WSE Featured Speakers

  • Wanjira Mathai

    Wanjira Mathai

    Wanjira Mathai is the vice president and regional director for Africa at World Resources Institute (WRI). She formerly served as co-chair of WRI’s Global Restoration Council and a Senior Advisor to the Global Restoration Initiative. She is the current chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation and the former chair of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. An inspiring leader, Wanjira has over 20 years of experience advocating for social and environmental change on both local and international platforms.

    Over the years, Wanjira has also served important strategic and advocacy roles raising the prominence and visibility of global issues such as climate change, youth leadership, sustainable energy, and landscape restoration, at Women Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER), the Wangari Maathai Foundation (WMF), and the Green Belt Movement (GBM) the organization her mother, Wangari Maathai (2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) founded in 1977. Wanjira currently serves on the board of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and as a leadership council member of the Clean Cooking Alliance. Wanjira is one of a few Six Seconds EQ practitioners in Kenya and was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Women in 2018 and 2020.

  • Justine Cassell

    Justine Cassell

    Justine Cassell is currently on leave from Carnegie Mellon University to hold the founding international chair at the PRAIRIE Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in AI, and to serve as Directrice de Recherche at Inria, both in Paris. Before going on leave, she was associate dean of Technology Strategy and Impact in the School of Computer Science at CMU, and director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute. Previously Cassell was faculty at Northwestern University where she founded the Technology and Social Behavior Doctoral Program and Research Center, and before that was a tenured professor at MIT. Cassell has received the MIT Edgerton Prize, Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision award, the AAMAS Test of Time paper award, and the National Academy of Sciences Henry and Bryna David Prize for Social Sciences applicable to policy. She is a fellow of the AAAS, Royal Academy of Scotland, and the ACM.

  • Francisco Escobedo

    Francisco Escobedo

    Dr. Francisco Escobedo has been an educator the better part of 30 years. Since 2010, he is the superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD). Located in southern San Diego County, the district’s 46 schools serve over 29,400 students. In 2019, the Learning Policy Institute identified CVESD was one of seven “California Positive Outlier” districts for its superior academic scores. Dr. Escobedo is past president of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; member of the board of directors for West Ed Advisory Board, California Collaborative for Education Excellence, the local YMCA, and for Classroom of the Future Foundation; and a Rotarian. He was selected as 2019 Superintendent of the Year for ACSA Region 18.

    During his tenure at CVESD, he initiated a health initiative that led to a dramatic decrease in student obesity trends. As a result, the district became the first to receive the San Diego County “Live Well” certificate and was recognized by the American Heart Association. Partnered with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, he initiated the Community Opus Project, which was the beginning in bringing music education back into classrooms. These efforts resulted in the district’s recognition as a 2015 Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award. Under Dr. Escobedo’s leadership, CVESD received the distinguished Multiple Pathways to Biliteracy District Award for its implementation of 22 dual immersion schools and Exemplary District of the Year Award 2018. He received the Rindone Educator of the Year Award in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2019 and California State Assembly’s 80th District Latino Leader Award 2016. Recently he earned the 2020 Ronald Edmund Award for leadership in Urban Education.

    His experience includes working as assistant superintendent for educational leadership in the South Bay Union School District and principal research analyst for American Institutes for Research. Since 2001, Dr. Escobedo has served as adjunct professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University (SDSU) and is currently a member of the doctoral faculty. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University; MA degree from SDSU; and EdD from the University of California, San Diego, and SDSU.

  • Tracy Day

    Tracy Day

    Tracy Day is the co-founder and CEO of the World Science Festival where she oversees all creative, editorial and programmatic offerings and produces original theatrical and musical productions including Icarus at the Edge of Time, a multimedia orchestral work by Brian Greene and composed by Philip Glass; Dear Albert and Radiance, works for the stage by Alan Alda. An award-winning broadcast journalist for over two decades, she produced news, documentary, and investigative specials for the nation’s preeminent news divisions including ABC, PBS, CNN, the Discovery Channel, Lifetime and CNBC. She produced on-location coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall; Nelson Mandela’s release in South Africa; the Gulf War from Baghdad and Iran; and drug wars in Colombia. She is the recipient of four National News Emmys; a Clarion Award; a CINE Golden Eagle Award; and a Silver HUGO for Investigative Reporting.

  • Jeff Duncan-Andrade

    Jeff Duncan-Andrade

    Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D., is professor of Latina/o Studies and Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. He is also a founder of the Roses in Concrete Community School, a community responsive lab school in East Oakland, and the Community Responsive Education Group.

    As a classroom teacher and school leader in East Oakland, Calif., for the past 28 years, his pedagogy has been widely studied and acclaimed for producing uncommon levels of social and academic success for students. Duncan-Andrade lectures around the world and has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters on effective practices in schools. He has written two books and his third book with Harvard Press is due out spring 2021. In 2016, Duncan-Andrade was part of the great educators invited to the White House on National Teacher Appreciation Day by President Obama, and in 2019 he was chosen as the laureate for the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education. In 2021, he was selected to join the Board of Prevent Child Abuse America. Duncan-Andrade has also been ranked as one of the nation’s most influential scholars by EdWeek’s Public Influence Rankings.

    Duncan-Andrade’s transformational work on the elements of effective teaching in schools is recognized throughout the US and as far abroad as New Zealand. His research interests and publications span the areas of youth wellness, trauma responsiveness, curriculum change, teacher development and retention, critical pedagogy, and cultural and ethnic studies. He works closely with teachers, school site leaders, union leaders and school district officials to help them develop classroom practices and school cultures that foster self-confidence, esteem, and academic success among all students. Duncan-Andrade holds a PhD in Social and Cultural Studies in Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, both from the University of California – Berkeley.

  • Promo photo for Mask Debate play

    Kyung Hyun Kim

    Kyung Hyun Kim (he/him) is a creative writer, scholar, and film producer, who is currently a professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and the Visual Studies Program at UC Irvine. He has worked with renowned directors such as Hong Sang-soo, Lee Chang-dong, and Martin Scorsese as well as with American film producers Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. Professor Kim is author of Virtual Hallyu: Korean Cinema of the Global Era, The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema, and Hegemonic Mimicry: Korean Popular Culture of 21st Century, all published by Duke University Press, and a Korean-language novel entitled In Search of Lost G (Ireo beorin G-reul chajaso, 2014) about a Korean mother who combs through the US in search of her son who has gone missing from his Massachusetts prep school. He has co-produced and co-scripted two award-winning feature films, Never Forever (2007, Sundance Film Festival’s US Main Competition) and The Housemaid (2010, Cannes Film Festival Main Competition).

  • Trinidad Jackson

    In November 2014, the fight for collective liberation summoned Trinidad Jackson’s mind, body, and spirit back to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, to act as a disruptor and a movement scientist. The Ferguson Uprising—sparked by Michael Brown’s murder—provided a landscape that trajected his critical social action and research from St. Louis to Louisville.

    Upon returning to Louisville in 2015, he led participatory community research that explored power, oppression, and the need for critical consciousness and action through the lenses of justice, safety, hope, and racial equity. This engagement and critical data informed his team’s approach, which ultimately led to a CDC Center of Excellence designation for violence prevention research.

    Across cities and countries, Trinidad has created, led, and supported scholarship, practice, and activism covering the ecological spectrum that centers human rights, sociopolitical development, healing, and liberation. In April and May 2021, he respectively took on new leadership roles as the assistant dean for culture and liberation at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and as senior advisor within Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services to further lead, learn, and transform policies, systems, and environments in ways that prioritize collective liberation. Within the past year, he was presented with the Nolen Allen Man of Distinction and the Outstanding Student/Employee of the Year awards for his professional and community-related efforts.