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History of Speakers

The Student Activism Speaker Series (SASS) got it's present name in 1998. For many decades before that the Caltech Y has been bringing speakers to campus under many different series.

SASS follow follows in the footsteps of past student-run lecture series through the Caltech Y, including the Leaders of America Series (55-79) and the Distinguished Speaker Series (90-93). Like its predecessors, SASS originated from students desire to provide the challenging and thought provoking, finding a home under the Y's umbrella of promoting engaged responsible citizenship.

Student Activism Speaker Series

2020 Matt Barreto (UCLA) – Racial Gerrymandering & Racially Polarized Voting Webinar

2020 Dorine van der Wall and Oliver Rosenbauer (World Health Organization) – WHO and Global Policy Webinar

2020 Jonathan Katz (Caltech Professor) – Partisan Gerrymandering Science Policy Webinar

2020 Bill Colglazier (former Advisor to Secretary of State & NAS Executive Officer) – Science Policy and Diplomacy

2019 Sean McKenna – Housing Crisis in LA

2019 Reina Buenconsejo and Sarah Cohen (students) – Science Policy Opportunities for Students in DC

2019 Socialists of Caltech (club) – Rent Control

2019 Liam Dillon (LA Times Journalist) – Housing and Homelessness Crisis

2019 Scott Pace (Executive Secretary, national Space Council) – From Apollo to Artemis: Lunar Policy

2019 Francisco Donez (EPA) – Reducing Air Pollution from Heavy-Duty Diesel

2019 Emily Lakdawalla (Planetary Society) – Speaking Your Science

2019 Brigitte Roth Tran ( – Extreme Weather and Firm Return Dynamics

2019 Kate Chandler – Crash History of Drones

2019 Extinction Short Film w/ Iram Parveen Bilal (Director)

2019 Casey Dreier (Planetary Society Policy Director) – How to be a Space Advocate

2019 Brian Toon – Dinosaurs and Nuclear Wars

2019 No Mas Bebes Documentary w/ Renee Tajima-Pena - Director

2019 Asa Hopkins – A Pathway to Policy

2018 Christina Bellantoni

2018 President Tom Rosenbaum – Academics and the National Debate

2018 CA Propositions Overview – League of Women Voters

2018 Jamie Tijerina -

2018 Merchants of Doubt Documentary w/ Eric Conway (JPL Historian)

2018 Adam Winkler – We the Corporations – UCLA Law Prof

2018 Carl McPherson – College and Inequality

2018 Regina Dugan – Tech Policy Discussion – Former VP Facebook and Google; Former Director of DARPA

2018 Company Town Documentary with Producers

2018 Sam Wang – Fixing Democracy with Statistics, Science and Law – Princeton Prof

2018 Simon Wong & Boeing Shih – FBI Cyber Security

2018 Tracey Van Houten – JPL Scientist and former Political Candidate

2018 Gary Tyler – Exonerated from Death Row – with CCD

2018 Amber Cantorna – Coming Out from a "Focus on the Family" Family – with CCD

2018 Melina Abdullah – Black Lives Matter – with CCD

2017 Citizen's Climate Lobby: Dan Brotman, Glendale CC Econ Prof; Peter Kamus, JPL Climate Scientist; Carol Kravetz, Prod. Coord; Austin Minnich, CIT ME Prof

2017 Erin Hartman – Understanding Uncertainty in Polling – UCLA Prof, formerly ran polling and analytics - Obama for America

2017 Michael Dello-Iacovo – Effective Altruism – former CEO of EA Australia

2017 Hamed Qawasmeh – Feasibility of the Two State Solution

2017 Victor Reis – Nuclear Policy – former Sr. Adv, DOE; former Dir, DARPA; former Ass. Dir, National Security and Space - OSTP

2017 Citizens Climate Lobby Panel

2017 Carl Pabo – Helping Democracy Think – Visiting Professor The World in 2050

2017 Robb Willer –Political Communication in a Polarized World – Stanford University

2017 Ron Lin – Scientists Talking with the Media - LA Times

2017 Robert Hanrahan – Nuclear Stockpile Stewardship

2017 David Wright – Domestic Nuclear Weapons Policy - Union of Concerned Scientists

2017 Michael Nacht – Nuclear Weapons Policy on a Global Stage - Berkeley

2017 Jennifer Mustos: Trafficking and Technology – with Feminist Club

2016 Minimum Wage Panel: Larry Wilson, Daniel Flaming, Abel Ramirez, and Pablo Alvarado

16-17 Science Policy Lunch Series [Jonathan Katz, France Cordova, Rush Holt]

2016 Miles Corwin – (Author: And Still We Rise) - on Educational Access

2016 Morgan Kousser – Supreme Court and the 2016 Election

2016 David Baltimore – Ethics of Genetic Engineering – with SEPAC

2016 Mike Nelson & Kathleen Doherty – (Science Advisor; US Ambassador to Cyprus) National & International Politics and Power

2015 David Cruz (USC Law Prof) – Civic Rights, Civic Equality, and Religious Liberty

2015 Space Entrepreneurship Panel (Rob Hoyt, Michael Rubel, Chris Vorhees; Sergio Pellegrino Moderator) w/KISS

2015 Scott Pace (GW Space Policy Institute) Lecture and Lunch w/ KISS

2015 Hank Jones (former Black Panther) – Lunch

2015 Alex Joel (US Civil Liberties Protection Officer) - Lunch

2015 Betty Medsger (Journalist), John and Bonnie Raines (burglars)

2015 Wendy Kohlhase (bio medical ethicist – Ebola Ethics) - Lunch

2014 Alex Joel (US Civil Liberties Protection Officer) - Lunch

2014 Kim Shriner (Tanzania Project – Huntington Hospital) – Lunch w/ CMA

2014 Wendy Kolhase (bio medical ethicist – Huntington Hospital) – Lunch w/PMA

2014 Susan Herman (ACLU President)

2013 Boots Riley (musician and activist)

2013 Jaimala and Hitesh Gupta (Indian NGO's) – w/OASIS

2013 Gerald Kominski (UCLA Health Policy Research)

2013 Elizabeth Calvin (Human Rights Watch – juvenile justice and foster care systems)

2012 Rich O'Toole (JPL Legislative Affairs)

2012 Jared Rivera (Latino Labor and Voting Activist) w/ CCD

2012 Suzie Baldwin (MD, Human Trafficking)

2012 Tavis Smiley (Broadcaster, Author)

2011 Jeremy Scahill (Journalist – Afghanistan)

2011 Shukry Cattan (International Rescue Committee - Refugees)

2011 The Yes Men (Impersonators, Activists)

2011 Jim Fruchterman (Benetech) w/ Caltech Entrepreneur Club

2011 Steve Koonin (Under Secretary for Science) w/ CMA

2011 Hidden Documentary - Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) w/Amnesty

2010 Ira Leifer (NASA Gulf Oil Spill Response) w/ CMA

2010 Alexis Madrigal (Journalist – Clean Tech History) w/ESW

2011 Science Policy Lunch Series [Nate Lewis, Hall Daily]

2010 Matt Gonzalez (Civil Rights Attorney, Green Poltician)

2010 Jeremy Scahil (Journalist - Blackwater)

2010 Kalaya'an Mendoza (Amnesty International)

2010 C.I.C.L.E (Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange)

2010 Karim Sadjadpour (Carnegie Endowment - Series on Iran)

2010 Abbas Millani (Stamford Professor – Series on Iran)

2009 Gary Blasi (UCLA Professor – Homelessness)

2009 Roger Cohen (NY Times Foreign Editor – Series on Iran)

2009 Sakura Kone (Common Ground – New Orleans)

2009 Jackson Katz (Violence Against Women Prevention)

2009 Friends of the LA River (Hike)

2009 Emily Pilloton (Project H Design )

2009 Jim Fruchterman (Benetech)

2008 Sam Childers (Angels of East Africa)

2008 Andy Bales (LA Rescue Mission)

2008 Morgan Simon (Responsible Endowments Coalition)

2008 Chris Mooney & Matthew Nesbit (Framing Science)

2008 Paul Polak (Out of Poverty – When Traditional Ways Fail)

2008 Sufyan Omeish & Abdallah Omeish (Occupation 101)

2008 Nelson, Foster, Paradise and Kennedy(JPL vs. HSPD12 )

2008 Almudena Carracedo & Robert Bahar (Made In LA)

2007 Kevin Sites (War Journalist – Author)

2007 Chris Mooney (Science Journalist - Author)

2007 Reagan Demas (International Justice Mission)

2007 China Blue Documentary (Fair Trade)

2007 Kevin Sites (War Journalist – Author)

2006 Rev. George Regas (All Saints Church vs. IRS)

2006 Invisible Children Documentary (Sudan)

2006 Enrique Devalos & Rogelio Vencia

2006 Black Gold Documentary (Fair Trade)

2006 Jack Duvall (International Center on Non Violent Conflict)

2006 Nikki Giovanni (Author - Racism)

2005 Steve Barr (Green Dot Schools)

2005 Chris Mooney (Science Journalist - Author)

2005 Ralph Nader (Green Presidential Candidate)

2005 Peter Dreier (Fair Trade)

2005 Kurt Gottfried (Union of Concerned Scientists)

2005 Ka Hsaw Wa (Burmese Activist)

2004 Science Policy Forum [David Baltimore , Janet Hering, Vasavada, and David Goodstein

2004 Chuck Collins (United for a Fair Economy)

2004 Mike Farrell (Death Penalty Focus)

2004 Bernie Sanders (Independent US Congressman)

2003 Gerard Ungerman (Plan Columbia)

2003 Rahul Mahajan (Author)

2003 Peter Camejo (Green / Latino Candidate for Govenor)

2003 Tahmeena Faryl (RAWA)

2003 Theodore Postol (Missile Defense – MIT)

2003 Huwaida Arraf & Adam Shapiro (Int. Solidarity Movement)

2002 Scott Ritter (former UN Weapons Inspector – Iraq)

2002 Hunter Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute)

2002 Tim Wise (Anti Racism Activist)

2001 Jose Ramos-Horta (Nobel Peace Prize – E. Timor)

2001 Michelle Mascarenhas

2001 Mike Dolan

2000 Amy Goodman (Radio Host - Democracy Now)

2000 Jody Williams

2000 Adam Werbach (Sierra Club)

1999 Dolores Huerta (United Farm Workers)

Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS)

Judy Gorman DSS 92-93

Igor Nlimov DSS 92-93

Paul Orfalea DSS 92-93

Vladamir Kovalenko DSS 92-93

Nikki Giovanni DSS 92-93

Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu DSS 1990

Leaders Of America Series (LOA)

Paul McCready LOA 78-79

Harlan Ellison LOA 78-79

James Whittaker & Diane Roberts LOA 78-79

Stansfield Turner LOA 78-79

William F. Buckley, Jr. LOA 78-79

John Andelin LOA 77-78

Richard Wilcox LOA 77-78

Ivor Richard LOA 77-78

Edmund "Pat" Brown, Jr. LOA 77-78

Morris Udall LOA 76-77

Edward Teller LOA 76-77

Jess Marlow LOA 76-77

Joseph Rhodes, Jr. LIA 75-76

Jeremy Stone LIA 75-76

H. Guyford Stever LIA 75-76

James D. Watson LIA 75-76

Harrison Jack Schmitt LOA 73-74

Linus Pauling LOA 73-74

Shirley M. Hufstedler LOA 72-73

Julian Bond LOA 72-73

Arthur W. Golstan LOA 72-73

D.C. James LOA 70-71

Paul Goodman LOA 66-67

Rosemary Park LOA 66-67

Abraham Kaplan LOA 66-67

Saul Alinsky LOA 65-66

Ted Sorensen LOA 65-66

John Ciardi LOA 64-65

Simon Ramo LOA 64-65

Ralph Helstein LOA 63-64

Lukas Foss LOA 63-64

Roy Wilkins LOA 63-64

David Reisman LOA 62-63

Barry Goldwater LOA 62-63

Sidney Hook LOA 61-62

James A. Pike LOA 61-62

Margaret Mead LOA 60-61

Archibald Macleish LOA 60-61

Carl Rogers LOA 59-60

Norman Cousins LOA 59-60

James B. Conant LOA 58-59

Abraham Maslow LOA 58-59

Martin Luther King, Jr. LOA 1958

Ralph Bunch LOA 55-56

William O. Douglas LOA 55-56

Paul G. Hoffman LOA 55-56