Facilitator Bios

Daniel Soto, Assistant Professor, SSU

Daniel Soto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Planning at Sonoma State University where he leads the Energy Management and Design Program. Prior to his hire at Sonoma State University, Daniel conducted postdoctoral research at The Earth Institute at Columbia University on solar micro-grids in Mali and Uganda.

Daniel's teaching interests are in energy efficiency and energy generation. He enjoys teaching both large-scale issues involving energy and analysis of small-scale energy systems. The potential for energy efficient technologies and approaches to improve human wellbeing motivates his research. In the developing world, he investigates new approaches to lower economic barriers to energy access and how energy efficient appliances can lower the cost of energy access. Daniel is also interested in the use of computation and communication technologies to impact energy problems and disseminate information.

Daniel earned his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Stanford University. He also has an M.S. in Physics from San Francisco State University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to his return to academia, Daniel worked as an engineer at two startup companies creating optical micro-mechanical devices for laser displays and optical communications.

Ken Simon, Director of Programs, World Savvy

Ken Simon has nearly 20 years of experience working in urban schools. He has served as a social studies classroom teacher, curriculum/instruction leader, district administrator and professional development provider across all content areas. He is a published curriculum writer and also teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at the university level. Ken also served as a school designer and professional development provider for Expeditionary Learning Schools, conducting workshops and presentations on pedagogy, literacy and Social Studies content across the nation to K-12 public school teachers. Before coming to World Savvy, Ken served as the Director of College and Career Readiness for Minneapolis Public Schools.


Jonna Weidaw, Teacher, Mendocino County

Jonna Weidaw, is an Alternative Education teacher and graduate of Sonoma State University. She holds credentials and certificates in CLAD Social Sciences, Science, Math, and English . She has worked with CISP-SSU programs as a Teacher Lead for the Teaching American History Projects and the Common Core Implementation and Professional Development Projects. She has been awarded a Digital Excellence Award from the State of CA for technology integration and instruction. Jonna believes in the importance of teaching active citizenship and justice by engaging students in real world action projects, which are designed to engage students in their local communities and fit their diverse learning needs. She is also a part of the iCivic Educator Network and an Edmodo Illumineer. She is employed at the Mendocino County Office of Education in the Alternative Education Department since 2003 and where she is currently the Teacher on Special Assignment and Independent Study Teacher. Jonna also works for Dominican University as a University Supervisor and provides seminars for student teachers in classroom management techniques, 21st century skills, and coding.

Michelle Mazzeo, Site Director CISP at SSU

Michelle Mazzeo serves as a Site Director for the California International Studies Project at Sonoma State University. Michelle earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Studies, Latin American/Iberian and Caribbean Studies and Educational Leadership for Global Higher Education. Michelle has worked in various roles within education at the intersection of global and experiential learning, including as an English language development teacher, an international internship advisor, and an Outward Bound program developer and manager in Costa Rica. She most recently supported social entrepreneurs at Ashoka in Washington D.C.

Dr. Karna Wong, Visiting Professor - Environmental Sciences and Planning, SSU

Karna Wong earned her Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of California- Los Angeles in 2015 and her research focuses on affordable housing, community development, government policy, nonprofit management, and social and environmental justice.

Her teaching philosophy reflects a strong commitment to engaged scholarship and community-based research. Prior to attending the University of California, Los Angeles for her Ph.D., she worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., Santa Ana, CA, and San Francisco, CA.

Karna taught Environmental Literature, Introduction to Planning and Social and Environmental Justice at Sonoma State and organized the first Social Justice Conference at Sonoma State in 2016-2017.

Marika Ramsden, North American Coordinator for One Planet/Bioregional at Credo High School

Marika Ramsden works with Bioregional/One Planet Living to develop out their education program to engage youth in schools around sustainability education. She is currently working on a One Planet Schools program at Credo High School in Rohnert Park, which will expand to other schools in Northern California in 2017-2018.

Marika graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland with a degree in Education for Sustainable Development and has since trained as a mindfulness practitioner and an environmental educator. She has developed and run sustainability workshops and biomimicry curriculum with cycling4SEED and Schools of Sustainability.

Over the years, Marika has positioned many youth to share their stories of inspiration and success in meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing world with optimism.

Jesica Rodriguez, Community Outreach Liaison and Student Representative

Jesica Rodriguez is currently a fourth year students at Sonoma State University, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Planning with a concentration in Conservation and Restoration.

She is a naturalist for Sonoma State’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve, and leads youth on educational hikes through the preserve. In the fall, she will serve as the education coordinator for the Center for Environmental Inquiry, training naturalist interns how to teach in an outdoor setting.

Jesica is avid supporter of community gardens and outdoor spaces, and works to empower youth and communities through their uses. In the past, she has presented case studies on local gardens and their impact on combating social issues.

Joel Gould, Special Projects, School of Education

Joel Gould is pursuing his master’s degree at the School of Education, in the Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning program. He believes that the integration of technology in schools provides an opportunity to reimagine education: to connect classroom activity with a broader world, to encourage student inquiry and creativity, to empower teacher agency, and to alter pedagogy - how people teach and how students interact.

Joel is also working with Dr. Edward Lyon and Dr. Jeremy Qualls to help plan and implement educational research into how the student use of our new campus MakerSpace will change the experience of the course, SCI 220: Make, Dream and Innovate, offered by the School of Science and Technology.

Recently, Joel worked as an Educational Technologist a Kawana Springs Elementary School, guiding student projects and providing professional development. Previously, he designed educational software and toys and composed music and songs. In the early 1990’s, Joel began experimenting with the design process as a mechanism for improving life, while working as a junior architect in New York City.

J. Raquel Guevara-Bolanos, Community Outreach Liaison and Student Representative

Jessica Raquel Guevara-Bolanos is going into her fourth year at Sonoma State University and is majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation and Restoration. She values authentic education because it empowers students. She believes that by engaging adolescents in topics they would not normally discuss in the traditional classroom setting, educators have the power to impact their lives in a positive way. She is excited to be part of the Teaching for Sustainable Communities team and believes this will be a great learning experience for all participants.

Mary Bracken, Facilitator/Trainer

Mary Bracken is a retired public school educator who served for over 35 years teaching in the Guerneville School District and in public schools in South Texas. Presently, Mary is an Intern Instructor at the North Coast School of Education, a professional development trainer with the Instructional Leadership Corps collaborative between the California Teachers Association and Stanford University, curriculum trainer with Teaching Tolerance, and LGBT Contact for Region One of the California Teachers Association. Mary serves the El Molino Education Foundation as President and Chair of Board Recruitment Subcommittee. As the parent of a senior scholar/athlete, Mary brings to the board a passion for teaching and learning and devotion to ensuring a high quality education for every student.