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New UMass Lowell Speaker Series Engages Honors Students And The Public

UMass Lowell

LOWELL, Mass. – A new UMass Lowell speaker series designed for students enrolled in the university’s Honors College will examine the impacts of climate change on public policy, international security and the ethical dilemmas posed by evolving technology. 

For the first time, UMass Lowell will offer these Honors sessions to the public in a free and virtual format, engaging participants in a broad-based discussion of the issues as they consider all perspectives on these topics.

“The sessions offered in the ‘Climate Change, Social Justice and Human Security’ series aim to deepen our students’ and the public’s understanding of climate-change issues central to our collective future and to provide an interdisciplinary and intergenerational experience that celebrates life-long learning,” said Honors College Interim Dean Jenifer Whitten-Woodring, associate professor of political science and co-director of UMass Lowell’s doctoral program in global studies. 

The more than 30 UMass Lowell Honors College students participating in the event series will write and produce video commentaries on the issues raised in the sessions that will be available for public viewing at the end of the semester. More than 1,940 UMass Lowell students are enrolled in the Honors College, which challenges and celebrates undergraduate students who pursue academic excellence while expanding their scholarship and creativity. 

UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney is expected to offer remarks to welcome participants to the series. Faculty will share their expertise and lead the discussion in three programs. They are:
  • [PAST] Friday, Feb. 26, 5 p.m.: Juliette Rooney-Varga, UMass Lowell professor of environmental science, will lead the Climate Action Simulation and accompanying En-ROADS computer exercise, which will simulate how international climate treaty negotiations are conducted and demonstrate how policy decisions on energy and greenhouse gases can affect the future of the planet. Rooney-Varga, who directs UMass Lowell’s Climate Change Initiative, helped develop the interactive demonstration; her research has shown that participants in the exercise come away with a greater understanding of the climate crisis and a deeper commitment to action.
  • Friday, March 26, 5 p.m.: Jarrod Hayes, an authority on international relations, will share his insights on the security issues faced by democracies and how a shared understanding of environmental issues helps to shape society’s response. Hayes is an UMass Lowell associate professor of political science and the author of “Constructing National Security: U.S. Relations with India and China.” 
  • Friday, April 23, 5 p.m.: Bioethicist Nicholas Evans will discuss the public health and national security dilemmas that arise amid technological advances in society. A UMass Lowell assistant professor of philosophy, he is the author of “The Ethics of Neuroscience and National Security.” 
A limited number of opportunities remain for the public to participate in the Climate Action Simulation on Friday, March 26. Members of the public who are interested in participating should email

Sessions in March and April are open to all. Members of the public interested in attending these programs should register in advance at

UMass Lowell is a national research university offering its more than 18,000 students bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe.
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