ESLP’s Spring 2019 Speakers!

Terisa Siagatonu is an award-winning poet, teaching artist, mental health educator, and community leader born and rooted in the Bay Area. Her presence in the poetry world as a queer Samoan woman and activist has granted her opportunities to perform and speak in places ranging from the White House (during the Obama administration) to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France. With numerous viral poetry videos garnering over millions of views collectively, Terisa's writing blends the personal, cultural, and political in a way that calls for healing, courage, justice, and truth. Offstage, Terisa delivers keynote speeches across the country on issues such as youth advocacy, educational attainment, Pacific Islander/Indigenous rights, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, gender-based violence, and others.


Terisa Siagatonu

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Adam Millard-Ball

Adam Millard-Ball is an associate professor of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Trained as an economist and an urban planner, his work focuses on the potential of city policy to tackle global climate change, and his current research examines urban sprawl worldwide, local climate plans in California, and the potential impacts of autonomous vehicles. Dr. Millard-Ball teaches classes in environmental policy, environmental economics and urban planning, including a new seminar in bicycle planning. Before coming to UCSC, he taught at McGill University, Montreal, and worked as a transportation planner for Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates in San Francisco and New York. Dr. Millard-Ball holds an MA in Geography from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in Environment and Resources from Stanford University.

Justin Cummings is an educator and environmentalist. He moved to Santa Cruz to pursue an education in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCSC, and earned his Ph.D. in 2013. HIs work for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars program allows him to support conservation efforts around the globe and to educate a new generation of environmental and conservation leaders. After winning a seat on City Council in Fall 2018, Justin was appointed the Vice Mayor of Santa Cruz. As an elected offical, he has focused on increasing community stability and safety, promoting affordable housing measures for working families, supporting local businesses, and to making new developments affordable and eco-friendly. He priotizes taking into account the voices from affected neighborhoods, and continues to work to preserve our natural environment and collaborate with appropriate agencies to protect our most vulnerable residents.

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Justin Cummings

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Rachel Dreskin

Since joining CIWF in 2013, Rachel has managed the development and growth of the US Food Business program. Her partnerships with dozens of leading companies have contributed to widespread change in corporate supply chains that are set to impact the lives of hundreds of millions of farmed animals. These partnerships focus on incorporating and strengthening animal welfare within corporate sustainability programs and seeing these policies through to implementation. In addition to working extensively with Fortune 500 companies, Rachel has guest lectured at top US universities and has had her work covered in the Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg, Fortune Magazine, and more. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Global Animal Partnership and for the Regenerative Organic Alliance. Prior to joining CIWF in 2013, Rachel ran a pioneering farm-to-table restaurant in Manhattan where she converted the animal protein sourcing from conventional to higher welfare. She previously worked with News Corporation where she specialized in consulting consumer packaged goods companies on marketing, advertising and consumer-promotion solutions. Rachel has also worked in the corporate marketing departments of Quest Diagnostics and Omgeo LLC, a division of Thompson Financial. Rachel graduated with honors from Northeastern University’s School of Business with a dual focus in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. In addition to working to better the lives of farmed animals, Rachel is also an avid cook and farmers market regular who loves spending her weekends in Prospect Park in Brooklyn with her husband, Andrew, and two children, Lev and Simone.

J.P. Rose is a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity’s Urban Wildlands program. J.P. uses litigation, advocacy, and policy to fight unsustainable development that destroys wildlife habitat and contributes to the climate crisis. His work is particularly focused on protecting Southern California’s landscapes and rivers and ensuring wildlife connectivity for species like the mountain lion. J.P. is a Bay Area native and obtained his B.A. and J.D. from Santa Clara University.


J.P. Rose


Sue Carter: Creating a Sustainale Future at the Energy, Water, and Food Nexus

Sue Carter is the Provost of Rachel Carson College and a Professor of Physics at UCSC. With more than 100 publications, Carter’s research focuses on thin film optoelectronic technologies, solid state lighting, biosensors, solar energy, and the integration of these technologies with agriculture. She has served as a board member of the UC Energy Institute and California Solar Collaborative, the Chair of the American Physics Society Group for Energy Research and Applications, and currently serves as member of the UCOP Applied Research Working Group for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative. She was the 2016 recipient of UCSC’s Climate Champion Award, was the main organizer for the UC-wide Carbon Slam, and is the founder of the Sustainability Lab (S-lab), which provides a facility for UC Santa Cruz students to pursue research projects and innovations related to sustainability. She also is the Director for the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development where she assists UCSC students on developing and deploying their innovations using her experience as a principle and/or founder at 4 start-up companies, Add-vision, Solexant (now Siva Power), Soliculture and IRIS Science Academy.

John Laird was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by
Governor Jerry Brown on Jan. 5, 2011. He has spent nearly 40 years in
public service, including 23 years as an elected official. He sponsered bills to establish the landmark Sierra
Nevada Conservancy, restored community college health services, expanded
and clarified state civil rights protections, reformed the state mandates
system, and significantly expanded water conservation. He is currently running to be a state senator.


John Laird