November 12, 2019 | Forensic Genomics for Investigators P.O.S.T. Course

8:30am – 5:00pm

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Community Room

5200 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Course Description

This 8-hour course is designed to assist understanding and engagement with new genomic technologies that are increasingly common as investigative leads, such as, DNA-predicted physical appearance (hair/eye/skin color, face shape) and ancestry estimations.

This course provides foundational information about the use and limitations of genomic technologies in the context of casework (both criminal and missing persons). Through activities and discussions, course participants will engage some of the common contexts in applying these DNA evidences to casework, such as translating ancestry to race labels, accounting for the accuracy of the genetic prediction in your investigation, and using the genetic results to narrow down your leads.

The course also offers a step-by-step guide to deciding which investigative genetics technology is right for an array of casework contexts (e.g. low quality DNA, DNA mixture, lead or no lead, skeletal DNA, touch DNA, diversity of suspect pool).


No fee


To improve the attendee’s understanding of the uses and limitations of genetic predictors of physical appearance and ancestry in case investigations. To develop a protocol for assessing the most useful genetic test (beyond CODIS), given the quality of the DNA and the case context. To provide a network of genetic researchers and practitioners for consultation.

Prerequisites and Eligibility

Must be currently employed by a Law Enforcement Agency. Participation in this workshop is limited to law enforcement practitioners where having an up-to-date grasp of genomic technological applications is imperative. This workshop is formatted and approved as an accredited continuing education course through the Commission for Peace Officers Standards and Training for California law enforcement.

Special Instructions 

An anonymous survey may be emailed to you prior to the start of the course to better understand the incoming perspectives and interests of the attendees.

To Register

Qualified participants are to enroll through Contact Dr. Cris Hughes at refer to POST Plan: N/A POST Course Number: 3180-11160-19. Participation will be capped at 65 attendees.

For information about the hosting agency, contact Dr. Lauren Zephro;

Course Instructors

Dr. Cris Hughes, Assistant Clinical Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Alison Galloway, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz 

Dr. Chelsey Juarez, Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno

Dr. Lauren Zephro, Forensic Services Director, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office

Sponsored By

The UC Santa Cruz Science & Justice Research Center, the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

lightning bolt

Exploring the impact and ethics of the Frankenstein phenomena

In conjunction with The Frankenstein Project, is FrankenCon—a three-day conference of scientists, theorists, authors, and artists exploring the Frankenstein legend—on November 21-23.

Highlights of the weekend include a “Science and Ethics” roundtable discussion on Saturday afternoon, moderated by UCSC Theater Arts professor and conference organizer Michael Chemers and features UCSC faculty–including former chancellor and astronomy professor George Blumenthal, Genomics Institute director David Haussler, and Science & Justice Research Center director and Professor of Sociology Jenny Reardon. They will discuss such topics as “What is ‘mad science’ and how do we guard against it? and “What has Frankenstein taught scientists and cultural critics about the dangers of science without conscience?”

Read more in this campus news article.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the FrankenCon website.

November 06, 2019 | Meet & Greet

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

4:00-5:30 PM

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Please join us for a beginning of quarter social hour. In addition to a chance to celebrate the new academic year and enjoy each other’s company over nice food and drink, we will be welcoming new members of our community, and welcoming back others.

This will be a great chance for everyone to meet and foster emerging collaborations! Attendees are highly encouraged to bring and share their objects of study as it is a fun and helpful way to find intersecting areas of interest.

Faculty or students interested in science and justice who want to learn more about SJRC, the Training Program offered in Winter 2020, or would like to affiliate with Science & Justice are highly encouraged to join us.

The Science & Justice Research Center is located on the second floor of the Oakes College Administrative Building, at the end the hallway to the left of the Mural Room as you come up the stairs; an elevator is located at the end of the building to the right.

Due to the PG&E power cut, the Meet & Greet was rescheduled from October 9, 4-5:30PM.

November 06, 2019 | Informational meeting for new cohort of Science & Justice Training Program

The Science and Justice Research Center will host an Informational Meeting on our internationally recognized interdisciplinary Graduate Training and Certificate Program:

Wednesday, November 06, 2019


Graduate Student Commons Fireside Lounge

Our Science and Justice Training Program (SJTP) is a globally unique initiative that trains doctoral students to work across the disciplinary boundaries of the natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and the arts. Through the SJTP we at UC Santa Cruz currently teach new generations of PhD students the skills of interdisciplinary collaboration, ethical deliberation, and public communication. Students in the program design collaborative research projects oriented around questions of science and justice. These research projects not only contribute to positive outcomes in the wider world, they also become the templates for new forms of problem-based and collaborative inquiry within and beyond the university.

As SJTP students graduate they take the skills and experience they gained in the training program into the next stage of their career in universities, industry, non-profits, and government.

Opportunities include graduate Certificate Program, experience organizing and hosting colloquia series about the research projects, mentorship, potential for additional research funding and training in conducting interdisciplinary research at the intersections of science and society.


Science & Justice: Experiments in Collaboration (SOCY/BME/FMST 268A and ANTH 267), Prof. Jenny Reardon, scheduled tentatively Wednesdays 9am-12noon (to be confirmed). Enrollment in the course is required for participating in the Training Program. Attending the informational meeting is strongly encouraged, but not required.

Students from all disciplines are encouraged to attend

Prior graduate fellows have come from every campus Division.

20 Represented Departments: Anthropology, Biomolecular Engineering, Digital Arts & New Media, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Education, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Feminist Studies, Film & Digital Media, History of Consciousness, Latin American & Latino Studies, Literature, Math, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and Visual Studies.

Past collaborative research projects have included:

  • Physicists working with small scale farmers to develop solar greenhouses scaled to local farming needs.
  • Colloquia about the social and political consequences of scientific uncertainties surrounding topics such as climate change research, food studies, genomics and identity.
  • Examining how art can empower justice movements.
  • Working with local publics to improve African fishery science.

For more information on the Science & Justice Training Program, visit:

Join the SJRC at the October 9th Meet & Greet from 4:00-5:30 in the SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231!

November 5, 2019 | Theorizing Race After Race

5:00-6:30 PM

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Join Science & Justice scholars for an open discussion of Theorizing Race After Race!

At this meeting, we will be talking about the following articles:

More information on the cluster can be found at:

October 30, 2019 | Works-in-Progress with Luz Cordoba

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

4:00-5:30 PM

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Join SJRC scholars in the SJRC Common Room for an open discussion of works-in-progress! This is a wonderful chance to engage with one another’s ideas, and support our own internal work. At this session, we will hear from Science & Justice Training Program Fellow, Sociology Ph.D. Candidate, Luz Cordoba, who will discuss her dissertation that explores giant bamboo forests and their harvesters in Colombia, South America.

Luz Cordoba is a sociology graduate student at UC Santa Cruz whose interdisciplinary ethnographic work engages subjects such as STS, the Latin American Ontological turn, postcolonial critiques of race and nature, terror and colonialism, as well as political ecology and multi species ethnographies.

October 16, 2019 | Ruha Benjamin on A New Jim Code?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Merrill Cultural Center

A New Jim Code? Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (PDF Flyer)

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and even deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. Benjamin will present the concept of the “New Jim Code” to explore a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. We will also consider how race itself is a kind of tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. Benjamin will take us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she studies the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine. Ruha is the founder of the JUST DATA Lab and the author of two books, People’s Science  (Stanford) and Race After Technology (Polity), and editor of Captivating Technology (Duke). Ruha writes, teaches, and speaks widely about the relationship between knowledge and power, race and citizenship, health and justice.

Further reading:

Innovating inequity: If Race is a Technology, Postracialism is the Genius Bar

Black Afterlives Matter: Cultivating Kinfulness as Reproductive Justice


Q&A to be Moderated by SJRC’s Theorizing Race After Race cluster.

Co-Sponsored by Crown College.

Book Release! Looking For Marla (2019)


Discover the diversity of sex, gender, and parental care in the underwater world of Looking for Marla. Looking for Marla tells the tale of a curious clownfish in transition as they find their way through fatherhood, and into motherhood! As readers follow along through playful and punny rhymes, they encounter a diverse cast of friendly marine creatures, each with a unique story to tell and a jewel of wisdom. Looking for Marla hopes to inspire readers of all ages on their own journey of gender expression and self-exploration, while they explore the diversity of an underwater world.

This book is for educators, parents, youth, and anyone wanting to learn about sex and gender diversity in nature and gender pronouns in a fun way! A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz, to support diverse communities in Santa Cruz & Watsonville counties.

More information can be found at:

Find Marla on Instagram at

The book is available from the Looking for Marla team and in a few local shops. For your personal, classroom, or shop copy, contact

Book cover for Looking For Marla (Spanish edition).

Join the bilingual release celebration:

On November 15, 2019, from 7pm to 9pm at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History Looking for Marla will share the BILINGUAL version of the book, there will be performances, face painting, brainstorming on the meaning of parenthood, and activities for all ages! (Details on the launch)


“Looking for Marla takes you on an undersea discovery journey through the surprisingly diverse expressions of gender and sexual identity among marine creatures. I have taught sexuality education classes for ages ranging from kindergarten to senior high school, and this wonderfully imaginative book will be a precious addition to the curriculum. Little kids will marvel at the beautiful illustrations and older youths will appreciate the whimsical rhyming text. For all, the variety of parenting styles and gender expressions depicted in these pages are sure to expand their understanding of the many ways to be human. May they find their own inner Marla.”  –  François Bar | Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education facilitator

“Looking for Marla beautifully illustrates how art can help to communicate scientific information and break down social stereotypes. We at the Norris Center for Natural History are proud to have supported this creative and outstanding book.”  – Karen Holl | Professor of Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz | Faculty Director, Norris Center for Natural History.

“Looking for Marla is joyful, beautiful and informative.  If you are curious about: gender identity, the ocean, its inhabitants or parenting then this is the book for you!  This is revelatory reading at its best.” – Beth Rendeiro, M.Ed | Co-founder, More Than Sex Ed. | Trainer, Our Whole Lives, Lifespan Human Sexuality curricula |  Educator, UCLA Lab School

“Looking for Marla speaks for the often overlooked and misunderstood ocean creatures. With gorgeous illustrations and unforgettable facts, this story will warm the hearts of those willing to undertake a new perspective on our underwater world.” – Roxanne Beltran, Ph.D. |  Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Santa Cruz.

About the Looking for Marla Team

Paloma Medina (Visionary) is a scientist and educator currently in a Biomolecular Engineering Ph.D. program at UC Santa Cruz. Paloma is interested in evolutionary genomics, bioinformatics, and creative mediums to explore sex and gender diversity in nature. They are an award recipient of the U.S. Fulbright student research scholarship and the National Institute of Health T32 Training Program. Their creative projects have been supported by the Santa Cruz Arts Council, the UCSC Norris Center for Natural History, and the UCSC Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development. Paloma has fun integrating feminist theory and science to help share queer stories.

Read more about how Paloma contributes to the field of population genetics with a distinctly feminist mindset, in an interview with the SJRC.

Audrey Ford (Writer) is a UC Santa Cruz graduate with a degree in Marine Biology. Her passions surround the combined use of science and art as a vehicle to both explore threats to our environment and animal communities, and to connect the world to these issues through concepts that resonate with each individual personally. She is currently working as a face painter for a local Santa Cruz company, as well as a researcher for a non-profit organization which responds to communities across California being affected by polluted local environments. Audrey is so excited to play a part in creating this beautiful story and she hopes that it’s words will reach everyone in need of reading them!

Jessica Kendall-Bar (Illustrator) is a UC Berkeley graduate in Marine Science. She is a PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at UC Santa Cruz, where she studies the neurobiology of marine mammals. She has studied a broad range of marine topics, including oceanic geochemistry, cephalopod and arthropod mating behavior, moray eel movement, and marine mammal sleep. Her whimsical illustrations and immersive underwater photography aim to accurately portray science and its invaluable role in preserving the underwater ecosystem. At the interface of science and art, she endeavors not only to make meaningful discoveries, but also to convey those results broadly and creatively to impact diverse populations within and outside academia.

Read more about Jessica’s passion for using art to explain science, in a campus news article.

Karen Ross (Spanish Translator)

Sofia Vermeulen (Designer)