Students walking on PBA campus

Keynote Speakers 


2019-2020 Interdisciplinary Research Conference

TomKeynote speaker: Dr. Tom Chesnes, Palm Beach Atlantic University 

Dr. Tom Chesnes, a biology professor who studies estuaries and salt marshes, is the keynote speaker for the University’s annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference 2020. 

Chesnes, winner of the 2015 Charles & Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching, is a highly-published researcher who routinely invites his students to join him in his fieldwork. His address explores what happens when critical thinking leads us to differ with our tribes — people of the same family, faith or politics, he said.


2018-2019 Interdisciplinary Research Conference 

Keynote speaker: Norman Hooten, Palm Beach Atlantic University 

HootenPharmacists – Warriors in the Battle Against Opioids. That keynote message for this year’s conference comes from a PBA pharmacy graduate who knows warfare, figuratively and literally. Norman “Norm” Hooten entered the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy after a distinguished career in the Army’s Special Forces. He earned his doctorate in pharmacy in 2016 and then did two years of post-graduate residency at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers in Orlando and West Palm Beach. He is now a clinical pharmacy specialist with the VA center in Orlando.

In the inpatient mental health unit of the center Hooten sees many victims of opioid overdose. “Vets are at about an equal risk of misusing opioids, but they’re probably at double the risk of dying of an overdose,” he said. “My goal is to potentiate the role that we play as pharmacists in solving the problem of substance abuse disorder, for vets, especially.

“We can make a difference in their lives,” he said. “Not just from managing their medications, but in being that person who gives them the support and encouragement they need along the way, that maybe helps guide them and give them hope for the future so they can prosper.”

Barbara Kelly, senior associate professor of pharmacy practice, recalls Hooten as a student “always responsible, always influencing others in an unassuming way and always grateful to be learning the field of pharmacy.” He had come to PBA as a veteran of the elite Delta Force, having led a team into what became the Battle of Mogadishu, the bloody operation depicted in the movie Black Hawk Down. While he was a pharmacy student he went on national television, helping to tell the Mogadishu story for 60 Minutes.

2017-2018 Interdisciplinary Research Conference

Keynote speaker: Erin Tarver '03, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Erin Tarver will speak at PBA's 2018 Interdisciplinary Research Conference.

Erin C. Tarver is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Emory University’s Oxford College, where she teaches courses on ethics, logic, and the history of philosophy, in addition to special topics classes on feminist philosophy and the philosophy of sport. At the 2017-2018 IRC, Tarver will speak “On Knowing Thyself as a Sports Fan: Ethical and Political Considerations.”

Tarver’s scholarly work is in feminist philosophy, American pragmatism, and the critical philosophy of race, with a particular focus on the social self.  Her book, The I in Team: Sports Fandom and the Reproduction of Identity, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017, and her co-edited volume, Feminist Interpretations of William James, was published in 2015.  She is the author of articles in several scholarly journals, in addition to pieces written for the general public that have appeared in such venues as The New York Times.  Her research is motivated by her own experiences growing up as a sports fan in the American south, and draws on philosophical influences from Michel Foucault to Malcolm X, John Searle, and Iris Marion Young.

Tarver earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2003, where she was a student in the Supper Honors Program.  She lives with her husband, Joshua Mousie, in Oxford, Georgia.

2016-2017 Interdisciplinary Research Conference

Keynote speaker: Dr. Jacob Richards '10, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Dr. Jacob Richards will speak at PBA's 2017 Interdisciplinary Research Conference.PBA Alumnus Dr. Jacob Richards, a lead scientific reviewer for the Food and Drug Administration in the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, will speak at the annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference on "Cancer Immunotherapy: Using Your Own Body to Fight Your Cancer". 

In this position, the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program graduate is responsible for reviewing, consulting and developing molecular and immune assay submissions for industry.

Richards has a bachelor’s degree in medicinal and biological chemistry from Palm Beach Atlantic University and a doctorate in medical sciences from the University of Florida. Before his Ph.D. training, Richards worked in academic administration at PBA, assisting and supervising the peer tutoring program.

2015-2016 Interdisciplinary Research Conference

Keynote speaker: Dr. Justin D. Barnard '96, Union University in Jackson, Tennessee


PBA alumnus Dr. Justin D. Barnard, associate dean in the Institute for Intellectual Discipleship and associate professor of philosophy in the Honors Community at Union University will speak at the annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference on “Moral Complicity and Human Embryonic Stem Cell Use.”

In the area of bioethics, Barnard is the primary instructor and designer of a course in pharmacy ethics for second-year students in Union's School of Pharmacy. He has spoken at other meetings and events across the country, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

2014-2015 Interdisciplinary Research Conference

Keynote speaker: Dr. Kimberly J. Reich, Texas A&M University at Galveston


Dr. Kimberly J. Reich, an assistant research scientist with the Department of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston, spoke at the annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference on "Courage, Faith and Succeeding in Academia: Insights from my Experiences."

Reich, the director of the Trophic Ecology and Sea Turtle Research Lab at Texas A&M, earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1998 from PBA before studying at Texas A&M for her master's. She holds a doctorate from the University of Florida.

2013-2014 Interdisciplinary Research Conference

Keynote speaker: Dr. Samue Joeckelel, Palm Beach Atlantic University


Samue Joeckelel, Ph.D., is an associate professor of English and a professor in the Supper Honors Program at Palm Beach Atlantic University Joeckelel has been with PBA since 2002 Joeckelel has written on a wide range of subjects, including eighteenth-century British literature, C.S. Lewis, humor theory, Christian higher education, and disability studies.

He is the author of The C.S. Lewis Phenomenon: Christianity and the Public Sphere (Mercer University Press). He is co- editor of The Christian College Phenomenon: Inside America’s Fastest Growing Institutions of Higher Learning (Abilene Christian University Press).

2012-2013 Interdisciplinary Research Conference

Keynote speaker: Dr. Terri Bowers Hunter '94, University of South Florida


Terri Hunter, Ph.D., is the licensing manager of the Division of Patents and Licensing for the University of South Florida. She is responsible for managing life science technologies from initial disclosure through licensing and the maintenance of the license. Prior to joining the Division of Patents and Licensing, Hunter worked as a Research Scientist at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. At Moffitt, Hunter performed translational research focused on cancer vaccines and combination therapies for cancer. She has also served as a DNA analyst/expert witness for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.