Discover Speakers for Your 2023 First Year Experience®


Browse our roster of speakers whose messages of inspiration, justice, and hope are perfect for college audiences.

Popular Categories for the First Year Experience®


Climate and the Environment

Suzanne Simard

Leader of The Mother Tree Project and author of Finding the Mother Tree

• Environment and sustainability • Women in STEM

Daniel Sherrell

Environmental advocate and author of Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World

• Facing the climate crisis • Buidling a life of environmental activism


Literary Fiction

Brit Bennett

Novelist of National Book Award nominated, New York Times-bestselling The Vanishing Half

Becoming a writer; exploring racial and systemic injustices through her work

Geraldine Brooks

Bestselling author of Horse and the Pulitzer Prize-winning March

• Historical fiction • Exploring animal rights

Omar El Akkad

Award-winning journalist and author of What Strange Paradise

• War and fiction • The global refugee crisis

Kali Fajardo-Anstine

National Book Award Finalist and author of Woman of Light

• Latinx and Indigenous identity • Storytelling and family roots

Mohsin Hamid

Booker Prize finalist and New York Times-bestselling author of The Last White Man

• Writing and craft • Racism, prejudice, and identity

Leila Mottley

Author of Oprah’s Book Club selection Nightcrawling and former Youth Poet Laureate of Oakland

• Black girlhood, community, and joy • Subverting genre

Celeste Ng

New York Times-bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and The Missing Heart

• Asian-American identity • Writing process behind hit novels

Tommy Orange

Author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller There There

• Native American culture and identity • Craft and the writing process

Ruth Ozeki

Author of The Book of Form and Emptiness, winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction

• Craft and storytelling • Celebrating Asian-American heritage

Kiley Reid

Author of Such a Fun Age, an instant New York Times bestseller and Reese’s Book Club Pick

• Plot, dialogue, and craft • Unpacking race and privilege

Colson Whitehead

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Underground Railroad and Harlem Shuffle 

• Becoming a writer • Black history and race in America

Charles Yu

National Book Award-winning author of Interior Chinatown

• Storytelling and world-building • Representation and the Asian-American experience

Gabrielle Zevin

New York Times-bestselling author of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

• Empathy and writing character • Forging literary community



Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of the critically-acclaimed bestsellers The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste

Black and American History America's Caste System


Jean Guerrero

Award-winning multimedia reporter and author of the memoir, Crux

• Latinx heritage and the immigrant experience • Coping with mental illness and substance abuse

John Hendrickson

Staff Writer for The Atlantic, author of Life on Delay

• Inclusivity and disability awareness • Resilience and overcoming obstacles

Cathy Park Hong

Award-winning poet and New York Times-bestselling author of Minor Feelings

The Asian-American experience • Art and poetry as a vehicle for change

Ian Manuel

Advocate, poet, motivational speaker, and author of My Time Will Come

• Rethinking criminal justice • Mental health and overcoming trauma

Chanel Miller

Artist, activist, and author of the New York Times bestseller Know My Name

• Storytelling as a tool for healing • Sexual assault awareness

Emi Nietfeld

Software engineer, writer, and author of Acceptance

• Mental health and the true meaning of resilience • Bridging your passion with your day job

Javier Zamora

Memoirist, poet, and author of Solito

• Child migration and the immigrant experience • Memory, writing, and trauma

Michelle Zauner

Frontwoman of Japanese Breakfast and author of New York Times bestselling Crying in H Mart

Living through grief; food, culture and the Asian American experience


Alora Young

Spoken word poet and author of Walking Gentry Home

• Spoken word poetry • History and Black womanhood

Public Health

Dr. Thomas Fisher

Emergency room physician and author of The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER

• Systemic injustice in our healthcare system • Lessons from the emergency room

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Physician, scientist and activist who exposed the Flint water crisis

• Public health • Speaking out against injustice

Dr. Michele Harper

Emergency room physician and author of the New York Times-bestselling The Beauty in Breaking

• Inequities in public health • Trauma and resilience

Science and Technology

Ed Yong

Pulitzer Prize-winning science staff writer for The Atlantic and author of An Immense World

• Nature and the animal kingdom • Science journalism

Social Justice

Adam Benforado

New York Times-bestselling author of A Minor Revolution

• Children’s rights • The future of criminal justice

Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Award-winning social psychologist and author of Biased

• Uncovering hidden prejudices • The science of implicit bias

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

National Book Award-winning historian and New York Times-bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist

• History of race and racism in America • Social justice and antiracism

Shaka Senghor

Author of Letters to the Sons of Society and Writing My Wrongs and a leading voice on criminal justice reform

• Criminal justice reform • Redemption and productive change

Student Success

Seth Goldenberg

Entrepreneur, design visionary, and author of Radical Curiosity

Fostering curiosity • Leadership and long-term thinking

John Green

#1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and The Anthropocene Reviewed, podcaster, and philanthropist

• Our human-centered planet • Creativity and learning

Bo Seo

Two-time world champion debater and author of Good Arguments

• Bridging differences through empathy • Debate as self-defense

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh

Motivational speaker, human rights activist, and author of The Light We Give

• Cultivating empathy • Preventing social justice burnout