Graduate Scholars Lectureships

Organized by Emeritus Professors in Columbia, the Graduate Scholar Talks are designed to elevate scholarship and promote a vibrant exchange of ideas by showcasing the breadth and depth of groundbreaking research being undertaken by Columbia graduate students across disciplines, as well as offering opportunities for cross-disciplinary networking and mentorship.

EPIC’s Graduate Scholar Talks provide Ph.D. candidates preparing to defend their dissertations with an opportunity to make a generalist presentation on their research to a cross-disciplinary audience of educators and scholars ready to listen carefully and ask probing questions. These presentations, which run 45 minutes with time for questions, offer doctoral students a useful learning experience and allow EPIC members to learn about topics beyond their scholarly interests. Recognized as EPIC Scholars and awarded an honorarium, Columbia Ph.D. candidates are chosen based on the diverse topics of their research, effective communication skills, and an ability to engage a general audience.

Guidelines for Graduate Scholars

Apply for the Graduate Scholars Lectureship


Spring 2024 Douglas Chalmers Graduate Scholars Lectureship

April 16, 2024: “Why Political Parties Matter and How to Make Them Better: Rethinking Party Democracy in Dark Times,” David Ragazzoni, PhD in Political Science. Event Recording.

Finalists: Margaux Fitoussi and Anthony Peters


Fall 2023 Douglas Chalmers Graduate Scholars Lectureships

November 16, 2023: “Scaling up Quantum Gases: A Practical Introduction to Quantum Physics,” Niccolò Bigagli, quantum physics researcher. Event Recording.

December 7, 2023: “The Trilemma of Climate Justice - Democracy, National Sovereignty and Global Climate Action,” Rebecca Sophie Marwege, Ph.D. Candidate in political theory. Event Recording.


Spring 2023 Douglas Chalmers Graduate Scholars Lectureships

February 23, 2023: “Repurposing the Geography of Apartheid,” Stefan Chavez-Norgaard, PhD Candidate in Urban Planning at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Event Recording.

March 7, 2023: “Octavia and Cleopatra: Parallel Lives in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives,” Lien Van Geel, Ph.D., Classics. Video introduction of Lien Van Geel. Event Recording.

April 13, 2023: “Can’t Find Any Use for Us Alive, Not Knowing We Can’t Die”: Radically Reimagining the (After)Lives of Black Women, Brendane A. Tynes, Anthropology Ph.D. candidate who studies the affective responses of Black women and girls to multiple forms of violence within the Movement for Black Lives. Video introduction of Brendane Tynes. Event Recording.

May 25, 2023: Building “Stories”: Memory Consolidation in the Hippocampus, Zhenrui Liao, MD/PhD candidate at Columbia University. Video introduction of Zhenrui Liao. Event Recording.


Spring 2022 Graduate Scholar Talks

February 9, 2022: “Optimizing Gram-positive Bacteria as a Candidate for Targeted Antitumor Therapy,” Bentley Shuster, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University. Event Recording.

March 23, 2022: “Transcendence: A Piano Recital,” Marco Jimenez and Shiv Yajnik. Event Recording.

April 13, 2022: “Masterpieces for the Cello,” Soomin Kim and Thomas Lim. Event Recording.


Fall 2021 Graduate Scholar Talks

October 6, 2021: “Old vs. New: The Music of Euripides’ Medea,” Anna Conser, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor at Whitman College whose research interests focus on ancient music and performance. Event Recording.

October 27, 2021: “Sympathy for the Microbiota: How Changes in Gut Microbial Composition Influence the Immune System and Basic Physiology by Way of the Sympathetic Nervous System,” Paul Andrew Muller, Ph.D., The Rockefeller University. Event Recording.

November 17, 2021: “Beyond Bread and Circuses: The Political Economy of Mass Spectacles in the Western Roman Empire,” Joe Sheppard, Ph.D., social historian, archaeologist, and classicist. Event Recording. 


Spring 2021 Graduate Scholar Talks

January 27, 2021: Singing Nuns, Libertine Parody, and the Aesthetics of French Revolutionary Opera, Callum John Blackmore, Music Department. Event Recording.

February 24, 2021: “Tall Tales: State Looks, Black Desire(s), Housing Schemes, Ife Salema Vanable, Department of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

April 7, 2021:  “The Case of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Personnel, Sandra Veronica Portocarrero, Sociology Department

May 5, 2021: “Mind the Developmental Gap: Identifying Adverse Drug Effects across Childhood to Evaluate Biological Mechanisms from Growth and Development,” Nicholas Giangreco, Ph.D., Cellular, Molecular and Biophysical Studies. Event Recording.


Fall 2020 Graduate Scholar Talks

October 21, 2020: Motivator and Moralizer:  How Agency Shapes Choice and Judgment,” Zach Bucknoff, Psychology Department

November 18, 2020: “Howard Pew’s Struggle for “Freedom”: The Religious Roots of the Secular Non-Profit Family Foundation,” Andrew Jungclaus, Religion Department

December 16, 2020: “How Does the State Replace the Community? Experimental Evidence on Crime Control from South Africa,” Anna Wilke, Political Science Department


Spring 2020 Graduate Scholar Talks

February 6, 2020: “The Monetary Basis of Bank Supervision,” Lev Menand, JD, Columbia Law School

May 26, 2020: “The Constitutional Tort System,” Noah Smith-Drelich, JD, Columbia Law School


Fall 2019 Graduate Scholar Talks

October 3, 2019: “Designing Novel Strategies for Next Generation Calcium Channel Blockers,” Travis Morgenstern, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Signaling

November 7, 2019: “Improving Care Delivery Systems for Substance Use Disorder, HIV, and Hepatitis C,”  Laura Starbird, Ph.D., Columbia University School of Nursing

December 5, 2019: “How Did Human Musicality Come to Be Thought of as Universal?” Joshua Navon, Ph.D., Department of Music


Spring 2019 Graduate Scholar Talks

February 7, 2019: “Breaking the Frames of the Past,” Daniella Wurst, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures

March 7, 2019: “Languages of Descent: Underworlds in Text and Music,” Jennifer Gillespie Rhodes, Department of Italian

April 4, 2019: “Under the Paving Stones: Protest and Transformations of State Power in Western Europe, 1968–1985,” Luca Provenzano, Department of History


Fall 2018 Graduate Scholar Talks

October 4, 2018: “A New Laser Therapy to Delay the Progression of Osteoarthritis,” Krista Durney, Department of Mechanical Engineering

November 1, 2018: “Monstrosity in Fantastic Literature,” Irene Bulla, Department of Italian

December 6, 2018: “Marcel Proust and the Mass Press,” Max McGuinness, Department of French and Romance Philology