Kalina Silverman is the creator of Big Talk, an initiative aimed at skipping small talk to ask deep questions and make more meaningful life connections. Big Talk has since grown into a global movement that includes a YouTube video series, Amazon exclusives card game, diverse educational programs, and events around the world from Australia to Singapore to Uzbekistan. Kalina is from Santa Monica.
She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University. In 2017-'18, she lived in Singapore as a Fulbright Scholar sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and Institute of International Education researching ways to use Big Talk to build empathy across cultures. Kalina's TEDx talk has over six million views on YouTube. Learn more at www.makebigtalk.com.
Teen Scene column
Julia Abbott has been writing for the Santa Monica Star for over five years and is a sophomore and she attends a local school. Writing about a variety of topics, she is grateful for the level of community involvement the Santa Monica Star has allowed her to pursue. She is born and raised in Los Angeles County and loves to read, dance, hike, debate, and write. She hopes to eventually pursue a career in law or business, but for now is busy being a high schooler.
Computers and more...
Mark Presky is a director of the Los Angeles Computer Society.
Anne Wallentine is a freelance writer and editor with a focus on arts, culture, and health. After earning a master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, she returned to the best coast of the U.S. She now lives in Santa Monica, in the house her great-grandmother bought. Feel free to contact her via awallentine.com.
Reflections From the East column
Qin Sun Stubis
Qin Sun Stubis has been writing her popular "Reflections from the East" column for the Santa Monica Star for more than ten years. Born in Shanghai and brought up during the turbulence of the Cultural Revolution, this Washington. D.C.-based writer brings her thoughtful and lyrical style to bear on a wide variety of topics, inflected with both Eastern and Western flavors in a way that transcends mere geography to touch hearts and reveal universal truths.
Qin is currently shopping around two manuscripts, the first a sweeping history of two families spanning four generations from Imperial to modern times, replete with kidnappings by pirates, babies bought and sold in opium dens, and the true story of a girl with three identities and a man who struggles against both a powerful ancient myth and the tyranny of the State. Her other book is a whimsical collection of original Chinese Tall Tales based on ancient and historical themes appealing to the young and the young at heart in either hemisphere.
Dr. Miceala Shocklee is a full-time veterinarian and part-time freelance writer and editor. After completing her undergraduate degrees in biology and English at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Miceala obtained her veterinary degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Miceala is currently based out of Los Angeles. More stories of her global travels across all seven continents can be found at
Paws & Claws column
Dr. Frank Lavac, Medical Director:
VCA Wilshire Animal Hospital
Medical Director Dr. Frank Lavac has over 30 years experience in Avian Medicine and Surgery and leads a team of veterinarians and staff at VCA Wilshire Animal Hospital. While Dr. Lavac has a special interest and training in birds and exotics, most of his patients are dogs and cats.
Dr. Lavac has been in practice since 1980. Contact his office for your pets needs today 310-828-4587 or visit the website at;