University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Dr. Ann Bucklin

Dr. Ann Bucklin is a professor and head of the Department of Marine Sciences and Director of the Marine Sciences and Technology Center at UConn’s Avery Point campus on the shores of Long Island Sound.

She was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Norway (1992-1993) and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement for Science in 1995. The theme underlying her research interest – spatial and temporal patterns of molecular genetic variation in marine organisms – developed from her earlier studies of sea anemones.

Her current focus is the population genetics, phylogeography, environmental transcriptomics, and phylogenetics of marine zooplankton. During 2004-2010, Dr. Bucklin was the lead scientist for a Census of Marine Life ocean realm field project, the Census of Marine Zooplankton, which sought to produce a global assessment of holozooplankton species diversity, distribution, and genetic diversity. Biodiversity of marine zooplankton – from the coastal ocean to the deep sea – remains her primary research focus. She now chairs an Expert Group for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea focused on using integrated morphological and molecular (DNA sequencing) approaches to analysis and assessment of marine biodiversity.

Michael T. Turvey

Board of Trustees’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology, founder of UConn’s Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action, and a Senior Scientist at Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Turvey is best known for his pioneering work in ecological psychology and in applying dynamic systems approach for the study of motor behavior. His research spans a number of areas including: dynamic touch, interlimb coordination, visual perception and optic flow, postural stability, visual word recognition and speech perception. He is also the winner of the IgNoble Prize in Physics (with Ramesh Balasubramaniam of the University of Ottawa), for exploring and explaining the dynamics of hula-hooping. The IgNoble Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are awarded each year for achievements that make people laugh, and then make them think.

Robert Thorson

Professor of Geology, and author of Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth Century Science.

Dr. Robert Thorson began teaching at the University of Connecticut in 1984. Since arriving, he’s developed a variety of courses ranging from science literacy lectures on the Age of the Dinosaurs to graduate seminars on archaeological geology. He taught the University’s first course on Global Climate Change and what is now the oldest course in the Honors Core Curriculum, Geoscience through American Studies.

His academic career took an unexpected turn in 2002 after publication of Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England’s Stone Walls, which became a regional bestseller and won the nonfiction Connecticut Book Award. In 2003, he became a regular columnist with a beat focusing on environmental and educational issues for “Place,” the Hartford Courant’s nationally award-winning Sunday commentary section.

Dr. Thorson’s fourth book, Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America’s Kettle Lakes and Ponds, precipitated keynote speeches to national lake management associations, and a contract with Harvard University Press to interpret the geoscience beneath Walden, Thoreau’s literary masterpiece. This fifth book, titled Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth Century Science, and classified as both literary criticism and biography, will be released in December 2013.

Joseph S. Renzulli

Director of UConn’s National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology at the Neag School of Education

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli is a leader and pioneer in Gifted Education who was named among the 25 most influential psychologists in the world by the American Psychological Association. He received the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Award for Innovation in Education, considered by many to be “the Nobel” for educators, and was a consultant to the White House Task Force on Education of the Gifted and Talented. His work on the Enrichment Triad Model and curriculum compacting and differentiation were pioneering efforts in the 1970s, and he has contributed hundreds of books, book chapters, articles, and monographs to the professional literature.

Dr. Renzulli established UConn’s annual Confratute Program with fellow Educational Psychology Professor Sally Reis; the summer institute on enrichment-based differentiated teaching has served more than 25,000 teachers from around the world since 1978. Dr. Renzulli established UConn Mentor Connection, a summer program that enables high-potential high school students to work side by side with leading scientists, historians, and artists, and is the founder of the Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy in Hartford, which has become a model for local and national urban school reform.

Learn about the Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy for children from low income families in Hartford [youtube]

Ronald L. Mallet

Professor of Physics, and author of Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality.

Dr. Ronald L. Mallett first became interested in time travel after his father died when he was 10 years old. He used his lunch money to buy a Classics Illustrated comic book version of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and decided to build a time machine so he could travel back in time and save his father’s life. When he was 13, he discovered Albert Einstein and his theories about time not being fixed. That knowledge fueled his passion and determination to study physics and try to reach back in time so he could change the past and spend more time with his father.

Dr. Mallett’s book and his concept of time travel have piqued the interest of people around the globe. His book has been translated into numerous languages including Chinese and Korean. He has discussed time travel on “The Universe: Unexplained Mysteries” on The History Channel, “Time Travel Featuring Physicist and UCONN Professor Ron Mallett” on The Learning Channel, and has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, CNN International, Coast to Coast, NPR, and in numerous publications throughout the US and UK. Noted filmmaker and director Spike Lee acquired the film rights to Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality with plans to co-write and direct a film adaptation.

Watch Dr. Mallett explain his fascination with time travel [youtube]

In this interview, he explains how he became a theoretical physicist studying time travel.

Nick Bellantoni

Fulfilling sacred dreams

Nick Bellantoni: Adjunct Associate Professor, CT State Archaeologist

As State Archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at UConn, Dr. Nick Bellantoni has discovered the fallacy of the old saying “Dead men tell no tales.” Whether he’s involved in forensic work with law enforcement officers and the state medical examiner, with the discovery of bones in a CT colonial era cemetery that led to an investigation into vampirism, or his involvement in the History Channel’s investigation of what was purported to be Hitler’s skull, he has used the science of archaeology to help understand both the recent and distant past.

Dr. Bellantoni, who is also an Associate Research Professor in UConn’s Department of Anthropology, will explain how he became fascinated with archaeology and share his experiences throughout his illustrious career. He’ll talk about his travels to Moscow to examine the fragment of a skull with a bullet hole found in Hitler’s Berlin bunker, how his work is critical to historic and archeological preservation, and the role he plays with police departments and the medical examiner’s office whenever human skeletal remains are discovered.

Dr. Bellantoni received his doctorate in anthropology from UConn in 1987 and was shortly thereafter appointed state archaeologist. He has been excavating in Connecticut for over 35 years. He currently serves as Advisor for the Commission on Culture and Tourism and sits on the State Historic Preservation Council, and has been a former president of the National Association of State Archaeologists. Dr. Bellantoni has been featured in numerous national television and radio presentations including shows with “The History Channel”, “Discovery Channel”, “National Geographic Channel”, “BBC”, and “PBS”.

The Hitler Project on the History Channel

Nicholas Leadbeater

Chemistry for a green planet

Nicholas Leadbeater: Associate Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater’s innate knack for explaining science clearly and simply has made him a regular guest on National Public Radio’s “Academic Minute” segments, which feature short vignettes with professors talking about their field of research and why it excites them. His “Academic Minute” topics have included the chemistry of artificial sweeteners, the biochemistry of highly targeted chemotherapy drugs, the science behind toast, the similarity between molecules and Legos, and a segment on molecular gastronomy that included a recipe for Coca Cola caviar.

Dr. Leadbeater, who began teaching chemistry at UConn in 2004, will talk about what enticed him to enter the field of chemistry and how he and other chemists are designing cleaner, greener, and more environmentally friendly ways to make molecules. Using real-world examples, he’ll explain how he and his research group have found ways to make their compounds with a fraction of the waste, in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost of other routes.

He is an associate professor of organic and inorganic chemistry at the University of Connecticut, where he heads the New Synthetic Methods Group, which focuses on the development of cleaner, greener and more efficient approaches for preparative chemistry. Dr. Leadbeater holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, where he was a research fellow until 1999, before moving to King’s College London and then to Storrs. He was awarded the University of Connecticut Excellence in Teaching award for the Physical Sciences in 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the Provost’s Faculty Development Abroad grant and is also involved in the Chemical Innovations Institute established by the Connecticut Legislature in June 2010.

Listen to Dr. Leadbeater on NPR

Nicholas Leadbeater on Breaking Bad’s Bad Chemistry

Bruce Stave

Capturing the past through the voice of the people

Bruce Stave: Professor Emeritus of History, Director of the UConn Oral History Office

As a young student, Bruce M. Stave was fascinated with history, of how the past evolved into the present. He has always enjoyed writing, so the combination of writing and history was especially attractive. He found oral history to be extremely well suited in capturing the stories of those originally omitted from earlier written history—women, African Americans, immigrants and ethnic groups, gays, and others who had rarely been in history’s spotlight.

Dr. Stave, who began teaching at UConn in 1970, is Director of UConn’s Oral History Office and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus. He will talk about his career in oral history, which he describes as “a half century of listening to people on a wide array of topics, both prosaic and unusual.” He will explain why oral history has become increasingly popular and how it has been, and is being, changed by technology.

As well as directing oral history projects since the 1970’s that are collected in the archive at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Dr. Stave has authored or edited eleven books, including “The Making of Urban History: Historiography Through Oral History;” “From the Old Country: An Oral History of European Migration to America;” and “Witnesses to Nuremberg: An Oral History of American Participants at the War Crimes Trials.” His latest history book, “Red Brick in the Land of Steady Habits: Creating the University of Connecticut, 1881-2006,” was written for the University’s 125th anniversary and uses oral history in conjunction with other sources. For the past dozen years, he served as co-general editor of the “Palgrave/Macmillan Studies in Oral History Series,” which has published over 30 volumes to date, and is considered the leading English language series in oral history.

Samuel Pickering

English Professor, and inspiration for the 1989 film, “Dead Poets Society”

Samuel Pickering: English Professor, and inspiration for the 1989 film, “Dead Poets Society”

Sam Pickering, a Nashville native with a quick and often irreverent wit, is best known as the inspiration for the movie Dead Poet’s Society, written by one of his former students at Montgomery Bell Academy. The author of 26 books and more than 250 essays, which he calls “excursions in thought . . . about whatever strikes me,” Pickering has been teaching English at UConn since 1978.

Known for his rapid-fire stream of consciousness style, he will share his thoughts about writing and thinking, as well as his priceless, homespun observations on teaching.

“Reading Pickering … is like taking a walk with your oldest, wittiest friend,” wrote a reviewer in Smithsonian magazine. UConn Talks invites you to join him on that walk.

Sam Pickering on NPR

Bart Roccoberton, Jr.

Secrets of an ancient art form

Bart Roccoberton, Jr: Director of UConn’s Puppet Arts Program and Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts

If your concept of puppetry is influenced by traditional Punch and Judy puppet shows that began in 16th century Italy, you’ll be amazed at how much the art of puppetry has evolved through the years. Roccoberton will explain the diversity of skill sets taught in UConn’s Puppet Arts program, where each class, whether it is Performance, Design, Fabrication, or History, integrates theory and history, the conception of an idea, scenario/script development, storyboard creation, design, fabrication, direction, performance, and critique.

A graduate of UConn’s M.F.A. in Puppet Arts, Roccoberton studied under Professor Frank Ballard, the namesake of UConn’s Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. After Ballard retired, he continued his mentor’s legacy. UConn’s Puppetry alumni continue to enjoy success, working on Broadway shows, including “The Lion King,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “Avenue Q,” on movies, including “Spiderman 2,” and on PBS’s “Between the Lions” and “Sesame Street.” In fact, puppeteer Jim Henson, best known as creator of the Muppets, was a big supporter of Roccoberton’s work in UConn’s Puppet Arts Program.

A fascinating look at UConn’s Puppetry Arts program (video)

Vincent Cardinal

Life’s a stage and a fulfilling career

Vincent Cardinal: Department Head, Department of Dramatic Arts and Artistic Director, Connecticut Repertory Theatre

Playwright and director Vincent J. Cardinal discovered his love of the theatre as a 14-year old when a theatre company was rehearsing “Godspell” in the sanctuary of the church where he attended catechism classes. He studied at the Yale School of Drama, where he took classes with renowned playwright Arthur Miller and George Roy Hill, who directed the films “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting.” Cardinal’s conversations with Jason Robards, Coleen Dewhurst, José Quintero, August Wilson, and Yale Dean Lloyd Richards formed the way he thinks about theatre and life as an artist.

Cardinal has written 23 plays and screenplays, and received the ASCAP-Cole Porter Award for Best-Collected Work from the Yale School of Drama. As CRT Artistic Director, he kicked off the latest season with the provoking “O Beautiful,” followed by “Intimate Apparel,” which was directed by UConn Professor Michael Bradford and explored the common thread of love and aspiration across racial, social, and cultural divides. Cardinal directed Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and to add a touch of levity to the season, he chose John Guare’s screwball comedy “His Girl Friday.” Cardinal then changes the mood with the dark drama “Punk Rock,” and closes out the season with nostalgia, hope and Tracy Turnblad in what he calls “the deliriously tuneful dance musical “Hairspray.”


Dr. Vincent Cardinal is Head of UConn’s Department of Dramatic Arts, Artistic Director of Connecticut Repertory Theater (CRT), and a celebrated playwright.

CRT, February 2013 Production: “His Girl Friday”

Regina Barreca

Blending humor and feminism to reach a mass audience

Regina Barreca: Professor of English

When Regina Barreca isn’t teaching Twentieth-Century British Literature, Feminist Theory, The Novel, or Creative Writing, she’s writing books or entertaining audiences with her delightful take on contemporary women. She’s a regular contributor to “Psychology Today,” “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” and “The Huffington Post,” and has written for “The New York Times,” “Cosmopolitan,” “The Harvard Business Review,” and the “Hartford Courant.” She has appeared on “20/20,” “48 Hours,” “NPR,” “BBC,” “Today Show,” “CNN,” “Joy Behar,” and “Oprah” to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor.

During her 25 years of research on humor, from her dissertation to the books she writes for a mass audience, Barreca has found humor to be an important way to make your voice heard. She has used humorous titles to deliver serious messages in eight books including “They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Uses of Humor;” “Perfect Husbands and Other Fairy Tales: Demystifying Marriage, Men, and Romance;” and “Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League.”

Dr. Barreca is a UConn Professor of English, Humorist, Feminist, and Author.

Gina Barreca about her book “Sweet Revenge” on C-Span

Linda Strausbaugh

Dinosaurs, cavemen and Hitler, the science behind applied genomics

Linda Strausbaugh: Professor of Molecular & Cell Biology

Linda Strausbaugh’s passion for science began at the age of nine when she became fascinated with dinosaurs and cavemen. During her undergraduate studies, she fell in love with anthropology and evolutionary and developmental biology, and has an ongoing fascination with ancient history, the classics and theatre. Today she’s a nationally recognized education innovator, who developed and directs UConn’s Professional Science Masters in Applied Genomics, and has developed and taught several genetics courses, including one named “Best on Campus” in the Boston Globe.

An expert on forensic DNA typing, Strausbaugh teamed up with State Archeologist and UConn Associate Professor of Archeology Nick Bellantoni to debunk the theory that a skull with a bullet hole found in Hitler’s Berlin bunker was that of the infamous dictator. When Bellantoni saw the skull in Moscow, he immediately suspected the skull belonged to a woman because of its structure. When Strausbaugh did DNA typing with a team in her lab, those tests confirmed the skull belonged to a female.

Dr. Linda Strausbaugh is the Director of UConn’s Center for Applied Genetics and Technology, Professor of Molecular & Cell Biology, and a DNA Expert. Her current research interests are in personalized genomic medicine related to the role of fungal communities in human health and disease.