• Student at the Athenaeum

    Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

Welcome to The Athenaeum

Welcome to Athenaeum and the fall 2019 speaker program.

Unique in American higher education, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community in the Eggert Dining Room. In addition, the Ath also hosts lunch speakers, roundtables, and smaller presentations in its two auxiliary dining rooms.

For decades, the Ath has hosted a spectrum of luminaries with expertise and insight on a wide range of topics, both historical and contemporary. In the Ath’s intimate yet stimulating setting, students, faculty, staff, and other community members gather to hear the speaker, pose questions, and also to build community and exchange ideas over a shared meal.

At the core of the Ath is a longstanding commitment to student growth and learning. Central to the Ath are its two student Fellows, selected annually to host, introduce, and moderate discussion with the featured speaker. Priority is given to students in attendance during the question-and-answer session following every presentation. Moreover, speakers often take extra time to visit a class, meet with student interest groups, or give an interview to the student press and podcast team.

You may register online for open events.

We look forward to seeing you at the Ath.

Priya Junnar

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - Lunch Program
A Story of Two People Who Gave Up on Democracy
Julie Lindahl
In April 2010, Brazilian-born Swedish-American Julie Lindahl visited the German Federal Archives only to discover that her grandfather was in the SS and stationed in occupied Poland for the duration of WWII, leaving West Germany for Brazil in 1960 as a new wave of war crimes trials commenced. Lindahl relates her transformational journey through Germany, Poland, Brazil, and Paraguay in which she grapples with the questions of how and why her grandparents made their choices, and the consequences across generations.

Julie Lindahl is an American-Swedish author and educator living in Sweden. She writes and speaks widely about her experiences, is a contributor to WBUR Cognoscenti and has been featured on National Public Radio several times. Julie holds a BA from Wellesley College, an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Frankfurt, Germany.

Raised in ten countries on three continents, she is the founder of Stories for Society, a non-profit organization for renewing the art of storytelling for social transformation, which in 2018 launched “Voices Between: Stories Against Extremism,” an award-winning initiative aimed at creating a force for peace by building a global network of established authors demonstrating and discussing the impact of intolerance, extremism and war through their stories. In 2019 NPR’s Snap Judgment released “Quiet is Best,” a program about her relationship with her grandmother. In 2018 The American Embassy in Sweden provided a grant for the launch of her online learning program for schools and universities in tandem with the publication of “The Pendulum,” which has been critically acclaimed in the U.S. and a best-seller in Sweden.

Ms. Lindahl’s Athenaeum presentation is sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.

Photo credit: Kajsa Göransson

The window for making meal reservations has passed. Contact the Athenaeum to inquire whether spaces are available.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - Evening Program
Celebrating Writing and Writers at CMC: An Evening with the 2019 Appel Fellows
2019 Appel Fellows
The 2019-20 Appel Fellows, recipients of summer funding to engage in independent writing projects, read some of their work—journal entries, zines, short stories, documentaries, podcasts, and travel narratives to —and reflect on their experiences.

Funded by Joel Appel ‘87, the Appel Fellowship provides first-year students with funding to engage in independent writing projects including:

Axel Ahdritz (’22): A song album and journal inspired by the refugee population in Jordan and Germany.

T.J. Askew (’22): A series of essays inspired by travels along the Pacific Crest Trail to Fairbanks Alaska and based upon the experiences of Chris McCandless.

Raj Bhutoria (’22): Articles that examine the intersection of family history and national identity in India.

Alex Futterman (’22): Essays based on interviews held with extreme athletes in Chile, Peru, and New Zealand.

Maria Gutierrez-Vera (’22): Vignettes - inspired by the work of Sandra Cisneros - that capture the experiences of the author’s grandmother.

Madelyn Kwun (’22): A children's book that introduces young readers to Asian-American history and culture, based on travels through South Korea. Madison Menard (’22): A photojournalism series that represents the culture of "historic soccer" in rival Italian provinces.

Marisa Mestichella (’22): A documentary and "how-to" guide to street performance, based on travels to New York, New Orleans, and Nashville.

Serena Myjer (’22): Essays inspired by the work of John Muir created while the author walks the John Muir Trail.

Robin Peterson (’22): A short story collection that represents the experiences of refugees in Jordan.

Daenerys Pineda (’22): A series of short stories depicting heritage sites in Northern California.

Courtney Reed (’22): A documentary that represents the history of the hair industry in Atlanta, China, and India.

Toluwani Roberts (’22): A zine featuring essayettes, poetry, and interviews related to the expression of spirituality and the natural world in Equador.

Dorcas Saka (’22): Short stories that represent the experiences of Muslim communities in Chicago, New Jersey, Arkansas, and Arizona.

Sobechukwu Uwajeh (’22): A podcast series that examines the impact gentrification has had upon people of color in Chicago and New York.

Kyril Van Schendel (’22): A documentary film based on the author's experiences distance running in the South West U.S.

Laura Vences (’22): A zine that explores the connections between immigration, labor, and the Latinx community in several U.S. cities.

Kimberly Zamora-Delgado (’22): A collection of stories based on interviews with park rangers and visitors at National Parks on the west coast of the U.S.

Alison Marouk-Coe & Shania Sharna (’22): An experiment in immersive empathy based on travels to locations - such as Mumbai and Beijing - that are significant to the authors.

Note: Some Fellows are not pictured.

The window for making meal reservations has passed. Contact the Athenaeum to inquire whether spaces are available.
Thursday, October 24, 2019 - Lunch Program
Latino Healthcare, Poverty and Other Equity Issues
Michael A. Rodríguez
A national expert on health equity and social determinants of health, Michael A. Rodríguez, M.D., professor and vice chair in the departments of family medicine and community health sciences at UCLA Medical School, will address how healthcare, poverty, and other equity-related issues are impacted by social and economic forces and, in particular, how these affect Latino communities in the state and nation.

Michael A. Rodríguez is professor and vice chair in the UCLA Departments of Family Medicine and Community Health Sciences; he is also the founding director of the Health Equity Network of the Americas and founding chair of the UCLA Minor in Global Health.

His research activities focus on health equity and social determinants of health. He is a leading researcher and policy expert in the areas of intimate partner violence, social cohesion, quality of health care and health for immigrants and other groups across the age spectrum. He has published widely and consulted for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Institute of Medicine. He is also a board member for the Blue Shield of California Foundation and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.

Rodríguez is currently investigator of a NIH-funded project examining how state-level policies for immigrants impact their health and access to health care. He is also co-principal investigator for the UCLA University of California Firearm Violence Prevention Center.

Rodríguez completed his undergraduate training at the University of California, Berkeley, attended medical school at UCLA, and completed his residency at the University of California, San Francisco. He obtained his master’s in public health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the Stanford-UCSF Program.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Thursday, October 24, 2019 - Evening Program
The Global Struggle for Environmental Justice
Vivek Maru
Vivek Maru, founder of Namati which strives to lead innovations in legal empowerment, will describe the efforts of people directly affected by environmental destruction—small hold farmers in Sierra Leone, fisher people on the coast of India, families in an industrial zone of Baltimore—to exercise their rights. Offering lessons about law, power, and institutions that emerge from this work, he will weave a story about how these struggles are connected to each other, and to all of us.

Vivek Maru founded Namati in 2011 to grow the movement for legal empowerment around the world. Namati and its partners have supported cadres of grassroots legal advocates – sometimes known as “barefoot lawyers”– in ten countries. These advocates work with vulnerable people to protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship.

Namati convenes the Global Legal Empowerment Network, more than 2,000 groups from 160 countries who are learning from one another and collaborating on common challenges. This community successfully advocated for the inclusion of access to justice in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Maru is co-author of Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice (Cambridge University Press). His TED talk, How to Put the Power of Law in People’s Hands, has been viewed over a million times.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Monday, October 28, 2019 - Evening Program
Faith in the Now: Some Notes on Poetry and Immortality
Jericho Brown
Readers and writers are—and should be—skeptical of any framework that purports a clear divide between good and evil. We are compelled, exhorted, and trained to discover and to create worlds that are as complex as the lives we live. In his talk, poet Jericho Brown—professor and director of the creative writing program at Emory University and recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts—will explore poetry as a vehicle for representing that complexity.

Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is also the author of the collection The Tradition (2019). His poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies.

Brown grew up in Louisiana and worked as a speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans before earning his Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. He also holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Orleans and graduated magna cum laude from Dillard University. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.

Professor Brown’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored the Center for Writing and Public Discourse at CMC.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - Evening Program
MASS MEDIA. Then and Now. Old and New. A Generational Perspective.
Kendyl Klein '14 and Jeff Klein '75
The world of marketing, media, and communications has been entirely disrupted. Gone is the era when newspapers, broadcast television, and magazines set the agenda and were society’s info gatekeepers. Today, social media, smart phone news alerts, and 24/7 newscasts bombard us with conflicting information—and misinformation. The world of “Mad Men” has been replaced by “influencers.” Father-daughter CMC duo, Jeff Klein ’75, a long time media executive and Kendyl Klein ’14, a new media strategist, represent the generational shift in the mass media landscape and will discuss the fast-paced digital landscape, how mass media has changed and the implications for brand management, advertising, and society in general. 

Jeff Klein ’75 studied political science and psychology at CMC and has served on the CMC Board of Trustees since 2010. A long-time media executive, lawyer, writer, and communications professor, Klein was a senior executive at the LA times for 15 years and is the founder of a B2B multimedia company. He is also a columnist and a lecturer.

Kendyl Klein ’14, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of CMC, majored in media studies and is an expert in digital content strategy, audience development, social media, and client services. Since graduation, she has worked as a strategist at AT&T’s Fullscreen, a social-first, digital content company that provides creative, strategy, marketing, and even production services for digital creators and brand clients, including national brands such as Mattel, NBCUniversal and GE. She is now the manager of market intelligence and analytics at Barstool Sports in New York City.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - Evening Program
Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration
Michael Shear '90
In Border Wars, Michael D. Shear '90 and his co-author, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, both reporters for the New York Times who have covered the Trump Administration from its earliest days, document how President Trump and his allies blocked asylum-seekers and refugees, separated families, threatened deportation, and sought to erode the longstanding consensus in favor of immigration. Border Wars describes how Trump planned, stumbled, and fought his way toward changes that have polarized the nation and how his decision-making is marked by gut instinct, disorganization, paranoia, and a constantly feuding staff.   

Michael D. Shear ’90 is a White House correspondent at The New York Times. A veteran political correspondent in Washington, he spent eighteen years writing about local, state, and national politics at The Washington Post, where he was also part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007.

Shear is a 1990 graduate of Claremont McKenna College where he majored in government and journalism and has a master’s in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


Thursday, October 31, 2019 - Lunch Program
Staying on top of the Data: The impact of Food on Sexual Health
Priyanka Wali
As America's only Indian female stand-up comedian and board-certified physician, Priyanka Wali, M.D., imparts knowledge in a humorous and discreet way. Committed to a “Food is Medicine” approach to health and wellness, she will offer information about how what you eat impacts your health, including your sexual health.

Named by Refinery29 as a "50 Female Stand-Up Comedians You Need to Know”, Dr. Priyanka Wali is a stand-up comic who performs routinely throughout the United States and abroad, including at corporate gigs, casinos, and comedy clubs.  She has been featured on KFOG Radio, Women's Health Magazine, The Today Show, Business Insider, Uproxx, Cosmopolitan, India Currents Magazine, and Healthline. 

A believer that laughter is truly the best medicine, she still likes to cover her bases as a board-certified practicing physician in internal medicine and obesity medicine. Wali graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California and continued there for medical school. She completed her residency in internal medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Her philosophical approach to medicine stems from holistic concepts primarily that "Food is Medicine" and that many medical illnesses arise from disconnection of natural-occurring phenomenon. She encourages dietary therapies that can help manage, if not reverse, common conditions. Wali is particularly interested in health optimization for individuals of all ages and demographics and has a passion for solving medical conundrums.

Dr. Wali’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the CMC Advocates’ as part of Safe Sex Week programming.



Monday, November 04, 2019 - Evening Program
What's Good: Reckoning with the Horror of One of Our Most Overused Words
Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon, award winning author of Heavy, Kiese Laymon, will explore the unspoken traumas and joys embedded in the word "good" in his home, region, and nation.

Kiese Laymon is a southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Laymon is currently the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa in Fall 2017.  

Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Heavy: An American Memoir. Heavy, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose and Audible’s Audiobook of the Year, was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by The Undefeated, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Library Journal, The Washington Post, Southern Living, Entertainment Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times Critics.

Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, ESPN the Magazine, Granta, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, Vanity Fair, The Best American Series, Ebony, Travel and Leisure, Paris Review, Guernica and more. 

Professor Laymon’s Athenaeum presentation is sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
Wednesday, November 06, 2019 - Evening Program
Vulnerable Leadership: Management Lessons from Facebook and Amazon
Dan Rose P'20
With 20 years of combined senior management experience both at Facebook and Amazon, Dan Rose P’20 developed—and will share—a philosophy of vulnerable leadership that guided his management style and helped him grow from an individual contributor to leading a large and transformational global organization.

Dan Rose P'20 is chairman of Coatue, a venture capital firm based in San Francisco. Prior to Coatue, Rose spent 20 years in leadership roles at both Amazon and Facebook. He was at Amazon from 1999-2006, where he managed retail divisions and helped incubate the Kindle. As vice president of partnerships at Facebook from 2006-2019, he helped grow the company from 130 employees to more than 30,000 and was responsible for early monetization strategy, business development, M&A, and community operations. In 2013, Rose joined the board of REDF, a non-profit that helps people with barriers to employment find jobs.

An avid surfer and golfer, Rose graduated from Harvard College.

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
Thursday, November 07, 2019 - Lunch Program
Bridging the Gap Between Science and Service: Clinical Research with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Marjorie Charlop
Within the next ten years, we are each likely to have a personal experience with a child with autism, underscoring the importance of aggressive clinical research focused on cutting edge interventions effective both in labs and other settings. Marjorie Charlop, professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College and director of The Claremont Autism Center, will share her extensive experiences and impactful observations working and interacting with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), who are often themselves the source for ideas for evidence-based research procedures and protocols.

Marjorie H. Charlop, Ph.D., BCBA, has enjoyed a long career helping children with autism and their families. She is a professor of psychology at CMC and director of The Claremont Autism Center, her renowned research and treatment center for children with ASD and their families. As a licensed psychologist, she also maintains a private practice and consultation services.

Charlop has hundreds of professional conference presentations and publications in the field of autism and has done keynote addresses, workshops, and lectures around the globe. A dedicator contributor to the field, her most recent book is “Play and Social Skills for Children with ASD”. She is also the author of “Naturalistic and Incidental Teaching,” now in second addition.

Her research areas focus on communication, motivation, social skills, behavior problems and parent collaboration and education She has crafted several well used treatment protocols such as video modeling and used everyday technology to enhance learning. 

Professor Charlop is the recipient of the 2018-19 CMC Faculty Scholarship Award.

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
Thursday, November 07, 2019 - Evening Program
Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction
Judy Grisel
Judith Grisel, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Bucknell University, began using recreational drugs when she was 13 and ended up in a treatment center at 23. She went on to a research career studying the neuroscience of substance use disorders, and eventually to write a recent New York Times bestseller Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction. Her talk will illustrate the neural changes that underlie the development substance use disorders and make recovery so challenging.

Judith Grisel, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized behavioral neuroscientist and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Bucknell University with expertise in pharmacology and genetics. Her research focuses on determining root causes of drug addiction. She is recognized as a distinguished mentor by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for her collaboration in this research with undergraduate students, has been the recipient of numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, and is the author of a New York Times Bestseller and NB Book of the Month.

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.

Follow the Athenaeum


Unless otherwise noted, lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.; speaker presentations begin at 12:15 p.m.
Evening receptions begin at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is served at 6 p.m.; speaker presentations begin at 6:45 p.m.

The Athenaeum facilitates dynamic interactions and dialogue that underscore
the essence of a liberal arts education.