Speaker Series

Utah State University is your hometown university, offering a variety of educational opportunities to residents of the Uintah Basin. We are excited to bring the Uintah Basin Speaker Series, providing insightful, relevant community topics to spark conversations. Each speaker's presentation will be broadcast live via AggieCast. Videos from the series will be published on this page a few days after the event. 

The series is supported in partnership with the Center of Intersectional Gender Studies and Research

More Information

Presentations begin at 7:00 pm and are free and open to the public. 

Video recordings can be viewed on this page after the live events.  

2022-2023 Schedule

September 13, 2022
Vernal Campus, B101

Larry Cesspooch

We Are the Survivors of Our Ancestors

Due to technical difficulties, a recording of this speaker is not available.

Book Icon  Larry Cesspooch Biography

Larry Cesspooch is one of the Ute Storytellers who shares stories with film, music, and lectures. Larry grew up on the Uintah & Ouray Ute Reservation in Northeastern Utah. He served in the Vietnam War as a Radioman 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy. Cesspooch gives talks on Native Spirituality, concepts and history.

Cesspooch created the "Ute Tribe Audio-Visual Department," one of the first tribal production groups in the states in 1979. The group produced over 600 films for the Ute Indian Tribe on the culture, language and history. During his 23-year tenure, he also served as the editor for the Ute Bulletin tribal newspaper. Cesspooch also did public relations for the tribe and was coordinator for the tribe in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

He served over twelve years as a Utah Humanities Public Square Speaker, presenting “Utah History Through Native Eyes,” as one of his many topics. He is often called on by his tribe to represent their view point.

As a filmmaker, Cesspooch has been a part of the Sundance Institute family for 28 years. In 2002, he created his own production company, "Through Native Eyes Productions." Today, he continues to produce documentaries telling Native stories.

His latest project, UteTube.org, is the Ute Tribe’s main source of multi-media historical photos, films, and history on the Internet.

October 11, 2022
Vernal Campus, B101

Abby Cox

Observations from Utah's First Lady

November 8, 2022
Vernal Campus, B101

Rick Woodford

The American Dream: Why education is key in the pursuit of happiness

Book Icon  Rick Woodford Biography

Rick Woodford began his career as a special education teacher and coach in Logan, Utah, where he specialized in the development of systems for inclusion and secondary transition. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field of special education, and he completed an administrative/supervisory certification program from Utah State University.

In 2000, Woodford moved his family to Star Valley, Wyoming, where he served as the district’s Director of Special Services and High School Principal. While in Star Valley, Woodford developed and implemented a highly successful system for secondary inclusion and shared his team’s work with educators across the nation through a series of “Teacher to Teacher” presentations in nine U.S. cities.

In 2008, he earned an educational specialist degree, and in 2012, a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Wyoming. He completed his dissertation in the arena of school administrator evaluation systems.

He served as the superintendent of schools in Big Horn County School District #2 in Lovell, Wyoming, before accepting his current position as the superintendent of schools in Uintah School District. Throughout his 29-year tenure as an educator and school leader, Woodford has been passionate in his quest to help schools develop collaborative cultures centered on the idea that all students can learn at high levels.

January 10, 2023
Vernal Campus, B101

Dr. Judson Byrd Finley

Indigenous Agriculture at the Edge of Sustainability: Why the Uinta Basin is Important for Archaeology

Book Icon  Dr. Judson Byrd Finley Biography

Judson Finley is currently a professor of anthropology and the head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Utah State University. Judson has worked at USU since 2012, and before that, he spent three years as assistant professor of archaeology in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Memphis.

He earned a BA in Anthropology at the University of Wyoming in 1996 followed by an MA in 2002 and PhD in 2008, both in Anthropology, from Washington State University. His research is at the intersection of archaeology, geology, and paleoecology in the Central Rocky Mountains, northern Colorado Plateau, and eastern Great Basin.

He is a member of the Past Global Changes (PAGES), PalEOclimate, and the PeopLing of the Earth (PEOPLE3K) working group, which examines global changes in human demography associated with environmental change and agricultural conditions with local and regional case studies. Judson's specialty is the geological interface with Native history of the West.

Currently, he is working on a National Science Foundation funded project studying the environmental conditions for the adoption of maize agriculture in northern Utah.

February 14, 2023
Vernal Campus, B101

Mario I. Suárez

Using Your Knowledge and Expertise for Public Good

Book Icon  Mario I. Suárez Biography

Mario I. Suárez (he/him/él) is an assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at Utah State University. He holds a PhD in curriculum and instruction from the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture at Texas A&M University.

He comes to the field with teaching experience in high school mathematics and a specialization in teaching English Language Learners, as well as with Advanced Placement teaching experience. As an "out" and visible Latinx transgender man, he is an advocate for LGBTIQIA+ youth and educators and has presented on issues relevant to the community.

Suárez was born and raised on the Texas-Mexico border. Prior to doctoral work, he taught high school mathematics in Austin, TX. His work has been featured on nprEd and Univision.

He is interested in the intersection of race, gender identity, sexuality, and class, and how binary notions of gender permeate K-12 STEM spaces and curricula. His intersectional research agenda broadly asks: "How does our understanding of gender and sexuality shape K-12 education (e.g., standards, curriculum, bathrooms, group placements, sports, STEM, teachers and teaching)?" 

He tries to answer this question through a primarily critical quantitative lens using nationally representative data, though he also draws on qualitative methods when large data is not available. His research in education draws from the fields of sociology, demography, gender studies, and policy studies.

March 14, 2023
Vernal Campus, B101

Christy Glass

Working Toward Inclusion at USU and Beyond:Why We Need a New Plan

Book Icon  Christy Glass Biography

Christy Glass earned her PhD from Yale University in 2005. Glass is professor in the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology and is known by her colleagues as a scholar activist who works tirelessly to promote diversity and inclusion in our institution and our community.

Her efforts in creating the Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research (CIGSR) have been an outstanding example of transparent, engaged, and inclusive leadership, where she is always asking, “Who is missing from the table?” In the past year, the CIGSR has funded a class of six research fellows and five teaching fellows who represent a variety of disciplines, genders and ethnic groups.

Glass’s teaching and research focus on workplace justice. Her research analyzes the ways gender and race shape access to and mobility in professional work organizations. With Alison Cook, she has pioneered work on the glass cliff and the impact of representation on organizational practice.

She teaches courses on work and labor, social inequality and gender and sexuality. Glass has been published in top journals in sociology and management, including Social Forces, Work & Occupations, Gender & Society, Social Problems, Strategic Management Journal, and Human Resource Management. Her work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, National Public Radio, PBS, Forbes Magazine, Newsweek, CNBC, BBC, CNN, and the Harvard Business Review.

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