Camarillo Public LibraryCamarillo, Calif., Jan. 20, 2016 – CSU Channel Islands (CI) has added the Camarillo Library as a venue for this year’s Spring Library Lecture Series.

CSU Channel Islands (CI) hosts more than a dozen free public lectures from January through May at libraries throughout Ventura County, as well as the Channel Islands Boating Center.

The Syrian refugee crisis; the drought; the Chumash; immigration; pollution from microplastics; computer security; oil spills; grief and connecting communities through public art are among the topics that will be explored by experts from numerous departments at CI, including Biology, History, English, Computer Science, Political Science, and Environmental Science & Resource Management, to name a few.

When organizing the library lecture series, Dean of Arts & Sciences Karen Carey, said she looks for variety and makes an effort to bring back speakers with topical and popular subject matter.

“I also try to find faculty who haven’t given a community lecture before so that people in the community can hear about all the great work being done on campus,” she said.

Camarillo Library, 4101 E. Las Posas Road

Lectures are Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m.

March 7

“The Prehistory of the Channel Islands and Coastal California: A 10,000 Year Retrospective” by Professor of Anthropology Colleen Delaney, Ph.D.

Centuries before coastal Ventura County was awash in lights and cars and noise, the Chumash and Tongva people paddled to the Channel Islands in plank canoes that were some of the most sophisticated ocean-going craft in the Americas. They used a type of shell and bead currency that was still used in California when Europeans arrived.

Delaney will take the audience back 10,000 years to learn about the Channel Islands, why they were so important to ancient people, and why they remain important to us today.

April 4

“Politics to the Extreme” by Professor of Political Science Sean Kelly, Ph.D.

Not since the U.S. Civil War has the political gulf between Americans on opposing sides been so wide and so angry. “Politics to the Extreme: American Political Institutions in the 21st Century” is a book Kelly co-wrote with fellow CI Professor of Political Science Scott Frisch, Ph.D.  Kelly will draw from his research to give some context to the ideological polarization we’re seeing as we near the 2016 Presidential election.

Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Road

Lectures are Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Feb. 10 (Wednesday)

“Reconnecting Art, Nature and Community in Japan” by Professor of English Brad Monsma, Ph.D.

Every three years, something magical happens in the rural communities of Niigata, Japan. People of all ages and walks of life join to create works of public art in rice fields, farmhouses and old schools. Monsma will share captivating photos of something called the “Echigo-Tsumari Triennale” and share the vision of how public art can reconnect people with nature and one another. He will also talk about how this type of socially-engaged art can work in Southern California.

March 10

“Herbs and Spices: Do They Impact Human Health?” by Assistant Professor of Biology Nitika Parmar, Ph.D.

Scientists disagree on the effectiveness of spices and herbs when it comes to protecting human health, but there’s no question that the ancient system of Indian medicine called Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years.

Parmar will discuss Ayurvedic medicine and which spices might fight infection; boost the immune system; reduce inflammation; help prevent cancer; improve heart health; keep skin glowing; lose weight and a number of other benefits. Parmar will also discuss whether spices and herbs are good for us and how to use them for our benefit.

April 28

“Grief, Healing and Short Fiction” by English Lecturer Kristen Fitzpatrick

A Japanese ballerina declares that her “pulse is an earthquake” as she prepares to take the place of her more talented cousin, who has died in the 1995 earthquake. Grief over a lost little sister compels a policewoman to bond with a shooting victim.

For her presentation, Kirkpatrick will draw from these and the other nine stories of grief she spun for “My Pulse is an Earthquake,” her well-reviewed collection of short stories published in 2015.

Kirkpatrick will discuss the writing process and talk about how her characters face sudden losses of life, love and community.

May 26

“The Intersection of Big Data and Privacy” by CI Librarians Janet Pinkley and Monica Pereira

We are online and so is our information, but with convenience comes caution.  The sheer volume of data out in cyberspace has grown exponentially over the last decade, which has both benefits and risks when it comes to personal privacy. Pereira and Pinkley will examine the truth and consequences of so-called “big data” and what it means to our privacy.

E.P. Foster Library, 651 East Main Street, Ventura

Lectures are Sundays from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 7

“Plastic Pollution: How Microplastics are Impacting Beaches in Southern California” by Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Resource Management Clare Steele, Ph.D.

The containers, straws, bottles and other plastics we discard are making their way back into our food supply via “microplastics,” the tiny particles that result when the plastic attracts chemical pollutants and breaks down.

Research conducted by Steele and a graduate student show that an alarming number of microplastics are getting into the food chain through the sand crabs that gobble up the plastic, then are eaten by shorebirds, which are eaten by the larger animals we eat.

Steele will discuss her research and how this may become an urgent, global concern.

March 6

“Oil spills and microbes: How does nature remediate massive petroleum discharges?” by Biology Lecturer Patricia Tavormina, Ph.D.

The Porter Ranch gas leak will be part of Tavormina’s presentation on how microbes may “munch” on invasive substances, such as oil.

The gas leak is the most recent ecological hazard in a state that is no stranger to ecological hazards. The most recent, the Refugio Oil Spill, occurred in May 2015. The 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico held our collective attention for months.

Whenever a spill occurs, a diverse set of microbes starts munching on the invasive oil. During her presentation, Tavormina will describe nature’s microbial response to invasive oil and gas and how this process affects the surrounding ecosystem.

April 3

“Stories from Ventura Writers” by Professor of English Sean Carswell; English Lecturers Kristin Fitzpatrick and Kim Vose; and Assistant Professor of English Sofia Samatar.

Come listen to fiction and creative non-fiction from CI English faculty and lecturers who call Ventura home. Come prepared to laugh, cry and everything in between as the writers share tales of grief, loss, longing and the occasional cheeseburger.

Simi Valley Library, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road

Lectures are Sundays from 2 to 3 p.m.

Feb. 21

“Dr. Anderson’s Oil Spill Blog:” by Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Resource Management, Sean Anderson, Ph.D.

On May 19, 2015, the Plains All American pipeline rupture spilled an estimated 143,000 gallons of unrefined crude oil onto Refugio State Beach off the coast of Santa Barbara, tarring beaches from Ventura County all the way down to Orange County.

Anderson’s student and faculty researchers have been monitoring the sandy beaches and the sea and shore life affected by the spill before and ever since. Sand crabs, a crucial cog in the food chain, were exposed to the toxicity. People wondered about seafood safety and beach attendance dropped. Anderson will discuss this recent spill in context of other infamous spills such as the 1969 Santa Barbara Spill; the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico; and many others. 

Anderson promises to keep his bad jokes to a minimum and is happy to answer any questions about oil spills and our fragile coastline.

March 20

“The U.S. Immigration Debate: Fact versus Fiction” by Assistant Professor of Political Science Mary McThomas, Ph.D.

Immigration is a contentious issue in the United States, often leading to heated and divisive debates. This lecture will explore underlying causes for such conflicting viewpoints by looking at common myths about immigration, media coverage, and how the framing of the immigration debate impacts public opinion.

April 17

“The Syrian Refugee Crisis in Regional and Global Context” by Associate Professor of Sociology Reha Kadakal, Ph.D.

Since the beginning of 2011, brutal civil war has forced more than four million Syrians to flee their home country, with hundreds of thousands trying to get to Northern Europe at any cost, willing to face any obstacle or hardship.

Nearly half of the refugees are living in Turkey, but more than 3,000 refugees drowned in the Aegean Sea in 2015 while trying to reach Greece. Photos of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned of Turkey’s Aegean coast, drew global attention to the plight, which continues.

Based on his observations across Turkey, Kadakal will talk about one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history.

Blanchard Community Library, 119 North 8th Street, Santa Paula

Lectures are Tuesdays, 6 to 8 p.m.

Jan. 26

“New Directions in Music Technology” by Performing Arts Lecturer Ted Lucas, DMA

Join musical instructor Ted Lucas for a lively evening of music as he demonstrates how computer technology has caused a change in the business of music, especially movie music, commercials and video games.

Feb. 23

“Paradoxes and Shocking outcomes in math. Do you still believe in Math?” by Professor of Math Jorge Garcia, Ph.D.

How can a turtle beat Kenyan sprinter Usain Bolt, perhaps the world’s fastest runner? Math. That’s how. Is infinity the end of everything? Why or why not? Math has the answer.

If an infinite hotel has a “no vacancy” sign, why is there always room for more? The answer lies with math. You don’t need to understand advanced mathematics to join in on this philosophical discussion about logic, defying logic, and the world of mathematical paradoxes.

March 22

“Influenza A Viruses in Artificial Community Water Ponds” by Biology Lecturer Zin Htway, Ph.D.

Viruses that have the potential to wipe out the poultry industry here and in other major poultry export countries has been found in community water ponds in both the cities and countryside in Southern California.

The Influenza A Viruses (IAV) are transmissible to both humans and birds. It’s a flu-like illness for humans, and can be deadly to birds. “These viruses wipe out bird populations, which can wipe out the poultry industry in the U.S. and Brazil, and other countries with poultry as a major export,” Htway said.

During his lecture, Htway will explain how the virus got into our ponds and fountains from its source in Southern China, and why it’s important to study this further, and perhaps develop a vaccine. And why El Nino could make the problem worse.

April 26

“Water Management: State of the Art” By Math Lecturer Ron Rieger

The drought has affected everyone from the homeowner to the farmer to the city dweller. We all need answers. Math lecturer Ron Rieger will explore how technology can reduce our water usage and at what cost. He will introduce current technical solutions for reducing water use for agriculture both big and small, for cities and towns, and for the average homeowner

May 24

“Methane as a Resource: Sustainable Use of an Otherwise Powerful Greenhouse Gas” by Biology Lecturer Patricia Tavormina, Ph.D.

Methane is a primary culprit when it comes to global warming, but what if this gas could actually be used as a resource to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels? Tavormina will discuss how methane-eating bacteria naturally convert this damaging gas to bioplastic. This process is studied and developed to create plastic from methane and actually lower methane emissions, one more step toward fossil fuel-free energy.

Channel Islands Boating Center, 3880 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard

Lectures are Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

Feb. 11

“Window to the Abyss” by Assistant Professor of Biology Geoff Dilly, Ph.D.

Oceans cover more than 70 percent of our planet, yet we have better maps of Mars and the moon than we do of the oceans around us, which have a great influence on our food, climate and overall health as a species. During his presentation, Dilly will take the audience along on some of his deep sea dives into this eternally dark, mysterious and promising environment.  

April 14

“Climate Change and the Mercury Cycle” by Professor of Chemistry Simone Aloisio, Ph.D.

One more reason to address climate change is because it can increase our exposure to toxic mercury, according to Aloisio, who specializes in environmental chemistry. The “mercury cycle” describes the way mercury moves through our ecosystem in a complex geologic and atmospheric process. Because of its complexity, climate change can alter this naturally-occurring phenomenon in a way that needs to concern human beings.

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.