‘Influence: It Starts with Us’ topic of September seminar

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
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“Influence: It Starts with Us” is the topic for this year’s Casper College School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Seminar, Sept. 14-15. The seminar also includes a Constitution Day talk. All seminar events are free and open to the public.

“This year’s seminar seeks to address the divisiveness and polarization on the rise across all aspects of American life,” said seminar co-chair and criminal justice instructor Heather Lloyd, Juris Doctorate. “We hope to influence how we interact with one another and to promote the return of a more civil political discourse.”

The seminar will begin Wednesday evening at 6:30 with a debate between members of Casper College’s award-winning forensics team and moderated by Doug Hall, director of forensics and communications instructor. They will discuss the resolution: “Should Elected Officials be Able to Block Constituents on Social Media?” The debate will be held in the Robert and Ruth Dove Conference Center, Room 225, in the Walter H. Nolte Gateway Center.

Thursdays’ events begin with a welcome at 8:55 a.m., followed by Nathan Blank, Ph.D., political science instructor, who will speak on “The Elusive Middle.”

At 9:30, Kristina Pham, psychology instructor, and Jennie Miller, Ph.D., psychology instructor, will present “The Psychology of Language and Influence.”

“What if Socrates Had a Facebook Page?” will be the topic of Chad Hanson’s presentation at 10. Hanson, Ph.D., is a sociology instructor and author of the recently published book “In a Land of Awe: Finding Reverence in the Search for Wild Horses.”

Lloyd will give a presentation titled “I Respectively Dissent: The Supreme Court and the Discourse of Disagreement” at 10:30.

Seminar Keynote Speaker Scott Cooper will present “It Starts with Us” at 11 a.m. Cooper was born and raised in Casper. After graduating from Kelly Walsh High School in 1989, Cooper attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps upon graduation. After 20 years on active duty in the Marine Corps, he finished his service as the speechwriter to the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for aviation.

In the 2020 election cycle, Cooper ran for Congress to represent the 2nd Congressional District of North Carolina. Just eight weeks before the primary, North Carolina redrew its congressional districts, and he was drawn out of the 2nd District, which required that he suspend his campaign. Currently, he is the vice president for strategic advocacy at Peraton, a technology company focused on space, intelligence, cybersecurity, defense, homeland security, and health.

A lunch break will take place between noon and 1 p.m.

At 1, “Living Room Chats Across Our Campus” will take place on the third floor of the Casper College Student Union and the University of Wyoming at Casper building in Rooms 311, 316, 318, 322, 323, 324, 325, and 326. “During these chats, our students will discuss a topic that might normally cause a difference of opinion,” said seminar co-chair and communication instructor Bri Weigel. “But with the help of a conversation facilitator, those in attendance will seek to listen to one another and find common ground and understanding.”

All morning events on Thursday will take place in the Wheeler Concert Hall in the Music Building.

The 2022 Social and Behavioral Sciences Seminar with Constitution Day is sponsored by the Casper College School of Social and Behavioral Science and Casper College.

For those unable to attend Cooper’s presentation at 11 a.m., it will also be available over Zoom.

For more information, call 307-268-2368.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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