Speakers for Scholarship Series

The 2024 Speakers for Scholarship Series presented engaging speakers on various topics ranging from technology challenges to pro-democracy protests. The Speakers for Scholarship Series, a fund-raising event to help students finance their education through our CCWC scholarships, was held monthly on Sundays from 4:30 PM to 6 PM at the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum. Light refreshments were served at the Museum events. Tickets were $100 for the Four-Speaker Series or $30 for each individual talk and were limited to the first 50 participants. Please use the Contact Us tab to request more information or an order form.

2024 Speaker Topics

February 4, 2024 Technology’s Severest Challenges: Things that Keep Me Up at NightPresented by Dr. Stephen Ruth

March 3, 2024What’s All the Buzz About Opera?Presented by Joshua Borths

April 18, 2024*Unveiling Underwater Secrets of the PotomacPresented by Dr. Cynthia Smith

May 5, 2024Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests: What Happened and Why They MatterPresented by John Cranston

More About Our Speakers and Topics

February 4 – Technology’s Severest Challenges: Things that Keep Me Up at Night
Dr. Stephen Ruth is Professor of Public Policy and Director of Applied Studies in Information
Technology at George Mason University.

Learn about the scary, potentially game-changing topics in information technology.
Many are already major news stories while others are just about to break the surface.
Topics will include artificial intelligence, ransomware, phishing, cyber bullying, disruption
by virtual currencies, bots and scrapers, e-waste, cyber terrorism, and fake news.
It’s not all dire because there are solutions for each of these challenges, and individuals,
businesses, and governments might be able to cope with them after all.

March 3 – What’s All the Buzz About Opera
Joshua Borths is Resident Scholar at Virginia Opera

What fascinates people so much about opera? Is it the magical singing and the drama
or the extravagant costumes and the stage set? Is it the live orchestra and the beauty of
Puccini and Verdi or is it the sound of a foreign language and the fun superscripts in English?
Take a behind-the-scenes tour and learn why so many people are in love with opera.

April 18 – Unveiling Underwater Secrets of the Potomac
Dr. Cynthia Smith is Associate Professor and Director of K-12 Education and Outreach, PEREC

The Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center is a LEED Silver-certified
research facility on the waters of Belmont Bay. Dr. Smith delivers field programs and exhibits
and manages formal and informal science programs and experiential learning adventures
towards K-12 students, the general public, university learners, and public officials. Dr. Smith
and her staff have presented outdoor watershed education programs to over 100,000 middle
school students. This is an afternoon to enjoy nature, heighten your awareness of the
environment, and perhaps see an osprey or eagle.

*This presentation will take place at 4 PM on Thursday, April 18 at George Mason’s Potomac
Science Center, 650 Mason Ferry Ave., Woodbridge, VA 22191

May 5 – Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests: What Happened and Why They Matter
John Cranston, Captain, USN (Ret.)

Retired Navy Captain John Cranston served as the chief representative for the U.S. Department
of Defense to the government of Hong Kong from 2018 – 2021. He was an eyewitness to
the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests from their inception, evolution, and suppression by
the Chinese Communist Party.