Student Organizers

Science Talk at Cal would not have been possible without the volunteer effort and initiative of a few UC Berkeley students. A very special thanks to the following people:


Michelaina Johnson, Founder & Administrator


Michelaina is a senior at UC Berkeley studying environmental history, Spanish, and conservation and resource studies. She has a background in journalism and water policy. Concerned about the public’s apathy regarding climate change and scientific misinformation, particularly during the 2016 election season, Michelaina came up with the idea for this conference and enlisted the help of her friends in making it a reality. She hopes that all attendees and viewers will continue the hard work of reforming the science communications field and getting the public more aware about pressing environmental issues.


Ayla Peters, Treasurer & Grant Writer



Ayla is a senior at UC Berkeley studying Environmental Science and Political Economy and minoring in Global Poverty and Practice. She has experience in fundraising and grantwriting for a variety of nonprofit institutions, such as the Berkeley Student Food Collective, the Institute for Law and the Environment in Madrid, and Greenaction in San Francisco. Ayla has a deep passion for environmental and racial justice, and seeks to fight for communities of color who have been historically shut out from environmental discussions, especially with increasing evidence that they are the ones who are suffering the consequences of environmental destruction. Ayla would like to thank everyone who put so much effort into making the conference a success, and hopes that this sparks similar conferences and conversations for the future.


Dakota Goodman, Water Panel Organizer



Dakota Goodman is a senior at UC Berkeley double majoring in History and Society & the Environment with a minor in Human Rights. Her future goals are to attend law school for water rights and to start her own non-profit based on environmental justice promotion
through experiential outdoor education on the river. Dakota works as a river guide with O.A.R.S. during the summer and is an avid outdoor adventurer year-round. She is also passionate about poetry and photography.


Gina Hervey, Food Panel Organizer & Food Coordinator



Gina Hervey is a senior at UC Berkeley studying Culturally Based Sustainable Food Systems, Global Poverty, and Journalism. She has experience working with communities on place-based agroecological farming, food and farming policy reform, and researching alternatives to high-input farming. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, traveling, backpacking, and writing about it all on her blog. Gina is excited and honored to be working on finding members for the food panel, as raising awareness around the injustices, inefficiencies, complexities and possible solutions to our food system’s ills are of immense importance, particularly in light of today’s rising food insecurity and diet-related health problems.

Keana Richmond, Climate Change Panel Organizer



Keana is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in integrative biology. She has a background in chemistry and earth sciences and intends to use an interdisciplinary approach to studying and finding solutions to the impacts of climate change in graduate school. She hopes to be able to use her scientific education as means to bridge the communication gap between scientists and the public, to encourage people from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in science, and lessen the political partisanship on issues such as climate change. She aspires to foster a better understanding of and passion for science in the public and to preserve our natural resources as a legacy for generations to come.