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Students in lecture

This selective program offers high-performing students opportunities to talk with college thought leaders, connect with other inquisitive students, and engage important ideas through an interactive and multidisciplinary series of public lectures and private seminars exploring emerging topics of broad societal interest.

CAS Inquire students will play a leadership role in planning, organizing, and facilitating the program in future years and will enjoy additional benefits.

Contact the program's director, Dr. Taylor Livingston, for more information.

Why apply?

  • Be a part of a distinctive group
  • Think about important, contemporary issues from a variety of perspectives
  • Enjoy special benefits

The CAS Inquire program builds around a college-wide series of public lectures centering on a new theme each year.

The lecture series will serve as a touchstone for the college—giving students, staff, and faculty a focal point and shared topic for conversations and further inquiry.

The College of Arts and Sciences' Inquire Program, specifically, the lecture series, "Pain and Pleasure," will be on hold until the 2021-2022 academic year due to the constraints of COVID-19.

The 2021-22 theme

Pleasure and Pain

Speakers and topics include (subject to change):

Date TBD

Joseph Mendola,

“Pain and Pleasure in Philosophy”

Date TBD

Casey Ryan Kelly,
communication studies

“On Melancholia and White Pain”

Date TBD

Nora Peterson,
French/modern languages and literatures

“Turning Pain in Pleasure in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron

Date TBD

Roberto Abadie,

“Pleasure, Risk, and Social Networks of People Who Inject Drugs in Rural Puerto Rico”

Date TBD

Tierney Lorenz,

“Sexy Times Call for Sexy Measure: How Scientists Study Sexual Desire, Pleasure, and Orgasm”

Date TBD

All speakers

Panel discussion

Check out the archives
for the 19-20 theme: “Rise of the Machines”.

Future themes may include

Sustainable Futures  •  War, Peace, and Reconciliation  •  Civil Discourse  •  Monsters and the Monstrous

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  • Attend CAS Inquire lectures
  • Apply for the program


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  • Take a 1-credit class both fall and spring built around the CAS Inquire lecture series:
    • Read and discuss an article based on the upcoming lecture one week
    • Attend the public lecture the next week
    • Discuss the topic with the speaker the week after the lecture.


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  • Take “Inquire Inspires,” a mini-course offered as a weekend retreat in the fall. Develop skills such as:
    • Facilitating small group conversations
    • Reflecting on talking about the interdisciplinary experiences you have had and choosing what to do next
    • Taking first steps toward preparing for job searches or applying to professional or graduate school
  • Serve as a discussion leader in the class or member of the planning committee for the next lecture series.


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  • Take “Whole-life living,” a mini-course in which members of Lincoln- and Omaha-based civic organizations talk about finding your communities in your next step after college and making your next address home by taking a role in the community.
  • Anticipate and prepare for what you will need and want in your next step.
  • Serve as a discussion leader in the class or member of the planning committee for the next lecture series.


Additional opportunities

CAS Inquire students will enjoy special events and benefits including:

  • A junior year dinner with the dean and a student invited faculty guest
  • A senior year brunch with their family and a faculty guest
  • A thesis writing group starting spring of junior year to support students as they develop their projects to submit for distinction
  • A one-time stipend to attend a national conference or education abroad experience

How to apply


First-year students complete this form.

Student application


Complete this form to nominate, or provide a reference for, a student.

Faculty form

The 20-21 class has been selected.
Next nominations open
late fall 2020.