hyperspace: Seeing Society through the Lens of Science Fiction

Dr. Jeff Leigh
Professor of History
The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Its Causes, Course, and Significance

Dr. Aaron Steffen
Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics
The James Webb Space Telescope: NASA’s Latest Great Observatory

Dr. Jim Servi
Assistant Professor of Management
A Quick Trip around the GLOBE: Recognizing Important Differences in Culture to Better Understand Yourself and Others

Dr. Penny Workman
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Kitchen Chemistry: Exploring the Chemistry of Food

Dr. Timothy Buchholz
Associate Professor of Music
Stories from the Trail: An Inside Look at Adventure Racing

Dr. Brett Barker
Professor of History
Why Slavery Caused the Civil War and Why That Matters Today More than Ever

Dr. Paul Whitaker
Professor of Biology
Apple Core Lore: Origins of America’s (Second) Favorite Fruit

Prof. Jill Stukenberg
Associate Professor of English
Slivered Words on Silver Screens: Exploring and Creating Poetry Films