Peter Backlund

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Mr. Backlund has devoted his career to the planning, management and leadership of complex interdisciplinary research activities. His interests include the interactions of environmental, societal, and economic factors in sustainability; the relationship of human activities and environmental changes; assessment of climate change risks, impacts and response strategies; use of scientific research for decision-making and public policy; development and use of information and observational technologies; and improving the communication of scientific information to non-technical audiences. Mr. Backlund has helped lead assessments of the effects of climate change on land resources, water resources, biodiversity, agriculture, and global food security. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Abraham Lincoln Honor Award for exceptional achievement and outstanding contribution to American agriculture.

Mr. Backlund was part of the leadership team of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) from 2001-2013, where he led strategic planning, oversaw relationships with sponsors and other organizations, and developed interdisciplinary projects that combined atmospheric, social, health, ecological, and hydrological science. From 1995-2001, he was a senior advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he focused on climate change science, assessment and policy; evaluation, planning, and coordination of environmental science programs and budgets; Earth observations and remote sensing; and communication of environmental science and technology issues to senior officials, industry, academia, the public, and Congress. Mr. Backlund helped manage Earth science activities at NASA HQ from 1991-1995, working on projects with Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, India, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Russia, EUMETSAT, ESA, and the United Nations. From 1988-1991, Mr. Backlund held positions with SM Systems Research Corporation, LRS Associates, and Science Applications International Corporation.


Rae Ellen Bichell (@raelnb)Bichell

Rae Ellen Bichell is an independent science journalist based in Boulder, Colorado. She got her journalism start at Nashville Public Radio before landing a sweet fellowship at NPR that was basically a year-long crash course in reporting for national news on the web and radio. When that ended she clung to NPR like a barnacle, eventually joining NPR’s Science Desk to cover on biomedical research and then basic science. At one point she lived in Helsinki, Finland, where she used a Fulbright grant to start a podcast (which she now thinks is truly horrible) about advances in climate science in a place where climate change is not considered a political issue. As a biological anthropology major at Yale, she spent a lot of time sorting through ancient bits of bones and teeth before deciding that, while fieldwork was a lot of fun, lab work was not. You can reach her at or on Twitter @raelnb. You can read/listen to most of her stories here.


Max Boykoff (@boykoff)

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Max Boykoff is an Associate Professor in Environmental Studies with a courtesy appointment in Geography, a Fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and the Director at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) within CIRES. Max also serves as a Deputy Editor at the journal of Climatic Change and a Senior Fellow at the University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute. Through connected projects and collaborations, Max examines how climate science and policy find meaning in people’s everyday lives, as well as how this, in turn, feeds back into science and policy decision-making.



Jacey Cerda 

Jacey.HeadShot.Dog.jpgJacey is an Instructor with Colorado State University’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability and College of Agriculture. Jacey has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, an M.P.H. concentrated in Animals, People, and the Environment, and a J.D. focused on natural resources and environmental law. Jacey is also a practicing attorney at both the trial and appellate levels. Jacey’s classes explore the intersection of law, policy, and science, and encourage students to think critically about how science and law can work together or in opposition in the political world we live in today. Jacey’s research interests include biodiversity conservation and public health, and the role of law in One Health, Ecohealth, and Planetary Health initiatives. Connect @CerdaJJ.


Ruthe Farmer (@ruthef)

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Ruthe Farmer has focused her efforts on diversity and inclusion in tech and engineering since 2001 and is currently Chief Evangelist for the CSforAll Consortium. She served as Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy focusing on President Obama’s call to action for Computer Science for All, and previously served as Chief Strategy & Growth Officer and K-12 Alliance Director at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) . Over the course of her career, Ms. Farmer has launched and scaled up multiple national programs including Aspirations in Computing  the TECHNOLOchicas campaign for Latinas, AspireIT outreach program, Intel Design & Discovery, Lego Robotics for Girl Scouts and more. She served as the 2012 Chair of Computer Science Education Week, was named aWhite House Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion in 2013, received the Anita Borg Institute Award for Social Impact in 2014, and the Education UK Alumni Award for Social Impact in 2015. She is a guest contributor for Techcrunch, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, the Shriver Report, and the Huffington Post, and has been featured in Forbes and TechRepublic for her work. Ruthe holds a BA from Lewis & Clark College and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Oxford Said Business School and is passionate about integrating innovative business strategies into social change efforts.


Lyndsey Linke

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Dr. Lyndsey Linke is the CEO and co-founder of SiVEC Biotechnologies, a startup company based in Fort Collins, CO. SiVEC Biotechnologies is committed to developing global solutions for rapid disease protection and the companies R&D efforts are centered on developing a platform technology for the delivery of nucleic acids into specific cells and tissues. This delivery platform has implications for broad range of disease applications and provides a breakthrough in the field of nucleic acid therapeutics for human and animal medicine. The company is currently focused on developing a patent-pending antiviral technology, SiVEC-AIV™, to be rapidly applied on-farm as a sprayed aerosol to treat and prevent all types of avian flu viruses in poultry. Dr. Linke has over 10 years of scientific experience related to the R&D of novel therapeutics, antivirals, and diagnostic tests. Dr. Linke is first named inventor on the patent pending technology, SiVEC-AIV™. She has a PhD in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and a Masters of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering from Colorado State University.


Raj Pandya (@ThrivingEarth)

Rajul_color.jpegRajul (Raj) Pandya is the founding director of the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX). TEX helps volunteer scientists and community leaders work together to use science, especially earth and space science, to tackle community issues and advance local priorities related to sustainability and resilience. While at TEX, Raj helped launch and lead the Resilience Dialogues – a public-private partnership that uses facilitated online dialogues to help subject matter experts and community leaders work together to take steps toward community resilience.

Raj has led education programs at a National Center for Atmospheric Research, mentored students, taught in college and high school, brought diverse communities and scientists together internationally and in the US, and worked to advance educational technology in atmospheric sciences. He has led multi-disciplinary efforts to increase diversity in the sciences, manage meningitis vaccines more effectively in Africa, and improve student learning of weather and climate. Raj is a founding member of the board of the Citizen Science Association, former commissioner of Education and Human Resources for the American Meteorological Society, serves on the board for Public Lab, and chairs the National Academies committee on “Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning.” He holds a Ph.D. from University of Washington in Atmospheric Science. He lives in Colorado with his partner Amy (a physician his parents call ‘the real doctor’), their horse-loving daughter Maya, and their dog Nala.

Maddie Sofia (@maddie_sofia)MSofia

Madeline Sofia is an assistant producer on NPR's Science Desk, and specifically for Joe's Big Idea. The goal of Joe's Big Idea is to tell scientific stories that explore the minds and motivations of researchers, and highlight the scientific process. Joe's Big Idea is also involved in helping young scientists become better scientific communicators. These scientists are part of a world-wide group known as Friends of Joe's Big Idea, or FOJBIs. Madeline is in charge of connecting the FOJBI community and facilitating their growth as communicators. FOJBIs regularly volunteer at outreach events, hold science socials, and contribute to blogs. Before working at NPR, Madeline received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Rochester Medical Center. She studied Vibrio cholera, a fascinating 4 billion-year-old, single-celled organism that's evolved to outsmart the human immune system — and cause cholera. If you're interested in working with us, check out the JBI Facebook page.


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Dr. Susan Sullivan is Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder.  She has worked with scientists for more than twenty years to help them communicate and engage with educators, students and the public.  Her background includes atmospheric chemistry research, education and outreach, project evaluation and diversity work.


Alexandra Witze

Alexandra Witze is a Boulder-based science journalist who has written for Nature, Science News, Air & Space, and many other publications.