• Headshots of new members to Board of Trustees
    Top row (from left): Nicole Ardoin, PhD; Kian Beyzavi, PhD; John C. Dwyer; Gary Hall. Bottom row (from left): Nicole Lacob; Chrissy Luo; Carla Peterman, PhD; Chris Schell, PhD.
  • California Academy of Sciences welcomes new members to its Board of Trustees.
    California Academy of Sciences welcomes new members to its Board of Trustees. (© 2008 Tim Griffith)

SAN FRANCISCO (October 13, 2022)—The California Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce the election of eight new members to its Board of Trustees. With backgrounds spanning scientific education and research, government, law, utilities, and finance, this class represents a wide range of experience and expertise that will support the Academy’s vision and mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. The 39-member Board continues to be led by Board Chair Dan Janney, who was elected into the leadership role in 2021 after serving as a member for four years.

“We are thrilled to welcome such a talented and varied new class of members to the Academy’s Board of Trustees. Our mission to regenerate the natural world is bold— and something we can’t do alone. This cohort of Trustees will be instrumental in building and strengthening the partnerships that are so essential to our purpose-driven work,” says Dr. Scott Sampson, the Academy’s Executive Director. “We are deepening our connections to some of the Bay Area’s most esteemed academic institutions, Stanford and UC Berkeley, and one of its most beloved community organizations, the Warriors Community Foundation. At the same time, we’re bringing on board Trustees who have been catalytic to new scientific research as philanthropists and investors, and who have invaluable experience working alongside government organizations. Whether they grew up visiting the Academy or have only recently joined our community, each of our new Trustees has a special connection to the Academy’s mission, and we are honored they have chosen to serve on our Board of Trustees.”

The only place in the world to house an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum under one living roof, the Academy is also home to world-class biodiversity science, environmental education, and collaborative engagement programs that aim to reimagine the relationship between people and the planet.

The Academy’s new Board of Trustees members are:

Nicole Ardoin, PhD, Emmett Faculty Scholar, is the Sykes Family Director of the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources and an Associate Professor in the Doerr School of Sustainability at Stanford University. She is also a Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment. Professor Ardoin and her Social Ecology Lab group research motivations for and barriers to environmental behavior at the individual and collective scales. They use mixed-methods approaches—including participant observation, a variety of interview types, surveys, mapping, network analysis, and ethnography, among others—to consider the influence of place-based connections, environmental learning, and social-ecological interactions on participation in a range of environmental and sustainability-related decision making processes. Professor Ardoin and her interdisciplinary group pursue their scholarship with a theoretical grounding and orientation focused on applications for practice; much of her lab's work is co-designed and implemented with community collaborators through a field-based, participatory frame. Professor Ardoin is also an associate editor of the journal Environmental Education Research, a trustee of the George B. Storer Foundation, chair of NatureBridge's Education Advisory Council, an advisor to the Student Conservation Association and Teton Science Schools, among other areas of service to the field.

Ardoin holds a BBA from James Madison University, an MS in natural resource management from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and an MPhil and PhD in environmental studies from Yale University.

Kian Beyzavi, PhD, is an operating partner at Cota Capital, a multistage investment firm. Her focus is on investing in HealthTech solutions where advanced technologies and dynamic data sets combined with analytics, AI and machine learning drive exponential advances in diagnosis and delivery of care. Specific investment themes include medicine-at-the-edge, AI-enabled drug discovery, precision medicine, and predictive diagnostics.

Over the past 20 years, Beyzavi has gained a system-level view of the healthcare landscape as an investor, advisor, consultant, senior executive, and general manager. She embarked on her career at McKinsey & Company, followed by senior leadership roles at Rho Ventures, Cubit software, Medtronic, Abbott Diabetes, and Novartis Diagnostics. She then founded and led KBeyzavi & Associates, a boutique consulting firm focused on driving innovation in life sciences. She is currently on the boards of Inflammatix and Vave Health, a member at Council on Foreign Relations, and an advisor to several start-ups and incubators. Kian holds a PhD in electrical engineering and applied physics from Princeton University.

John C. Dwyer is a senior partner and member of the Board of Directors of international law firm Cooley LLP. Throughout his career, Dwyer has represented many of the most innovative technology and healthcare companies in the world—including Twitter, Uber, NVIDIA, Tesla and Gilead Sciences—as well as their senior leaders in high-stakes litigation. Prior to joining Cooley, he served in a number of senior positions in the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration. As the Acting Associate Attorney General, he oversaw the activities of the civil rights, environmental and natural resources, antitrust, civil and tax divisions of the department. Dwyer was awarded the department’s highest honor, the Edmund J. Randolph Award, presented by Attorney General Janet Reno in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the department. Dwyer currently also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Bay Area Legal Aid, the largest provider of civil legal aid services to low-income clients in the Bay Area. He holds a BS in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Gary Hall is a Partner and the Head of Infrastructure and Public Finance at Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC. He is also a Partner of American Triple I Partners, an infrastructure private equity firm that focuses on transportation, energy, knowledge and information systems, and smart city investments.

Before his current roles, Hall was an investment banker with J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, where he assisted state and local governments with accessing the capital markets for close to $50 billion of senior-managed municipal bonds issuances, credit facilities, and derivative transactions. He also worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group of Banc One Capital Markets, Inc., assisting middle-market companies and financial sponsor firms with strategic alternatives. Prior to his career in investment banking, Hall was appointed a White House Fellowship by President Bill Clinton to work as a Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance in the U.S. Department of Treasury. He was also a corporate finance attorney with Gardner, Carton, and Douglas (now Faegre Drinker) and served posts in the administration of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Hall received a BBA in Finance from Howard University and JD from the University of Notre Dame.

Nicole Lacob is the Board President of the Warriors Community Foundation, a role which she has served in for the last 10 years. Under her leadership, the charitable arm of the Golden State Warriors has delivered more than $30 million in impact, including grants to Bay Area nonprofit organizations supporting education and youth development, making it one of the most generous foundations in professional sports. Under Lacob’s guidance, the Foundation has donated over 15,000 tickets to local youth and community leaders and led a number of basketball court refurbishments. She’s also helped the Foundation expand its collaboration efforts by partnering with Salesforce for the annual Hoops For Kids program and Kaiser Permanente for Generation Thrive, which provides education and wellness support to Bay Area non-profit organizations and schools, in addition to partnerships with Rakuten and PG&E. Prior to her role with the Warriors Community Foundation, Lacob spent time in the wine industry, and spent seven years as a high school teacher in history and government.

A native of Washington, DC, Lacob is a 2018 inductee to the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame for her philanthropic work. She holds a BA in political science from George Washington University.

Chrissy Luo co-founded the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute (TCCI) with her husband, Tianqiao Chen, in 2016 with a significant commitment to help advance brain science. Luo and her husband play a very active role in the Institute, overseeing program development, strategy partnerships, and managing the recently created Chen Frontier Labs. In 1999, Luo also co-founded the Shanda Interactive Entertainment Group (now Shanda Group), which has been credited with pioneering the online game and online literature industries in China. Luo is directly involved with the company’s public market, VC, and real estate investment strategies. Since its inception, Luo has held a number of executive positions at the company including the role of Group CFO from 1999-2004, and prior to co-founding the organization she was an investment banker. Luo is passionate about education and innovative learning strategies. She and her husband are longtime philanthropists who, prior to concentrating on brain science, supported children’s medical programs in China and Mongolia, education for underprivileged families, and disaster relief and rebuild programs around the world. Luo holds a Bachelor of Investment from the China Finance Institution (now part of the University of International Business and Economics).

Carla Peterman, PhD, is the Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for PG&E Corporation. At PG&E, she oversees the company’s regulatory, legislative, sustainability, and charitable strategies. Prior to joining PG&E in 2021, Peterman served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs at Southern California Edison. Before that she served as a Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission and as a Commissioner on the California Energy Commission. Peterman also served as Chair of the California Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery. She currently serves as a member of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco Economic Advisory Council and as a member of the Bay Area Council.

Peterman holds a BA from Howard University, a PhD in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and MS and MBA degrees from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Chris Schell, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studies the intersections of society, ecology, and evolution to understand how wildlife (mainly mammalian carnivores) are rapidly adapting to life in cities. The work of the Schell lab combines behavioral, physiological, and genomic approaches to demonstrate the myriad consequences of historical and contemporary inequities on organismal, population, and community-level dynamics of wildlife. In addition, Dr. Schell and his lab leverage human dimensions and community-engaged data streams to decipher how wildlife adaptation and human perceptions create landscapes of risk that contribute to human-carnivore conflict. This interdisciplinary work requires integrating principles from the natural sciences with urban studies to address how systemic racism and oppression affect urban ecosystems, while simultaneously highlighting the need for environmental justice, civil rights, and equity as the bedrock of biological conservation and our fight against the climate crisis.

Schell holds a BA from Columbia University and a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago.

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution with a mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement—all under one living roof. Museum hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For daily ticket prices, please visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.

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