Speakers Bureau

The SIU Speakers Bureau connects campus experts with community and school groups. Audiences may include service clubs, schools, senior centers, and other community groups across the state by request. Speakers can offer insights on a broad range of topics both local and global, cultural and political, scientific and literary.

Community members can request a SIU speaker to come to their scheduled event by submitting the request preferably at least four weeks in advance of the scheduled event date. Please note that events may be canceled due to weather or health concerns under the discretion of the speaker.

Edward Benyas

Email: benyas@siu.edu
Phone: (312) 560-2094


  • Southern Illinois Symphony and Music Festival season previews
  • Music Literature from the Baroque to the Modern eras
  • Mozart's DaPonte Operas

Audience: Adults, Senior Adults

Harvey Henson

Email: henson@siu.edu
Phone: (618) 453-4214


  • Earthquake and Geohazard Education and Outreach
  • STEM Education
  • Science Assessment
  • Applied Geophysics
  • Ground-penetrating Radar
  • Trail of Tears

Audience: Elementary-age students, Middle-and high school-age students, Adults, Senior adults, Educators

John Jackson

Email: jsjacson@siu.edu
Phone: (618) 453-3106


  • Illinois Politics, Government and Public Policy
  • Public opinion and political parties, especially presidential selection, primaries, and national conventions.
  • State and local government, generically, as well as Illinois and Southern Illinois.

Audience: Middle-and high school-age students, Adults, Senior adults

Jeffrey Punske

Email: punske@siu.edu
Phone: (618) 536-3385


  • How to start a Con Lang
  • Tolkien's Invented Languages
  • Can we communicate with aliens? How?

Audience: Middle-and high school-age students, Adults

Jacob Ribbing

Email: jacob.ribbing@siu.edu
Phone: (618) 697-3868


  • Physician Assistant Profession (clinical practice, leadership, advocacy, etc.)
  • Physician Assistant Education, Entry Level and Doctorate Level
  • Rural Health Care
  • Access to care for rural / under-served communities
  • Medical Practice in FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers)
  • Opioid Crisis, Opioid Dependence Treatment, and related (clinician focused or community focused)

Audience: Middle-and high school-age students, Adults, Senior adults, Clinicians 

Laurie Ryznyk

Email: lryznyk@siu.edu
Phone: (618) 559-2713


  • Human Trafficking
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Medical Cannabis

Audience: Adults, Senior adults

Kristen Schloemann

Email: lschloemann54@siumed.edu
Phone: (618) 889-1791


  • Cardiology
  • Heart failure
  • Myocardial infarction/Heart attacks
  • Dyslipidemia/cholesterol
  • Hypertension/blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular risk reduction
  • Physician Assistant studies

Audience: Middle-and high school-age students, Adults, Senior adults

John Shaw

Email: john.shaw@siu.edu
Phone: (618) 453-4009


  • Illinois Politics
  • National Politics
  • Statesmanship
  • Leadership

Audience: Middle-and high school-age students, Adults, Senior adults

Mark Wagner

Email: mjwagner@siu.edu
Phone: (618) 453-5055


  • Native American rock art
  • Cherokee Trail of Tears
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • French Colonial Archaeology
  • African-American Archaeology and the Underground Railroad
  • Early Shipwrecks in Southern Illinois
  • Civil War in Southern Illinois

Audience: Adults, Senior adults