• Maryam Abdullah

    Maryam Abdullah

    Parenting Program Director

    Maryam Abdullah, Ph.D., is the Parenting Program Director of the Greater Good Science Center. She is a developmental psychologist with expertise in parent-child relationships and children’s development of prosocial behaviors. At GGSC, Maryam’s role is to support organizations providing parenting education to raise caring children and to share the latest parenting science findings on Greater Good. Prior to joining GGSC, she was an Assistant Project Scientist at the University of California, Irvine Child Development School in the Department of Pediatrics, a school-based behavioral health program where she provided parenting and child interventions, oversaw its clinical outcomes and program evaluation, and mentored undergraduate students with research projects. Her research experiences include exploration of parent-child relationships, early development of children with autism spectrum disorder, and traditional behavioral and canine-assisted interventions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. She was the recipient of the University of California, Irvine Health System ARIISE Award for Respect. Maryam was born and raised in the Bay Area.

  • Jesse Antin

    Jesse Antin

    Development Director

    Jesse leads the Greater Good Science Center’s development and membership efforts. He brings a background in arts and conservation fundraising and is grateful now to understand the psychology behind why giving feels so good! Prior to joining the GGSC, Jesse was a fundraiser for the environmental law non-profit Earthjustice. This followed a career in classical music during which he won a Grammy as a countertenor with the vocal ensemble Chanticleer. Jesse graduated from Brown University and now lives in Oakland with his wife and two young sons, and enjoys tennis, backpacking, and singing with his new group Clerestory.

  • Allison Briscoe-Smith

    Allison Briscoe-Smith

    Senior Fellow

    Dr. Briscoe-Smith earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University.  She then received her clinical psychology Ph.D. from University of California Berkeley. She then went on to continue her specialization in trauma and ethnic minority mental health through internship and postdoctoral work at University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital.  She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness or foster care.  Much of her work has been with schools, as a clinician, consultant and trainer.  Currently she is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Wright Institute where she is a professor. She provides consultation and training to bay area non profits and schools on how to support trauma informed practices and cultural accountability.

  • Zora Browne

    Zora Browne

    Director of Marketing and Partnerships

    Zora is a marketing specialist with nearly a decade of digital marketing and project management experience. She has spearheaded $500k+ marketing campaigns for global, national, and local brands. Zora has worked with everyone from influencers, entrepreneurs, non-profits, restaurants, megacorps, and mid-size companies. Her unique background and in-the-field experience has afforded her the opportunity to develop a rare but practical skill set. In her role as Director of Marketing and Partnerships, she hopes to bring this skill set to life and illuminate GGSC.

    Zora is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and dog. She spends her free time painting, cooking, and watching a plethora of SyFy shows.

  • Christine Carter

    Christine Carter

    Senior Fellow

    Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a sociologist and the author of the popular books The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work and Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. A sought-after keynote speaker, Christine talks to to executives, general audiences, and parents about how to live life from our “sweet spot”—that place of both power and ease. She has been quoted or featured in many major media outlets, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Dr. Oz Show, the TODAY show, the Rachael Ray Show, and PBS, as well as NPR and BBC Radio.

    Christine received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a Senior Fellow, and her Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley. She has also worked as an innovation consultant for Fortune 500 companies. Predictably, Christine is happiest when she is with her friends and her family, especially her four kids, husband, and dog, Buster.

  • Amy L. Eva

    Amy L. Eva

    Associate Education Director

    Amy L. Eva, Ph.D., is the associate education director at the Greater Good Science Center. She writes for the center’s online magazine, facilitates the Summer Institute for Educators, and consults on the development of GGSC education resources. With over 23 years in classrooms, she is a teacher at heart. She is fascinated by neuroscience, the psychology of learning, and adolescent development and has spent the last 12 years as a teacher educator.

    As a researcher, she has published in the areas of teacher education, metacognition, adolescent mental health, social-emotional learning, and mindfulness-based interventions with marginalized youth. Her most recent publication “The Mindful Teacher: Translating Research into Daily Well-being” (The Clearing House), describes mindfulness, provides research-based evidence of its usefulness, and highlights resources that educators can use to manage stress and improve their well-being.

  • Mariah Flynn

    Mariah Flynn

    Education Program Coordinator

    Mariah provides administrative, design, and facilitation support for the GGSC Summer Institute for Educators. (Participants and colleagues alike know her as “the woman who sends all the detailed emails.”) She also writes articles for the education section of the GGSC magazine and contributes to the creation and implementation of numerous education projects, including the upcoming online Toolkit for Educators and the GGSC Gratitude in Education grant program.

    Before joining the GGSC, Mariah worked with the Schools of Hope (SOH) Project in Madison, Wisconsin. Serving first as an AmeriCorps member and later as a SOH staff member, she coordinated volunteers and early literacy resources at low-income Madison preschools and provided support to volunteer tutors and AmeriCorps members as they navigated the world of working with elementary-aged students. Prior to her time at SOH, Mariah earned her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

    Mariah and her wife, Anna, made the big leap to the left coast in late 2014, just as another winter was arriving in Wisconsin. They are grateful to have found sunny weather and a welcoming community in the East Bay!

  • Shuka Kalantari

    Shuka Kalantari

    Senior Podcast Producer

    Shuka Kalantari produces the GGSC’s Science of Happiness podcast, in partnership with PRX. Her background is in public radio, reporting on science, health, and education with a focus on underrepresented communities internationally.

    Shuka was born in Northern Iran and raised in North California. She’s a graduate of UC Santa Cruz and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. You can follow her on Twitter, and pitch guest ideas, at @skalantari.

  • Dacher Keltner

    Dacher Keltner

    Faculty Director

    Dacher Keltner, Ph.D, is a co-founder of the Greater Good Science Center and its faculty director. After receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford University, Dacher (rhymes with “cracker”) has devoted his career to studying the nature of human goodness, conducting ground-breaking research on compassion, awe, laughter, and love. He is also a leading expert on social intelligence, the psychology of power, and the emotional bases of morality. He has written more than 100 scientific papers and two best-selling textbooks, Social Psychology and Understanding Emotions. More recently, he is the author of The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence and Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, and a co-editor of the Greater Good anthology, The Compassionate Instinct.

    Dacher is an outstanding speaker who has received several national research and teaching awards. Wired has rated the podcasts of his “Human Emotion” course as one of the five best academic podcasts in the country. He has twice presented his research to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as part of a continuing dialogue between the Dalai Lama and scientists, and his work is featured regularly in major media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, and NPR. In 2008, the Utne Reader named him as one of 50 visionaries who are changing our world.

  • Jason Marsh

    Jason Marsh

    Executive Director and Editor in Chief

    Jason Marsh is the GGSC’s executive director and the founding editor in chief of its award-winning online magazine, Greater Good. He oversees the production of all editorial content, curates the “Science of a Meaningful Life” event series, and coordinates the public education efforts at the GGSC, where he has worked for nearly two decades. In that time, Jason’s writing has explored everything from the psychology of the bystander to the reasons why he should finally start meditating.

    Jason is also a co-editor of two anthologies of Greater Good articles: The Compassionate Instinct and Are We Born Racist?. Before coming to the GGSC, Jason was the managing editor of the political journal The Responsive Community. He has also worked as a reporter and producer at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, as a documentary producer, and as a kindergarten teacher. His first documentary, Unschooled, a profile of three families practicing the controversial homeschooling method known as “unschooling,” debuted at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. A graduate of Brown University and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Jason lives in Berkeley with his wife and daughter.

  • Katie Mazzari

    Katie Mazzari

    Outreach and Events Coordinator

    Katie Mazzari is the Outreach and Events Coordinator at the Greater Good Science Center, managing logistics for workshops, conferences, and institutes, and supporting GGSC financial operations. Katie brings over 15 years of nonprofit program/event management and finance experience, beginning her career in Washington, D.C., with the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution. After returning to her native New York, Katie spent ten years developing and managing community-building arts and cultural education programs in collaboration with NYC public schools, city agencies, and local nonprofit organizations. In 2018, Katie, her husband, and their cat made the move to the West Coast and now happily live in Berkeley.

  • Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton

    Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton

    Senior Faculty Advisor

    Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, focuses his research on the interface of culture, social cognition, and intergroup processes. He is interested in understanding how marginalization of one’s social group affects basic processes related to social identity and intergroup relationships. Rudy writes for Greater Good about cross-group relationships and the psychology of prejudice, and he is a co-editor of the Greater Good anthology, Are We Born Racist?. He served as interim director of the GGSC from 2013-2014.

  • Kira M. Newman

    Kira M. Newman

    Editor & Web Producer

    Kira M. Newman writes, edits, and produces content for all of the Greater Good Science Center’s websites, from the magazine to Greater Good in Action to the Science of Happiness MOOC, for which she’s served as course assistant for three semesters. Offline, she is the creator of CaféHappy, a Toronto-based meetup that gathers monthly to discuss how to be happier. Kira comes to GGSC from the world of tech journalism, where she was published in outlets including Social Media Monthly and She spent four years traveling around the world and loves speaking French, swing dancing, and exploring local cafes. Follow her on Twitter!

  • Hong Nguyen

    Hong Nguyen

    Director of Operations

    Hong Nguyen is the director of operations for the Greater Good Science Center. She manages all the center’s day-to-day functions, from HR and payroll to financial, budget, event coordination, and staffing of students and volunteers. Her detailed organization keeps the center functioning at its peak.

    Before joining the Greater Good Science Center, Hong worked at various other departments at UC Berkeley beginning in 2000, accumulating a vast amount of experience and knowledge of the UC system. Besides her expertise in finances and management, she also has creative talent for design and always rises to the occasion in tackling unforeseen hurdles.

    Hong grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to California in 1989. She has three children and is loving the California life. She also likes travel and nature.

  • Jane Park

    Jane Park

    Executive Producer

    Jane Park is the Executive Producer at the Greater Good Science Center. She produces video for the center’s online magazine and the center’s acclaimed podcast, The Science of Happiness, in partnership with PRX.

  • Scott Shigeoka

    Scott Shigeoka

    Bridging Differences Fellow

    Scott Keoni Shigeoka (they/he) is the GGSC’s Bridging Differences Fellow, where they developed the Bridging Differences Playbook. They’re currently producing the GGSC’s Bridging Differences online course to widely share research-based practices that promote positive dialogue and understanding. This work is a part of Scott’s 10-year commitment to strengthen national efforts that bridge divides and foster healing in the United States.

    Scott is a visiting instructor at the University of Texas at Austin and has taught at University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Pennsylvania. Scott is a former social impact leader at the design firm IDEO, a writer for outlets like The Washington Post, and the co-founder of two social enterprises in the U.S. and Europe. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Variety, and they have been awarded fellowships with Fulbright, MTV Networks, and at the Sundance Institute. 

  • Emiliana Simon-Thomas

    Emiliana Simon-Thomas

    Science Director

    Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center, where she oversees its fellowship program, Expanding Gratitude project, and is a co-instructor of the GGSC’s “Science of Happiness” online course.

    Emiliana earned her doctorate in Cognition Brain and Behavior at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation used behavioral and neuroscience methods to examine how negative states like fear and aversion influence thinking and decision-making. During her postdoc, Emiliana transitioned to studying pro-social states like love of humanity, compassion, and awe. From there, she served as Associate Director/Senior Scientist at CCARE (the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education) at Stanford University, focusing on how compassion benefits health, well-being, and psychosocial functioning.

    Today, Emiliana’s work spotlights the science that connects health and happiness to social affiliation, caregiving, and collaborative relationships, as she continues to examine the potential for—as well as the benefits of—living a more meaningful life.

  • Jeremy Adam Smith

    Jeremy Adam Smith


    Jeremy Adam Smith edits the GGSC’s online magazine, Greater Good, and helps launch new products like and Greater Good in Action. He is the author or co-editor of four books: The Daddy Shift, Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood, Are We Born Racist?, and The Compassionate Instinct.

    Jeremy’s coverage of racial and economic segregation in San Francisco schools has won numerous honors, including the Sigma Delta Chi award for investigative reporting, the PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and numerous excellence in journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is also a three-time winner of the John Swett Award from the California Teachers Association. His articles and essays have appeared in Scientific American, The San Francisco Chronicle, Utne Reader, The Nation, Mindful, Shambhala Sun, Wired, and many other periodicals, websites, and books. Jeremy has also been interviewed by The Today Show, the New York Times, USA Today,, Working Mother, Nightline, ABC News, NBC News, the Globe and Mail, and numerous NPR shows about parenting and education. Before joining the GGSC, Jeremy was a 2010-11 John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University. You can follow him on Twitter!

  • Jill Suttie

    Jill Suttie

    Book Review Editor

    Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s former book review editor and now serves as a staff writer and contributing editor for the magazine. She received her doctorate of psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1998 and was a psychologist in private practice before coming to Greater Good. Her passion for science, positive psychology, and social psychology fueled her interest in writing for the magazine, and she published her first article there in 2006—two years after Greater Good’s inception. Since then, she’s written hundreds of articles and book reviews covering a multitude of topics, including compassion, mindfulness, resilience, awe, altruism, happiness, cooperation, and purpose. She also writes about the impacts of racial bias, technology, nature, music, and social policy on individual mental health, relationships, and society. Outside of working for Greater Good, she does freelance writing for other publications, has been a featured guest on podcasts, and is a musician with two CDs of original songs, both available on her personal website: Jill has two grown children and lives with her husband and her dog in Berkeley, California, where she hikes regularly in nearby Tilden Park to get her recommended daily dose of nature.

  • Vicki Zakrzewski

    Vicki Zakrzewski

    Education Director

    Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D., is the education director of the Greater Good Science Center. Her articles (GGSC Magazine, Huffington Post, Edutopia, and ASCD’s Educational Leadership), talks, workshops, and GGSC Summer Institute for Educators around the world provide science-based ideas for promoting the social and emotional well-being of students, teachers, and administrators, as well as methods for creating positive school cultures. Examples of her recent consulting work for incorporating the life-enhancing science of compassion, empathy, gratitude, awe, and other social-emotional skills include: the Mind and Life Institute (of which she is a fellow), the Jim Henson Company on a new television show for preschoolers, the International School of Brussels on the Common Ground Collaborative character curriculum, the International School of Bangkok and Palo Alto Unified School District on integrating social-emotional learning into their work, and Pixar/Disney on The Emotions Survival Guide—a follow-up book for children based on the movie Inside Out.

    A former teacher and school administrator, Vicki earned her Ph.D. in Education and Positive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. In her doctoral research, Vicki spent two months in India at a school awarded the Peace Education Prize by UNESCO and the Hope of Humanity Award by the Dalai Lama, researching their methods for developing teachers’ ability to create caring relationships with students. She’s previously worked with Kaiser Permanente’s award-winning Educational Theatre Programs, the Ball Foundation’s story project for personal transformation which helped bring systemic change to school districts, as a children’s playwright for a worldwide humanitarian non-profit, and as a curriculum developer.