Speaker Info – 2018 Denver March for Science

The second March for Science was held Saturday, April 14, 2018 at cities around the world. Denver March for Science is pleased to have received a great pool of applicants to speak at our event at Civic Center Park.

Selected Speakers

Note: please see our Event Schedule for the order in which speakers appeared. They are listed here in alphabetical order of their surnames.

Elisabeth Cohen, President, Denver March for Science

Topic: Welcome Message and Announcements

Elisabeth CohenLis Cohen is a meteorologist who was a lead volunteer at the 2017 Denver March for Science. She earned a bachelor’s degree in the Science of Earth Systems and Atmospheric Science (Cornell), master’s degree in both Meteorology (U of Utah) and Public Affairs with a certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (Princeton U). In the past, she has communicated science in various ways that include working at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as a climate and energy policy coordinator in the Utah Governor’s Office, and as a park ranger in Yellowstone. Her enthusiasm for sharing science continues today.

Jason Crow, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 6th Congressional District

Jason Crow and familyDetermined to pay back the community and country during his college years, Jason Crow joined the ROTC and served in the active duty Army. After the horrific 9/11 attacks, Jason served in the Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division. He soon found himself leading a platoon of paratroopers during the invasion of Iraq and earned the Bronze Star for his combat actions. Shortly after returning from Iraq he joined the U.S. Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment, serving two additional tours – this time in Afghanistan.

Since leaving the Army in 2006, Jason has been an outspoken and results-oriented advocate for his fellow veterans in Colorado and across the country, including 5 years on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs. Today, Jason practices law at Holland & Hart, where he’s focused on helping local businesses both small and large understand the regulatory and business environment and solve legal problems.

Dr. Phillip Danielson, Professor, Forensic Genetics, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Denver

Topic: Science as a “Way of Knowing” is ultimately driven by facts rather than ideology. It does not guarantee that we get it right the first time. The experience of the LGBTQ community is notable in this regard – science once labelled us as mentally ill and sought to change us. Because science is ultimately evidence driven, it is self-correcting and increasingly it welcomes all who seek truth with open arms. We all have a contribution to make to a better and more equitable world. Dr. Danielson will point out some of the many diverse people who have used science to improve our world and our society.

Dr. Phillip DanielsonDr. Phillip B. Danielson is a University of Denver Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences; an adjunct in the Sturm College of Law and a Fellow at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education. He studied at the University of Tokyo’s Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. He oversees a forensic research and development program, serves as a forensic DNA expert in criminal proceedings and is a member the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Biology and DNA which promulgates standards for the US forensic community. In addition to forensic science, he teaches courses in Molecular Diagnostics, Infectious Disease and Immunology. Dr. Danielson specializes in the application of genomic and proteomic technologies to real world challenges. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, the US Army, The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Dr. Danielson’s research has been featured in books, academic and professional journals as well as the popular press including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Forensic Science International, The Scientist magazine, Law Enforcement Technology magazine and USA Today.

Dr. James DeGregori, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and the Deputy Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Topic: The truth matters. In science, we seek the truth, even when we cannot fully understand everything (or even most things). I also stress the importance of evolutionary theory in medicine.

James DeGregori is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and the Deputy Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center. He received a B.A. in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987, a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 1993, and postdoctoral training at Duke University Medical Center from 1993-1997. His lab studies the evolution of cancer, in the context of their Adaptive Oncogenesis model, with a focus on how aging and other insults influence cancer initiation. His lab has developed this cancer model based on classic evolutionary principles, and substantiated this model by theoretical, experimental and computational studies. This model is described in his recent book – Adaptive Oncogenesis: A New Understanding of How Cancer Evolves inside Us.

Ellington Garland, NAACP

Ellington GarlandEllington Garland is a seventh grader in the Cherry Creek School District. He enjoys school, but has a special affinity for math, science and music. He is a percussionist in his school’s jazz band, and is also able to play the piano. Ellington also plays several sports, with his favorite being soccer. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, coding, listening to music and taking things apart.

Ellington is a member of the Youth & College Division of the NAACP State Conference. His most recent speaking opportunity was as panel moderator before 500 educators and others at the Annual Action Summit of Great Ed Colorado.

Ellington has always had a heart for others and a worldview beyond his years. He believes science is important and is always aware of its presence in our daily lives. He desires to become an orthopedic sports medicine doctor or a sports commentator.

Professor Michael Klymkowsky, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology / CU Teach / Center For STEM Learning / Center for the Study of Origins / Institute of Cognitive Sciences

Topic: The need to focus science education on the ability to critically evaluate scientific claims – to help people develop the ability to detect baloney (BS) and to appreciate the limits of science.

Dr. Klymkowsky is a Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received a bachelors degree in biophysics from the Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in biophysics from the California Institute of Technology, and carried out post-doctoral research at University College London and the Rockefeller University. His biological research has spanned a number of topics, including neurotransmitter receptor structure, cytoskeletal organization and function, and developmental signaling systems in the context of the clawed frog Xenopus laevis, and most recently (with William Old, MCDB, UC Boulder) in the analysis of cerebral organoids derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

In the area of biology education research, he developed (with Kathy Garvin-Doxas) the NSF-supported Biology Concept Inventory, as well as a suite of “virtuallaboratory” activities in molecular biology with Tom Lundy. He has been involved with the general question of how to develop more rigorous, coherent, and engaging courses and curricula in the biological sciences, including a re-designed introductory course, Biofundamentals, and a redesign of the general chemistry course sequence (CLUE: Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything) with his coauthor and collaborator Melanie Cooper (Michigan State University).

These efforts have led to his involvement in the recruitment and training of science teachers through the CU Teach program and the development of the “Teaching and Learning Biology” course with Erin Furtak, taught at both UC Boulder and the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. He was a Pew Biomedical Scholar, a founding fellow of the Center for STEM Learning at UC Boulder, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was named the 2012-2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teacher by the Society for College Science Teaching and received a 2014 Boulder Faculty Assembly Teaching Excellence award.

Ali Lassell, Jeffco School Board Director

Topic: The urgent need to support the scientific community by providing high quality science education in our public schools.

Ali LassellAli Lassell has spent 25 years teaching Middle School Math and Science in Adams County District 12. Ali and her husband, John, have two boys who attend Jeffco Public Schools. Ali earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Iowa State University, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her Principal’s License from the University of Denver.  She is now a member of the Jefferson County School Board.

Donna Lynne, Lieutenant Governor, state of Colorado

Topic: Proclamation from the Governor’s Office endorsing the Denver March for Science

Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna LynneDonna Lynne, DrPH, was sworn in as Colorado’s 49th Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer. She is widely respected as both a leader in the private sector and an expert in the health field. She has spent 20 years as a senior leader of multibillion-dollar health care companies and spent 20 years before that serving in multiple roles in New York City government. Dr. Lynne has led efforts to address the issues of health care affordability, accessibility, and quality. She has launched multiple initiatives to increase accountability and transparency in government and make government services more efficient and effective.

Suzanne McClung, Science Teacher, Lakewood High School, Jeffco Public Schools

Topic: Working with teenagers is amazing.  Being part of their lives at a time when they are learning who they are and exploring all the possibilities for their future is incredibly rewarding.  And it is that future that I want to talk to you about.

Suzanne McClungSuzanne McClung has been a science educator for 23 years, the last 17 of those have been at Lakewood High School. She earned her undergraduate degree in textile science and conservation from the University of Alberta in Canada and her master’s degree in fiber science and chemistry from Cornell University. In 2015, she was one of only nine educators nationwide to receive the $10,000 Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence.

Michele Melio, Green Star Schools Project Manager for Eco-Cycle and Owner/Operator of Easy to Be Green Consulting

Topic: Teaching science through outreach experiences supports classroom learning and encourages youth to be the climate activists of the present and future.

Michelle MelioMichele Melio, is the owner/operator of Easy to Be Green Consulting, where she helps businesses and school districts become green schools. She has worked as an environmental educator for over 8 years and classroom teacher for three years. Her previous experience includes technical writing on green energy and sustainable practices, teaching PreK-adult as an outdoor/outreach educator and curriculum developer. She has taught and developed curriculum for Jeffco Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, Adams 12 Five Star School District, Thorne Nature Experience, Butterfly Pavilion, Audubon Society of Greater Denver, Teach for Sustainability (Energy Smart program through Boulder County), Your True Nature and currently for Eco-Cycle.

She is currently the Green Star Schools Project Manager for Eco-Cycle, where she manages 49 Green Star (Zero Waste) Schools in Boulder County, the first of its kind program, and supports Zero Waste Events throughout the Front Range for over 7 years. In addition, she is presently managing gardens at Colorado Wise Acres in Fort Lupton, Colorado.

Michele is passionate about the environment and works with student Green Teams in schools, where she supports students’ efforts to reduce waste, address climate change and save precious natural resources by becoming Eco Leaders.

Mike Nelson, Chief Meteorologist Denver 7

Topic: Climate change is real, we are causing it, we can solve the problem.

Mike NelsonMike Nelson has been forecasting weather for over 40 years. He has been a Chief Meteorologist in Denver since 1991. Mike is currently the Chairman of the Station Scientist Committee for the American Meteorological Society. The goal of this committee is to inspire and encourage local television weather-casters to educate their viewers about Global Warming.

Amber Olson, student at UC Denver and a researcher at AMC

Topic: With the passing of Dr Hawking, I want to talk about the importance of disabled representation in science and how research benefits our community. Lack of funding and repeal of the ADA as issues.

Amber Olson has recently started a career in neuroscience with current research in the area of cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia. She is a recipient of the NIH Endure Fellowship grant.

Dr. Raj Pandya, Director of the Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union

Topic: Contribute science to the place you live, work and play. Work with people who don’t have chances to guide and use science. March for science everyday by using science to make a difference.

Raj PandyaRajul (Raj) Pandya is the founding director of the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX). TEX helps volunteer scientists and community leaders work together to use science, especially earth and space science, to tackle community issues and advance local priorities related to sustainability and resilience. While at TEX, Raj helped launch and lead the Resilience Dialogues – a public-private partnership that uses facilitated online dialogues to help subject matter experts and community leaders work together to take steps toward community resilience.

Raj has led education programs at a National Center for Atmospheric Research, mentored students, taught in college and high school, brought diverse communities and scientists together internationally and in the US, and worked to advance educational technology in atmospheric sciences. He has led multi-disciplinary efforts to increase diversity in the sciences, manage meningitis vaccines more effectively in Africa, and improve student learning of weather and climate. Raj is a founding member of the board of the Citizen Science Association, former commissioner of Education and Human Resources for the American Meteorological Society, serves on the board for Public Lab, and chairs the National Academies committee on “Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning.” He holds a Ph.D. from University of Washington in Atmospheric Science. He lives in Colorado with his partner Amy (a physician his parents call ‘the real doctor’), their horse-loving daughter Maya, and their dog Nala.

Dr. Marino Resendiz, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Denver

Topic: The importance of chemistry, its link with everything we do, and the importance of getting informed and involved to support it by pressing our representatives in the political sphere.

Dr. Resendiz is originally from Mexico City and has been in the States for almost three decades. He went to high school in Orem, Utah and obtained a B.S. in chemistry from the Univ. of Utah. He received a Ph D in organic chemistry from UCLA and obtained further training as a postdoctoral associate at Johns Hopkins Univ. He is an assistant professor at CU Denver, where he carries out research in bioorganic chemistry, specifically, structure-function relationships of modified RNA. He is also involved in outreach activities within the area of Denver/Aurora aiming to increase interest to pursue careers in STEM among students URM.

Dr. Paul Strode, Biology Teacher, Fairview High School, Boulder, Colorado

Topic: Dr. Strode will make the case that our use of “belief” and “believe” when discussing evidence based scientific knowledge is careless and opens the door to science denial and distrust.

Paul StrodeDr. Strode is a biology teacher at Fairview High School in Boulder, CO, a school of 2,200 students. His wife, Dr. Sarah Zerwin, is a Language Arts teacher at the school and their daughter is a freshman. Dr. Strode has been teaching at the public high school and college levels since 1991. He holds a Masters in Science Education from the University of Washington (Seattle) and a Doctorate in Ecology and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He enjoys writing and has published papers on the effects of climate change on bird migration ecology, a book on evolutionary theory, and recently a Nature of Science (NOS) paper in The American Biology Teacher. For the last decade he has been providing NOS and statistics professional development for colleagues at both the local and national levels. He runs, bikes, and swims, and blogs as Mr. Dr. Science Teacher.

Levi Tillemann, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 6th Congressional District

Levi TillemannLevi Tillemann has spent his life pursuing big ideas and common sense solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our country. Raised in a working-class Denver neighborhood, Levi enrolled in Regis University with a scholarship for debate when he was 15. After transferring to Yale, he stayed connected to his roots by tutoring ESL and mentoring low-income students. While pursuing his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, Levi founded IRIS Engines, Inc., then shifted his focus to electric vehicles as a better solution to climate change.  During the Obama administration, he served as an advisor in the Energy Department. An expert in innovation and technology, his commentary now appears regularly in The New Yorker, Slate and Fortune; and he is a frequent guest on NPR. Levi is the author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future (Simon and Schuster 2015). He speaks Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese and is currently managing partner at Valence Strategic.

Trish Zornio, Lecturer in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Denver

Topic: Ms. Zornio’s presentation will be centered around several Colorado science initiatives to foster the next generation of scientists & science/policy. (STEM Legislative Outreach / Youth Science / Recruiting scientists for office.)

Trish lives in Superior, Colorado and currently teaches behavioral neuroscience at CU Denver. A researcher by training, she has worked largely in translational research which spans laboratory and clinical sciences. At present Trish serves as a Board Advisor for the 500 Women Scientists Youth Pod in Boulder County, State Coordinator for 314 Action Colorado Chapter, and coordinates a STEM Outreach to assist Colorado legislators with policy research. Trish is also actively exploring a bid for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, 2020.