Spring Forum speaker Young-Im Lee explains
the complicated relationship between
the U.S. and South Korea.


Friday, 3 to 4 p.m., Campus Locations

Following the afternoon seminars each Friday, an "open forum" is held from 3-4 p.m.

The Forum features invited speakers of note, usually from outside Renaissance, who share their views on varied topics with members, followed by lively question-and-answer sessions. The topics include political, social, cultural and entertainment issues. Many of the speakers are suggested by Renaissance members; contact the Forum Committee if you have ideas.

The locations can vary, depending on CSUS availability, so check below. The speakers and locations can change during the semester if a larger or better room becomes available, so check here right before each Forum.

Young-Im Lee
Feb. 1: Young-Im Lee, Assistant Professor, Political Science, CSUS
Ballroom III, University Union
South Korea Today. Young-Im Lee teaches Asian politics, gender politics and world politics. Before joining Sac State in 2017, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, teaching American politics and research methods. She was born in Seoul, South Korea. She received a B.A. in American Studies and Political Science at Sogang University in Seoul, and came to the United States in 2011 to pursue a doctorate in Political Science at University of Missouri-St. Louis. She will discuss how South Korea's economic growth has affected its society and the negative impact of rapid economy and chaebol (the large industrial conglomerates) on the society. How has the U.S. foreign policy influenced South Korea's economic growth and its relations with North Korea and how the current South Korean government navigates its relations with the U.S?
Cathy Creswell
Feb. 8: Cathy Creswell, Board President, Sacramento Housing Alliance
Del Norte 1004
California's Affordable Housing Crisis: Causes and Solutions. In California, 36 percent of homeowners and 48 percent of renters spend more than one third of their household income on housing. For the 32 percent of working renters who spend over half their income on housing, they're forced every day to choose between other necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. In order to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment (an average of $1,354 per month), without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing, a household must earn $4,514 monthly or $54,168 annually. That's the equivalent of 3.3 minimum wage jobs! There isn't a single county in California with enough affordable homes and apartments to meet local needs. With over 30 years' experience in California affordable housing policy, Cathy Creswell will share the causes and solutions to California's affordable housing crisis. She served as the Acting Executive Director for the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and retired in 2012 as a member of the HCD staff after 25 years of state service. She is the current Board President of the Sacramento Housing Alliance (SHA) and Chair of the Board of Mutual Housing California. Cathy is also a current member and past Chair of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) Commission. She consults statewide as an expert in affordable housing development, policy and advocacy. See her PowerPoint presentation here.
Faith Whitmore
Feb. 15: Faith Whitmore, CEO, Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center
Del Norte 1004
Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence. The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department receives over 18,000 domestic violence calls per year. These are only the victims who finally have had "enough" and make the call. Domestic violence is at epidemic levels in our community. A victim in need of services may have to visit 40 different agencies to receive the services that they require to break the cycle of domestic violence. A group of concerned citizens, led by former Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully and United Methodist Minister and community leader Faith Whitmore, created the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center to help meet the needs of families and individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse and human trafficking. Hear how the Family Justice Center is acting as an umbrella organization where all the needs of victims can be meet at one stop rather than victims having to tell their story multiple times, to multiple agencies. As a retired United Methodist pastor of 35 years, a community leader, a former nonprofit executive with Francis House Center, and most recently, District Director for one of our Congressional members, Faith has a heart for service. She is passionate about the work of the Family Justice Center (FJC) and is grateful for the opportunity to bring all of her skills and community relationships to build and strengthen FJC's mission. See her PowerPoint presentation here. And you can see her video here.
Melissa Brown
Feb. 22: Melissa Brown, Director, Legal Clinics, McGeorge School of Law
Del Norte 1004
Raising Awareness of Elder Abuse. Come to see real examples of elder abuse as Melissa Brown, director of the Elder and Health Law Clinic at McGeorge School of Law, presents a series of vignettes with roles featuring volunteer Renaissance members. One of Sacramento's 40 Top Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list for the past 10 years, Professor Brown has devoted much of her legal life to advocacy for the rights of seniors and disabled people. One of her law partners coauthored her book used by lawyers and law students as a desk reference and elder law guide. Also, she has produced film and video materials for attorneys in four states, and testified at legislative hearings about recommendations to help injured workers, elders and disabled people. A popular guest on Capitol Public Radio, Professor Brown also lectures extensively.
Robert Emmons
March 1: Robert Emmons, Psychology Professor, UC Davis
Del Norte 1004
Gratitude. In addition to his academic appointment, Robert Emmons is director of the Emmons Lab, a long-term research project designed to create and disseminate a large body of novel scientific data on the nature of gratitude, its causes and its potential consequences for human health and well-being. His research focuses on the psychology of gratitude and thankfulness in both adults and youth, and how they are related to human flourishing. Professor Emmons' research is at the interface of personality psychology, the positive psychology and the psychology of religion. Emmons is editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. He received his BA in Psychology from University of Southern Maine and his MA and Ph.D. in Personality Psychology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In his book, The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks, he asserts that, by "keeping a daily gratitude journal, writing letters of thanks, and meditating on the good we have received, we can improve our health and wellbeing, enhance our relationships, and heighten feelings of connectedness.” His presentation was filmed; you can watch it (on YouTube) here.
Diana Tate Vermeire
March 8: Diana Tate Vermeire, Executive Director, CSUS President's Office of Inclusive Excellence, and University Diversity Officer
Del Norte 1004
Creating a 21st Century Campus: A Model for Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive California. This presentation will address CSUS President Robert Nelsen's second imperative for Sacramento State: to increase campus diversity, inclusion and equity. Sacramento State has committed itself to diversity and inclusion and ensuring the success of all our students. As a result of its commitment, Sacramento State has created the Office of Inclusive Excellence and the position of University Diversity Officer. The campus is committed to not only diversity but being a campus that is inclusive and welcoming and where all of our community belongs. The Office of Inclusive Excellence and University Diversity Officer were created in summer 2016 and Vermeire became the first permanent UDO at Sacramento State in November 2017. The Office provides vision and leadership with respect to diversity and inclusion throughout the university and collaborates with numerous programs, divisions and colleges to achieve the university's goals. Vermeire chairs the Sacramento State Diversity Council that is charged with identifying proactive strategies that will aid Sacramento State in becoming a more inclusive campus. Prior to her appointment, Vermeire was a practicing attorney for over 17 years working in both private and non-profit practice on matters related to racial and identity justice. In particular, Vermeire's racial and identity work has involved litigation, legal and legislative advocacy, public education, organizing strategies and policy advocacy to combat and eliminate bias and to otherwise remove institutional and structural barriers to achieving diversity and inclusion. See her PowerPoint presentation here.
Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater
March 15: Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater, Founder, Joshua's House
Del Norte 1004
Providing a Home for the End of Life for the Homeless. Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater, founder of the Health Communication Research Institute and former professor and director at the UC Davis Cancer Center, was notified in 2014 that her 34-year old grandson who was homeless had died while living on the streets of Omaha, Nebraska. After his death, Marlene decided she had to do something to prevent other homeless people from dying alone on the streets. Approximately 20 people a year die on the streets alone in Sacramento according to Mayor Darrell Steinberg. In January 2016, Marlene began an advisory board that would create California's first and only hospice for the homeless. She decided it would be called Joshua's Home in honor of her grandson. The owner of an old vacant warehouse donated his property for the project, which is on the campus of Loaves and Fishes. Joshua's Home will open in late spring or early summer and will include 20 private bedrooms for 20 to 24 residents with four office spaces for hospital hospice partners. See her PowerPoint presentation here.
March 22:
Spring Break; No Forum
Raquel Aldana
March 29: Raquel Aldana, Professor, UC Davis Law School
Del Norte 1004
What's New and Likely in Immigration? In her presentation, Professor Aldana will address "What to Know so We're All on the Same Page, and Answers to Your Immigration Questions." Raquel Aldana is Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity and Professor of Law at UC Davis, where she has taught immigration law and international human rights, lawyering for immigrants, "crimmigration" the Central American migration corridor, immigrant rights in the United States and courses about sustainable development in Latin America, criminal justice reform and international labor law. She was Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers, a Fullbright Scholar in Guatemala for two years, and is co-editing a forthcoming book for The American Bar Association. Her B.A. summa cum laude is from the University of Arizona and her J.D. was conferred by Harvard Law School. Before coming to UC Davis Law School, Professor Aldana was a Staff Attorney for the Center for Justice and International Law and Professor of Law at the University of Nevada William Boyd School of Law and at University of the Pacific McGeorge Law School.
Ayad Al-Qazzaz
April 5: Ayad Al-Qazzaz, CSUS Sociology Professor; President, Middle East Cultural Association at CSUS
Del Norte 1004
Major Challenges in the Middle East. Dr. Al-Qazzaz was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and received his Bachelor's degree at the University of Baghdad. He received his Masters and Ph.D. degrees at the University of California at Berkeley. His areas of specialty include the Arab-American Community, Islamic Culture and Religion, the Muslim American Community, Political Sociology and Societies of the Middle East and North Africa (including the Arab World). He has been teaching since 1970 and one of his most popular courses at is Middle East Culture and Society. Renaissance members who have heard Dr. Al-Qazzaz speak on several occasions before know that he is outspoken on subjects related to current events in the Middle East. His question-and answer-periods are always engaging.
Samantha Caiola
April 12: Sammy Caiola, Health Care Reporter, Capital Public Radio
Del Norte 1004
The Role of Public Radio Journalism in the Changing Media Landscape. Sammy Caiola has been covering medical breakthroughs, fitness fads and health policy in California since 2014. Before joining Capital Public Radio in July 2017, she was a health reporter at The Sacramento Bee. In that capacity, she covered federal insurance reform, debunked wellness myths and watched neighborhood health efforts quietly save lives. In 2015, Sammy completed a data fellowship at the University of Southern California, which led to a three-part series on black child death in Sacramento County. She has also reported extensively on the autism spectrum disorder, reproductive health care, LGBT health and conjoined twinning. More recently, she has reported on the shooting of Stephon Clark, the state Department of Health's guidelines on keeping your cell phone away from your body, and California counties not spending mental health funds according to the State Auditor. Sammy is a Zumba instructor and avid biker. She hails from Long Island, N.Y., but much prefers the stunning scenery of the West Coast.
Timothy Cutler
April 19: Jerald Silva, Painter
Del Norte 1004
What He Does, How He Does It, and Why He Does It. Watercolorist Jerald Silva was born in Sacramento. He attended Sacramento Junior College, Sacramento State College and Chouinard Art Institute. His paintings have been exhibited at the California State Fair, the Kingsley Show, Northern California Arts Show, the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the Upper Grosvenor Gallery in London. A Sacramento resident, he is known for nude figure painting and still life-abstraction. At Sac State, he worked with Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Else, Ruth Rippon and Irving Marcus. He will share examples of his art throughout his presentation.
Suzette Riddle Lynn Tashiro
April 26: Suzette Riddle, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, CSUS, and Lynn Tashiro Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, CSUS
Del Norte 1004
INSPIRE Student Success Through Peer Support. INSPIRE Student Success: Sacramento State offers over 30 peer support programs that include student-to-student mentoring, advising and tutoring. Student mentees from low-income or underrepresented populations earn higher grades, pass gateway math and science courses at a 20 percent higher rate than non-participating peers and complete an average of 15.1 academic units per semester. Meet our panel of students and learn about how Sac State students are improving learning for their peers and developing invaluable workplace skills. Learn how you can help make a difference in the academic and life trajectory of Sacramento State students.
Kim Mueller
May 3: Kimberly Mueller, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of California
Del Norte 1004
A view From Chambers: The Meaning of Judicial Independence. Kimberly J. Mueller was appointed by President Barack Obama as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of California in 2010. She is the first woman to serve the Eastern District in this capacity. Prior to her appointment, Judge Mueller served as a Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District, from March 2003 to December 2010. Judge Mueller is a co-founder of The Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Library and Learning Center, located since March 2013 in the Ninth Circuit Library at Sacramento's Robert T. Matsui U.S. Courthouse. The Kennedy Learning Center's goals include ensuring that school children and the general public understand what the courts do as one of the three branches, and how informed citizens are essential to the courts' viability and vitality. Judge Mueller was an inaugural member of the Sacramento-based civics education project known as Operation Protect & Defend, which has now merged with the Kennedy Learning Center's supporting foundation. She also served as Chair of the Federal Courts Committee of the California State Bar's Commission on Access to Justice. She has taught Federal Courts, Copyright and an early Cyberlaw course at Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Mueller engaged in private practice in Sacramento, as a sole practitioner specializing in intellectual property, internet and art law from 2000 to 2003, and as a litigation associate at the law firm of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe specializing in intellectual property from 1995 to 2000. During law school, Judge Mueller served a judicial externship with U.S. District Judge David F. Levi. She served as an elected member of the Sacramento City Council from 1987 to 1992. Judge Mueller received her B.A. from Pomona College in 1981 and her juris doctorate from Stanford Law School in 1995. She maintains her chambers in Sacramento.