Johns Hopkins Invites Journalist, One-Armed Adventurer, and Breaking Bad Actor to Campus

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It’s late August, which means it’s time for Johns Hopkins to announce the speakers for its annual MSE Symposium. The student-run speaker series always brings an interesting cross-section of famous folks, including everyone from Jerry Springer to Malcolm Gladwell to Will Ferrell to speak for free at the school. This year’s slate of speakers is eclectic, as usual.

This year’s theme is Learning From Experience: The Path Ahead for Generation Y. The speakers include:

Aron Ralston (September 17, 7 PM) – The guy who got trapped in a canyon and cut his own arm off to escape; he was played by James Franco in the 2010 movie 127 Hours, which was based on Ralston’s best-selling book.

RJ Mitte (September 25, 7 PM) – You’ll recognize Mitte from his role as Walter Jr./Flynn, Walter White’s adolescent son on Breaking Bad. Mitte isn’t just an actor; he’s also a spokesman for cerebral palsy research.

Thomas Donilon (October 15, 8 PM) – Donilon resigned as National Security Advisor for the Obama administration in June 2013.

Laura Ling (October 25, 7:30 PM) – Though she’s worked extensively as a journalist who’s won an Emmy and reported in places like the West Bank, Indonesia, and Cuba, Ling is probably best known for the five months she spent in detention in North Korea.

BJ Novak (November 5, 7:30 PM) – Novak is another person whose face is probably familiar — he was a regular on The Office and has appeared in films including Inglorious Basterds and The Amazing Spider-Man 2; he’s also a writer, whose first book of short stories won him comparisons to Woody Allen.

One quibble: Over the past eight years, each MSE Symposium has featured exactly one woman. That’s a pretty striking gender disparity. Just sayin’.

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