The SLF Team

Experts in their Field

Passionate Volunteers

Problem Solvers

Community Engagers

Bart Ziegler, PhD

Co-founder and President

Bart Ziegler has a PhD in community and environmental medicine from UC Irvine, and currently directs the Samuel Lawrence Foundation which he co-founded in 2010. Prior to his community work, Bart spent 20 years building an investment company while working in the biotechnology sector as an expert toxicologist researching, advising, and investing in novel technologies. He served as a chemist developing analytical standards for the EPA and spent 5 years doing neuroscientist research at UC San Diego. Bart serves as an advisory board member to Learning Equality, which uses technology to make education available to all.

Jessie Speer, PhD


Jessie Speer is an attorney and human geographer. She received her doctorate degree in geography from Syracuse University, and currently serves as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London.  Her work has examined the U.S. urban development that has entrenched individuals in a cycle of housing displacement. She co-founded the Samuel Lawrence Foundation and was a driving force for the community engagement model that is a hallmark of the Foundation.

Chelsi Sparti

Associate Director

Chelsi Sparti holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Point Loma Nazarene University. She enjoys advancing work with the SLF team including advocating for regional energy issues, recognizing community art, and supporting science literacy efforts.  She previously served as a Fulbright Scholar with the U.S. Department of State on Borneo Island, Malaysia. Living abroad accelerated her appreciation of land use, access to energy resources, and a healthy built environment.

Cathy Iwane

Board Member

Cathy Iwane has a post-graduate degree in Japanese, having attained Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1 Certification (日本語検定能力試験一級) at Wakayama College of Foreign Studies. She taught English in the public and private sector in Japan for 25 years, and co-founded Gaia English Academy in Wakayama, Japan. She was interpreter for Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan for the public education panel entitled, “Fukushima: ongoing lessons.”  Cathy has two daughters with her Japanese husband and stands by her difficult choice to evacuate to California in 2012, due to health concerns resulting from the Fukushima accident. She’s a certified yoga teacher and remains engaged in the effort to educate the public about the risks of nuclear waste.

Christopher Hoover

Board Member, Treasurer

Christopher Hoover is a technology entrepreneur with interests spanning genomics, digital health and energy innovation. Based in San Diego, he focuses on business ideation, marketing and business development for startups with market-defining technologies. His experiences range from molecular biology system companies (Invitrogen) to global sales and marketing of biocomputing systems for drug discovery. He also served as the US CEO of the MedinCell Corporation, a controlled-release injectable drug delivery company. 

Farley Ziegler

Board Member

Farley Ziegler’s film, Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, the Wall Street Journal cited as “…among the great art documentaries of the past half-century.” Her film, Tim’s Vermeer, produced with Penn & Teller, followed inventor Tim Jenison and his pursuit to paint a Vermeer. The documentary, which also featured David Hockney, was nominated for a BAFTA, and made the Academy’s short list for Best Documentary. She previously worked with Penn Jillette and Teller, producing with Penn the hit comedy documentary, The Aristocrats.

Holly Pickerel

Board Member

Holly Pickerel is Design Director for Corporativo Atelier, a large weaving mill in Mexico. She leads design development and fabric execution through sustainable and best product choice for major clients in the residential and hospitality industry.  Holly began her career as the owner of Studio Alegre for more than two decades, her resume includes teaching at The San Diego Art Institute as well as Design and Merchandiser at Produce Apparel and GJeans. She earned a BA in Journalism and Spanish from San Diego State University.

Lindsay Bazett

Board Member

Lindsay Bazett is a UC Davis trained biologist with academia and private industry-based work experience in both cancer research and sustainable mariculture.  Her non-profit work has included establishing the first marine-protected area in Madagascar on the Mozambique Channel, and launching a family-based birth center focused on The Midwifery Model of Care in Encinitas. She served a critical role in organizing Fukushima: ongoing lessons,” public education panels around the U.S. to share lessons learned by heads of state and nuclear regulators post-nuclear disaster.  She is a mother of four healthy children and believes that every child has the right to exist on a livable planet.

Chuck Ziegler

Board Member

Charles Ziegler has facilitated startup finance and direction for many successful technology companies, including Zeta, Verseon, and Oolu Solar.  He has a Bachelors in Chemistry from Reed College, and previously has worked in financial derivatives, hedge fund management, and internet companies.  Charles lives in the Bay Area with his wife and has one daughter who is an advertising executive.  He spends his time practicing and playing the banjo.

Torgen Johnson

San Onofre Program Director

Torgen Johnson has master’s degrees in architecture and urban planning from Harvard. He became engaged in the effort to seek the safest nuclear waste storage at San Onofre because of the impact the site has on the lives of his four children. In 2013 Torgen, and the Samuel Lawrence Foundation supported public conferences titled, “Fukushima: ongoing lessons,” where a panel of top international leaders spoke about the risks of nuclear power. 

Amanda Palucki

Program Coordinator

Amanda Palucki holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis. She values her work with the SLF team to advance science and key environmental issues, promote education, and boost art and cultural development in surrounding communities. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching volleyball and spending time backpacking through national parks, specifically Yosemite.

Thomas English, PhD

Science Advisor

Thomas English has a doctorate degree in electrical engineering and is an expert on high-level radioactive waste, who has worked with Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and the EPA.  He has advised the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy across four Presidential administrations, advised the Government of Sweden, and was the architect of the California Clean Air Act, among other achievements.

Steve Chapple


Steve Chapple directs the San Diego Unified STEAM Leadership Series and is a visiting scholar at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UCSD. He is the author of many award winning books, including most recently BREAKPOINT: Reckoning with America’s Environmental Crises with Dr. Jeremy BC Jackson (Yale Univ. Press,2018) and David Brower’s autobiography, LET THE MOUNTAINS TALK, LET THE RIVERS RUN: A Call to Those Who Would Save the Earth.  He wrote the Intellectual Capital column in US newspapers, as well as opinion pieces for the LA Times and New York Times, lectures on climate change and coming solutions, and consults to biotech companies.

Donate Today

We take great pride in our mission and accomplishments. SLF incubates young, change-making organizations. See the impact your donation has in launching an organization to independence.

Your tax-deductible donation will fund advancements in science, education, and the arts.

We accept gifts of cash, credit card (via PayPal) as well as mailed checks. We also accept donations of securities and funds through our brokerage account.

Checks may be addressed to:
The Samuel Lawrence Foundation
PO Box F, Del Mar, CA 92014