Online or offline, our guest speakers and teachers give us a front-row seat on what’s happening in newsrooms, classrooms, business, civil society and conversations all over the world. Below is a selection of our most recent guest speakers.
Al Drago (guest speaker/politics keynote) is a photojournalist based in Washington, D.C., where he works for The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Reuters and The Associated Press. He covers the White House, Congress, and national news and politics. During his time in the nation’s capital, Drago has covered the final months of the Obama presidency, the 2016 and 2020 election, and all facets of the Trump White House. He is one of a few pool photographers that follows the president everywhere he goes, whether it’s in the motorcade for a speech down the street, or traveling on Air Force One to accompany the President on a weekend trip. Drago has traveled all over the world covering the Trump era, from a llama farm in Argentina with Ivanka Trump to a secret trip to Iraq to greet members of the military over the 2018 winter holidays. Drago has garnered numerous accolades, including several first place awards from the White House News Photographers Association and others from the National Press Photographers Association and Hearst Journalism Awards; he is also a six-time National Winner of the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award. He has also lectured at Harvard University, Syracuse University and the Poynter Institute, and gave the 2019 commencement address at Elon University.
Arjav Rawal (guest speaker/politics intensive) is the vice chair of the California High School Democrats. Prior to joining the executive board of CAHSD, he interned for the office of California state Rep. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) and worked on the election campaign for Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). Rawal also served as the president of the Tri-Valley Youth Expo, where he worked to rebuild a dormant group into a locally acclaimed nonprofit, with roughly $20,000 raised from a variety of sponsors under his leadership. Rawal made national headlines in January 2020 after scooping CNN’s nationally renowned Iowa Poll on three separate occasions. Post-graduation, Rawal is working as an intern for Thrive, a Kansas nonprofit, where he is helping to raise awareness of climate change in rural communities. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, reading, and playing music.
Adrienne von Schulthess (guest speaker/climate intensive) is the executive director of Carbon Lighthouse Association, a non-profit dedicated to helping companies and individuals offset their emissions through taking away the rights of the fossil fuel industry to pollute and contribute to climate change. She comes to CLA from the impact investing space with experience working on carbon markets from both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. At Meridian Institute, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., von Schulthess worked on projects including the CEO Climate Dialogue, which works with Fortune 500 CEOs to advocate for national level carbon pricing and a project supporting learnings across state carbon pricing initiatives in partnership with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. Later at Encourage Capital and Climate and Forest Capital, she led research and tracking of daily carbon market policy developments (California/Western Climate Initiative, RGGI, E.U. ETS) for development of a sustainability ETF with IHS Markit, a leading index provider, worked with tropical forest governments on carbon agreements, and represented her firm at key meetings including during presentations on agriculture offsets to California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff. She also consulted for the Environmental Defense Fund on a nonprofit accelerator to reduce tropical deforestation. Von Schulthess received a B.A. in political science from Stanford University.
Camille Respess (guest speaker/podcasting) is a journalism student at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She is a fellow at NBC News and is also working under the mentorship of Pulitzer Prize winner Sara Ganim for a data-driven journalism project for the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. Additionally, Camille is also on a team producing a crime-focused podcast series with WUFT, a regional NPR and PBS affiliate in Florida. In the past, Camille has worked for Chalkbeat, an education news source based in New York, The Trace, the Riverfront Times and the Independent Florida Alligator. Camille was awarded the 2019 National Association of Black Journalists Acel Moore Scholarship for Community Journalism. She was a fellow with the Dow Jones News Fund in 2019. Camille was also an assistant project editor for “Since Parkland,” an expansive project about gun-related deaths of minors in the one year since the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which won multiple awards and was nominated for a 2020 Webby People’s Voice Award in the Best Individual Editorial Feature – Media Company category. Camille got her start in community-driven journalism at her high school newsmagazine in St. Louis.
Casey Miller (guest speaker/global journalism)is the content and media coordinator at Kiva in the Portland offices. In this position, she’s responsible for social media and blog management, high-level copywriting, and marketing campaign coordination. Casey graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Journalism, and still uses this journalistic background in her storytelling at Kiva. With a passion for travel and cultural exchange, Casey seeks to spread the stories of our cultures and communities for those whose voices are often ignored.
Dustin Duong (guest speaker/photojournalism) is a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying photo- and video-journalism at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Duong specializes in general news coverage and long-form visual storytelling, having done work in both his local community and abroad. He has served as an assistant photo editor for his college newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, a visuals intern at the Charlotte Observer and as a freelancer. His work has appeared in the Associated Press. Duong believes strongly in community journalism and emphasizes developing long-lasting relationships with the people he documents.
Hannah Hess (guest speaker/climate roundtable) is a senior manager for Rhodium Group, an independent research provider focused on analyzing global trends. As part of Rhodium’s Oakland-based energy and climate team, Hess works with the Climate Impact Lab, a research collaboration dedicated to estimating the costs of climate change. Hess oversees data and communications projects that bring together climate science, economics, and risk analysis. Before joining Rhodium, Hess spent five years working as a journalist in Washington, D.C., reporting on Capitol Hill for E&E News and Roll Call. She covered federal climate and energy policy, regulatory reform, Congressional ethics, and lobbying. Hess holds a B.A. in media studies and an M.A. in public affairs reporting, both from the University of Illinois.
Jack Herrera (guest speaker/political reporting) is an independent reporter covering immigration, refugees, race matters and human rights. An Ida B. Wells Fellow in investigative journalism, Herrera has published work in Politico Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic, Columbia Journalism Review, Pacific Standard, Popular Science, PRI’s The World, GEN Magazine, and TruthOut, as well as in syndication via Salon and CityLab. Herrera graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature and philosophy. He travels frequently to Mexico to report from the border.
Kiera O’Brien (guest speaker/climate science journalism strand) is the founder and president of Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends, an advocacy organization that aims to mobilize young conservative leaders in support of the Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan and renew the GOP’s legacy of environmental leadership. She graduated from Harvard College in 2020, where she studied government on the technology science track and served as president of the Harvard Republican Club. This year, she is a Public Voices Fellow at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications and has been recognized as one of GreenBiz’s 30 under 30 sustainability leaders. Kiera grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska, a small island community in southeast Alaska. She enjoys hiking and fishing with her parents, her two sisters and three small dogs.
Lynda Mapes (guest speaker/climate science journalism keynote) is a reporter at the Seattle Times, where she specializes in coverage of the environment, natural history and Native American tribes. Mapes led the team that produced “Hostile Waters: Orcas in Peril,” an award-winning series beginning in 2018 that documented the impact of climate change on the endangered orca whale. Over the course of her career, Mapes has won numerous awards, including the international 2019 and 2012 Kavli gold award for science journalism from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest professional science association. She has written five books, including “Elwha, a River Reborn,” about the largest dam removal project ever in history and the effort to revive a wilderness watershed in Washington’s Olympic National Park, and its once legendary salmon runs. In 2013-14 Lynda was awarded a Knight fellowship in Science Journalism at MIT. As a Bullard Fellow in 2014-15, Maps explored the human and natural history of a single, 100-year old oak in the Harvard Forest to write “Witness Tree,” published by the University of Washington Press in 2019. Her forthcoming book on the southern resident orca whales’ struggle to survive will be published by the Mountaineers Books in spring of 2021. In addition to her staff position as lead environment reporter at the Times, Lynda is an associate of the Harvard Forest of Harvard University, in Petersham, Massachusetts. She was recognized by NOAA Fisheries in 2016 with the prestigious Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award for her reporting on fish and habitat. She lives in Seattle.
Najia Ashar (guest speaker/global journalism) is one of Pakistan’s best known broadcasters. She served as a senior anchor and producer for Geo News for 12 years and editor of news strategy and planning at Aaj News, where she also hosted “News Hour with Najia.” She has also worked as a news show host at GNN TV. As a 2015 Knight Fellow in journalism at Stanford University, Ashar worked on measures to protect the safety of journalists in Pakistan and elsewhere where free speech is threatened. Now founder and chief executive officer of Media Baithak as well as the Global Neighborhood for Media Innovation, Ashar is tackling gender issues in the media and helping to train the next generation of journalists. She holds a Master’s of Arts degree in international relations from Karachi University and was named an East West Center fellow in 2013.
Nebe Betre (guest speaker/broadcast) is the Press/Digital Assistant for Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Prior to her current position, Betre interned for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington, D.C., and for WorldBytes, a political news program in London, England. As a student at Boston University, Betre served as the news producer for BUTV10’s daily news program, The Wire, and served as associate producer for BUTV10’s live 2016 election night special, The Vote 2016. Originally from Texas, Betre was a Newsroom by the Bay Scholar in 2013, where her story on the television series Star Trek as a multicultural watershed in American television reflected her sense of humor as well as her serious approach to journalism; her efforts prompted staff to give her a “Sharkie” award, which goes to students who go above and beyond expectations during the course of camp. She came back to NBTB 2018 and 2019 as iPad/video instructor. Betre graduated from Boston University in 2018 with a degree in journalism. Find Nebe on Twitter @nebetre and Instagram as @nebebetre.
Simon Greenhill (guest speaker/climate science intensive and moderator, climate roundtable) is an incoming Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, where he plans to study the intersection of development and environmental economics. His specific research interests include the economic impacts of climate change, policies spurring adaptation to environmental change, and human migration. A student journalist through high school and college, Simon is a four-time participant in Newsroom by the Bay, from a Y2 student in 2013 to CIT in 2014 and team leader in 2015 and 2016. He also served as a founding editor for Global Student Square. Since 2018, Greenhill has been a pre-doctoral fellow at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), where he has contributed to research in the Climate Impact Lab. Prior to EPIC, Simon earned a B.A. in economics and Arabic from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also worked as a reporter and photographer for the Daily Californian.