Visiting Scholars & Artists

Drew Droege PictureDrew Droege (WFU’99)

Drew Droege (’99) has a BA in Theatre from Wake Forest University.  He is an alumnus of The Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles, where he currently teaches improvisation.  He has also taught improv workshops across the country at University of Southern California, Indiana University, Just The Funny (Miami) and Binnions Casino (Las Vegas).  On the internet, Drew is known for playing Chloe Sevigny in a series of viral videos that have been featured on,, Huffington Post, to name a few, and he’s the voice of Feathers on “Planet Unicorn”.  His weekly podcast, “Glitter in the Garbage” was deemed “brilliant and low-brow” by New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, and he was recently honored as one of Out Magazine’s Out 100.   His TV credits include “New Girl”, “Up All Night”, “How I Met Your Mother”, “Pretend Time”, “Key & Peele”, “Glory Daze”, “The Sarah Silverman Program”, “Reno 911!”, “Halfway Home”, and “Campus Ladies”, and he can be seen in upcoming films “Freak Dance”, “Sassy Pants”, and “Eating Out: Drama Camp”.  Drew was awarded Outfest Film Festival’s 2010 Special Programming Award for Emerging Talent and is a member of the Attic Theatre, in which he was last seen in Charles Busch’s “Red Scare On Sunset”, directed by Professor Cindy Gendrich and designed by Professor Mary Wayne-Thomas.

During his visit to Wake Forest, Drew Droege will be conducting a masterclass on improvisation and sketch comedy, as well as participating in an NEH funded panel, “Why Do People Laugh?”  This public conversation, which will also include Dr. Sam Gladding (counseling), and John Friedenberg (University Theatre). It will take place 5-6:00 p.m. in the Ring Theatre and is free. Mr. Droege has also been invited as a master teacher in several theatre classes, and will be meeting with students informally to talk about life and work in Los Angeles.

John Straub

Dr. John Straub
 Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry, Boston University
Phi Beta Kappa Scholar

Dr. Straub’s visit to Wake Forest is co-sponsored by the Wake Forest Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and the Department of Chemistry.  Dr. John Straub is a distinguished and award winning researcher and teacher, and is author or co-author of over 100 journal articles and book chapters.  He has also received significant, external research support from NIH, NSF, ACS, and Alfred P. Sloan Research Foundation.

Dr. Straub will be giving a public lecture on October 5, from 4 – 5 P.M. in the new ZSR Library Auditorium (Rm. 404). His lecture is entitled Molecules in Motion: How the dynamics of molecules dictate the form and function of our world.  The seminar will be followed by a reception for Dr. Straub in the library.

In addition to his public lecture, Dr. Straub will also lead discussions in several undergraduate classes and will meet with faculty, undergraduate and graduate students during his visit to our campus.

Kary Mullis

Dr. Kary B. Mullis
Nobel Laureate and Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Altermune, LLC

2011 Oakley R. Vail Lecturer

Kary Banks Mullis, Nobel Prize winning chemist, is a native of Lenoir, North Carolina. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1966. He earned a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972.

Dr. Mullis received a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1993, for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The process, which he conceptualized in 1983, is hailed as one of the monumental scientific techniques of the twentieth century.

Dr. Mullis will be giving a public lecture from 5 – 6 P.M. on October, 12 (location TBA). Dr. Mullis’ lecture is tentatively entitled The Story of PCR: How the Polymerase Chain Reaction was Invented. This seminar will be followed by a public reception; all are welcome to attend. In addition, Dr. Mullis will participate in a Q&A session at the Medical School campus on October 13 (time & location TBA). This Q&A session will also be open to the public.

Kurt Kotrschal

Dr. Kurt Kotrschal
Associate Professor, University of Vienna
Director of the Konrad Lorenz Research Center
Co-Director of The Wolf Science Center

Dr. Kurt Kotrschal, a behavioral biologist, will be visiting Wake Forest from September 17 to 22. Dr. Kotrschal is an Associate Professor at the University of Vienna, the director of the Konrad Lorenz Research Center in Grünau, Austria and co-director of The Wolf Science Center in Ernstbrunn, Austria. Dr. Kotrschal was elected Austrian Scientist of the Year 2010 for his ability to communicate science to the public. While at Wake Forest, Dr. Kotrschal will present two lectures. A public lecture entitled Living with wolves and dogs. Human companionship with animalswill be presented Tuesday at 7:00PM in room 126 Winston Hall. A Biology/Psychology joint seminar entitled Are birds just mammals? Social and cognitive complexity in geese and ravens will be given Wednesday at 4:00PM in room 125 Winston Hall.

Caitriona O’Reilly
Tutor, Creative Writing
Irish Writers’ Center, Dublin, Ireland

The Department of English is pleased to host Poet-in-Residence Caitriona O’Reilly for the spring 2012 semester. Ms. O’Reilly was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where she received her B.A. with Honors in English Literature and Ancient History and her Ph. D. degree in American Literature.  From 2002-03 she served a Harper-Wood Studentship in English Literature at St. Johns College, Cambridge.  Among her publications are three books (The Nowhere BirdsThree-Legged Dog, and The Sea Cabinet) and numerous anthology publications, essays, poems, and critiques. She has been invited to read her work throughout Ireland and in Slovenia, Slovakia, Russia, England, and the United States.

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