Discover Speakers for Your 2023 First Year Experience®


Header image with pictures of Javier Zamora, Dr. Thomas Fisher, Michelle Zauner and Leila Mottley

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