Meet our 2022 speakers! Hover your mouse over each photo to read the corresponding biography.
From a young age, Tavis Boise formed a strong connection with the ocean and used this as inspiration early in his career to work as a Lifeguard EMT and Lead Junior Lifeguard Instructor for Santa Barbara County. Tavis has attended Santa Barbara City College, San Francisco State and obtained his MBA from Cal State Channel Islands. While enrolled in graduate school, Tavis ran his first political campaign for Santa Barbara City Council and centered his platform on environmental policy. In his free time Tavis serves on the Board of Directors of a local non profit called The Friendship Paddle and as Chairman of the youth arm of the organization, The Keiki Paddle, a youth led annual ocean paddle that aims to raise emotional and financial support, for a child honoree who has a life threatening illness.
Tavis has found a passion for grassroots organizing and continues to bring his bold ideas and energetic leadership to the table.
After completing her Masters degree from the University of Miami’s marine program, Roxane spent six years in the Cayman Islands. She worked as a Jill-of-all-trades in the SCUBA diving industry, amassing over 2,000 dives as an underwater videographer, SCUBA instructor and divemaster. On the surface, these were just jobs; under the surface is where Roxane feels most at home. During her time on the small Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, Roxane spent her free time hunting lionfish, educating tourists on marine science, and participating in Nassau grouper research. Between these activities, she never left her love for coral behind, co-founding a Coral Nursery on the small island of Cayman Brac. As part of the Coral Restoration Foundation™ team, Roxane looks forward to continuing to share her passion for reef conservation by managing the Recreational Dive Program.
Dr. Norah Dunbar
Dr. Norah Dunbar is a Professor of Communication at the University of California Santa Barbara. She has spent the past 25 years studying the verbal and nonverbal cues that can identify deceivers. Her research is focused on the role of power and dominance in assessing credibility as well as training tools, like interactive video games, that can be used to train experts to better assess the credibility and detect deception. She has received over $13 Million in research funding from agencies such as the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Center for Identification Technology Research. She has published over 100 papers and chapters and has presented over 120 times at National and International academic conferences.
Maura Jaye is a senior at Laguna Blanca High School and has had a passion for music since childhood. Maura is in Laguna’s Stage Band class and has been an active musician in her school community for many years. She has performed at the Avocado Festival, the Music Academy of the West, and Soho Music Club. Maura has an equal love for guitar, vocals, and song-writing, and enjoys collaborating with her mentors and peers.
Over the summer, she recorded her first EP -- “Nothing Gold” -- in Nashville, Tennessee. The EP consists of five original songs, each with their own special meaning. In her TEDx talk, Maura will “go beneath the surface” of the recording process and the meaning of her songs.
Dr. Tamir Keshen
Tamir H. Keshen, MD, is a highly skilled surgeon who treats patients at California Pediatric Surgical Group in Santa Maria, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, and two Ventura, California, offices. He founded the practice with the vision of bringing exceptional pediatric surgical care to the children of the Central Coast.
Dr. Keshen is board certified in both pediatric and general surgery. He’s widely renowned for his aptitude in surgical oncology and trauma, as well as advanced minimally invasive surgery for thoracic and abdominal diseases in newborns, infants, and children.
Dr. Keshen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and earned his medical degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. He then completed his general residency surgery at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.
During his residency, Dr. Keshen also completed a two-year, NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellowship in neonatal nutrition and metabolism at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Baylor College of Medicine, all in Houston, Texas. He then completed a fellowship in pediatric surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama.
After finishing his postdoctoral training in 2002, Dr. Keshen served on the faculty at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, where he joined his wife, Roberta Sengelmann, MD. He was an assistant professor of pediatrics and surgery and the director of pediatric minimally invasive surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. His research centered on lipid metabolism and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in obese adolescents.
Dr. Keshen is published in a variety of reputable journals and is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Surgeons Southern California Section, and the American Pediatric Surgical Association
Molly, a current Laguna Blanca Junior, is an extroverted leader with a special love for academics and art. On a constant search for the best iced-coffee, you can find Molly in local coffee shops or with her friends and family. She plays on the tennis team, loves math, and pursues both writing and producing music in her free time. Molly’s enthusiasm, curiosity, and creativity powers her busy high school years and connects her deeply with a wonderful network of interesting people.
Molly hopes to both inspire and educate the audience by sharing her journey with overcoming her stutter and the impact it had on her life. By going through this experience, she was able to notice that everyone has a “stutter” whether it be physical, emotional, or mental.
Dr. Dena Montague
Dena Montague, earned a PhD in Political Science from UCLA and a BA from Brown University. She is the co-founder of ÉnergieRich, an international social enterprise advancing justice through clean energy innovation. Prior to her doctoral studies she was a Research Associate at the World Policy Institute where she analyzed questions concerning the impact of extractive sector management on democracy, development and human rights in Africa. Dr. Montague has conducted research in several African countries including Nigeria, Niger, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, as well as extensive research in Paris on race, social movements and economic inequality. Her published articles can be found in magazines and journals including, The SAIS Review of International Affairs and Brown Journal of World Affairs. She served as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Duke University, and at UC Santa Barbara.
Magician, author, and speaker—Danny Ray recently fooled Penn & Teller on the CW’s show Fool Us. Danny has amazed thousands of audiences worldwide, from conferences, camps, to the world-famous “Magic Castle,” Danny’s unique blend of sleight of hand and humor has brought him to all 50 states and 21 countries. Yet, he is far more than entertaining it’s a fun-filled show packed with a powerful message. To find out more go to www.dannyraymagic.com
Drawing upon 25 years of senior executive experience with public and private medical device companies, September is responsible for advancing TDS’ current and future strategic partner relationships. September’s executive experience includes tenure as the Vice President of Marketing for Evolus, as Vice President of Development for Allergan and Director of Product Management for Computer Motion (merged with Intuitive Surgical).
September considers herself very fortunate to have launched first wave disruptive technologies in minimally invasive surgery and medical robotics. For example, September was instrumental in commercialization of the first surgical robots and voice-activated operating rooms. She also pioneered new markets by developing and launching the first national consumer medical device commercial to run on all major networks.
September is once again in a key leadership position, launching the next disruptive technology to enable the realization of Surgery 4.0 through TDS’ Digital Technology Platform.
Patrick Webster is an underwater photographer and marine science communicator based out of Monterey Bay, California. Raised overseas in the French Alps and suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden, Patrick fell in love with the ocean from a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium when he was five years old, and he’s been trying to figure out how to be a fish ever since. And he’s getting closer—from humble origins as UCSC slug sliming his way through marine biology and scientific diving classes, he now plays the role of honorary marine mammal on the Aquarium’s social media and dive teams. Combining his debilitating word asso-sea-ocean syndrome and a penchant for pursuing Poseidon’s pixels, Patrick hopes his work can joyfully bring his fellow Earthlings closer to the wonders of the Inner Space of Planet Ocean.
Humans have been studying the stars for thousands of years, but astrophysicist and Laguna Blanca parent, Juna Kollmeier, is on a special mission: creating the most detailed 3-D maps of the universe ever made. Journey across the cosmos as she shares her team's work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, imaging millions of stars, black holes and galaxies in unprecedented detail. If we maintain our pace, she says, we can map every large galaxy in the observable universe by 2060. "We've gone from arranging clamshells to general relativity in a few thousand years," she says. "If we hang on 40 more, we can map all the galaxies."
East coast potter transplanted to Santa Barbara. Her day job might be work in schools but in the space between she can be found throwing clay into functional pottery. She loves making mugs the most and runs a little studio called Foster & Feed.
An Atlanta native chasing her warm, coastal dream in Santa Barbara, Holly loves admiring beautiful designs and creations, through the natural world or in her middle and high school students' artwork. Holly enjoys many creative processes such as working with clay, watercoloring, writing, and capturing photographic images. She has worked in art education for fourteen years. She is passionate about motion and adventures, spending her free time hiking in mountains and paddling on the ocean or lake.
Dr. Jessica Vieira leads Sustainability at Apeel by using data-driven analyses and life-cycle thinking to maximize Apeel’s positive impacts related to climate change and food waste. An equally important part of Jess’s current role is the development of a strong set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices to guide decision making throughout Apeel's growing organization. Before joining Apeel, Jess worked on environmental sustainability at both The Dow Chemical Company and Apple. She holds a PhD from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB, a Master’s of Technology Management from UCSB, and a BS and MS in Environmental Engineering from Tufts University.
Julie Tumamait Stenslie
Steve Ferreira was born with cerebral palsy in Taipei Taiwan in 1988. Steve graduated from Bellevue College in 2013 with an Associates Degree with a concentration in Communications. He is currently enrolled in a Certificate program in Accessible Studies at Central Washington University.
When Steve was 15 years old, he decided he wanted to try to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. He started speaking to local high schools about what it is like to live with a disability. To this date, he has spoken over 500 times at more than 20 different regional high schools. In addition, he has spoken to high schools and a college in Taipei, Taiwan, local colleges, and Kiwanis and Rotary events and corporations. As a motivational speaker, Steve aims to raise disability awareness within each and every community he addresses. In November of 2011, he started a non-profit called Beyond Disabilities to further his goal of disability awareness. In addition, to his motivational speaking, Steve has been involved in athletics and has competed in International Competitions both in the United States and Europe earning the bronze medal in shot put in 2008 and the gold medal in discus in 2010.
Julie Tumamait Stenslie grew up in the Ojai Valley. The Ventura River was here playground. A place where her heart is. Today She continues to live in this area with Her Husband, Bruce Stenslie, and their 3 children.
Her work as a Native Chumash Elder is an everchanging way of life that takes Her to many multiple and varied places.
She is Tribal chair Woman of the Barbareno/Ventureno Band of Mission Indians. She is an Educator, Singer, Artist, Storyteller, and Advocate for social and environmental justice.
Her Ancestry comes from Her Father, Vincent Tumamait. She can trace Her Ancestry back 8 generations and to villages throughout Chumash territory.
Julies loves to be challenged with questions regarding Her culture. There is always something new to learn. We have lost much of our cultural ways through colonization.
We are still here.
Kevin Shertzer grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and obtained a B.A. in History from Yale University and M.Ed. from UCSB. He has taught in Laguna Blanca's Social Sciences department since 2002. Before teaching, Kevin played in a band, was a professional soccer player, and ran sled dogs in Minnesota. His other hobbies include ceramics, guitar and banjo, staying fit, the occasional video game, watching Premier League soccer, fishing, and camping.
Shelita Burke is a pop artist, futurist, keynote speaker and entrepreneur. She released her critically acclaimed album Special - EP using the blockchain and created Ethereum smart contracts to pay all the right owners instantly. The album has over 20 million streams, and charted #10 on Billboard, #3 on iTunes and has been featured in Forbes.
Shelita independently toured the world with over 150 shows across Europe, Asia, and Africa as well as a myriad of performances throughout the U.S. Her ability to connect with audiences and engage her expansive network of superfans has resulted in a devoted global audience and media interest from Forbes, NPR, The Village Voice, Billboard, MTV, and many music industry taste makers.