Oklahoma’s gateway to humanities education, community conversation, and cultural experiences.

Curiosity Fest - Program Presenters

Featured Speaker - Jad Abumrad
Founder, NPR's Radiolab

"Gut Churn"
Jad Abumrad's multimedia, ticketed presentation addresses how curiosity, often manifesting as a gut-wrenching question, leads to creative solutions. 

A ticketed reception allows sponsors and premium ticket holders the opportunity to meet Jad.

Curiosity Fest Presenters

Carla Goble - Social Studies for Infants and Toddlers: Activities to Develop a Sense of Self

Carla B. Goble has a Ph.D. in child development from Oklahoma State University.  She began her career as an early childhood teacher and is a founding member of the Oklahoma Early Childhood Education Organization.  Dr. Goble received  the ZERO-TO-THREE Leader for the 21st Century Fellowship and was awarded the Exemplary Activities in Teacher Preparation Award from the National Science Foundation  Division of  Undergraduate Education.  She has published professional journal articles on early childhood education, teacher preparation, and infant-toddler development and programming. Her current book focuses on the importance of social studies learning during the early years to help children develop the ability to successfully relate to, understand, and interact with others.

John Granger - Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, and the Meaning of Life

Tagged "The Dean of Harry Potter Scholars" by TIME magazine's Lev Grossman, John Granger has been the leading expert on the subject of the artistry and meaning of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels since the publication of his first book on the subject in 2002. The author or editor of eight books, 'The Hogwarts Professor' has been a Keynote and Featured Speaker at more than twenty academic and fan conferences and spoken at twenty five major universities and colleges. John has a Bachelor's degree in Classics from the University of Chicago, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and is working on his PhD thesis at Swansea University (Wales). He blogs at HogwartsProfessor.com and is the featured guest on the ‘Reading Writing Rowling’ podcasts at MuggleNet. John was also a finalist in the 2006 Witch Weekly 'Most Winning Smile,' house-elf division. He lives with his wife Mary and their remnant two sons of seven Harry-and-Aslan-loving children in Oklahoma City.

Joshua Grasso - Thinking Inside the Box: Comic Books from the Bayeax Tapestry and Beyond!

Joshua Grasso is a Professor of English at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. He received his PhD from Miami University in 2006, and his Master’s from The University of Tulsa in 2002. He has recently published articles on Henry Fielding in MLA’s Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Henry Fielding (2015), the graphic novelist Posy Simmons in Gale/Cengage’s British Writers Supplement, Vol. 25 (2018), and on M.R. James in Oklahoma Humanities (Spring 2017). A a life-long collector of comics, Joshua teaches a regular Comics as Literature course at ECU, where you can learn why The Bayeux Tapestry is the first comic book, and William Hogarth is an Eighteenth-Century precursor to Jack Kirby.

Russell Lawson - The Land Between the Rivers - Thomas Nuttall's Ascent of the Arkansas, 1819

Russell Lawson was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His first intellectual interest was in ancient Greek mythology, which led to a lifelong fascination with the history of the ancient Mediterranean. He matriculated at Oklahoma State University from 1975 to 1979, majoring in history. From 1980 to 1982, he studied at OSU for a Master's degree in Ancient Mediterranean history. He earned a Ph.D. in American history from the University of New Hampshire in 1987. He lived in New Hampshire from 1982 to 1991, during which time he researched and wrote on New England history. He has taught at schools in New England, Oklahoma, and Ontario. Dr. Lawson teaches and writes on scientists and explorers; the history of America, Europe, and the world; and the history of ideas. He has written eighteen books: nonfiction, fiction, reference. He is married, has three sons, and four rescue pups.

Jennifer Page - Do you even Meme? Decoding the visual language of internet pop culture.

Jennifer Page is an Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, where she teaches composition, early British literature, world literature, and popular literature. Her current research is invested in online teaching and how technology and accessibility impact learning. Jennifer is also the project director of Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma in Alva. When she isn’t teaching, she enjoys working out, crafting, and being an active member of several geeky fandoms. Jennifer lives in Alva with her husband, Chris.

Jeff Provine - Okie Comics Magazine

Jeff Provine is a born and raised Oklahoman, growing up on the family's Land Run farm north of Enid. He's always been a fan of comics, running out to the mailbox as soon as the newspaper was delivered to be the first to the funny pages. While in college at the University of Oklahoma in pursuit of his Master of Professional Writing, Provine created The Academy, a daily webcomic that did a 10-year run with 3662 strips. The experience put him in touch with Oklahoma's vibrant comics community, leading to collaborative projects from Literati Press and 31 Ghost Stories, a collection of illustrated urban legends funded by a successful Kickstarter in 2016. In 2018, Provine left his position as a curriculum developer for the state of Oklahoma to found Okie Comics Magazine as an avenue to show off the artistic talents of Oklahomans with a local publication. Provine continues to teach Composition and Mythology, and he lives in Norman with his librarian wife and gaggle of zany pets.

Andrew Rice - The Gnostic Gospels: The Different Jesuses Left Behind

Andrew Rice is the Executive Director of Teen Recovery Solutions (TRS) in Oklahoma City, which operates Oklahoma's only sober, recovery high school and alternative peer group program supporting teens in addiction recovery, and their families.
Rice served as Oklahoma State Senator and Senate Minority Leader from 2006 to 2012 and was recognized numerous times for his service in the areas of health policy and social justice. Before coming to TRS, Andrew served as the Executive Director of the Variety Care Foundation, which provides charitable support and public awareness for Oklahoma’s largest community health center. Rice also founded the independent on-line news site NonDoc.com in 2015.
Rice graduated from Colby College in 1996 and received a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard University Divinity School in 1999. Rice was a journalist in New York City from 1999 to 2002, and worked for BBC America and on a PBS documentary series. Rice was born and raised in Oklahoma City.
He is married to Dr. Apple Newman Rice, and they have two sons.

Doug Watson - Will Rogers

Doug Watson is Emeritus Professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University, where he taught poetry, American literature, Western and world civilization, children's literature, classical literature, and composition from 1980 until May 2007. During the 1988-89 school year, he was a Fulbright lecturer in Nigeria, West Africa.  In 2010, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
Doug has been involved in historical characterization since 1991, traveling with the Great Plains Chautauqua as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Stephen Crane from 1991-97. He has performed his Will Rogers program nearly a thousand times around the United States since 1997-in schools, theaters, libraries, retirement centers, and numerous Chautauqua venues.
Doug has also done a number of other humanities programs, including many "Let's Talk A bout It" book discussions and several family book discussions series.
From 2006 through 2014, Doug worked for the Will Rogers Memorial Museums, presenting information and in-character programs in more than three hundred schools in and beyond Oklahoma.
Born and reared in the Texas panhandle, Doug attended Baylor, West Texas State (now A&M), Middlebury College, and Texas Tech.  His wife, Kay, is a retired public school English teacher. They have a daughter and three grandchildren.
Doug enjoys reading, gardening, and grand-fathering, but he'd almost always prefer to be on the golf course.

Andrew Wood - The Canadian Connection: Bob Dylan and the Band

Andrew Grant Wood is a historian, writer, teacher, musician and DJ.  He is author, most recently, of Agustín Lara: A Cultural Biography.  Oxford U Press, 2014.  Wood’s research interests include work on popular music, festivals, cities, borderlands, migration, tourism, photography, social movements, cultural anthropology and anarchism.  He teaches at the University of Tulsa.