Aubrey Plaza, Laverne Cox and Bill Nye to speak in VPB IMPACT Symposium series

Beginning March 30, the VPB Speakers Committee will again bring respected industry leaders to campus with a virtual iteration of the IMPACT Symposium.


VPB takes a virtual approach to the annual IMPACT Symposium series in 2021. Screenshots via VPB (Hustler Staff/Eva Pace)

Jaime Svinth, Staff Writer

Vanderbilt Programming Board (VPB) Speakers Committee’s IMPACT Symposium sets off March 30 and spans three consecutive Tuesdays featuring Aubrey Plaza, Laverne Cox and Bill Nye as keynote speakers. 

The symposium aims to bring in respectable leaders to spur critical discussion amongst Commodores and is open to all graduate and undergraduate students as well as community members.

American actress and comedian Aubrey Plaza has starred in everything from Judd Apatow’s “Funny People” to “Parks and Recreation” and “Criminal Minds.” Plaza’s recent role in “Black Bear” proved her versatility as an actress, earning her the praise of Time magazine’s Stephanie Zacharek who wrote, “Plaza doesn’t have to prove she can do more than comedy—when an actor is as good at it as she is, there’s no ‘more than.’”

Laverne Cox, born in Mobile, Alabama, is well-known for her role as Sophia Burset in “Orange is the New Black.” As an openly transgender woman, she is the first to be nominated for a primetime Emmy Award and first to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine. She uses her platform to advocate vigorously for the trans community, getting involved with organizations like the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs to raise awareness for issues faced by the LGBTQ community.

Known as “the Science Guy,” Bill Nye started his career as a mechanical engineer for Boeing after graduating from Cornell University in 1977. Years later, he left this job to pursue a career in the media industry where he famously hosted the children’s show “Bill Nye The Science Guy,” from which he has earned 19 Emmy awards. The show combined comedy and education while delivering knowledge in an accessible way to viewers. Some of his past speaking topics have included STEM education and climate change.

Aubrey Plaza will speak March 30, Laverne Cox on April 6 and Bill Nye on April 13 as a part of this annual speaker series. All events will be virtual webinars held at 7 p.m. CST. Registration is required for each speaker’s event. Plaza’s link can be found here, Cox’s can be found here and Nye’s can be found here.