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About the Greater Good Science Center



Staff Staff
Meet the people who run the Greater Good Science Center.
Executive Committee Executive Committee
Learn about the UC Berkeley faculty members who guide the Center's work.
Editorial Board Editorial Board
Greater Good's board includes leading authors and scientists from around the country.

The Center thrives because of its incredible community of volunteers.

Supporters Supporters
Read about the Center's founding donors and major contributors.
Fellows & Post-Docs Fellows & Post-Docs
The Center supports the work of extraordinary young scholars.


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.

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. She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, as well as Fast Company, The Week, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, Men’s Health, Success, and dozens of other publications. She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Dr. Oz Show, the TODAY show, the “=Rachael Ray Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, and PBS, as well as NPR and BBC Radio.

Carter received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a Senior Fellow, and her Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley. She has been affiliated with the Greater Good Science Center since 2002, and has taken on many different roles here. She’s been a graduate fellow, an award-winning blogger, the Executive Director, the Director of the GGSC Parenting Program, and is now a Senior Fellow. She has also worked as an innovation consultant for Fortune 500 companies, and she is a sought-after public speaker. Predictably, Carter is happiest when she is with her friends and her family; she lives with her husband, four children, and dog, Buster, in Marin County.

Dacher Keltner Dacher Keltner
Co-Founder & Director Emeritus

Dacher Keltner, Ph.D, is a founder of the Greater Good Science Center and its faculty director, overseeing the Center’s fellowship program and serving as executive editor of Greater Good magazine. 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 best-selling book 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
Director of Programs and Editor in Chief

Jason Marsh is the founding editor in chief of the Greater Good Science Center’s award-winning online magazine, Greater Good, and the GGSC’s director of programs. He oversees the production of all editorial content, curates the “Science of a Meaningful Life” event and video series, and coordinates the public education efforts at the GGSC, where he has worked for almost 10 years. 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.

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton

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’s interested in understanding how marginalization of one’s social group affects basic processes related to social identity and intergroup relationships. He 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?

Elise Proulx Elise Proulx
Marketing Director

Elise Proulx is the Marketing Director of the Greater Good Science Center. Previous to joining GGSC, Elise was marketing and development director at San Francisco’s beloved literary festival, Litquake, and ran Kidquake in the Schools, a program that brought children’s book authors to public schools in San Francisco. She spent more than a decade in the worlds of book publishing and news media in both New York City and California and finds it satisfying to have circled back to Berkeley, where she received her B.A. in English Literature when post-structuralism was the hottest subject on Sproul Plaza. She also has a Master of Information and Library Science from San José State University, and lives in Berkeley with her husband, son, and two persnickety cats.

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 the GGSC’s Expanding Gratitude project.

She earned her doctorate in Cognition Brain and Behavior at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation used behavioral and neuroscience methods to examined 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
Editor & Web Producer

Jeremy Adam Smith is the author of The Daddy Shift, which the San Francisco Chronicle calls “amazing” and the New York Times praises as “a chronicle of a time that he predicts we will look back upon as the start of permanent change.” Jeremy is also the co-editor of the new collection Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood and two Greater Good anthologies, Are We Born Racist? and The Compassionate Instinct.

His award-winning articles and essays have appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Nation, San Francisco Chronicle, Utne Reader, 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, among others.

Prior to joining the Greater Good Science Center to edit its website, Jeremy was a 2010-11 John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University. Before going to Stanford, Jeremy was the founding editor of, and was senior editor of the print incarnation of Greater Good magazine, which was nominated for multiple Maggie and Independent Press awards during his 2006-2009 tenure. He has won awards for his writing from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Common Heritage Foundation, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. He is currently a 2013 fellow with the Institute for Justice and Journalism and serves on the board of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Jill Suttie Jill Suttie
Book Review Editor

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good‘s book review editor and a regular contributor to the magazine. She received her Psy.D. from the University of San Francisco, where she studied depression and body image issues in new mothers. Prior to joining Greater Good, Jill has worked as a psychologist in private practice, a college counselor and administrator, and a biochemist. She is also a musician who recently released her first CD of original songs. Jill lives with her husband and two children in Berkeley.

Olga Antonenko Young Olga Antonenko Young
Research Specialist

Olga Antonenko Young is completing her doctoral degree in psychology at UC Berkeley. Her interests lie in fostering motivations to ameliorate wealth inequality and promote social justice. Olga has enjoyed working with various causes, including promoting microfinance and supporting global refugees. She is delighted to join the Greater Good Science Center and help foster individual, community, and global health and inter-connectedness.

Vicki Zakrzewski Vicki Zakrzewski
Education Director

Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D., is the Education Director of the Greater Good Science Center. In her blog for the Center’s website, Vicki explores how the social-emotional skills of students contribute to their academic success and future ability to become caring members of society. She also provides science-based tips for promoting the social and emotional development of students, teachers, and administrators, as well as methods for creating positive school cultures. Every summer, Vicki conducts the GGSC Summer Institute for Educators – a 6-day intensive workshop that equips education professionals from around the world with science-based strategies, tools, and techniques to promote social and emotional well-being for themselves and in their classrooms and schools.

In addition to her writing and workshops, Vicki consults with organizations on how to incorporate the science of well-being into their work. Recent collaborations include the Mind and Life Institute (of which she is a fellow) on their Ethics and Education in Students and Teachers project and the Jim Henson Company on a new television show for preschoolers.

A former teacher and school administrator, 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—in order to research their methods for developing teachers’ ability to create caring relationships with students. Vicki received her B.A. from UCLA and her Ph.D. in Education and Positive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University.

Executive Committee

Philip A. Cowan Philip A. Cowan
Professor of Psychology Emeritus, UC Berkeley

Philip A. Cowan is a professor of psychology emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and the former director of the university’s Institute of Human Development. He is also one of the founding faculty members of the Greater Good Science Center. His research and clinical interests focus on family systems and children’s development. One overarching theme of his research is that the quality of relationships among family members, not “just” parenting behaviors, plays a central role in both individual and family development. A second theme is that preventive interventions with both parents in couples groups can have positive effects on both family relationships and children’s adaptation to school.

Steven P. Hinshaw Steven P. Hinshaw
Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

Stephen P. Hinshaw is the chair of the psychology department at the University of California, Berkeley. His main interest is in the field of developmental psychopathology. Major themes of his work include the role of peer relationships in normal and atypical development (particularly ADHD), the early prediction of behavioral and learning problems, the contribution of family factors to antisocial behavior, neuropsychology and neuroimaging and the implementation of combinations of psychosocial and pharmacologic intervention for children with externalizing behavior disorders. Increasingly, his research interests are focusing on adolescent and young adult outcomes, as children in his various projects continue to participate in prospective, longitudinal studies. His newest research interest lies in the area of stigma and mental disorder. He is one of the founding faculty members of the Greater Good Science Center.

Dacher Keltner Dacher Keltner
Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology, is a social psychologist who focuses on the prosocial emotions, such as love, sympathy and gratitude, and processes such as teasing and flirtation that enhance bonds. He has conducted empirical studies in three areas of inquiry. A first looks at the determinant and effects of power, hierarchy and social class. A second in concerned with the morality of everyday life, and how we negotiate moral truths in teasing, gossip, and other reputational matters. A third and primary focus in on the biological and evolutionary basis of the benevolent affects, including compassion, awe, love, gratitude, and laughter and modesty. Professor Keltner is Co-Director of The Greater Good Science Center.

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton

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’s interested in understanding how marginalization of one’s social group affects basic processes related to social identity and intergroup relationships. He 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?

Robb Willer Robb Willer
Assistant Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley

Robb Willer is an Assistant Professor of Sociology. His research focuses on microsociological foundations of human sociality and community (e.g. altruism, cooperation, collective action) and the social psychological bases of political ideology. Some of his current projects include a field study of “Freecycle,” an on-line gift-giving community, experimental work on the interplay of reputational concerns and altruism, a multi-method project on whether and when altruism is contagious, and a study of the heritability of prosocial behaviors in humans. He has published in the past on such topics as competitive altruism, indirect reciprocity, trust, social norms, and collective action.

Editorial Board

Richard Davidson
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Frans de Waal
Emory University

Paul Ekman
University of California, San Francisco

Deirdre English
UC, Berkeley

Amitai Etzioni
George Washington University

Owen Flanagan
Duke University

Robert Frank
Cornell University

Charles A. Garfield
Shanti; UC, San Francisco

Alfie Kohn

Jonathan Kozol

Nel Noddings
Stanford University

Pearl Oliner
Humboldt State University

Samuel P. Oliner
Humboldt State University

Elliott Sober
University of Wisconsin, Madison


Volunteers play an essential role at the GGSC, pitching in with everything from publicity to event staffing to editorial assistance. We are looking for smart, passionate volunteers who want to contribute to the greater good by providing research and editorial assistance for Greater Good articles and Raising Happiness posts; helping us use social media and other tools to spread the word about our work; maintaining our website; producing regular reports on our web traffic and other key metrics; fundraising; and producing our e-newsletter and other multimedia content.

We are boundlessly grateful to our volunteers for their commitment and hard work; they're truly a diverse and impressive group. Learn more about them below.

And if you would like to volunteer with us, please complete our volunteer application.

Alton Do Alton Do
Research assistant

Alton Do is a UC Berkeley student double majoring in psychology and sociology, aspiring to become a Ph.D. in psychology. Alton likes to keep himself busy with jobs and academia, including concurrent enrollment in Ohlone College for A.A. Degrees, mentorship programs, volunteer work, and contract work for social networks such as Facebook. In his spare time he likes to see movies, read, go on a run, or play with his chinchillas.

Jo Anne Good Jo Anne Good

Jo Anne Good is a wife and mother of 3 daughters. Her life involves moving frequently as an air force brat and executive’s wife. She has a BS in economics from the University of California, Davis, with a career in inventory control in high tech and retail. She finds the greatest challenge and joy in life to be raising her children to be self-confident and unique, have a sense of curiosity, adventure, and coping skills, yet still be mindful of their community and the environment. Her Hobbies are: travel, skiing, cooking, friendships, movies- Sundance Film festival fan, books, running, and new adventures…

Lynn Johnson Lynn Johnson

Lynn Johnson is a theater artist, social entrepreneur, and co-founder/owner of Glitter & Razz Productions, an Oakland, CA-based business that celebrates kids and the grown-ups who love them. Glitter & Razz Productions offers premium theater camps, classes, and events that promote compassion, community, and creativity through the creation and performance of peaceful and powerful plays.

Janine Kovac Janine Kovac

Janine Kovac graduated magna cum laude from U.C. Berkeley in 2009 with a degree in Cognitive Science.  Her thesis, A Linguistic Analysis in Parenting, was awarded the Robert J. Glushko Prize for Distinguished Undergraduate Research in Cognitive Science.  She is currently a member of the Family Advisory Council for the Alta Bates Newborn Intensive Care Unit where she works with staff to improve patient communication and with families to lessen emotional distress.  Janine has been a volunteer of the Greater Good Science Center since in the fall of 2010 when she first pitched the idea of a community gratitude journal, which she edits weekly.  She is an avid fan of Christine Carter’s Raising Happiness blog and lives in Oakland with her husband and three small children.

Gregg Sparkman Gregg Sparkman

Gregg Sparkman graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Anthropology and Psychology with honors. Mentored by Dacher Keltner as an undergraduate, he completed an honors thesis on the relationship between the vagus nerve, altruism, and positive emotions. His research interests include emotions, morality, physiology, political psychology, positive psychology and pro-social behavior. Gregg makes contributions to Greater Good magazine, helps develop the Greater Good website, and volunteers at Greater Good events.


Join Us

Become a member of the Greater Good Science Center to enjoy exclusive articles, videos, discounts, and other special benefits.



  • How to Help Teens Find Purpose

    April 16, 2015

    Teens are naturally driven to seek new experiences—and that may be the key to helping them develop a sense of purpose in life.

  • Can Music Help Keep Memory Alive?

    April 21, 2015

    A conversation with the makers of Alive Inside, a new documentary about how music is helping people with dementia.

  • How to Help a Narcissist to Forgive

    April 14, 2015

    Narcissists struggle to forgive people for even minor transgressions. But a new study points the way forward.


Greater Good Events

How Compassion Creates Resilience, with Kelly McGonigal
International House, UC Berkeley campus
May 20, 2015

How Compassion Creates Resilience, with Kelly McGonigal

A book event for The Upside of Stress


Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!


Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.


Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

The Path to Purpose By William Damon Looks at how children are hampered in their search for meaning, and how concerned adults can help them find it.

Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

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