2021 California Science Education Conference

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 2018 Climate Summit. Those speakers are designated with the Climate Summit logo.

Friday, November 30, 2018

8:00 am - 9:30 am

Sponsored By:

Turning Misconceptions/Misinformation Into Educational Opportunities

Brad Hoge, Director of Teacher Support, National Center for Science Education

Learn about a new unit of climate change lessons developed using a misconception-based approach and evidence-based pedagogy. The lessons were created at a workshop with classroom teachers called Turning Misinformation into Educational Opportunities. Workshop facilitators included John Cook, a research assistant professor at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University who developed the misconception-based approach, Frank Niepold, Senior Climate Education Program Manager for NOAA, and Brad Hoge, Director of Teacher Support at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). The five lesson unit is built around misconceptions specifically identified in the Heartland Institute's mailing utilizing a unique inquiry strategy to inoculate students to misconceptions.

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

How to Make Science Happen in an ELA World

Panelists: Katherine Altmann, Teacher, San Diego USD; Alyssa Nemeckova, Teacher, Palm Springs USD; and San Stauffer, Colton Joint Unified School District

Facilitator: Karen Cerwin, Regional Director, K-12 Alliance @ WestEd

A facilitated panel of elementary educators will discuss the challenges and share solutions of teaching science in elementary—a grade span long dominated by English Language Arts.

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

NGSS and Career Readiness: Fulfilling California’s Workforce Demand

Panelists: Janelle Wellons, Mission Operations Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); Peter Hung, Member of the Technical Staff, The Aerospace Corporation; Julie Newman, Electronics Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and Mas Dojiri, Assistant General Manager, LA Sanitation & Environment

Facilitator: Jennifer McCluan, TOSA, San Dieguito Union High School District

Engage with a panel of professionals from a variety of industries and sectors and learn about their perspective on how an education inclusive of a science education based on the Next Generation Science Standards prepares students for careers.

4:20 pm - 5:50 pm

Sponsored By:

Data From the Skies Warn of Disasters on the Ground

Margaret (Maggi) Glasscoe, Geophysicist in the Earth Surface and Interior Group, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Hazards, such sea level rise and coastal erosion, as well as natural and anthropogenic hazards and disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes, tropical cyclones, oil spills, etc. are a regular consequence of life on Earth.

But space borne and airborne Earth observations are now able to provide a synoptic and time-critical situational awareness to responders and decision makers during a disaster, and long-term assessment and evaluation of changes and impacts resulting from disasters.

Geophysicist Maggi Glasscoe of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will discuss how Earth observations from satellites and aircraft can be used to monitor natural hazards and disasters through airborne projects like Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) and data synthesis programs like the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) Project for Natural Hazards project.

Saturday, December 1

8:00 am - 9:30 am

NGSS = College Ready

Panelists: Matthew d’Alessio, Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, CSU Northridge; Allen Leung, Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Rio Hondo Community College; Maria Simani, Executive Director, California Science Project; Paul Narguizian, Professor of Biological Sciences and Science Education, CSU Los Angeles; and Leah Sabbeth, Graduate Student, CalTech

Facilitator: Jennifer McCluan, TOSA, San Dieguito Union High School District

Engage with a panel of university and community college professors and learn about their perspective on how an education inclusive of a science education based on the Next Generation Science Standards prepares students for post secondary education.

10:00 am - 11:30 am

Sponsored By:

Rivers in the Sky

Marty Ralph, Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

California has no mighty rivers like the Mississippi, but rivers of a different kind can flood the state. In winter 2017, more than a meter of precipitation fell in some places, unleashing floods, triggering landslides, and causing evacuation of 200,000 people. It’s all because of atmospheric rivers: long, narrow ribbons of water vapor rushing across the sky. Just a few hundred kilometers wide, atmospheric rivers stretch thousands of kilometers from the tropical oceans toward the poles, carrying on average 25 times as much water as the Mississippi River, but as vapor rather than liquid. When atmospheric rivers make landfall, and the vapor condenses, they can release a staggering amount of rain and snow. Join Scripps Institution of Oceanography meteorologist Marty Ralph, Director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes as he describes the phenomena of atmospheric rivers, their impact on our weather, and the essential role modeling and prediction play in managing California’s precious water resources.

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Photo: Susan Gomez Zwiep

Photo: Claudio Vargas

Equity in Science Education: Language Learners and Science

Susan Gomez Zwiep, Professor, Science Education, CSU Long Beach
Claudio Vargas, Co-Director, SciLingual, LLC

Science for ALL is an important shift in the CA NGSS. We will share successes and strategies for making science accessible for English Learners and discuss why science can be a rich context for language development.

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Sponsored By:

The Reverse Keeling Curve: Earth’s Climate History Preserved in Ancient Ice

Jeff Severinghaus, Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Many are familiar with the Keeling Curve, the iconic record of increasing CO2 in earth’s atmosphere established by Scripps Oceanography scientist Charles David Keeling in 1958 – but how do we know about CO2 before then? Drilling down thousands of meters into the ancient ice preserved on Earth’s massive continental ice sheets, scientists can extract a wealth of information about our climate history – including periods both much colder and considerably warmer than today. Ice, dust and tiny gas bubbles in Greenland and Antarctic ice provide myriad clues into the complex workings of Earth’s climate system. Join Scripps Institution of Oceanography paleoclimatologist Dr. Jeff Severinghaus as he describes how he delves into Earth’s climate past to gain insight into our climate future.

4:45 pm - 6:15 pm

Sponsored By:

Exploring Earth from Space and Being a Scientist in 2018

Mike Gunson, Global Change & Energy Program Manager & OCO-2 Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Every year, NASA and many international partners have added new satellites and instruments to an array of sensors already in space to study how and where the Earth is changing. These capabilities in orbit have required a new generation of scientists to make the discoveries, to exploit the exciting opportunity, and to advance our fundamental understanding of the planet we call home. Over the past thirty years, the skills we need for this research have changed. In this talk, we will look back at the evolution of the earth science space program, the opportunities for young scientists, and what it might tell us about what they need to know.


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