Speaker Series

Seminole State College Speaker Series 2016-17

Each year, the Seminole State Speaker Series welcomes speakers representing diverse views and interests. Additional speakers may be added. Please check this page for updates.

All events are free and open to the public. To request accessibility accommodations, please email Disability Support Services

The views expressed by these speakers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Seminole State College of Florida, its Board of Trustees, employees, students, alumni or partners.


Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, astrophysicist, educator & humanitarian

  • When: April 5 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Fine Arts Concert Hall (building G), Sanford/Lake Mary Campus
  • Topic: Reach for the Stars, No Matter What the Odds

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi is a world renowned astrophysicist who teaches, invents, discovers and appears regularly on Discovery Network, Science Channel and National Geographic. However, his story began in the impoverished Mississippi and the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans with many of his “role models” involved in the worlds of drugs and crime. He earned the moniker “The Gangsta Nerd” by staying true to himself, his own values and dreaming bigger than anyone around him could even imagine.

Today, Dr. Oluseyi has five degrees, 80 publications including books, scientific and technology publications, more than 11 patents and is recognized internationally for his contribution to science, astrophysics and high-performance computing.

Dr. Oluseyi’s mission is to pass on knowledge, process and results to the next generation, along the way dispelling the myth of what it takes to be a scientist. Attendees can look forward to spurring their own creativity, collaboration and diversity awareness through STEM studies and story. They will hear about Dr. Oluseyi’s exciting work with the 100 Year Starship Project to help lay the groundwork for the first human mission to a nearby planetary system. Join us, and take away the spark to inspire your own dream to reach for the stars, no matter what the odds!

The presentation will conclude with a Q&A period. A reception and telescope viewing will immediately follow.

Related Event: Telescope Viewing

Following Dr. Oluseyi's presentation, guests are invited to step outside and experience the fascinating world of astronomy while viewing the wonders of the night sky through the planetarium's telescopes. Weather permitting, enjoy the view from the lawn between buildings G and C. This event is hosted by the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida. 


Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros, author and poet

  • When: Oct. 3, 2016, at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Fine Arts Concert Hall (building G), Sanford/Lake Mary Campus
  • Topic: Readings from A House of My Own

Best known for her debut novel, The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros is internationally known for her poetry and fiction. She has earned several awards for her work, including the MacArthur Fellowship, two National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships and a Texas Medal of the Arts. Cisneros is founder of Los MacArturos (the Latino MacArthur Fellows), the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation.

The presentation will conclude with a Q&A period. A reception and book signing will immediately follow.

This event has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. It is co-sponsored by Seminole State's Department of Humanities, History & Modern Languages and the Speaker Series.


Van Jones

Van Jones, pundit and author

  • When: Sept. 14, 2016, at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Fine Arts Concert Hall (building G), Sanford/Lake Mary Campus
  • Topic: Election 2016  Protest & Politics in the Age of Twitter

Van Jones has unique insight into America’s turbulent political scene. He has worked closely with political players at all levels – and across the spectrum. On the left, he has been allied with everyone from Richard Branson to movements, such as Black Lives Matter. On the right, he has campaigned to win criminal justice reform alongside Newt Gingrich and Koch Industries. Former President George W. Bush signed his first legislative proposal, the Green Jobs Act. Then President Obama appointed him to be special advisor on green jobs. Most recently, Jones was "on the ground" in Ferguson, Charleston and Selma (for the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march there).  

Jones, a civil rights leader, former Obama White House advisor and CNN political correspondent, is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream. Jones was named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2009 and one of Fast Company's 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth. He also is the founder and president of Dream Corps, an incubator, platform and home for world-changing initiatives that empower the most vulnerable in our society.

The presentation will conclude with a Q&A period. A reception and book signing will immediately follow.


Seminole State's Speaker Series is co-sponsored by CFE Federal Credit Union. For more information, please call 407.708.2776.

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Seminole State College
100 Weldon Boulevard
Sanford, Florida 32773-6199
407.708.4722

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