MURFREESBORO — MTSU will be “Breaking Bad” with a week of activities inspired by the popular television series.
Free food, prizes, giveaways and meetings with two people associated with the popular award-winning TV drama are on tap for Sunday, Sept. 28, through Friday, Oct. 3, to commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
The American Movie Classics drama has won 16 Emmy Awards since its debut in 2008. It centers on Walter White Sr., a chemistry teacher who becomes a drug kingpin to shore up the family finances after he is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and told he has two years to live.
The centerpiece of the week will be “An Evening with RJ Mitte,” the actor who portrayed Walter White Jr. on the program, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in Tucker Theatre.
Mitte, like his character, has cerebral palsy. However, the disability was not treated as the focal point of the character’s existence on the program. Dr. Lance Alexis, director of MTSU’s Disability and Access Center, said such roles all too often have gone to non-disabled actors.
“In many cases, they’re coveted roles because they have won numerous awards,” Alexis said.
“He’s going to talk about navigating this career with this disability because it’s not easy in the acting world for anybody, and it’s probably more difficult for somebody with a disability like cerebral palsy,” said Sara Read, the center’s testing coordinator.
The 23-year-old Mitte, whose other credits include “Switched at Birth” and “Hannah Montana,” is the youth spokesman for the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour. The campaign works with low-income persons with disabilities to help them improve their financial situations.
Mitte also is a spokesman for “I AM PWD,” an advocacy campaign for actors with disabilities sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild, Actors’ Equity and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
In addition, Mitte works on an awareness campaign for the National Center for Bullying Prevention.
The MTSU Disability and Access Center will provide American Sign Language interpretation. Other disability-related accommodations will be made available upon request by calling 615-898-2783 in advance.
“Breaking Worse: Synthetic Drugs of Abuse,” a discussion about the lethal side effects of synthetic drugs and the struggle to regulate them, is slated for 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, in Room 221 of the Learning Resources Center.
Posters representing characters and events in “Breaking Bad” will be on display from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, in the second-floor lobby of the Keathley University Center.
Teams of two students each will fan out across campus to uncover clues about MTSU’s many assets in the “Breaking Bad Amazing Race” from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, starting from the Disability and Access Center in Room 120 of the KUC.
The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (WISTEM) Center will present a lecture by Dr. Donna Nelson, a science adviser on “Breaking Bad,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, in Tucker Theatre.
Nelson examined scripts, provided dialogue, drew chemical structures and wrote chemical equations to enhance the credibility of the main character, chemistry teacher Walter White Sr.
She also will talk about the benefits of using the media to help the general public better understand and appreciate the work of scientists.
Teams of four students each will compete in a “Breaking Bad Trivia Contest” from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in the Tom Jackson Building.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Disability and Access Center at 615-898-2783 or firstname.lastname@example.org.