Virtual speaker series in May to focus on impact of COVID-19


By Tessa M. Woodring

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Law, Policy and Engineering (LPE) initiative is hosting a virtual speaker series — titled “Technology, Policy and Law during COVID-19” — that will consist of six sessions throughout the month of May. The first session, focused on rapid innovation and agile manufacturing, will take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, and will feature the Manufacturing and Sterilization for COVID-19 (MASC) initiative.

“The LPE virtual series will highlight both the key role Penn State’s interdisciplinary research and faculty expertise play in confronting COVID-19 and broader issues related to policy, law and technology that the pandemic is forcing society to confront,” said Sandra Allain, director of LPE. “COVID-19 is a global example of how societal challenges demand comprehensive, interdisciplinary approaches to developing effective and impactful solutions.”

The LPE initiative is an interdisciplinary collaboration among Penn State Law at University Park, the School of International Affairs and the College of Engineering. The goals of the initiative include development of courses, degree and certificate programs integrating elements of all three disciplines into the curriculum, as well as efforts to strengthen interdisciplinary research and collaboration at the intersection of law, policy and engineering.

According to Allain, the virtual series will help inform the Penn State community, other institutions and the public about the University’s continued work, interdisciplinary research and its applications. She hopes the series will serve as a gathering place for students, faculty, alumni and the public during this period of remote learning and telecommuting.

Each session will be held via Zoom and will consist of a 15-minute virtual presentation on the session’s topic, followed by 15 minutes of questions from the audience.

“Through short 15-minute virtual presentations by leading experts in a variety of fields at Penn State, participants can join remotely from their homes and learn about issues, challenges and opportunities that have arisen from the pandemic,” Allain said.

The speaker series will include the following sessions:

Rapid Innovation and Agile Manufacturing in the Age of COVID-19
Tuesday, May 5, 1-1:30 p.m.

Speakers: Tim Simpson, Paul Morrow Professor of Engineering Design and Manufacturing, College of Engineering and director of CIMP-3D; Kevin Harter, associate dean for medical innovation in the Penn State College of Medicine; Michael Brignati, associate general counsel at Penn State

Reflections on Sustainable Energy Transition in the Age of COVID-19
Thursday, May 7, 12:30-1 p.m.

Speaker: Wei Peng, assistant professor in the School of International Affairs and civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, faculty affiliate Law, Policy and Engineering

Immigration in the Time of COVID-19
Monday, May 11, noon-12:30 p.m.

Speaker: Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and clinical professor of law at Penn State Law, founder and director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

SARS-CoV-2 and the Teletravel Imperative
Thursday, May 14, noon-12:30 p.m.

Speaker: Martin Pietrucha, professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, faculty research associate in the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, faculty affiliate of the Rock Ethics Institute

The Pandemic and Sports: Old Solutions, New Challenges
Tuesday, May 19, noon-12:30 p.m.

Speaker: Steve Ross, Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar, professor of law, director of Penn State Institute for Sports Law, Policy and Research at Penn State Law

The Internet of Suspect Bodies: Technology, Privacy, and the Future of Surveillance
Thursday, May 21, noon-12:30 p.m.

Speaker: Andrea Matwyshyn, associate dean for innovation and technology, professor of law and engineering policy at Penn State Law, professor in the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs in the College of Engineering, faculty affiliate Law, Policy and Engineering, founding director of Penn State PILOT Lab

More details on the virtual speaker series and information on how to join via Zoom can be found here.


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Megan Lakatos