Impact and Inspiration

Summer Sessions presents a new season of GRIT Talks, a series of free public lectures by notable faculty across myriad disciplines

Specializing in everything from neuroscience, to applied mathematics, to globalization, to oceans, they are among UC Santa Barbara’s most accomplished faculty. And in a series of lectures beginning this week they’ll introduce their current research to summer students and to the community.

The series, Ground-breaking Research & Innovative Technology — otherwise and better-known as GRIT Talks — is presented by UC Santa Barbara’s Office of Summer Sessions. The annual program gives notable university researchers an opportunity to share their vast and diverse expertise with a broad audience.

The talks are free and open to the public and are available for viewing online via UCTV. This year, each lecture will be held in Girvetz Hall Room 1004, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

GRIT’s new season kicks off Wednesday, June 26, with neuroscientist Emily Jacobs, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. In her talk “The Uncharted Mind: Gender diversity drives scientific discovery,” Jacobs will examine the importance of gender diversity in the biomedical sciences, offering examples from neuroscience on how diversity drives scientific discovery.

“Advocating for diversity in science is not just a social justice issue; diversity in science makes science better,” Jacobs said. “It drives innovation, it challenges the status quo and it can change the very nature of the questions we think to ask.”

The other presenting researchers, their departments and lecture dates are:

Linda Petzold, computer science, Monday, July 1

Ignacio Esponda, economics, Monday, July 8

Douglas McCauley, ecology, evolution and marine biology, Wednesday, July 10

Ram Seshadri, materials, Monday, July 15

Aashish Mehta, global studies, Wednesday, July 17

Alison Butler, chemistry, Monday, July 22

Elliot Hawkes, mechanical engineering, Wednesday, July 24

“The GRIT Talks series connects the campus and broader community with engaging and interactive academic presentations on numerous topics,” said Lina Kim, director of the series and of pre-college programs in the Office of Summer Sessions. “Our goal is to give our faculty a platform to share their passion for research and the impact that it has on the world.”

Launched in 2013, GRIT Talks is now in its seventh year. The audience for the lectures, Kim noted, ranges from campus faculty and staff to “visiting scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, talented high school students who take part in our Research Mentorship Program and Science & Engineering Research Academy, as well as the broader Santa Barbara community.”

Not to mention the countless viewers who watch via UCTV; since 2015, the talks have been recorded and archived online.

“We have been incredibly lucky to showcase our amazing UC Santa Barbara faculty from diverse areas of research,” Kim said. “The success of the series is attributed to our fantastic speakers who rise to the challenge of presenting their research in a different light — they are exciting and inspiring the next generation of researchers. Additionally, from an audience’s perspective, the talks are a unique opportunity to be exposed to cutting-edge research being conducted on our campus across multiple disciplines.”

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