John OBrien is currently on leave from his position as president of North Hennepin Community College to serve as the MnSCU system’s interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. He has a Ph.D. in English and a master’s degree in Irish literature from Trinity College, Dublin. While his academic publications have focused on the living or dead, not undead, he has a long-standing interest in how cultures decide what is scary and why. This summer he taught an honors seminar course at North Hennepin Community College called Exploring the Zombie Apocalypse, and his presentation will introduce the field of zombie studies.
Marla Spivak is a MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. Her interest in bees and beekeeping was kindled while working for a commercial beekeeper when she was 18. Her research efforts focus on protecting the health of all bees, breeding bees for their natural defenses against diseases and parasites, promoting sustainable beekeeping practices, and propagating floral rich and pesticide-free landscapes to support the nutrition, health and diversity of bee pollinators.