TOWN HALL

Taking place on the Feature Stage in King-Seabrook Chapel, Huston-Tillotson University

The town hall will feature lively commentary by a diverse panel of Austin’s top experts on the environment, science, education, equity, law and politics. But the main focus will be on thoughtful, candid comments from community members about their hopes, fears and ideas moving forward in a way that honors the earth, supports science and respects each other despite current national and Texas trends.

Guest Panel includes:

  • Eddie Rodriguez, Texas State Representative
  • Dr. Karen Magid is the Director of Huston-Tillotson’s Sustainability, STEM and Environmental Justice Center, and Co-Director of the Dumpster Project
  • Dr. Jay Banner, Director of Environmental Science Institute, University of Texas at Austin,
  • Dr. Stanford Jeames, Eastside Memorial HS Teacher of the Year
  • Aseel Rawashdeh Student Winner of the Regional Science Festival and Positive Futures Award

Moderator: Robin Rather, Collective Strength

Town Hall Schedule

1:00 to 4:00 Civic Engagement Expo
1:30 to 3:00 Town Hall for Earth & Science
Taking place on the Feature Stage in King-Seabrook Chapel, Huston-Tillotson University. Moderated by Robin Rather

Robin Rather


Robin Rather is CEO of Collective Strength, an award winning research and sustainability consulting firm. For the first 20 years of her career she was an emerging technology executive. Currently she service on the Board of the Trinity Edwards Aquifer Protection Association. She was a 3 time Chair of Save Our Springs Alliance, and a founding Board Member of the Hill Country Conservancy, Envision Central Texas and Livable City. She holds a BA in Sociology.


Dr. Karen Magid

Dr. Karen Magid is the Director of Huston-Tillotson’s Sustainability, STEM and Environmental Justice Center, and Co-Director of the Dumpster Project. She served in the Peace Corps in Queretaro, Mexico and holds a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering and an M.S in Nuclear Engineering.


Eddie Rodriguez


Honorable Eddie Rodriguez is a seven term Texas State Representative who has served since 2003. He sits on the Committee for Environmental Regulation, is Vice Chair of the Mexican American Caucus and founded the Farm to Table Caucus. He has a JD from University of Texas at Austin.


Dr. Jay Banner


Jay Banner attended the University of Pennsylvania as a Chemistry major and switched majors to Geology partway through to his Bachelor’s degree. He pursued graduate studies in geology and geochemistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he received his MS and Ph.D. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology and Louisiana State University, and joined the faculty at the University of Texas in 1990 in Austin, Texas. He is presently the Fred M. Bullard Professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences and Director of the Environmental Science Institute at UT-Austin.


Dr. Sanford Jeames


Dr. Sanford Jeames serves as Coordinator for the Health Sciences Program at Eastside Memorial HS and an Adjunct Professor at Huston-Tillotson. He has served as a protocol reviewer for the National Cancer Institute and on the Patient Advocacy Committee at the American College of Radiology Imaging. He was a combat medic specialist in the US Army from 1983-1991 and holds a DHA/PhD in Healthcare Administration/ Communications and a M.A. in History.


Aseel Raswashdah


Will represent the “children of the next generation” on our panel. A project she developed recently won accolades at the Austin Regional Science Fair and the Austin Positive Futures Award for exploring water filtration potential from corn cobs. She is 12 years old and attends the Austin Peace Academy.