urban designer, social catalyst, and a place making pioneer
Mark Lakeman is an unusual urban designer, social catalyst, and a place making pioneer. As founder of the design activist cultures of the City Repair Project, communitecture design collaborative, and Planet Repair Institute, Mark's work challenges conventions of thought and action, and even dares to suggest that much of history, that seems long past, may not yet be settled. His work to transform the American colonial grid into a network of intersections of convergence and cultural expression has become a movement that spans the continent. With more than 350 projects in Portland, Oregon alone, the projects emerge from communities as outrageous fusions of unheard of functions and irrepressible forms, in which design is employed as a means to bring people together. As a son of Portland, Oregon's visionary culture of design activism, Mark helps keep his city on the edge.
faculty member, Biology Department at Cabrillo College in Aptos / Senior Conservation Scientist, Oceanic Society
Nicole Crane is a faculty member in the Biology Department at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. She is also a Senior Conservation Scientist at the Oceanic Society, and is the Project Leader for the Ulithi Marine Management and Conservation Project – focusing on outer island communities to help with sustainable management planning. Crane has more than 20 years experience working with communities and conducting ecological assessments of reefs. She is dedicated to linking rigorous science with cultural knowledge and community leadership in conservation. Nicole has established several science education programs in the United States, with a focus on serving underrepresented students. She was the founder and PI of the National Science Foundation Center for Excellence in Marine Advanced Technology Education (Monterey Peninsula College), and PI for Camp SEA Lab (California State University Monterey Bay). She was nominated for a PEW fellowship, and is a Fellow National at the Explorers Club.
Author and Documentarian
Susanna Zaraysky speaks eight languages. She is the author of Language is Music (in English, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish) about how to use music & other media to learn foreign languages and the book, Travel Happy, Budget Low (a budget travel guide). The BBC, CBS, CNN, EFE, The Guardian, Univision and Telemundo have interviewed Susanna about how to improve foreign language education with music. She hosted her own segment in Spanish on the Al Despertar morning show on Univision San Francisco called “El idioma es música” where she taught English grammar and pronunciation via songs. She is the co-producer of the documentary, Saved by Language, about how a young Bosnian boy saved his life in the Holocaust by speaking Ladino. The US State Department has organized her presentations about language learning through music in Bosnia, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Qatar and Russia.
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
Virginia Wright has been working as a director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies (MAPS) since October 2011. Prior to her work with MAPS, Virginia was the Principal of Wright & Associates, a firm that provided strategic planning, marketing and fundraising services to nonprofit organizations. Virginia served as the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz County Symphony, and the Development Director of the Carmel Bach Festival, and KUSP radio. Virginia was an early employee of the Global Fund for Women, and co-founded the Soviet American Performing Arts Exchange. She has participated in two international movements that have helped change the world: citizen diplomacy and the woman’s movement. She believes that ending the drug war, and basing drug policy on science, not fear, is one of the next big shifts in thinking that will bring healing and freedom to millions of people. Virginia received her MBA from Santa Clara University, and her BA from SFSU in International Relations and Russian Studies. She danced professionally in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and currently dances for joy.
Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center
Cat Willis is the founder and director of the Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center. She has lived in Santa Cruz for over 13 years. She is originally from Rochester, N.Y., where she was encouraged from a small age to express herself through the arts. She began her formal dance education with Garth Fagan Dance, with whom she studied extensively for six years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from SUNY Brockport. Her passion for cross cultural understanding, dance arts research, study, and performance has led her to Central America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. She has taught dance throughout Santa Cruz, including two years with Mountain Elementary School as resident choreographer. Cat has served on the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz Grants Advisory Committee, the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz grants panel, SC Fringe Festival Advisory Board, and was the 418 Project’s 2009 Artist in Residence and the Theatre Bay Area’s CA$H grant recipient in Dance. Her work through her dance company, DIASPORA, has been shown throughout Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Dancer and Choreographer
A 13-year senior member with Garth Fagan Dance, Micha Scott has performed and taught master classes worldwide. She has been a soloist with Tandy Beal & Company, and a featured dancer in the PBS special “Griot New York” with famed composer and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Micha has taught dance at SUNY Brockport, Rochester School of the Arts, SCU, UCSC, Cabrillo College, public schools, and private studios. Her choreography has been commissioned by Santa Clara University, Cabrillo College, and Monterey High School. Micha is co-artistic director of Diaspora Dance Company, resident choreographer at Mountain School, dance instructor at Mount Madonna School and Dancenter, and artistic director of children’s programming at Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center.
Aliza Weller, MES
Co-Founder of a play-based learning institute
Aliza Weller is a global training Instructional Designer for a well-known tech company in Silicon Valley and Co-Founder of a play-based learning institute. Her central work is to help others develop courage, authenticity, and to aspire toward inner greatness and depth. She taught Zen meditation and yoga in maximum security men’s prisons. She created play-based urban programs that catalyzed policy change and galvanized 30,000 students to walk and bike to school to improve their health and that of the environment. She lived for three years in the high Canadian Arctic Circle, doing cross-cultural resource management work, where playfulness is a survival skill because winters have 24-hour darkness and -70 temperatures, and where she learned to play with the wind, kite boarding on the frozen ocean. With a background in Education, Communications, Biology, Law, and a Masters degree in Environmental Studies, Aliza advises on the Board of Directors of the North American Association for Environmental Education and the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. Her Arctic writing has been nominated for national literary awards.
2011 fellow with the Jack Kent Cooke Association
Sophia VanKlootwyk-Forde sees bicycles as more than transportation: she sees them as vehicles for human connection. Equipped with a camp stove and a tent, she has biked thousands of miles across a dozen countries. Sophia is also fervently involved in bicycle advocacy: she co-founded the Cabrillo Bike Co-op as a community college student, taught bike safety and maintenance classes to fellow students at UCLA, and worked at a DIY Bike co-op in a low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles. Sophia earned her Associates Degree while still in high school and obtained a BA in Geography from UCLA and the University of Copenhagen. She is a 2009 fellow with Young People For, a progressive student leadership program, and a 2011 fellow with the Jack Kent Cooke Association, a private scholarship fund that awards outstanding academic achievement.
Founder of EK4T
Marco came to the US from Italy as a Fulbright scholar in mathematics and economics at the University of California in Berkeley. After a stint in the financial industry, Marco worked as visual artist on a full-time basis for 5 years and obtained a MFA focusing on the intersection between public art and ecology. He later worked for 6 years managing investment equity portfolios primarily on behalf of large foundations and endowments. In April 2009 Marco left the finance industry and has since been instrumental in the formation and development of the Slow Money Northern California chapter where he currently leads the investor working group. Marco is currently developing Essential Knowledge for Transition, a curriculum for engaged citizens to understand the money and banking system, the economic system and the financial system and how we need to transform them.
Through faith and hard work, Maui born local Derick Sebastian continues to live his dream as an accomplished international ‘ukulele virtuoso. Derick’s critically-acclaimed instrumental album, From His Heart, earned a Na Hoku Hanohano 2010 nomination, has shared the stage with fellow ukulele ace Jake Shimabukuro and opened for R&B sensation Brian McKnight, with notable performances at PIXAR Animation, Grey’s Anatomy, and professional sports industry’s MLB, PGA, ESPN and EA SPORTS. Derick recently broke into the film industry composing movie theme songs to Germany’s Behind The Rainbow and Hollywood’s Life’s An Itch. While garnering these many accomplishments, Derick is humbled and stays true to himself, and continues his dedication to inspire lives through his music and impact the world through the pure sounds he evokes through the ukulele.