Human Progress and Flourishing Workshop

Be part of an interdisciplinary conversation addressing the world's biggest challenges.

About the Workshop

Our workshop on Human Progress and Flourishing invites internationally-renowned scholars from universities across the country to present research and engage in discussion with the NDSU community. The series focuses on solutions and policies that contribute to opportunity, innovation, and individual and societal flourishing. This year, we are pairing each visiting scholar's presentation with a seminar by faculty from the Challey Institute. 

All are invited to attend these free presentations and participate in a lively discussion. Seminars will be held every other Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Central. Attendees are encouraged to join us in-person in the Beckwith Recital Hall or virtually on Zoom. Light food and refreshments will be provided after each seminar in the Challey School of Music Atrium. 

Students of any major, undergraduate or graduate, can register for the 1-credit course BUSN 491/690. To join the class, email Tayt Rinehardt at 

*You do not need to enroll in the course to attend the speaker presentations. Everyone is welcome. 

Spring 2023 Speakers

Human Agency and Flourishing
February 10 | Ian Rowe
Title: “Agency, Not Equity – A Path to Achieve Excellence for All Versus Universal Mediocrity”

Ian Rowe is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on education and upward mobility, family formation, and adoption. Mr. Rowe is also the cofounder of Vertex Partnership Academies, a new network of character-based International Baccalaureate high schools opening in the Bronx in 2022; the chairman of the board of Spence-Chapin, a nonprofit adoption services organization; and the cofounder of the National Summer School Initiative. He concurrently serves as a senior visiting fellow at the Woodson Center and a writer for the 1776 Unites Campaign.


February 17 | Gena Gorlin
Title: “Building the Builders: Starting with Ourselves – building innovative and entrepreneurial traits”

Gena Gorlin is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, and a licensed psychologist in New York City.  She completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Virginia, and her clinical psychology internship/residency training at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  She completed 2 years of postdoctoral training and Boston University. Her vision is to unite art, science, philosophy, teaching, and practice in the common aim of helping people become their noblest, most sublimely joyful selves.


Capitalism, Cronyism, and Corruption
March 3 | Siri Terjesen
Title: “Cronyism vs. Capitalism and the Importance of Understanding the Difference”

Siri A. Terjesen is Associate Dean, Research & External Relations, founding Executive Director of the Madden Center for Value Creation, and Phil Smith Professor of Entrepreneurship at FAU, and Professor .2 at the Norwegian School of Economics (Norges Handelshøyskole: NHH) in Bergen, Norway. Dr. Terjesen is a nationally recognized expert in higher education, strategic management, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. She was nominated by the U.S. President to serve as one of 15 voting directors to the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES) which advises the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences. Dr. Terjesen serves as a reviewer for the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 project and the Swedish and Norwegian governments’ higher education agencies, and also an advisor to the World Bank, Kauffman Foundation, and a variety of think tanks. Dr. Terjesen is an affiliated researcher with Catalyst (New York), Indiana University’s Institute for Development Strategies, and the Ratio Institute (Stockholm), and serves on the board of Strata.


March 24 | Ahmad Al Asady
Title: “Corruption, Entrepreneurship, and Growth”

Ahmad Al Asady is a scholar at the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth and an assistant professor of management in the Department of Management and Marketing at North Dakota State University. He researches how institutional elements in foreign environments influence the economic decisions of international entrepreneurs. His current research interests include international entrepreneurship, institutions, corruption, and the Middle East and North Africa region. In 2022, Dr. Al Asady's paper with Dr. Christopher Groenig, titled "The Contingent Effects of Firm Response Tactics on Firm Legitimacy During a Secondary Boycott," was selected for Social Issues in Management Division Best Paper by the Academy of Management.  

Cybersecurity Policy and Growth
April 14 | Zahid Anwar and Jeremy Straub
Topic: Cybersecurity

Zahid Anwar is a scholar at the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth and an associate professor of cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science at North Dakota State University. His research focuses on cybersecurity policy and innovative cyber defense. He has authored over 80 publications in peer-reviewed conferences and journals. He is a CompTIA Certified Penetration Tester, Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional, Security+ Professional, and an AWS Certified Cloud Solutions Architect. Prior to working in academia, Dr. Anwar was a software engineer and researcher at IBM T.J. Watson, Intel, Motorola, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, xFlow research, and CERN. In 2015, he received a science of security research recognition from the National Security Agency. 

Jeremy Straub is a fellow at the Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth and an assistant professor of computer science at North Dakota State University. His research focuses on the intersections between technology and policy in both the artificial intelligence and cybersecurity areas. He is the lead inventor on two U.S. patents and has published over 50 journal articles and hundreds of conference papers. He is a member of multiple professional societies, including the American Society for Engineering Education and SPIE. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other sources. He is the associate director of the Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research.




April 28 | Meera Sridhar
Topic: The Impact of cyberattacks and vulnerabilities on our daily lives

Meera Sridhar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Software and Information Systems at UNC Charlotte. Her research interests span language-based and systems security, formal methods, and their application to web, mobile and Internet-of-Things security. Her research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Sridhar received her Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2002, graduating with University and College Honors. She received her Master’s in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2014. Dr. Sridhar is an International Baccalaureate Diploma holder from the International School Manila, Philippines.

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