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.

2017 Speaker Schedule

Week 2: Chris Carpenter and Dan Garcia

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

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

Week 3: Terry Taylor and Kia Afcari

Terry Taylor
Haas School of Business
Topic: Ultimate Customer Service

Kia Afcari
Change agent, facilitator, and consultant focused on organizational culture, learning, and organizational change.
Topic: Increasing Collaboration at UC, at Home, and in Your Organization

Week 4: Dan Kammen and Munis Faruqui

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

Munis Faruqui
Southeast Asian Studies, UC Berkeley
Topic: Will the Real Marco Polo Please Stand Up

Week 5: Alex Filippenko and Shaila R Kotadia

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

Shaila Kotadia
Division of Equity and Inclusion, UC Berkeley
Topic: STEM Equity & Inclusion Initiative

Week 6: Brandon Collins and Bob Jacobsen

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?

Bob Jacobsen
Professor of Physics UC Berkeley
Topic: Cal in this Century: What Does it Take to be Comprehensively Excellent

Week 7: Paul Espinas and Dan Werthimer

Paul Espinas
Pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente
Topic: Wild at Heart: The Crucial Relationship Between Your Health and Nature

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

Week 8: Dan Mogulof and Julie Kerekes

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

Julie Kerekes
Topic: TBD

Week 9: Evan Variano and Phil Ting

Evan Variano
Professor, Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Topic: Chaos, Flow, and the CampfireTBD

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

Week 10: Nathan Brostrom and Rob York

Nathan Brostrom
Executive VP, University of California Office of the President Building
Topic: A Sustainable Financial Model for UC

Rob York
Professor of Forestry UC Berkeley
Topic: Sierra Nevada Forests: A Song of Water and Fire


After graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Tia went to work as a background painter at Disney Animation, and worked on Tron, Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, and Aladdin, among others. She began working as an “imperfectionist” at Pixar in 1993, and worked on Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Cars, and Brave.

Topic: How Do They Do It?

Janet Napolitano at the Lair 2016

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