First Year Experience Speakers

From debut voices to bestselling luminaries, hard-hitting journalists to legendary intellectuals and social justice pioneers, these First Year Experience speakers build community among students while challenging, engaging, and inspiring them to start their college career with a fresh perspective.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

#1 New York Times-bestselling author of Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years in Power

Bryan Stevenson

Attorney, human rights activist, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of Just Mercy

More First Year Experience Speakers

Omar El Akkad

Award-winning journalist and author of the debut novel American War

Moustafa Bayoumi

Journalist and author of How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America

Geraldine Brooks

Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning March and the international bestselling People of the Book

Bill Burnett

Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford and co-author of the #1 New York Times-bestselling book Designing Your Life

Francisco Cantú

Former US Border Patrol Agent and author of The Line Becomes a River

Edwidge Danticat

MacArthur Fellow and acclaimed Haitian writer, author of Brother, I'm Dying and Claire of the Sea Light

Dave Evans

Co-founder of Electronic Arts and co-author of the #1 New York Times-bestselling book Designing Your Life

Franklin Foer

National correspondent for The Atlantic, New America Foundation fellow, and former editor of The New Republic

Masha Gessen

Russian and U.S. journalist, activist, and author of the National Book Award-winning The Future is History

Yaa Gyasi

Debut novelist of Homegoing and recipient of the National Book Foundation's 'Under 35' award

Kristen Iversen

Award-winning author and PhD program director in Literary Nonfiction at University of Cincinnati

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

National Book Award-winning historian and author of Stamped From The Beginning

Phil Klay

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and author of Redeployment, winner of 2014 National Book Award for Fiction

Carlotta Walls LaNier

Youngest of the Little Rock Nine, civil rights advocate, National Women's Hall of Fame inductee

Colum McCann

Author of the National Book Award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin

Josh Neufeld

Award-winning comics journalist and author of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge

Jenny Nordberg

Award-winning investigative reporter, foreign correspondent, and author of The Underground Girls of Kabul

Gary Shteyngart

New York Times-bestselling author of Little Failure, Super Sad True Love Story, and Absurdistan

Tara Westover

Author of the #1 New York Times-bestselling memoir Educated

Colson Whitehead

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

Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize winner and author of the critically acclaimed bestseller The Warmth of Other Suns