Speaker Series

The 2024 SSMO Foundation Speaker Series 

The SSMO Foundation Speaker Series is our gift back to the community that supports our campus. Each event is free and provides interesting, timely, and educational information from trusted sources.

The next 2024 Speaker Series event is Monday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. via Google Webinar. All events are virtual and free to register.

Imprisoned Without Cause – An Asian American family’s story of resiliency.


In honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) heritage month, Jana Iwasaki, will share her family’s WWII experiences as Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes and stripped of their civil rights. 

Jana Iwasaki
Photo captured by Rich Iwasaki

More than 120,000 Japanese Americans from California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona were ordered to leave their homes, uproot their lives, and submit to imprisonment in 1942  — without a specific charge and without a trial.

During this time, her grandfather’s two younger brothers were drafted into the U.S. Army. After the family’s imprisonment, the Iwasakis returned to Oregon to continue working on their 108-year-old commercial greenhouse in Hillsboro – a legacy made possible through the friendship and ally-ship of their German American neighbors, the Freudenthals. 

Jana Iwasaki is a fourth generation Oregonian, a 1998 graduate of Valley Catholic High School, and a board member of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon.

Previous 2024 Speaker Series Events:

The AI Revolution – Empowering Parents and Educators in the Digital Age

AI City scape

Presented by Dr. Eric Anctil, Professor of Media and Technology at the University of Portland

On March 18, Dr. Eric Anctil explored how advancements in artificial intelligence can support parents and educators in raising the next generation. This discussion considered the latest developments in AI and how they can be leveraged to enhance parenting, schooling, and equip students with essential life skills.

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Dr. Eric Anctil

Dr. Eric Anctil is a professor of media and technology at the University of Portland where he directs various graduate programs and teaches a variety of disciplines. Dr. Anctil has taught in higher education since 1999 and was a teacher at Valley Catholic School in the mid 1990s.

Dr. Anctil has presented and keynoted at numerous conferences, appeared on a variety of radio and podcast shows, and has been an invited speaker to groups of all ages. In addition to public appearances, he regularly consults with colleges and universities, private businesses and non-profit organizations, about issues related to technology, artificial intelligence, applied ethics, and the nexus of humans and machines.

Dr. Anctil is also the the producer and host of “The Secret Life of Tech,” a media project and companion podcast that explores how technology is changing the way humans work, live, love, and even hate. “The Secret Life of Tech” tells the story of the secret lives that exist beneath the technology we use every day.

Eldercare 101 – The Six Pillars of Aging Well

On Feb. 26, 2024, Mary Jo Saavedra and Linda Resca provided an engaging, insightful and important discussion about aging well and taking care of ourselves while serving our loved ones.

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Mary Jo Saavedra – Author of
“Eldercare 101”
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Linda Resca – Speaker and contributor to
“Eldercare 101”

By 2030 (just six short years from now), more than 80 million Americans will be over the age of 65.

On Monday, Feb. 26, Mary Jo Saavedra, nationally recognized speaker, author, trainer, and coach, kicked-off the 2024 Speaker Series by discussing The Six Pillars for Aging Well – Legal, Financial, Living Environment, Social, Medical and Spiritual. Her recently revised book, “Eldercare 101,” is an easy-to-understand guide for families who care for their aging loved ones.

Mary Jo was joined by Linda Resca of The Caregiver’s Heart. Linda is a care manager, consultant, speaker, and contributing author to Eldercare 101, who has made caring for the Caregiver’s Heart her mission. She discussed how family caregivers can talk with their loved ones about difficult situations. These communications increase caregiver confidence and help to reduce stress.