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TITAN Talk: Breaking Bad & the Science of Cancer


Thursday, February 27, 2020, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM


Berlin Student Lounge, 2nd Floor McKelvey Campus Center
319 South Market Street, New Wilmington, PA 16142

Dr. Karen Resendes, associate professor of biology and co-director of the Drinko Center, will discuss the science of cancer treatment. Cancer is the general name for a group of over 100 diseases caused by the uncontrolled division of body cells. The root cause of disease progression can vary widely, even within the same cancer type. This talk will overview the similarities and differences that occur in the development of tumors. In addition, the range of treatment methods that may employed in combating the various iterations of the disease will be introduced, with an emphasis on the basic scientific research performed at Westminster that may one day impact future treatment plans. 

Dr. James Rhoads, professor of political science, will explore the hit American drama, Breaking Bad, presenting from the notion that popular television programming can provide an important window into the cultural dynamics at play in a given period for a given society. To take advantage of this opportunity, however, two provisos must be satisfied. First, a compelling program with a devoted audience must appear. Second, a suitable means for examining the nature and roots of the show’s appeal to its fans—a means that makes possible a rigorous exploration of audience subjectivity—must exist and be put into service. In this presentation both conditions are met: the first with the recent conclusion of the five-season run of Breaking Bad;  the second with the adoption of Q methodology as a systematic means for illuminating viewers’ subjective audience reactions to the show, rendering them operant, i.e., in publicly-available forms of “subjective communicability” rooted in the naturalistic concerns (“concourse”) of the viewers themselves as opposed to the preconceived notions brought to bear by investigators of popular culture’s raw material. This investigation uncovers three basic orientations among viewers to the series, and following their interpretation, a concluding discussion underscores the significance of these findings methodologically and for the larger context of contemporary American life.

Westminster College is in the business of creating human beings at our best. We invite our alumni and extend the invite to students and friends in the community to learn from our very own scholars and professionals on how we can all live our lives with a mindful purpose. Everyone is invited to partake in this free, three-part series, each series featuring two, 30-minute talks and light snacks. We’re excited to learn with you through the scope of research- and wisdom-based education, learning how our best selves impact community.

We would love to invite you to invest in the College in the area of your greatest passion. As it relates to the TITAN Talks, a gift to the Westminster Fund means that students have access to professors like Dr. Resendes and Dr. Rhoads. Click the "register now" button and feel free to add a gift of any size in the "additional donation" field.


For additional information, please contact Nicole Hunter at or 7249467363.

Reservations due by Thursday, February 27, 2020