LAPS to host next round of Great Conversations

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The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation will host a Great Conversations event featuring Stephanie Garcia Richard, Robert Benjamin and Ron Barber.
The event will be 2 p.m. Sunday. It will be at Los Alamos High School.
State Representative Garcia Richard will lead the conversation “Sausage Making 101; Inside the New Mexico Legislature.”
Garcia Richard is a native of New Mexico and a lifelong educator who has worked both abroad and in Northern New Mexico.
A Barnard College and Columbia University graduate, she followed in her father’s footsteps and became a teacher. Garcia Richard will provide her perspective on the group dynamics of working with 112 personalities, discuss the New Mexico Legislature and why it’s best to pay attention.
She will share her views about when to use the velvet glove or the sledgehammer to advance an agenda.
Benjamin will present the conversation “Encore Career: Finding Your Passion Post-Retirement.”
Benjamin is a late-blooming playwright, following his 30-year career as a research physicist at LANL. He will discuss the passion that energized and motivated him to a post-retirement career as a playwright.
In his career, three of his full-length plays — “Time Enough,” “Parted Waters” and “Salt & Pepper” — and nearly 20 short plays have been produced in nine different states, including an Off-Off Broadway production in fall of 2013.
Among the topics in Benjamin’s conversation will be skills and craft that are transferable from a first to an encore career, how much time one should invest in an encore career and how new connections made in a second career enrich one’s life.
Benjamin is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Albuquerque Theater Guild and the American Physical Society.
“Shadow and Light: Learning from the Ancients” will be the discussion hosted by Barber.
Born and raised in the oil fields of South America, Barber encountered many indigenous cultures and explored ancient cultural sites.
An explorer by nature and engineer by profession, Barber will discuss how a study of rock art reveals significant calendrical information embedded in the imagery of ancient petroglyph panels throughout the west. The stone calendars that used shadow and light, which together unlock the knowledge used by indigenous people will also be discussed.
Barber’s hobby of researching petroglyphs has led him to form a team which is now working with an extensive network of archeologists, astronomers, and Native American tribes to uncover the mysteries of ancient astronomical practices and knowledge.
Conversation leader won’t be giving a speech, but rather will help direct the conversation on topics, along with several table guests. The table leader will answer questions, and facilitate the discussion, whatever direction it may go.