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08 - Honors Forum Lecture Series

Since 1982, guest lectures have been sponsored by the Maricopa County Community College District. This lecture series is one of many educational programs offered to the students, faculty, and the general public as a community service. The Honors Program is associated with Phi Theta Kappa and provides intellectually stimulating learning opportunities for academically outstanding students.

The 2014-2015 Honors Topic is Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration. Paradise Valley Community College Honors students participate in the Lecture Series which brings them in close contact with distinguished lecturers from many fields of endeavor.  Download the Honor's Guide here.

More information on the topic can be found at:

FALL 2014

September 17, 2014 – Mesa Community College, Lawn Tent, 7:00 p.m.


Reed TimmerHaving intercepted over 250 tornadoes and a dozen powerful hurricanes during the last decade, Reed Timmer is well known as the most successful and extreme storm chaser in the world. Reed is one of a few to document a F5 tornado and the most devastating hurricane in U.S. history, Hurricane Katrina. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.

Reed’s “hands-on” experience with a vast assortment of hazardous weather and natural disasters, as well as his extensive education in the science of meteorology, has made him one of the world’s most respected experts on severe weather forecasting, safety, and survival. Reed is a strong advocate for extreme weather and disaster education. He conducts storm spotter seminars for the National Weather Service, emergency managers, and the general public.

Growing up in the ever-changing climate of West Michigan, Reed’s passion for extreme weather has dominated his life for as long as he can remember. His illustrious storm-chasing career began at the age of 12, when he destroyed the family video camera in his front yard while being pelted by quarter size hail in a severe thunderstorm. At the age of 18, Reed decided to pursue his ultimate dream, and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to study meteorology and chase storms in Tornado Alley.

As a star on Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers in 2008, Reed became the first person in history to capture high definition video inside a tornado. The eight episode series had a record 19 million viewers during the 2008 season, and was one of the highest rated shows on Discovery Channel. Reed was also featured on Discovery Channel’s When Nature Strikes in fall of 2008, which showed his intercept of Hurricane Ike on Galveston Island as a deadly 15-foot storm surge threatened the position on the sea wall. Reed has also appeared on all major news networks, including Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer, CNN with Wolf Blitzer, CBS, NBC, and The Weather Channel.

Reed is CEO of Weather Fusion, LLC and Extreme Tornado Tours, LLC. which offers forensic meteorology and consulting services, extreme weather media services, and storm chasing tours. His tornado, hurricane, and blizzard footage has been licensed to over 100 production companies and television networks since 1997, and has been seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide on television, the Internet, and mobile video devices. 2014/15 Honors Forum Lecture Series Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration

November 19, 2014 - Glendale Community College, Student Center, 7:00 p.m.


William SaturnoDr. William Saturno is an Assistant Professor of Archaeology at Boston University. His excavations and field work include the southwestern United States, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and most recently, Guatemala. From 1994 to 2000, he was the Field Director of the Río Amarillo Archaeological Project in Western Honduras, examining the ancient sociopolitical relationships between large and small Mayan cities around the site of Copán. In March 2001, while exploring in northeastern Guatemala for Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, he discovered the remote archaeological site of San Bartolo and the oldest intact murals ever found in the Mayan world. Since then, he has directed the San Bartolo Regional Archaeology Project which is dedicated to the excavation and conservation of these spectacular murals, and to understanding San Bartolo’s role in this largely unexplored region of the Mayan area during the period when the Mayan civilization itself was just forming. Saturno’s academic interests include the evolution of complex society, particularly among the Ancient Maya, Mesoamerican religion, iconography and epigraphy, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications in archaeology, and the role of archaeology in popular culture.



February 18, 2015 – Mesa Community College, Navajo Room, 7:00 p.m. DR.


Caudia AlexanderDr. Claudia Alexander is a research scientist specializing in geophysics and planetary science. She has worked for the United States Geological Survey and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As a member of the technical staff at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she was the last project manager of NASA’s Galileo Mission to Jupiter, and is currently the project manager and scientist of NASA’s role in the European lead Rosetta Mission to study the comet, Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Originally, Dr. Alexander wanted to be a journalist, but after a summer job at the Ames Research Center, she became interested in planetary science. In 1983, she received a bachelors degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in geophysics, and in 1985, earned a masters degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in geo and space physics. She went on to receive a Ph.D. in physics of space plasma from the University of Michigan in 1993, where she was named Woman of the Year. Dr. Alexander worked at the U.S. Geological Survey studying plate tectonics and the Ames Research Center observing Jovian moons before moving to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1986. At NASA, she worked as a science coordinator for the plasma wave instrument aboard the Galileo spacecraft before becoming the project manager of the Galileo Mission.

Dr. Alexander has also worked as a researcher on diverse topics, including the evolution and interior physics of comets, Jupiter and its moons, magnetospheres, plate tectonics, space plasma, the discontinuities and explanation of solar wind, and the planet Venus.

In 2003, she was awarded the Emerald Honor for Women of Color in Research and Engineering by Career Communications Group, Inc., publisher of Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine, at the National Women of Color Research Sciences and Technology Conference. Dr. Alexander is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the Association for Women Geoscientists.

April 22, 2015 – Glendale Community College, Student Union, 7:00 p.m.


John MedinaDr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders. He has spent most of his professional life as a private research consultant, working primarily in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries on research related to mental health. Dr. Medina is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the founding director of the Talaris Research Institute, a Seattle-based research center originally focused on how infants encode and process information at the cognitive, cellular, and molecular levels.

In 2004, Dr. Medina was appointed to the rank of affiliate scholar at the National Academy of Engineering. He has been named Outstanding Faculty of the Year at the College of Engineering at the University of Washington; the Merrill Dow/Continuing Medical Education National Teacher of the Year; and, twice, the Bioengineering Student Association Teacher of the Year. Dr. Medina has also been a consultant to the Education Commission of the States and a regular speaker on the relationship between neurology and education. He writes the Molecules of the Mind column for the Psychiatric Times.

Dr. Medina’s books include: Brain Rules (New York Times bestseller), Brain Rules for Baby, The Genetic Inferno, The Clock of Ages, Depression, What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s, The Outer Limits of Life, Uncovering the Mystery of AIDS, and Of Serotonin, Dopamine and Antipsychotic Medications. Dr. Medina has a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information. As the father of two boys, he has an interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children.

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Contact Us

Honors Center
K Building Rooms 101 and 102

Office Hours:
Mon-Thur.  8:30am to 4:30pm

Fri. 8:30am to 4:00pm


Honors Director
Dr. Doug Berry

Honors Director
Dr. John Douglass


Honors Program Coordinator
Rikki Shannon

Honors Program Assistant
Sawsan Abdurrahman