The Wells College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is pleased to announce the 2015 Visiting Scholar lecture, given by vertebrate paleobiologist Blaire Van Valkenburgh of UCLA. The talk will take place at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, October 29 in the Hostetter Lecture Room (209) of Stratton Hall. This event is free, and all are welcome.
As a vertebrate paleobiologist, Blaire Van Valkenburgh centers her research on the evolution of form, function, and ecology in organisms, both living and extinct. Much of her fieldwork has been done in Kenya on large predatory mammals, where she explores the evolutionary history of carnivores, including sabertooth cats, from both ecological and behavioral perspectives.
She is professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA and Associate Dean of Academic Programs in the life sciences, as well as a research associate with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She has served as president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and is currently associate editor of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Her honors include three distinguished teaching awards and election as a fellow to the Paleontological Society and the California Academy of Sciences. In addition, she has been awarded research grants by the National Science Foundation, American Association of University Women, and National Geographic Society. Finally, she has been featured in numerous documentaries on sabertooth cats and other ice-age mammals produced by the BBC, National Geographic, and Discovery channels.
Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society's Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America's most distinguished scholars. The 13 men and women participating during 2015-2016 will visit 100 colleges and universities, taking full part in the academic life of the institution. They will meet informally with students and faculty members and participate in classroom discussions and seminars in addition to the public lecture.
Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's oldest and most recognized academic honor society. It has chapters at 283 colleges and universities and more than half a million members throughout the country. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression. The Wells College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Xi of New York, was founded in 1932.