Focus Speakers

Included in Registration


Focus speakers are highly regarded scientists and education experts who present 90-minute, in-depth sessions on subjects relevant to science teaching. The focus speaker series allows you to expand your understanding in a wide range of critical topics. The full slate of speakers is still being finalized and will be updated as they are confirmed.

Several speakers listed below are a part of the 2019 Climate Summit. Those speakers are designated with the Climate Summit logo.

Friday, October 18, 2019

8:00 am - 9:30 am

Allison Scott

Improving Access and Equity in Computer Science across California

Dr. Allison Scott, Chief Research Officer, Kapor Center

While computer science education provides students with foundational knowledge needed for meaningful participation in an increasingly technology-driven society, for too few students in California's schools have access to rigorous computer science education and there are stark racial, gender, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities. This session will: (a) summarize the current data on access, enrollment, and equity in K-12 CS education across the state of California, (b) highlight recent action at the state level to increase equity in CS, including the policy landscape, and (c) identify opportunities for integration between CS and science in K-12 classrooms.

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

G. Branch

Climate Summit 2019

Overcoming Doubt and Denial in Teaching Climate Change

Glenn Branch, Deputy Director, National Center for Science Education (NCSE)

With upward of 97% of climate scientists agreeing on the basic facts about climate change, the topic is anything but scientifically controversial. But climate change remains socially controversial, owing to a mix of not only ignorance but also cognitive, ideological, and cultural barriers to accepting evolution education. It is clear from anecdotes and surveys that the social controversy over climate change affects the extent and quality of climate change education in science classes. Fortunately, there are ways of teaching climate change that maximize student learning, minimize the risk of provoking a backlash, and preserve the integrity of the scientific content.

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

J. Keeley

Climate Summit 2019

Nexus between Wildfire Catastrophes, Climate and Population Growth in California

Dr. Jon Keeley, Research Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey

In the last 20 years California has experienced an explosion of large catastrophic wildfires. Climate change is widely viewed as a major factor and the importance of this appears to vary in between Northern and Southern California. This talk will also explore other contributing factors such as the fact that California has added six million more people since 2000.

4:20 pm - 5:50 pm

Climate Summit 2019

Facing challenges together: Enhancing climate literacy, community, and classroom instruction with the UC Berkeley Understanding Global Change Project

Dr. Jessica Bean, Project Scientist, Understanding Global Change Project, UC Berkeley

Together we can prepare tomorrow’s innovative scientists, engineers, and informed citizens to understand the multifaceted causes of global climate change so that they are ready to tackle some of the most challenging issues of our time. The Understanding Global Change (UGC) Project at the University of California Museum of Paleontology at UC Berkeley developed a suite of online and interactive learning materials that support educators and their students to understand the Earth as an interconnected, dynamic system. The UGC resources, developed with support from classroom teachers and leaders in climate education, are integrated with research-based teaching practices that utilize modeling of phenomena to make learning visible, and support the investigation of local and global actions that reduce human impacts on global environments.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

8:00 am - 9:30 am

Climate Summit Logo 2019

Climate Change - A Space Alien’s Point of View

Laura Tucker, Educational Consultant, LT Educational Consulting

If an intelligent species had been observing conditions on Earth for thousands of years, what would they have noticed in the past 100? What would they say to us today? Could they be helpful in explaining how we ended up with a climate crisis? More importantly, where would they see viable solutions and reasons for hope? Laura takes us through this imaginary conversation to lay the groundwork for a lively Q&A on teaching climate change in the classroom - and beyond.

10:00 am - 11:30 am

From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads and Men

Tyrone Hayes, Professor, UC Berkeley

The herbicide, atrazine is a potent endocrine disrupter that chemically castrates and feminizes exposed male amphibians. Further, atrazine exposure results in neural damage and hyperactivity and induces a hormonal stress response that leads to retarded growth and development, and immune suppression. Many of these mechanisms are being revealed only now in the scientific literature and agencies are just now beginning to deal with this emergent science and translate it efficiently into health-protective policies. In particular, ethnic minorities and lower socio-economic communities are at risk: More likely to live in contaminated communities, work in occupations that increase hazard exposure and less likely to have educational and healthcare access. Given the importance of this science and relevance to public health, there is a strong need to translate this information and provide public access to this knowledge. Command of the science and active involvement by the public in policy decisions is vital.

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Julie Yu

Developing a Vision for Equity and NGSS

Julie Yu, Senior Scientist, Exploratorium

The ambitious goals of equitable teaching and NGSS are broad and exciting, and you might wonder how these manifest in your daily practice. This interactive session will use the science and engineering of human vision and lenses as a metaphor to reflect on how we see and how we can see beyond ourselves. We’ll explore how this looks in classrooms around the world, and you’ll leave with ideas you can implement with your own students.

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Neal Driscoll

Climate Summit 19

Bracing for Fire When the Wind Blows

Neal Driscoll, Geophysicist, UC San Diego

The Alertwildfire camera network across California provides rapid confirmation of emergency wildfire 911 calls, situational awareness, and in the worse-case scenarios real-time data to help sequence evacuations. Rapid confirmation and situational awareness help first responders scale their response to these disasters and attack fires in their incipient phase. Join Neal Driscoll to learn how the great state of California is using technology to help firefighters and improve public preparedness during wildfire disasters.


Previous Conferences

Upcoming Conferences

  • 2020 - Virtual, October 16-18

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