Share—Discover—Connect

Come to share, discover, and connect with our school community -  over drink and food in the informal, round-table setting of our Community Salon Series! These free community events are part of our wider Urban Engagement Program and feature members of our school community, sharing their expertise and spearheading conversation. It is geared towards parents, faculty/staff, alumni and upper school students interested in the salon's theme. 

Upcoming Salon

Our next Salon will take place on February 12th - New Frontiers in the Sciences: from Biotech to Particle Physics  - with parent speakers: Amanda Kahn-Kirby and Philippe Grenier. 

The doors open at 6pm, with formal sharing from 6:15pm-7:30pm. More informal conversation may extend beyond. The event itself is free and free childcare (with food) is available from 6-8:00 for students, PK-8th grade. 

RSVP form forthcoming

Speaker bios:

Philippe Grenier - Deputy Director of Elementary Particle Physics Division, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Philippe holds a PhD in particle physics from the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique in France. After fulfilling his obligatory French military duties in 1996, Philippe was admitted to the French National Center For Scientific Research in the particle physics division. After working in laboratories in France and Switzerland, he moved to San Francisco in 2002 to work at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on behalf of the French government. He has been a member of one of the two experiments that discovered the Higgs Boson at the world’s largest particle accelerator, the LHC, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Philippe is currently working at SLAC and has recently been appointed Deputy Director of the Elementary Particle Physics Division. He is also the deputy project leader for a collaboration of several hundred physicists and engineers from all over the world with the goal of developing and constructing the next-generation vertexing particle detector to be installed at the LHC in 2025. He manages the scientific aspects and financial budget for the United States.  Philippe was born and raised in Aurillac, France. He and his wife, Heather, have two sons, Tristan and Roman.

Amanda Kahn-Kirby - Group Leader of Precision BioModeling, BioElectron Technology Corporation

Amanda's love for biology began with an exceptionally talented teacher in high school, leading to an undergraduate degree in Biology at Columbia.  After a brief foray into teaching science at the Haverford School and Phillips Exeter summer school, she came out west to earn my neuroscience doctorate with Cori Bargmann at UCSF.  Both her graduate and postdoctoral work focused on the microscopic yet powerful worm, the genetic model organism C. elegans.  For the last decade, she has led mechanism-of-action and biomarker discovery projects to support pharmaceutical R&D, first in the HIF/anemia program at FibroGen in San Francisco, and now at BioElectron in Mountain View.  When not working on BioElectron's translational programs for pediatric mitochondrial disease and adult neurodegeneration,  Amanda enjoys spending time outdoors with Mason Kirby and her two children, Julia and Miles.

Look Back

Our second Salon took place on November 28th in the Arts Pavillion. The event featured two parent speakers, prominent in the field, Ximena Ares and Brian Ferrall. 

Our salon series launched on October 16, with about 60 faculty, staff, parents and students sharing in conversation on the theme of civic and political engagement. The evening featured parent speakers Andrea Dew Steele, founder of Engage America, and Mark Mullen, founder/CEO of BeTheWave, and was moderated by Urban Engagement Coordinator, Michelle Haner and International High School senior and founder of Bay Area Student Activists, Zoe Benjamin.

For more information about the Salon Series or the Urban Engagement Program, please contact Urban Engagement Coordinator, Michelle Haner, at urbanengagement@frenchamericansf.org

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Allan Basbaum

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Allan Basbaum, a Francophile, dual citizen of Canada and the United States, grew up in Montreal and attended McGill University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree. He next completed his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. After postdoctoral research at University College London he moved to San Francisco and is currently professor and chair of the Department of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco. His research addresses the molecular mechanisms that underlie the generation of persistent pain after tissue or nerve injury. Most recently, his laboratory has focused on novel approaches to overcoming the neurological consequences of peripheral nerve damage, by transplanting embryonic cortical inhibitory precursor cells into the spinal cord. He has served as Treasurer of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) and as Editor-in-Chief of PAIN, the journal of the IASP. Recently, he served as Co-Chair of the Steering committee of the Intergovernmental Pain Research Coordinating Committee (IPRCC), which was charged with identifying priorities for pain research at major federal agencies (NIH, DOD, CDC, FDA, etc). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and is a fellow of the Royal Society in the United Kingdom. He is presently head of the scientific advisory board of the Facial Pain Research Foundation and contributes to advisory committees for several major pharmaceutical companies developing novel pain therapies.

Allan began his involvement at French American as president of the Parents Association, eventually joining the Board. He served as President of the Board of Trustees for 10 years, during which time the Oak Street campus was created. After a significant hiatus, he is now returning to the Board. Allan’s two children, Katherine and Jesse, are both French American graduates. Katherine is now a dietician/nutritionist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Jesse is a public defender in Alameda County. Allan is married to Marcia Fortnoff and together they have three grandchildren, Willa, Hazel, and Gus (Aengus).


French American International School

Main building

150 Oak Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Ph: 415.558.2000


Early Childhood Center

1155 Page Street

San Francisco, CA 94117

Ph: 415.231.5733

An independent Pre-K through 12th grade co-educational day school in the heart of San Francisco. The school delivers a rigorous bilingual (French/English) immersion program through middle school, culminating in either French Baccalaureate or International Baccalaureate program in its International High School.

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