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.

2019 Speaker Schedule

Week 2: Dan Kammen, Glynn Washington, Michael Latner and Christina Lefevre Latner

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

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).

Michael Latner and Christina Lefevre Latner
Cal Poly Faculty members
Topic: Women in Congressional Campaigns


Week 3: Chris Carpenter, Paul Fine, and Steve Sutton

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

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

Steve Sutton
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, UC Berkeley
Topic: TBD


Week 4: David Riedel and Jenny Simon-O’Neill

David Riedel
President and Founder, Riedel Research Group, Inc.
Topic: US-China Relations: Past, Present, and Future

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


Week 5: Munis Faruqui and Deborah Cahn-Weiner

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

Deborah Cahn-Weiner
Neuropsychologist, UC Davis Department of Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Topic: Sports-Related Concussion and CTE


Week 6: Alex Filippenko and Dan Mogulof

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

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


Week 7: Julie Kerekes and Bob Jacobsen

Julie Kerekes
Associate Professor in Language and Literacies Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
Topic: Soft Skills and Small Talk in our Plurilingual World

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


Week 8: Rob York and Kathleen Gronnerud

Rob York
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Forestry
Topic: Sierra Nevada Forests: A Song of Water and Fire

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


Week 9: Sandra Polanía Reyes and Brandon Collins

Sandra Polanía Reyes
Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame
Topic: TBD

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?


Week 10: Lok Siu and Dan Garcia

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

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


Women’s Wellness Weekend: Ronit Matabuena-Lev

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


Sports and Recreation: Kia Afcari

Kia Afcari
Operating Principles Project Manager at UC Berkeley
Topic: How do you change the culture of administration at UC Berkeley?


Guest speaker schedule is subject to change


2018 Speaker Spotlight: Chancellor Carol Christ and Athletics Director Jim Knowlton

On Saturday, September 29, 2018, Chancellor Carol Christ and Athletics Director Jim Knowlton invited Lair Day Tailgate attendees to join them at a first-of-its-kind Town Hall at Alumni House before the annual Lair Day Tailgate. The two campus leaders sat down with Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley’s Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs, to discuss their five-year goals for Cal, address concerns about the campus budget, and answer questions from attendees.

For more details on the event and to hear what they shared, click here!


Janet Napolitano at the Lair

janet napolitano at the lair2018’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.