Hear from Olympia’s experts and leaders

We’ve invited a powerful lineup of speakers, including: 

Steffany brownSteffany Brown is a Black feminist who is dedicated to empowering all girls, femmes, and gender nonconforming youth in STEM through her work with YWCA Olympia’s Girls Without Limits! program. Her passion for race and gender equity in STEM is grounded in her lifelong commitment to justice and critical thinking. She is proud and grateful to have studied sociology and political economy at The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus.


laurie-dolan-headerRepresentative Laurie Dolan grew up in Spokane and is a lifelong Washington resident.   As a teacher and school director, Laurie spent her entire career tirelessly advocating for the needs of our children and our schools. Raised in a middle-class family, Laurie believes in making sure our economy helps working families. Laurie earned her degree from the University of Washington and returned to Spokane in 1973 where she started teaching at Bancroft Elementary. Laurie worked with legislators, policy advisors, and advocates to improve the lives of Washingtonians. Read more.


beth-doglio-headerRepresentative, Beth Doglio. As a progressive, community organizer and a mother of two, Beth has spent the last thirty years in training to take on the trust and aspirations of her community, to secure a thriving, sustainable, just and compassionate future for us all. She is currently serving her first term as a state representative from the 22nd legislative district. Beth most recently served as the campaign director at Climate Solutions, a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit. She also served as the regional co-director for the Power Past Coal campaign. Beth has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in political science and telecommunications. Read more.

rob-duff-pic.jpgRob Duff, Senior Policy Advisor – Natural Resources and Environment. Rob received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986.  In 1993, he received a Master of Science degree from the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Washington in Seattle including cancer research and toxicology. Rob worked in the field of human health risk assessment for the State of New Hampshire and the Washington State Department of Health eventually becoming Director of DOH’s, Office of Environmental Health Assessments where he led a team of risk assessors, toxicologists, epidemiologists and health educators. In 1997, Rob moved on to manage the Environmental Assessment Program at the Washington State Department of Ecology, providing critical environmental monitoring data for agency decision making to protect and enhance human health and the environment in Washington State. Rob is currently a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee on natural resource and environmental issues. Read More

dargan-frierson-528x528Professor Dargan Frierson, Associate Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington. Dargan Frierson is an atmospheric scientist who studies how climate change can alter big, climatic features, like storm tracks, tropical rain bands, or deserts. At the University of Washington, Frierson been recognized multiple times for his teaching excellence, and he has also received a National Science Foundation CAREER Faculty Early Career Development Award, one of NSF’s most prestigious awards for young faculty.

ford, john-2 ps'dJohn Ford, John Ford is a child of the atomic age, and was raised on a healthy diet of Warner Bother’s cartoons, science fiction novels, and comic books. He hails from Niagara Falls, NY, tourist attraction and birthplace of Shredded Wheat cereal, and has spent years developing his intellectual palate for all things pulpy, jazzy, creative, and fun. In 1993, he arrived as a student at the Evergreen State College and was drafted into a DJ position on KAOS radio. Ever since, he has been doing News/Public Affairs shows, with many a episodes covering scientific topics, and decrying pseudoscience and quackery. He has also hosted a jazz show on KAOS, now in its 23rd year. For John, it has been an interesting life and one that continues to hinge upon the wonders of scientific endeavors.
tedheadshotTed Hanson
serves as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Equal Rights Washington. He also serves on the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium LGBTQ Community Advisory Committee. Ted is an avid basketball enthusiast, and deeply committed to a future where LGBTQ youth are supported and empowered. Ted currently works as the Director of Research at the UW College of Engineering.

114_rp_wa_10_heck_dennyCongressman Denny Heck. Denny Heck  is the Member of Congress from the Pacific Northwest that serves on the House Financial Services Committee. He is a member of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee. Congressman Heck is a native Washingtonian and graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1973. In the decade prior to his election to Congress, Congressman Heck successfully grew several small businesses in Washington State. Congressman Heck was also an original investor in Real Networks, the digital entertainment company that pioneered streaming media on the Internet. Read more

Audrey MillerAudrey Miller is the SW WA Regional Field Organizer for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, a position she has held for a year. Prior to working with Planned Parenthood, Miller organized, educated, and mobilized young people in Clark County to become more civically engaged through participation in local politics and elections. Miller has also managed and staffed several political campaigns and has her Masters Degree in Public Affairs and Public Policy from Washington State University. Miller’s published works focus on public policy and public administration and she sits on a business district steering committee with the City of Vancouver in her free time.

Sam MulveySam Mulvey serves as President of the not-for-profit organization Humanists of Washington. He is also the co-creator, primary host, and producer of Ask An Atheist With Sam Mulvey, an award-winning podcast that has toured the US and graced television and commercial radio. Sam also develops software for nonprofits, media producers, and the open source community. Originally from Chicago, Sam now makes Tacoma his home.


image001Candace Penn (Pika Se’ Leala) has grown up rich in Coast Salish traditions, she is a member and employee of the Squaxin Island Tribe, the people of the water. Currently she works for the Squaxin Natural Resources Department as a Climate Change Ecologist. Returning to work for the tribe after pursing a bachelors in science from The Evergreen State College. She is an active member of the tribal community serving on the tribes Education Board. She enjoys advocating for education of tribal youth, providing climate change information, and thinking about ways that we as tribal people can adapt to our changing environment.

SalathéEric P. Salathé Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Climate Science and Director of the Northwest Climate Science Center at the University of Washington. Eric teaches for the newly formed Climate Science and Policy major and conducts research on regional climate change and climate impacts.


12507193_10154451019945299_7825995746905073075_nBen Silesky is a passionate advocate for local government solutions to climate change and believes in the power of organizing to build public will for them. He currently works on carbon/clean energy issues for Audubon Washington and spent three years as the field manager for Carbon Washington’s I-732 carbon tax campaign. He also co-founded a Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign and worked as a fundraiser for the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center. He strongly believes that creating change can and should be democratically accessible to everyone no matter the issue.

unnamedDr. E.J. Zita is a physics professor at The Evergreen St. College, an organic cattle farmer, and chair of Thurston County’s Agriculture Committee. Zita was elected Commissioner at the Port of Olympia in 2015, and to the regional American Physical Society board. Zita’s PhD research was in magnetic fusion; she and her teams worked to create a sun in the laboratory at General Atomics (in San Diego), Los Alamos National Lab (in New Mexico), and the University of Wisconsin (in Madison). Zita and her Evergreen students researched solar physics and climate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (in Boulder) and Lockheed Martin’s Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (in Palo Alto). She has served on review panels for NASA and the National Science Foundation.s Dr. Zita and her colleagues are working on renewable energy and sustainable solutions, and Zita is working to move the Port of Olympia toward a better future.