Keynote Speaker

Dr. Brent Loken's photoThe 2018 Arthur Olsen Student Research Symposium will feature a keynote by Dr. Brent Loken '94, "Clouded leopards, orangutans and the quest of feeding 10 billion people a healthy and sustainable diet." The keynote address will be held from 10-11:10 a.m. in Kresge Recital Hall.

Dr. Brent Loken will speak about how his conservation efforts in Borneo led him to the realization that many environmental problems stem from unsustainable and destructive agricultural practices.

Dr. Loken is now the Science Liaison Officer for EAT, an international organization based in Oslo, Norway, working to transform the global food system to feeding 10 billion people a healthy and sustainable diet.

Food has the potential to nurture human health and environmental sustainability. Instead, food is threatening both. Today, unhealthy diets now pose a greater risk to morbidity and mortality than unsafe sex, alcohol, and drug and tobacco use combined. Food production is the single largest driver of environmental degradation, threatening the stability of the planet. With the global population expected to increase to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, the need for a global transformation of our food system is urgent.

In this talk, Dr. Brent Loken will discuss why food is the singular most important issue of our time and how protecting species such as clouded leopards and orangutans is at the center of the quest in feeding 10 billion people a healthy and sustainable diet. He will share experiences from his past work with the Dayak people in Borneo and his current task of setting global scientific targets for healthy and sustainable diets and his work with business and policy makers in using these targets to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement.


Past Keynote Speakers

  • 2017 "Science and Reason in a Post-Truth Age."
    Dr. David Myers, professor of psychology at Hope College
  • 2016 "Shaping Perceptions from Misconceptions? Analyzing Myths and Realities of the Contemporary U.S. Immigration Debate"
     Dr. Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman '96, author of Shaping the Immigration Debate: Contending Civil Societies on the U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration: Examining the Facts
  • 2015 "Seriously Amazing Moments in Smithsonian Forensic Anthropology and Skeletal Biology"
    Dr. Douglas Owsley, Division Head for Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
  • 2014 "Turn that Frown Upside Down: A Heartwarming Tale of Debt and Deficits in the Modern Economy"
    Dr. Stephanie Kelton, professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • 2013 "Suffrage Parades, Pickets & Postcards: Images of Vulnerable Bodies & Civic Obligations"
    Dr. Catherine H. Palczewski, professor of Communication Studies and Women's & Gender Studies at the University of Northern Iowa
  • 2012 "Academic Malpractice? The Ongoing Popularity of Creationism among High School Biology Teachers"
    Dr. Randy Moore, professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • 2011 "Placing Nuns Inside the Women's West: Convent Archives and Academic Research"
    Dr. Anne M Butler, professor emerita of Utah State University
  • 2010 "Archiving American Literature Online: How the Digital Humanities
    Dr. Ed Folsom, Roy J. Carver Professor, University of Iowa
  • 2009 "The Human Genome Project: Why All the Fuss?"
    Alan E. Guttmacher, MD., Acting Director, National Human Genome Research Institute
  • 2008 "Rule of Law: The Holy Grail — What Is It and Why Is It So Difficult to Build?"
    Erik Jensen, Advisor to the World Bank & Asian Development Bank
  • 2007 "A New New World: The Democratization of Knowledge, Culture, Politics, and Pretty Much Everything in Between"
    Andrew McLaughlin, Head of Global Public Policy & Government Affairs for Google, Inc. & Senior Fellow at The Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School
  • 2006 "From Garbage to Stuff: How We Recycle Plastics"
    Dr. William F. Carroll, Vice-President, OxyChem, 2005 President of the American Chemical Society
  • 2005 "A Defense of Party Spirit"
    Dr. Russ Muirhead, Harvard University
  • 2004 "Small Talk: What It Does and Why It Matters"
    Dr. Julia T. Wood, professor of Communication at the Univ. of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
  • 2003 "The End of Ethics in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit"
    John Lantos, MD, University of Chicago School of Medicine & MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics
  • 2002 "The Funds, Friends, and Faith of Happy People"
    Dr. David Myers, Staley Distinguished Christian Scholar, Hope College
  • 2001 "Ancient Wisdom & Modern Love"
    Dr. David O'Conner, University of Notre Dame