Available Speakers

NCSE staff and Board members are available to talk about evolution or creationism.

Executive Director

Speaker: Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Title: Executive Director, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., University of Missouri (Physical Anthropology)
Eugenie C. ScottEugenie Scott, a former university professor, is the Executive Director of NCSE. She has been both a researcher and an activist in the creationism/evolution controversy for over twenty-five years, and can address many components of this controversy, including educational, legal, scientific, religious, and social issues. She has received national recognition for her NCSE activities, including awards from scientific societies, educational societies, skeptics groups, and humanist groups. She holds six honorary degrees from McGill, Rutgers, Mt. Holyoke, the University of New Mexico, Ohio State, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A dynamic speaker, she offers stimulating and thought-provoking as well as entertaining lectures and workshops. Scott is the author of Evolution vs Creationism and co-editor, with Glenn Branch, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.
Suggested Honorarium: $5000
Topics: For the general public:
  • Creationism and evolution: historical, scientific, political, legal, educational, and/or religious perspectives (as requested)
Topics: For scientists and teachers:
  • Teaching evolution and/or the nature of science
  • Coping with antievolutionism
For school boards and administrators::
  • Legal aspects of teaching evolution and creationism
• • •

Board of Directors

Speaker: Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.
Title: Member, NCSE Board of Directors
Education: Ph.D., Tulane University (Philosophy); M.A., Louisiana State University (Philosophy); B.A., English, Southeastern Louisiana University
Barbara ForrestBarbara Forrest joined NCSE's board of directors in 2004 after ten years of activism and professional scholarship on behalf of public education, especially science education, and civil liberties. Her doctoral dissertation, "Naturalism in Education: A Study of Sidney Hook," examined Hook's philosophy of education, which stressed the teaching of critical inquiry throughout the curriculum. She was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005). Her areas of expertise in the trial were the history and strategy of the intelligent design creationist movement and the development of the creationist textbook, Of Pandas and People. Her service in the Kitzmiller case was an outgrowth of her co-authorship with Paul R. Gross of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2004). The book details the nature of ID creationism and the political tactics that ID advocates at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture are using to advance their "Wedge Strategy." Forrest has also written a personal account of her experience as an expert witness. Her interest in the intelligent design issue stems from her support for public education and the separation of church and state. She is also on the Board of Trustees for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Suggested Honorarium: $2500
Topics: For the general public, teachers, school boards, and university audiences:
  • The nature and strategy of the intelligent design creationist movement
  • An expert witness's account of the Dover trial
• • •
Speaker: Kevin Padian, Ph.D.
Title: President, NCSE
Education: M. Phil., Ph.D., Yale University; B.A., M.A.T., Colgate University
Kevin PadianKevin Padian is president of NCSE's board of directors and also Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator in the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1980. An international expert on the evolution of vertebrates, particularly dinosaurs and their relatives, his principal interest is in the origin of major adaptive changes. It was on this subject, as well as on phylogenetic relationships, homology, and the nature of science, that he testified in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial on "intelligent design" in 2005. He is the author of over a hundred scientific articles and numerous books. He was one of the authors and editors of the California Science Framework K-12 in 1990, and has served on three panels advising the adoption of textbooks and other instructional materials in science to the state of California. He has received numerous awards and academic honors and appointments, including the Carl Sagan Award for the Popularization of Science, and has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for Sigma Xi and a Visiting Professor at the Collège de France, the Université de Paris, and the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was named Western Evolutionary Biologist of the Year.
Suggested Honorarium: $2500
Topics: For teachers, church groups, and the general public:
  • What Darwin said (and didn’t say)
  • Why intelligent design is bad science — and bad theology
  • How dinosaurs grew so big (and so fast)
For university audiences:
  • Please inquire directly.
• • •
Speaker: Andrew J. Petto, Ph.D.
Title: Member, NCSE Board of Directors; Editor, Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Education: Ph.D., University of Massachusetts–Amherst (Bioanthropology); M.A., University of Massachusetts–Amherst (Anthropology); A.B., Middlebury College (Sociology-Anthropology)
Andrew J. PettoAndrew Petto is senior lecturer in anatomy and physiology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He joined NCSE's board of directors in 1995 and serves as editor of the NCSE publications, which were merged into Reports of the National Center for Science Education in 1997. With Laurie R. Godfrey, he is co-editor of Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism — a sequel to Godfrey’s 1983 Scientists Confront Creationism. This book explores the cultural, scientific, philosophical, and educational issues related to anti-evolutionism in the early 21st century. He has been active in promoting evolution in state science education standards in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, working with education agencies to refine state standards on evolution, biological variation, and adaptation. He has also consulted with several school districts to improve the presentation of evolution in the curriculum. Since 1994, Petto has been actively involved in professional development activities for teachers in social and biological sciences, especially in the area of evolution education and the sociopolitical forces that teachers face in presenting this fundamental biological theory.
Suggested Honorarium: $1500
Topics: For parents, teachers, and school boards:
  • What is evolution, anyway? Why teach evolution?
  • Understanding the process of science
  • Preparing future teachers
For editors and reporters:
  • What is a scientific controversy?
  • Writing about evolution
For the general public:
  • Evolution: What does it matter?
  • Evolution and conservation
  • Evolution: The way life works
• • •


Speaker: Glenn Branch
Title: Deputy Director, NCSE
Education: M.A., UCLA (Philosophy)
Glenn BranchGlenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE. Formerly a graduate student in philosophy at UCLA, where he won prizes both for scholarship and teaching, he is conversant with the philosophical debates surrounding creationism and "intelligent design"; he is also a long-time student of pseudo-science. Branch is co-editor, with Eugenie Scott, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.
Suggested Honorarium: $300
Topics: For the general public:
  • Creationism and evolution: historical, political, and/or religious perspectives (as requested)
For university classes:
  • Creationism and the philosophy of science
  • Creationism and the philosophy of religion
• • •
Speaker: Peter M. J. Hess, Ph.D.
Title: Faith Project Director, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union (Science and Religion); M.A. Oxford University (Philosophy and Theology)
Peter M.J. HessPeter Hess is the Faith Project Director of NCSE, and an adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary's College, Moraga. Researching and teaching in the interdisciplinary field of science and religion for the past two decades, he focuses in his scholarly work on the interaction between science and religion, 1500-1900. In 2002 he was elected a member of the International Society of Science and Religion (ISSR). An engaging speaker, he offers stimulating and thought-provoking lectures and workshops. He addresses religious, philosophical and historical aspects of the controversy surrounding evolution and creation, and can draw out the theological implications of an evolutionary view of the universe. He teaches liberal studies at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California, and serves on the steering committee of the Local Societies Initiative of the Metanexus Institute. He is the author, with Paul L. Allen, of Catholicism and Science.
Suggested Honorarium: $500
Topics: For the general public:
  • Creationism and evolution: historical, religious, and philosophical perspectives (as requested)
  • "Blundering into blasphemy: From theistic evolution to intelligent design"
  • Issues in science and religion: cosmology, evolution, the human person
  • History of science-religion interaction
For scientists, religious scholars, and teachers:
  • Teaching science or religion with integrity
  • What the Bible does and does not teach
  • Myths, meanings, science and truth: A guide to cosmogonic stories
• • •
Speaker: Louise S. Mead, Ph.D.
Title: Education Project Director, NCSE
Education: Ph.D. (Organismic and Evolutionary Biology), M.A. (Education), University of Massachusetts Amherst
Louise S. MeadLouise Mead has been both a high school science teacher and university lecturer. Her research interests include understanding the evolutionary processes that create and maintain biological diversity, specifically, how sexual selection shapes patterns of evolutionary change and influences the evolution of sexual isolation and speciation. Her dissertation and postdoctoral work included studying courtship behavior and pheromone communication in plethodontid salamanders, using quantitative genetic models to simulate speciation, and describing a new species of salamander from northern California.

Louise also has a long-standing interest in the nature of science and science as a way of knowing, particularly as compared with indigenous knowledge systems.
Suggested Honorarium: $500
Topics: For the general public:
  • Evolution: history, science, and nature
For scientists and teachers:
  • Evolution and models of sexual selection
  • Teaching evolution in a climate of controversy
• • •
Speaker: Eric Meikle, Ph.D.
Title: Outreach Coordinator, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley (Anthropology)
Eric MeikleEric Meikle has been Outreach Coordinator at NCSE since 2000. He is a physical anthropologist with a special interest in the fossil record of human and primate evolution. Before coming to NCSE, he was on the staff of the Institute of Human Origins for 11 years, and also taught anthropology at several universities in California and Arizona. He has over 25 years of experience conveying information about human evolution to students, educators, and the general public through courses, lectures, museum exhibits, teaching materials, tours, and a variety of publications. Dr. Meikle was anthropology advisor for the pioneering "Stones and Bones" curriculum development project of the Los Angeles Unified School District circa 1980. He is also especially interested in the history of human evolutionary studies and the nature of antievolutionism.
Suggested Honorarium: $500
Topics: For the general public and teachers:
  • Human evolution and the fossil record
  • Reconstructing the human past: how do we know?
  • Current antievolutionism in the US
  • Evolution and the nature of science
• • •
Speaker: Steven Newton
Title: Public Information Project Director
Education: M.S., California State University at Hayward (Geology); B.A., University of California at Berkeley (History)
Steven NewtonSteven joined NCSE as a Public Information Project Director in the summer of 2008. He received a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley, with an emphasis in modern German history and early 20th century pseudoscientific movements (eugenics, forced sterilization programs). Switching gears completely, Steven then completed an M.S. in Geology from CSU Hayward, with an emphasis in paleoclimatology. Following graduation, Steven taught geology and oceanography as an adjunct faculty member at a number of Bay Area colleges, where he developed courses in the History of Science and the Geology of the National Parks. In Steven’s spare 15 minutes/week (divided equally into 2:08 minute blocks per day), he enjoys racing sailboats and sculpting in marble and bronze.
Suggested Honorarium: $300
Topics: For the general public:
  • Fossil Record
  • Nazi history & Darwin
  • Science vs. Pseudoscience
For university classes:
  • Teaching Science to Non-Scientists
  • History & Theory of Pseudoscience
• • •
Speaker: Joshua Rosenau
Title: Public Information Project Director
Education: Doctoral candidate, University of Kansas (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology); B.A., University of Chicago (Biology)
Joshua RosenauJosh Rosenau has been a Public Information Project Director at NCSE since 2007. He researched the evolutionary relationships between Philippine rodent species based on phallic morphology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. He pursued a doctorate at the University of Kansas, studying the ways ecological competition shapes the ecological niche and geographical ranges of species. When creationists on the Kansas board of education sought to undermine evolution education in 2005, Josh worked with grassroots groups and the media to improve public understanding of the issues, and to defend honest and accurate science education. Since joining NCSE, he has continued this effort, working with grassroots groups from Florida to Texas, testifying before school boards, meeting with legislators, and speaking with journalists across the country. He continues to work with scientists to be more effective science communicators, and with the public to increase science literacy in the US and abroad. Recent publications include a study of new legal strategies employed by creationists, and a study of the rhetoric of creationists in the Islamic world.
Suggested Honorarium: $300
Topics: For the general public:
  • Biological diversity and its causes
For scientific audiences:
  • Communicating science to the press and the public
For all:
  • Creationist Attacks on Science Education: The Evolution of a Parasite
• • •
Speaker: Susan Spath, Ph.D.
Title: Public Information Project Director
Education: Ph.D., M.A., University of California, Berkeley (History of Science); A.B., Harvard University (Biology)
Susan SpathSusan Spath joined NCSE as a Public Information Project Director in the summer of 2004. After receiving her A.B. degree in Biology from Harvard University, she studied molecular and cell biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder and then worked in biological research laboratories at the National Jewish Hospital and at U.C. Berkeley. She undertook post-graduate research in the history of science at U.C. Berkeley, from which she received her Ph.D. in 1999. Her dissertation offered new perspectives on the development of the experimental life sciences in the 20th century, especially microbiology and molecular biology. During her studies, she became especially interested in the historical and cultural evolution of beliefs about God, humanity, and nature in relation to the development of modern science.
Suggested Honorarium: $300
Topics: For the general public:
  • History of the Sciences of Life
For university classes:
  • The Order of Nature from Antiquity to the Present
• • •
Speaker: Philip T. Spieth, Ph.D.
Title: Director of Operations, NCSE
Education: Ph.D., University of Oregon (Genetics)
Philip SpiethPhilip Spieth is professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught population genetics and evolution for 30 years. He continues to teach a seminar on evolutionary biology for freshman students. (The URL for the class website is http://cnr.berkeley.edu/~pts/.) An active Episcopalian, Dr. Spieth has had a lifelong interest in the relationship between religion and evolutionary biology. He has worked for NCSE as its director of operations since 2000.
Suggested Honorarium: $500
Topics: For the general public:
  • The creationist assault on evolutionary biology — A brief overview of the principal contemporary anti-evolutionary movements
For church groups:
  • Evolution, God and Chance — A look at the intelligent design creationists' contention that evolutionary biology and Christianity are intellectually incompatible
• • •