Guest Speakers Program

The Lair of the Golden Bear is honored to have esteemed members of the Cal community, including distinguished professors and faculty members, speak at each of our week-long sessions.

Talks are given at evening campfires, with two speakers each week. Parents can drop their kids off at their age group activities on Sunday and Tuesday nights, then enjoy our speakers’ presentations on topics ranging from Berkeley’s search for extra-terrestrials to STEM equity and inclusion at Cal.

2018 Speaker Schedule

Week 2: Paul Fine, Ian Fein, Michael Latner and Christina Lefevre Latner

Paul Fine
UC Professor of Integrative Biology
Topic: How California Ecosystems Have Changed Over Time


Ian Fein
Litigation Attorney at Natural Resource Defense Council
Topic: Travel Bans, Wedding Cakes, and Partisan Gerrymandering: The Supreme Court in 2018 and Beyond


Michael Latner and Christina Lefevre Latner

Topic: Women in Congressional Campaigns


Week 3: Brandon Collins, Dan Garcia and Jenny Simon-O’Neill

Brandon Collins
UC Berkeley Center for Fire Research and Outreach
Topic: Large Wildfires in Sierra Nevada Forests: How Did We Get Here and What Can We Do?


Dan Garcia
Professor of Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Topic: Transforming High School Computer Science: The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC)


Jenny Simon-O’Neill
Cal’s Senior Associate Athletic Director
Topic: An Inside Look into Cal Athletics


Week 4: Chris Carpenter and Dan Mogulof

Chris Carpenter
Doctor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital
Topic: My Time in Haiti


Dan Mogulof
Executive Director of the Office of Public Affairs
Topic: Campus Confidential: True Confessions about Mayhem, Messaging and the Media at Cal


Week 5: Whendee Silver and Steve Beissinger

Whendee Silver
Professor of Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry, UC Berkeley
Topic: From Garbage to Gold: Managing California’s Grasslands for Climate Change Mitigation


Steve Beissinger
Professor of Conservation Biology at in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management UC Berkeley
Topic: A Century of Climate and Land-Use Change on California Wildlife: The Grinnell Resurvey Project


Week 6: Dan Kammen and Dan Werthimer

Dan Kammen
Professor of Energy, UC Berkeley
Topic: It’s Not Easy Being Green (but it’s Easier in California)


Dan Werthimer
SETI Project Director
Topic: Berkeley’s Search for ET with Help from Eight Million Volunteers


Week 7: Glynn Washington and Phil Ting

Glynn Washington
Host of Public Radio’s Snap Judgement
Glynn Washington is the host and executive producer of Snap Judgment, heard on over 400 public radio stations nationwide (and downloaded over 2 million times each month).


Phil Ting
California State Assemblyman, District 19
Topic: California State Politics in the Age of Trump


Week 8: Alex Filippenko and Lok Siu

Alex Filippenko
Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley
Topic: Exploding Stars and New Planets and Black Holes, Oh My! Frontier Research at UC’s Lick Observatory


Lok Siu
Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley
Topic: Intimate Publics: Chinese Latino Restaurants in NYC


Week 9: Ronit Matabuena-Lev and Kathleen Gronnerud

Ronit Matabuena-Lev
Sexuality Health Educator
Topic: Sex Positive Parenting: Raising Sexually Healthy Children and Teens


Kathleen Gronnerud
Professor of History, Saddleback College
Topic: Political Dynasties in Modern America: What Do They Tell Us About Ourselves?


Week 10: Kia Afcari and Munis Faruqui

Kia Afcari
Change agent, facilitator, and consultant focused on organizational culture, learning, and organizational change.
Topic: Why Does Leadership Matter and Can We Grow It?


Munis Faruqui
Southeast Asian Studies, UC Berkeley
Topic: The Greatest Eunuch Ever: Zheng He and China’s [Earlier] Global Moment


Women’s Wellness Weekend: Elizabeth Rynecki

Elizabeth Rynecki
Chasing Portraits, A Great-Granddaughter’s Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy

The everyday lives of the Polish-Jewish community depicted in Moshe Rynecki’s paintings simply blended into the background of Elizabeth Rynecki’s life when she was growing up. But the art transformed from familiar to extraordinary in her eyes after her grandfather, Moshe’s son George, left behind journals detailing the loss her ancestors had endured during World War II, including Moshe’s art. Knowing that her family had only found a small portion of Moshe’s art, and that many more pieces remained to be found, Elizabeth set out to find them.


Janet Napolitano at the Lair

janet napolitano at the lair 2018’s Week 5 campers and 2016’s Week 7 campers enjoyed a special guest appearance by Janet Napolitano, 20th president of the University of California. See photos and video from her visits.