Bridging the Divide with Curiosity, Compassion, and Civility: Wednesday, April 17, 6:30pm


About the Event: To create a more hopeful future, we need to listen to each other. This program explores how our conversations can be more productive if we approach them with intellectual and cultural humility, and the understanding that science is real and facts matter. We will also share valuable resources to enhance our civic literacy and our capacity to replace judgment about differences with curiosity. After remarks from our speakers and some Q & A, we’ll adjourn to a reception where, in the spirit of the documentary 2040, we’ll engage in some “fact-based dreaming,” as we highlight some of the assets of our community and share some new initiatives. And we’ll discuss how we can amplify the voices of our youth, and make sure they feel heard.

Participants are welcome to attend either in person at Frostburg State University or virtually via LiveStream. You can learn more about the speakers, venue, and access the registration form by scrolling below. The evening will include a guided conversation with guest speakers, Q & A with participants, and conversations about how we can continue to "bridge the divide" through curiosity, compassion, and civility in our personal, civic, and professional lives.


About the Speakers:

Bill Sullivan ('92 Frostburg State University) Bill Sullivan is the author of Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces That Make Us Who We Are (National Geographic Books). He is an award-winning professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He received his Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania and has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals. A contributor to National Geographic, Discover, Scientific American, Psychology Today and more, he has also appeared on CNN, Fox & Friends, CBS News, The Doctors, Science Fantastic with Dr. Michio Kaku, Doctor Radio, and many more. Visit him at and follow on X/Twitter @ wjsullivan.

Ashley Wisner Vascik ('08, M'09 Frostburg State University) Former president of FSU's Alumni Board of Directors, Ashley was selected as one of only three teachers nationally to receive the 2020 American Civic Teachers Award. A self-described "civic education warrior,” Ashley has coached her students to great success in national competitions focused on civics and the Constitution. Her We the People constitutional competition teams have won nine consecutive Maryland state championships. This program works to foster civil discourse and constitutional knowledge in high school students. She has taught at Boonsboro High School for fifteen years and currently teaches AP US Government and AP Comparative Government. Additionally, she is the 2022 recipient of the James Madison Foundation Memorial Fellowship, awarded annually to one teacher in each state to fund their graduate degree in history and political science.

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