This article was published in the “News” section of The Villager on Sept. 15, 2014
For the fifth year, the department of mathematics will sponsor the Susan Palmer Slattery Memorial Lecture. The lecture encourages students to explore mathematics and science regardless of their chosen major.
Arlene Weiner, an environmental engineer with job experience working for three federal agencies, will address students on Sept. 18 at 5 p.m. in the Inscape Theatre on the Greenspring campus.
According to information from the department of mathematics, Weiner recently returned from Jordan where she found potable water for a refugee camp and helped reduce “hazardous waste produced by U.S. activities in Jordan.” Weiner also worked to rebuild infrastructure and minimize environmental war zone impacts in Afghanistan.
Annually, the Slattery Lecture pays tribute to the memory of Susan Slattery, former department chair of mathematics who died in a tragic automobile accident.
According to Dr. Susan Gorman, dean of the school of sciences, the lecture is meant to carry on Slattery’s hope of making science and math accessible to all students. Gorman notes that the goal of the lecture is to find speakers who are “appealing and interesting.”
Gorman has found that every year a different set of students connects with the speaker chosen. The years an astronaut and a brew master spoke, students from other majors were more likely to attend the lecture, said Gorman. As of now, the lecture primarily attracts science and math majors.
As next year’s lecture marks the five-year anniversary of Slattery’s passing, Gorman believes it may be a difficult one. While Gorman could not yet say who would be speaking, she indicated it might be someone noteworthy to honor the important anniversary, and to achieve the goal of attracting a wide variety of students.
In conjunction with the lecture, the Slattery family also awards a scholarship every year to a “female student that best exemplifies the values that Dr. Slattery believed in: hardworking, honest, fair, making school a priority, and caring,” according to Stevenson’s website. Anna Foote, an applied mathematics major, was the scholarship recipient for 2014.
The lecture continues to fulfill the purpose of honoring Slattery’s memory and the goals she had for students. Most of the audience members at the lecture have a connection to Stevenson University or the Slattery family; it is a close-knit, community event.
Gorman said she is certain that the lecture will continue for many years as it is endowed by the Slattery family. For those who knew Susan Slattery, their main hope is that at the very least one student leaves the lecture each year feeling inspired.