Personal Life Decisions and Decision Education for Youth

In this symposium, we:

  • Gained insights from thought leaders in the field

  • Heard personal success stories

  • Learned how to integrate critical decision-making skills into the formal educational curriculum

  • Saw useful practical tools

  • Learned of the challenges faced by front-line educators


1:30 - 3:00 PM Session - Personal Life Decisions

  • Keynote - Ralph Keeney -- Give Yourself a Nudge (to making better decisions)​

    • Ralph L. Keeney is Professor Emeritus at the Fuqua School of Business of Duke University, North Carolina. Throughout his career, he has been a professor and consultant on making important decisions for policymakers, businesses, and individuals. He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, and has authored or co-authored several books, including Give Yourself a Nudge, Smart Choices, Value-Focused Thinking, and Decisions with Multiple Objectives.

  • The Value from Applying DQ to Personal Life Decisions

    • A Student – Zach Reed

    • A Teacher – Carrie Brumbach

    • A Tool to Help Reach Clarity – Chris Spetzler


  • Software to Help You Reach DQ – Florian Methling EntscheidungsNavi

  • SCOPE Decision Process and Medical Decision-Making — Jeff Belkora

3:30 - 5:00 PM Session - Decision Education for Youth

  • Keynote - Brett Pierce -- What are the obstacles and solutions to integrating critical decision-making skills into the formal educational curriculum for middle and high schoolers?

    • Brett Pierce is a program developer, producer, educator, and writer who has spent over 30 years working in media production that engages and entertains around a defined curriculum. Brett is the Founder and Executive Director of Meridian Stories, a digital storytelling nonprofit for middle and high schoolers, now in its eleventh year. Brett has spent much of his professional life at Sesame Workshop in New York City, serving as a Co-Executive Producer on media projects about literacy, math, science and conflict-resolution, and life skills for youth around the world, including projects in China, Macedonia, Indonesia, Poland, Iraq, and, most recently, South Sudan, Somalia and the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.


  • What Have We Learned Over 20 Years? – Carl Spetzler


  • How DEF Brings Decision Skills to Youth – Chris Spetzler

  • The Value of Decision Skills for Youth

    • Youth – Lexie Howell

    • Teacher -- Liz Thompson


  • Preview – an Online Intro Course with CA College Credit Available to High School Students – Jeff DeFranco

5:30 PM Reception with Music by Dale Nesbitt and Jazz Quartet

6:30 PM Dinner with Toast to the Seminal Figures of Decision Analysis

  • Ron Howard with Ralph Keeney representing Howard Raiffa

8:00 PM Evening Panel - What Will It Take to Make Decision Skills Universal Life Skills?

  • Panelists: Brett Pierce, Chris Spetzler, Liz Thompson, Trina Weller