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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Lifelong Learning Women's Forum

Women's Life-Long Learning Lecture Series

Women's Life-Long Learning Breakfast Forum

A private-invitation event for women, the Lifelong Learning Women's Forum exists to assist women in staying current on events and establishing sound, logical, and innovative positions related to issues that shape our world. 

This Forum is held on the second Thursday of each month. One topic is addressed from a scholarly viewpoint, with the majority of sessions being presented by Pepperdine faculty. Each one-hour lecture is followed by a thirty-minute question and answer portion. 


Spring Forum 2021

 "Bitcoin and Blockchain 101: The Future of Social and Economic Inclusion"

April 8, 2021

Blockchain technology, the software behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, has multiple uses beyond currency. Its technology is impacting all industries, including government, real estate, media, education, energy, agriculture, and healthcare. Dr. Lene Martin, director of Blockchain at Pepperdine, and Cynthia Ware, director of The Pepperdine Fund, provide an introduction to Bitcoin and blockchain, including an overview of its history, how it's being used today, and why it's important to be informed.



"Deeds Not Words:  African American Women Leaders in California History"

March 11, 2021

From 19th century-colored women's clubs to 21st century elected officials, African American women in California have helped shape the civic landscape. To commemorate Women's History Month, Susan D. Anderson, history curator and program manager at the California African American Museum, will reveal little-known stories about groundbreaking black women who have contributed their leadership to the state's development.


"Cultural Equity and Inclusion: Obstacles and Opportunities"

February 11, 2021

During the past year, the movement towards equity and inclusion in the arts has accelerated, as it has in society as a whole. Some progress has been made, but many challenges remain. Laura Zucker, former executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission from 1992-2017, and now director of the Master in Arts Management program at Claremont Graduate University and senior advisor at AEA Consulting, discusses where we've been in the cultural field, where we're heading, and how the pandemic has amplified obstacles and created opportunities.


Fall Forum 2020

"Braving the Storm of Difficult Conversations"

November 12, 2020

Approaching a difficult conversation with someone who holds differing opinions can cause fear, anger, anxiety, and division. Emotions can run high or avoidance can stifle the relationship. Dr. Carrie Castañeda-Sound, a licensed psychologist and Associate Professor of psychology at Pepperdine explores the interactions within difficult conversations through a psychological and spiritual lens. Learn to build greater self-awareness, strength, empathy, and space in order to work with the conflict and emotions that can arise in our interactions with others. Using mindfulness and activities for self-reflection, Dr. Castañeda-Sound shares strategies for navigating these difficult dialogues in our daily lives.


"Election 2020:  On the Issues / By the Numbers"

Thursday, October 8, 2020

An election year most often compared to 1968, the 2020 national elections defies finding an easy historical precedent. A global pandemic, demonstrations for racial equality, and deeper questions of American identity, all comprise an election year like no other. Following on a similar presentation he gave prior to the 2016 elections, Pete Peterson, dean of Pepperdine School of Public Policy, returns to analyze recently available national survey data on the major issues that appear to be driving voter engagement this November. To be clear, this will be a nonpartisan look at the current state of our politics and upcoming elections. Still, the polarized results from these national polls reveal a national political culture we all need to understand better - whatever our political affiliation.


Spring Forum 2020

"Being Good Enough: It's ok not to wear all the hats right now"

Thursday, September 10, 2020

In March 2020, the nation shut down to flatten the curve of COVID-19. It's nearly six months later, and the world has slowly begun to reopen, but for many, our lives are still in disarray. A vast amount of people continue to work remotely, most children are not returning to school in person, and the fear of Novel Coronavirus remains. At the same time, we are being asked to return to business as usual, calling us into frequent role shifts throughout the day, 8 am mother and teacher to our kids, 9 am work conference call, 10 am masking up to grocery shop, 11 am support friends through difficult or unexpected experiences, and the day goes on trading one hat for another, multiple times per day. This lecture will present a biopsychosocial- spiritual understanding of the families and illness model and provide guidance on grounding women in these unprecedented times.


"Uncharted Territory: Families Navigating Remote Learning and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Crisis"

Thursday, May 14, 2020

As schools rapidly transition to online platforms in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and their families face unprecedented challenges. Caregivers must navigate how best to facilitate remote learning while also being mindful of children's social-emotional well-being.Dr. Miyake-Trapp explores the affordances of online learning, presents the limitations inherent to virtual environments, and equips caregivers with strategies to support children in these difficult circumstances. Issues of access and equity will also be addressed to provide critical context to the conversation.

"Negotiating for Self"

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Stephanie Blondell, Associate Director at the Pepperdine Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, explores current negotiation theory through the lens of gender and within the cultural context as well as provide techniques to practice the skills employed by the most effective negotiators.


Fall Forum 2019


"Challenges Human Beings Face in a Human Doing World!"

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The December session focuses on ways to regulate our minds and reclaim our lives from the Doing, by finding meaning in the Being.

Psychotherapist, Lisa Bahar integrates Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) concepts and shares how wise mind practices from different spiritual perspectives can enhance and inspire our connection to life.


"Razia's Ray of Hope - Called to Serve"

November 14, 2019

Afghanistan is notoriously one of the hardest places in the world to be a woman. In a culture with a deeply-rooted stigma against women's education, a bold woman is turning the tide one classroom of girls at a time. Born in Afghanistan, Ms. Razia Jan is the Founder of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation which established an all-girls school in Afghanistan.


"Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer's in Women"

October 10, 2019

David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, Director of the Pacific Brain Health Center; Sarah McEwen, PhD, NSCA-CPT, Director, Research and Programming for the Pacific Brain Health Center; and Verna Porter, MD, Director of Programs for Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and Neurocognitive Disorders at the Brain Health Center



Spring Forum 2019


"Changing the World - Female Social Entrepreneurs"

April 11, 2019

Susan Cotton, Co-Founder and Executive Chair of the Board of The Lily Project; Michelle Ellena, Founder and Executive Director of Compassion for Animals; and Hollie Stenson, Founder and CEO of the Worldwide Offices Of Making It Right


"Women Leaders - Let's Get Real"

March 14, 2019

Dr. Betty Uribe, Executive Vice President of California Bank & Trust and an international speaker, consultant, coach, and author


"Are You In A Healthy Relationship With Your Finances?"

February 14, 2019

Kate E. Phelan, Esq., Trust Officer with US Bank



Older Forums

 Fall Series 2018

"Create Your Aging Experience Regardless of Your Actual Age Today"

December 13, 2018

Tracy Greene Mintz, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, trainer and long-term care consultant based in Southern California.


"Artificial Intelligence: What Are the Real Perils and How Can Women Help Create Stronger "Moral Code"?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Charla Griffey-Brown is a Professor in Information Systems and Technology Management at the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business


"From Surviving to Thriving: The Science of Stress and Resilience"

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Dr. Natasha Thapar-Olmos, Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine GSEP

 Spring Series 2018

"Nutritional Genetics: Is Your Health in Your Genes?"

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Dr. Susan Helm, registered dietitian nutritionist, Seaver College Associate Professor of Nutritional Science, and coordinator of the nutritional science program


"A New Normal: Raising a Child on the Autism Spectrum"

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Adel Najdowski, Ph.D., BCBA-D is an Associate Professor and Director of the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis program at Pepperdine University


"Cancer Risk and Prevention"

Thursday, March 8, 2018

UCLA Health medical experts, Dr. Aashini Master and Erica Silver, MS discussed the genetics and the breast cancer family history connection, along with lifestyle and personal risk factors.

Life Long Learning Event - GSEP Spring 2018

 Fall Series 2017

"Women's Laughter is What Men are After"

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Yakov Smirnoff, World Famous Russian Comedian, Actor and Writer Star of the PBS Special "Happily Ever Laughter: The Neuroscience of Romantic Relationships"

Mr. Yakov Smirnoff


"Finding Truth in an Era of "Fake News", Post-Truth and Polarized Debates"

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dr. Natasha Thapar-Olmos, Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Dr. Natasha Thapar-Olmos

 Spring Series 2017

"Myths about sleep: Insights from Studies of Sleep in Human Hunter-Gatherers"

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dr. Jerry Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Director of the UCLA Center for Sleep Research


"Leadership Lessons from the Bench"

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dean Deanell Tacha, Dean of the School of Law, Professor of Law, Former Circuit Judge, Former Chief Judge


"Healthy Aging, Scientific Discoveries, and Social Enterprise"

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dr. Steve Kirnon, Director of GSEP Social Entrepreneurship and Change, Professor, CEO of PharmaPlan LLC

 Fall Series 2016

"A life designed for miracles: Leadership tools for creating spectacular results"

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dr. Farzin Madjidi, Interim Associate Dean, Professor of Leadership, Graduate School of Education and Psychology

"Mindset Matters: The Neuroscience of Leading Change"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dr. Terri Egan, Professor, Graziadio School of Business Management

"Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings"

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dr. Joan Rosenberg, Visiting Professor of Psychology, Graduate School of Education and Psychology, TEDTalk Speaker

 Spring Series 2016

"Living a Values-based Life"

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dr. Judy Ho, Asst. Professor of Psychology, Graduate School of Education and Psychology

"A Look at the 2016 Election"

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Professor Pete Peterson, Dean of SPP

"Gender Intelligence: A Look at the Male & Female Brain"

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Stephanie Blondell, Associate Director, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Assistant Professor of Law and Practice, Pepperdine School of Law

 Fall Series 2015

"K-12 Education Reform: Are We Getting It Right?"

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Ms. Joan Sullivan, CEO of the Partnership for LA Schools

"Living Positive Psychology: Focus, Flow, & Well-Being"

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Dr. Shelly Harrell Licensed Psychologist, Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University

"iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual & Social Lives"

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Dr. Craig Detweiler, Associate Professor of Communication at Pepperdine University

 Spring Series 2015

"ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)"

Thursday April 16, 2015

Dr. Robert Lloyd, Pepperdine University

"Stem Cell Research"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dr. Donna Nofziger-Plank, Pepperdine University

"Positive Psychology and Living an Abundant Life"

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dr. Thema Bryant, Pepperdine University

 Fall Series 2014

"Healthy Aging"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dr. Priscilla MacRae and Blue Zones by Lauren Nakano

"Affordable Care Act"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Minda Wilson

"Ebola and other diseases"

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dr. Sadina Reynaldo