2018 Speakers

Michael Twiss

Michael R. Twiss

What Would an Early Warning System Look Like for the Great Lakes?

Michael R. Twiss, Ph.D., is a professor of biology at Clarkson University, teaching classes in Limnology, Microbiology, Environmental Science of the Adirondacks, and Great Lakes Water Protection. He is a member of the Frontiers in Aquatic Microbiology editorial board and has served on grant review panels for the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and other agencies.

Twiss is a limnologist (freshwater scientist) with expertise in the microbial plankton ecology of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system and interactions of plankton with trace elements in the water column. His research aims to understand the impact that microbes have on the geochemical fate of nutrients and metals in natural waters and how plankton respond to changes in their natural environment.

He is the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Gold Medal for Academic Excellence, the Premier’s Research Excellence Award by the Province of Ontario and the Chandler-Misener Award by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, and has been funded in the past five years by New York Sea Grant, the New York Power Authority, the NSF, the USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office and the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems. Twiss has over 50 peer-reviewed publications.”


Comedy Improv Took the Stage at Cazenovia Forum Fundraiser

CAZENOVIA, NY -A comedy improv performance in the style of the popular television show Whose Line is it Anyway? was the centerpiece of the biennial fundraising gala for the Cazenovia Forum lecture series, held Saturday, November 11, at 7:30pm at the Hampton Inn in Cazenovia. The entertainment for the evening was provided by the long-running improv troupe“Eight is NEVER Enough,”comprising New York City performers and artists dedicated to captivating audiences through old-school improv comedy entertainment.



Mike Nunes

Mike Nunes –Vice President, Current Programming, NBC Universal

“Framing the Story from the Outside In.”

Mike Nunes, the NBC Universal executive who shepherded the award-winning and critically-acclaimed television series “This is Us,” will deliver the next Cazenovia Forum lecture on Friday, April 6, at 7:00 pm at the Hampton Inn ballroom in Cazenovia.

Admission to the event is free, no reservations are required and audience members are invited to join the speaker for a post-event reception.

As Vice President of Current Programming for NBC Entertainment, Nunes has handled some of the biggest, most popular and well-reviewed shows in television.  In addition to “This Is Us,” which has become a national phenomenon since its launch in 2016, he has overseen “The Good Place,” from esteemed comedy showrunner Michael Schur, “Superstore,” starring America Ferrera and, most recently, “Rise,” from “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” executive producer Jason Katims.


Frank Montoya

Frank Montoya, Jr.

Frank Montoya, Jr. – Senior FBI Agent (ret.)

“FBI Under Siege”

Frank Montoya Jr. is a retired FBI special agent with extensive experience in national security matters, having recently served as the government’s top counterintelligence official under the Director of National Intelligence. In his 25-year career with the FBI, Mr. Montoya worked to counter violent crime, assisted in the Robert Hanssen spy case, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing investigation and the establishment of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force. He served as Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle and Honolulu field offices. His views are regularly sought out by major news networks and publications. Montoya received a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Brigham Young University and served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer. He lives with his wife in Utah.

Montoya is highly critical of politicians attacking the FBI in connection with the ongoing Russia collusion investigation, having recently told Washington Monthly, “The baseless, unsubstantiated assaults coming from the ultra-conservative wing of Congress not only risks undermining public trust, which the FBI is dependent upon to do its job, but puts the rule of law at risk.


Nancy Ries.png

Nancy Ries

Sept. 28 7pm at Catherine Cummings Theatre

Thugocracy: Oligarchs, Mafias, the Kremlin & the Trump Presidency

Nancy Ries is Christian A. Johnson Chair in Liberal Arts Studies, Director of the Division of University Studies, and Professor of Anthropology and Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University. Her specialty is contemporary Russia. She is fluent in Russian and has done extensive field research in Moscow and other cities since the 1980s.

Among her publications are the 1997 book, Russian Talk: Culture and Conversation during Perestroika, which won the Barbara Heldt Book Prize, and a 2009 article Potato Ontology: Surviving Post-Socialism in Russia which won the Cultural Anthropology Horizons Prize. She has published on state capture and the Russian mafia, everyday life theory and traumatic violence, and nuclear weapons discourse, She is currently researching the Kremlin’s nuclear saber-rattling after the takeover of Crimea, and is writing a book on thugocracy for Cornell University Press.


Susan Arbetter

“The Midterms, #metoo, and Mobilization: How What’s Happening in DC Could Transform Albany.”

President Trump had already mobilized women to run for office; now the controversy around Judge Kavanaugh has mobilized women to vote. This energy may change some State Senate races that were never in play into probable Democratic wins.  I will explain why suburban women are key here and look into how a future with a Democratic-controlled State Senate — and a lame duck Governor looking for a legacy — could change the political landscape of New York State.

Susan Arbetter is the Emmy Award-winning host and producer of the syndicated public radio program The Capitol Pressroom, which broadcasts live weekdays from Albany and boasts a daily audience of 100,000 listeners. She is also Director of News & Public Affairs for WCNY. Buffalo Rising described Ms. Arbetter as an “interviewer extraordinaire.

She is the recipient of over 30 awards for electronic journalism, including an Emmy Award for Best Public Affairs Series for the television show Insight and four Emmy nominations for Connect: NY. The Capitol Pressroom was awarded the 2016 NYSBA Award for Community. The Women’s Press Club’s bestowed to Ms. Arbetter their “Excellence in Career Achievement Award.” She has been named to City & State’s Annual Power 100 list every year for the past four years.

Susan lives on a hill in Altamont, NY with her husband.

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