Michele Raffin is president of Pandemonium Aviaries, a conservation organization dedicated to saving birds. A former high-tech executive, Raffin began taking in abandoned and discarded birds fifteen years ago, housing them in her backyard a half hour south of San Francisco. Raffin is a dedicated avian advocate and a passionate observer of birdlife. A certified aviculturist and regular consultant to zoos and breeders, Raffin has spoken at the TEDx conference, is the conservation columnist for the Avicultural Society of America’s Avicultural Bulletin, and has served as co-chair of a large humane society and on the board of a companion bird rescue organization.
Ellie received her PhD from Stanford University in the Biology Department in 2021 where she used genomics to study big cats and built tools to assist in tracking and identifying illegally traded animals and animal products. She is now a post doctoral fellow with the Washington Research Foundation at Washington State University, where she has expanded this work to grizzly bears and other Pacific Northwest fauna.
Previously, Ellie attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she received her B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology, and subsequently obtained a M.S. from the University of Hawaii, Hilo.
In addition to her work in genetics, Ellie is also a board member and science advisor for Tigers in America and is passionate about working to end unregulated captive breeding in the United States.
In her spare time, Ellie loves to hang out with her dogs, run, play video games, and watch Twitch! She’s thrilled to support Alveus as they grow.
Nick is currently the general manager of the media/gaming organization ‘One True King’, and has been since October of 2020. Previous experience includes 10 years as an Operations/Project manager for a custom software development company, as well as 5 years being a treasurer and board member for a non-profit cat rescue and low-cost spay/neuter organization. In addition, he has 10 years of experience on an advisory board for the business and technology department of a local college.
Sebastian is a spider scientist, wildlife photographer, and educator who loves introducing people to wonderfully weird animals. He’s been featured on podcasts, news, and TV, including Ologies, NPR, and Disney+. Sebastian studies the evolutionary relationship between animals’ eyes, their environment, and how they use color, shape, and movement to talk with each other. For his PhD, he studied why and how jumping spiders get their audience’s attention when performing their spectacular courtship dances. Currently, he is researching the evolution of eye size across tarantulas. To learn more about his work, visit www.spiderdaynightlive.com. Sebastian advises Alveus on the care and behavior of the sanctuary’s arthropod ambassadors.
Allison is an entomologist specializing in education, public service, and outreach. She served as the coordinator for an exotic insect zoo and is currently the coordinator of a pesticide safety education program. Dr. Johnson hopes to increase engagement and accessibility of pesticide safety and pollinator protection education by modernizing her program to include streaming, interactive presentations, and offering educational materials in multiple languages. She is all about bugs!