Guest Instructors

Winslow Briggs

Winslow Briggs is Professor Emeritus of Stanford University and Director Emeritus of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, where he continues to spearhead research on light sensing by plants.  A longtime volunteer of Henry W. Coe State Park, Professor Briggs and his research team have been studying the dramatic changes and subsequent recovery of the park since a devastating fire consumed much for the park in 2007.  Professor Briggs is the recipient of numerous scientific awards for his pioneering work on how plants respond to light for growth and development, and is one of the most highly cited researchers in plant science.

Julie Cain


As Stanford University’s Historic Preservation Planner, Julie Cain researches and evaluates buildings and landscapes on campus that are older than 50 years. She has worked at Stanford University since 1978, and in 2008 began working for Heritage Services, with Land Use and Environmental Planning. Julie has a Master’s degree in history from California State University East Bay and focuses on 19th-century California history and landscape history. She is a member of the California Garden and Landscape History Society and has helped to restore Stanford’s historic Arizona Garden.


Sairus Patel

Sairus Patel didn’t know much about trees when he was an undergrad at Stanford. His interest was piqued during neighborhood tree walks led by Canopy, Palo Alto’s urban forest non-profit. Ron Bracewell’s Trees of Stanford and Environs and Matt Ritter’s A Californian’s Guide to the Trees among Us were particular inspirations (and are almost entirely to blame for his eucalyptophilia). He has served on the board of Canopy, and is on the board and editorial staff of Pacific Horticulture Society. He has recently embarked on revising and expanding the online Trees of Stanford project, which he curates along with John Rawlings. Sairus works in font technology.


Katherine Preston

Katherine Preston is an evolutionary ecologist studying how plants have evolved to grow under drought and other stressful conditions. She is also interested in the ways humans relate to plants in their everyday lives. In addition, she has been the Associate Director of the Program in Human Biology since 2008. Dr. Preston received her PhD in Ecology and Evolution with an emphasis in plant science from Indiana University. For her Bachelors degree she studied biology and French at Duke University.

John Rawlings


John Rawlings served as Subject Librarian and Bibliographer for Stanford University Libraries for 36 years. John has held a variety of assignments in Linguistics, French and Italian Studies, and Humanities and Social Sciences, including selection responsibilities in area studies concentrations (Africa, Middle East, SE Asia, and South Asia), and departments (Anthropology, Classics, Communication, Philosophy, and Religious Studies), as well as critical interdisciplinary areas.  In addition to his accomplishments in SUL, John has been a steadfast steward of the environment at Stanford; in this realm, he helped Engineering Professor Ron Bracewell complete his guide to Stanford campus trees, published by the Stanford Historical Society, and founded  the website John is also an affiliate of Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.


Annamma Spudiich

Annamma Spudich received her Ph.D. and pursued postdoctoral work in molecular cell biology at Stanford University, and was a cell biologist at Stanford University for 25 years. About ten years ago she left basic science research at Stanford University to devote her intellectual energies to her life long interest in the history of Indian scientific traditions in the natural sciences. In 2003 Spudich curated an exhibit at The Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, titled “From Forreine Places All the Varietie of Herbes” that looked at Indian ethno botany, ethno medicine and the European colonial enterprise in India. In 2008 she did a ground-breaking exhibit in Bangalore, at the National Center for Biological Sciences that explored the impact of encounter with Indian botanical medical knowledge systems on European world. The exhibit titled “Such Treasure and Rich Merchandize:” is now a permanent installation at the Museum of Natural History in India. She is a scholar in residence at the National Center for Biological Sciences/Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Bangalore, India and she divides her time between Palo Alto and Bangalore.


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