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Available Speakers

NCSE staff and board members are available to speak about many topics relating to controversies in science education, including creationism, evolution, climate change, science and religion, and the nature of science as a way of knowing. For assistance in scheduling a speaker, please get in touch with Robert Luhn, NCSE's director of communications, at (510) 601-7203, luhn@ncse.com.

Executive Director


Speaker: Ann Reid
Title: Executive Director, NCSE
Education: MA, Johns Hopkins University
Ann ReidAnn Reid became the executive director of NCSE in 2014. For fifteen years she worked as a research biologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, where she was responsible for sequencing the 1918 influenza virus. She then served as a Senior Program Officer at the National Research Council’s Board on Life Sciences for five years and then, most recently, as director of the American Academy of Microbiology. In both roles she oversaw major efforts aimed at communicating science to the public.
Suggested Honorarium: $5000
Topics: For the general public, scientists, and teachers
   
  • Why real science matters: evolution
  • Why real science matters: climate
Topics: For scientists and teachers:
   
  • Microbes and evolution
  • Microbes and climate change
• • •

Board of Directors and Advisory Council


Speaker: Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.
Title: Member, NCSE Board of Directors
Education: Ph.D., Tulane University (Philosophy); M.A., Louisiana State University (Philosophy); B.A., English, Southeastern Louisiana University
Barbara ForrestBarbara Forrest joined NCSE's board of directors in 2004 after ten years of activism and professional scholarship on behalf of public education, especially science education, and civil liberties. Her doctoral dissertation, "Naturalism in Education: A Study of Sidney Hook," examined Hook's philosophy of education, which stressed the teaching of critical inquiry throughout the curriculum. She was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005). Her areas of expertise in the trial were the history and strategy of the intelligent design creationist movement and the development of the creationist textbook, Of Pandas and People. Her service in the Kitzmiller case was an outgrowth of her co-authorship with Paul R. Gross of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2004). The book details the nature of ID creationism and the political tactics that ID advocates at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture are using to advance their "Wedge Strategy." Forrest has also written a personal account of her experience as an expert witness. Her interest in the intelligent design issue stems from her support for public education and the separation of church and state. She is also on the Board of Trustees for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public, teachers, school boards, and university audiences:
   
  • The nature and strategy of the intelligent design creationist movement
  • An expert witness's account of the Dover trial
• • •

Speaker: Kevin Padian, Ph.D.
Title: Past president, NCSE Board of Directors, and member of the Advisory Council
Education: M. Phil., Ph.D., Yale University; B.A., M.A.T., Colgate University
Kevin PadianKevin Padian is past president of NCSE's board of directors and also Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator in the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1980. An international expert on the evolution of vertebrates, particularly dinosaurs and their relatives, his principal interest is in the origin of major adaptive changes. It was on this subject, as well as on phylogenetic relationships, homology, and the nature of science, that he testified in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial on "intelligent design" in 2005. He is the author of over a hundred scientific articles and numerous books. He was one of the authors and editors of the California Science Framework K-12 in 1990, and has served on three panels advising the adoption of textbooks and other instructional materials in science to the state of California. He has received numerous awards and academic honors and appointments, including the Carl Sagan Award for the Popularization of Science, and has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for Sigma Xi and a Visiting Professor at the Collège de France, the Université de Paris, and the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was named Western Evolutionary Biologist of the Year.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For teachers, church groups, and the general public:
   
  • What Darwin said (and didn’t say)
  • Why intelligent design is bad science — and bad theology
  • How dinosaurs grew so big (and so fast)
  For university audiences:
   
  • Please inquire directly.
• • •

Speaker: Andrew J. Petto, Ph.D.
Title: Member, NCSE Board of Directors; Editor, Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Education: Ph.D., University of Massachusetts–Amherst (Bioanthropology); M.A., University of Massachusetts–Amherst (Anthropology); A.B., Middlebury College (Sociology-Anthropology)
Andrew J. PettoAndrew Petto is senior lecturer in anatomy and physiology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He joined NCSE's board of directors in 1995 and serves as editor of the NCSE publications, which were merged into Reports of the National Center for Science Education in 1997. With Laurie R. Godfrey, he is co-editor of Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism — a sequel to Godfrey’s 1983 Scientists Confront Creationism. This book explores the cultural, scientific, philosophical, and educational issues related to anti-evolutionism in the early 21st century. He has been active in promoting evolution in state science education standards in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, working with education agencies to refine state standards on evolution, biological variation, and adaptation. He has also consulted with several school districts to improve the presentation of evolution in the curriculum. Since 1994, Petto has been actively involved in professional development activities for teachers in social and biological sciences, especially in the area of evolution education and the sociopolitical forces that teachers face in presenting this fundamental biological theory.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For parents, teachers, and school boards:
   
  • What is evolution, anyway? Why teach evolution?
  • Understanding the process of science
  • Preparing future teachers
  For editors and reporters:
   
  • What is a scientific controversy?
  • Writing about evolution
  For the general public:
   
  • Evolution: What does it matter?
  • Evolution and conservation
  • Evolution: The way life works
• • •

Speaker: Benjamin D. Santer, Ph.D.
Title: Member, NCSE Board of Directors
Education: Ph.D., B.Sc., University of East Anglia
Benjamin D. SanterBenjamin D. Santer joined NCSE's board of directors in 2012 to advise NCSE on its new climate change education initiative. A noted climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Santer was a major contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change studies that won the IPCC the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a recipient of the MacArthur "genius" grant, and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • The nature and causes of climate change
  • The scientific evidence for a "discernible human influence" on global climate
  • The genesis of the IPCC's 1995 "balance of evidence" statement
  For university audiences:
   
  • Climate change detection and attribution
  • Evaluating climate models
  • Volcanic effects on climate
• • •

Speaker: Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Title: Chair, Advisory Council, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., University of Missouri (Physical Anthropology)
Eugenie C. Scott: Eugenie C. ScottEugenie Scott, a former university professor, served as the executive director of NCSE from 1987 to 2014; she now serves as the chair of NCSE's Advisory Council. She has been both a researcher and an activist in the creationism/evolution controversy for over twenty-five years, and can address many components of this controversy, including educational, legal, scientific, religious, and social issues. She has received national recognition for her NCSE activities, including awards from scientific societies, educational societies, skeptics groups, and humanist groups. She holds nine honorary degrees, from McGill, Rutgers, Mt. Holyoke, the University of New Mexico, Ohio State, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Colorado College, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Chapman University. A dynamic speaker, she offers stimulating and thought-provoking as well as entertaining lectures and workshops. Scott is the author of Evolution vs Creationism and co-editor, with Glenn Branch, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.
Suggested Honorarium: $5000
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • Creationism and evolution: historical, scientific, political, legal, educational, and/or religious perspectives (as requested)
Topics: For scientists and teachers:
   
  • Teaching evolution and/or the nature of science
  • Coping with antievolutionism
  For school boards and administrators::
   
  • Legal aspects of teaching evolution and creationism
• • •

Staff


Speaker: Glenn Branch
Title: Deputy Director, NCSE
Education: M.A., UCLA (Philosophy)
Glenn BranchGlenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE. Formerly a graduate student in philosophy at UCLA, where he won prizes both for scholarship and teaching, he is conversant with the philosophical debates surrounding creationism and "intelligent design"; he is also a long-time student of pseudo-science. Branch is co-editor, with Eugenie Scott, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools, and the author or coauthor of numerous articles on creationism and evolution in such publications as Scientific American, The American Biology Teacher, and Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • Creationism and evolution: historical, political, and/or religious perspectives (as requested)
  For university classes:
   
  • Creationism and the philosophy of science
  • Creationism and the philosophy of religion
• • •

Speaker: Peter M. J. Hess, Ph.D.
Title: Director, Religious Community Outreach, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union (Science and Religion); M.A. Oxford University (Philosophy and Theology)
Peter M.J. HessPeter Hess is the Director for Religious Community Outreach at NCSE, and an adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary's College, Moraga. Researching and teaching in the interdisciplinary field of science and religion for the past two decades, he focuses in his scholarly work on the interaction between science and religion, 1500-1900. In 2002 he was elected a member of the International Society of Science and Religion (ISSR). An engaging speaker, he offers stimulating and thought-provoking lectures and workshops. He addresses religious, philosophical and historical aspects of the controversy surrounding evolution and creation, and can draw out the theological implications of an evolutionary view of the universe. He teaches liberal studies at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California, and serves on the steering committee of the Local Societies Initiative of the Metanexus Institute. He is the author, with Paul L. Allen, of Catholicism and Science.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • Creationism and evolution: historical, religious, and philosophical perspectives (as requested)
  • "Blundering into blasphemy: From theistic evolution to intelligent design"
  • Issues in science and religion: cosmology, evolution, the human person
  • History of science-religion interaction
  For scientists, religious scholars, and teachers:
   
  • Teaching science or religion with integrity
  • What the Bible does and does not teach
  • Myths, meanings, science and truth: A guide to cosmogonic stories
• • •

Speaker: Eric Meikle, Ph.D.
Title: Education Project Director, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley (Anthropology)
Eric MeikleEric Meikle has been a staff member at NCSE since 2000. He was trained as a physical anthropologist with a special interest in the fossil record of human and primate evolution. Before coming to NCSE, he was on the staff of the Institute of Human Origins for 11 years, and also taught anthropology at universities in California and Arizona. He has over 35 years of experience conveying information about human evolution to students, educators, and the general public through courses, lectures, museum exhibits, teaching materials, tours, and a variety of publications. Dr. Meikle was anthropology advisor for the pioneering "Stones and Bones" curriculum development project of the Los Angeles Unified School District from 1979 to 1991. He is also especially interested in the history of human evolutionary studies and the nature of antievolutionism.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public and teachers:
   
  • Human evolution and the fossil record
  • Reconstructing the human past: how do we know?
  • Current antievolutionism in the US
  • Evolution and the nature of science
• • •

Speaker: Steven Newton
Title: Programs and Policy Director, NCSE
Education: M.S., California State University at Hayward (Geology); B.A., University of California at Berkeley (History)
Steven NewtonSteven joined NCSE as a Public Information Project Director in the summer of 2008. He received a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley, with an emphasis in modern German history and early 20th century pseudoscientific movements (eugenics, forced sterilization programs). Switching gears completely, Steven then completed an M.S. in Geology from CSU Hayward, with an emphasis in paleoclimatology. Following graduation, Steven taught geology and oceanography as an adjunct faculty member at a number of Bay Area colleges, where he developed courses in the History of Science and the Geology of the National Parks. In Steven’s spare 15 minutes/week (divided equally into 2:08 minute blocks per day), he enjoys racing sailboats and sculpting in marble and bronze.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • Fossil Record
  • Nazi history & Darwin
  • Science vs. Pseudoscience
  For university classes:
   
  • Teaching Science to Non-Scientists
  • History & Theory of Pseudoscience
• • •

Speaker: Joshua Rosenau
Title: Programs and Policy Director, NCSE
Education: Doctoral candidate, University of Kansas (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology); B.A., University of Chicago (Biology)
Joshua Rosenau Josh Rosenau has been a Public Information Project Director at NCSE since 2007.

He researched the evolutionary relationships between Philippine rodent species based on phallic morphology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. He pursued a doctorate at the University of Kansas, studying the ways ecological competition shapes the ecological niche and geographical ranges of species.

When creationists on the Kansas board of education sought to undermine evolution education in 2005, Josh worked with grassroots groups and the media to improve public understanding of the issues, and to defend honest and accurate science education. Since joining NCSE, he has continued this effort, working with grassroots groups from Florida to Texas, testifying before school boards, meeting with legislators, and speaking with journalists across the country. He continues to work with scientists to be more effective science communicators, and with the public to increase science literacy in the US and abroad.

Recent publications include a study of new legal strategies employed by creationists, and a study of the rhetoric of creationists in the Islamic world.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • Biological diversity and its causes
  For scientific audiences:
   
  • Communicating science to the press and the public
  For all:
   
  • Creationist Attacks on Science Education: The Evolution of a Parasite
• • •

Speaker: Mark McCaffrey
Title: Programs and Policy Director, NCSE
Education: M.A., University of Northern Colorado (Education Leadership and Policy Studies); B.A., Fort Lewis College (Southwest Studies)
Mark McCaffreyMark S. McCaffrey recently joined NCSE from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was Associate Scientist III. Mark played a leadership role in the development of Climate Literacy: Essential Principles of Climate Science and Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education. Both have been endorsed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. McCaffey helped lead the development of the Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN). McCaffrey has testified before the House Subcommittee on Research about climate and environmental education and has been involved in international education, communications and outreach through the International Polar Year and related efforts.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • Climate Change
  • Anthropogenic global warming
  • Climate and energy literacy
  For university classes:
   
  • Climate Change
  • Climate and energy literacy
  • Anthropogenic global warming
• • •

Speaker: Minda Berbeco, Ph.D.
Title: Programs and Policy Director, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., Tufts University (Biology); B.S., Carnegie Mellon University (Psychology)
Minda BerbecoMinda Berbeco comes to NCSE from UC Davis, where she was a post-doctoral scholar conducting research studies on climate change and agriculture. An expert on the carbon cycle and climate change, she has taught, written, and presented talks on the effects of climate change on forests and carbon and nitrogen cycling. Berbeco brings to NCSE a knowledge of climate change policy, greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation in agriculture and forests, and related topics.
Suggested Honorarium: Please contact us for details
Topics: For the general public:
   
  • Climate Change
  • Anthropogenic global climate change
  • Kids' questions about climate change
  For scientists and teachers:
   
  • Climate Change
  • Anthropogenic climate change
  • Climate change and agriculture
  • Climate change and forests
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Presenting science to policy makers
  For school boards and administrators:
   
  • Integrating climate science in the K-12 curriculum
• • •