Keynote & Featured Speakers
At SciComm we bring together a variety of speakers from all different science communication backgrounds. Check them out below.
Darrion Nguyen Keynote Speaker
Darrion Nguyen of Lab Shenanigans is a Houston-based science content creator. Upon receiving his Bachelor of Science and Arts in Biochemistry and Theatre, respectively, at the University of Texas at Austin, Darrion has grown to become a prominent science communicator and educator. His background training in theatre and passion for STEM has allowed him to effectively incorporate relatable humor with science topics and convey them through his videos. Named the “Bill Nye of millennials”, Darrion seeks to make science accessible, propel STEM communication, and empower people to learn science by combining popular memes and concepts from biochemistry.
Raychelle Burks Keynote Speaker
After working in a crime lab, Dr. Burks returned to academia, teaching, and forensic science research. Her research team is focused on the development of field portable colorimetric and luminescent sensor arrays for the detection of analytes of mainly forensic interest such as explosives, chemical weapons, controlled substances, and latent prints. She writes a science-meets-true crime column called “Trace Analysis” for Chemistry World. Beyond forensics, Dr. Burks collaborates with colleagues in a variety of fields on projects where low cost and reliable rapid screening methods are needed. An in-demand science communicator, Dr. Burks regularly appears on TV, in podcasts, at large genre cons such as DragonCon and GeekGirlCon, and other venues to converse on chemistry, forensic science, and STEM meets pop culture. She is the 2020 recipient of American Chemical Society’s Grady-Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public. She is a member of several local, national, and international committees, task forces, and projects focused on social justice and STEM. In 2021, Dr. Burks was listed as one of the “6 women who are changing chemistry as we know it” by BBC Science Focus Magazine.
Emily Calandrelli Keynote Speaker
Emily Calandrelli is the host and co-executive producer of the hit Netflix series Emily’s Wonder Lab. Each episode features Emily and a group of kid-scientists as they learn about STEAM through experiments and fun activities. Emily is also an Executive Producer and Emmy nominated host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space and was a correspondent on Netflix’s, Bill Nye Saves The World.
Emily, who was named to Adweek’s“11 Celebrities and Influencers Raising the Bar for Creativity in 2017”, is also an accomplished writer and speaker on the topics of space exploration, scientific literacy, and equality. Her chapter book series, The Ada Lace Adventures, centers around an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology, the second book in the series, Ada Lace: Sees Red, was included in the National Science Teachers Association’s list of best STEM books for 2018. The third book, Ada Lace: Take Me To Your Leader, was part of the initiative from NASA and CASIS, Story Time from Space where the book was launched into space and read by an astronaut aboard the ISS to an audience of kids. The fifth and most recent book in the series, Ada Lace: and the Suspicious Artist which was released in February 2019. All 5 books in the series are available at Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon. Earlier this year Emily released a children’s book, Reach For The Stars, an uplifting book about love and shared discovery.
Emily frequently gives talks about the importance of science literacy, the benefits of space exploration, and the challenges for women in STEM careers for clients like Google, Pixar, MIT, Texas Instruments as well as dozens of K-12 schools across the nation. Her first two TEDx talks, “I Don’t Do Math” and “Space Exploration Is The Worst,” have garnered over one million views on YouTube.
Prior to her work in science communication, Emily attended West Virginia University, where she received a Bachelors of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, and MIT where she received two Masters of Science degrees, one in Aeronautics and Astronautics and the other in Technology and Policy. Through her work, she wants to make science relatable, easy to understand and more exciting today than ever before in history.
Corey Gray Keynote Speaker
Corey Gray is Scottish & Blackfoot and a member of the Siksika Nation of Alberta, Canada. He grew up in southern California and received Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Humboldt State University (HSU).
After undergrad, he was hired by Caltech to work for the astronomy project, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) in Washington State. At LIGO, Corey worked on teams to both build and operate gravitational wave detectors.
The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) made historic news in 2016 by announcing the FIRST direct detection of gravitational waves, which helped prove a prediction made 100 years earlier by Albert Einstein! This also won founders of LIGO the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2017.
Corey is proud to be Indigenous. He recruited Sharon Yellowfly (his mom) to translate scientific documents for LIGO into the Blackfoot language. He has been invited to give talks around the US & Canada.
In his free time, Corey likes to backpack, travel, salsa dance, cross-country ski, go to pow wows, share science with the public, and kayak (with a wooden kayak he recently built).
Beth Shirley Featured Speaker
Beth Shirley is an Assistant Professor of Technical Communications in the English Department at Montana State University. Her research focuses on bringing together traditional and scientific knowledges toward engaging rural communities in science communication. She has participated in research projects with communities in Utah, Ohio, and Morocco, and is most recently involved in a collaboration with faculty in the College of Agriculture at MSU toward developing communication models for building sustainable agritourism practices across the state of Montana.
Dietram A. Scheufele Featured Speaker
Dietram A. Scheufele is the Taylor-Bascom Chair in Science Communication and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the Morgridge Institute for Research, and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. Scheufele is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Communication Association. He currently co-chairs the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication and the consensus study committee on Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats. He also serves on NASEM’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) Advisory Committee, the Board on Health Sciences Policy, and the LabX Advisory Committee. Since 2012, he has co-organized five NASEM Colloquia on the Science of Science Communication. Over the course of his career, Scheufele has held fellowships or visiting appointments at a number of other universities, including Harvard, Penn, the Technische Universität Dresden, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, and – most recently – the Universität Wien. His consulting portfolio includes work for DeepMind, Porter Novelli, PBS, WHO, and the World Bank.
Lee Ann Woolery Featured Speaker
Lee Ann Woolery is the Founder and Research Director at Citizen Artist™ a participatory science research platform, employing alternative research methodologies to study ecological systems change and address critical environmental issues. At Citizen Artist™ we work with individuals and communities in scientific research, addressing community driven issues, empowering citizens to get involved, those who may have been overlooked by conventional science.
Woolery is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, scholar, and a practicing artist of over 30 years. With a focus on divergent ways of knowing, she pioneered Art-Based Perceptual Ecology, the alternative field-based research methodology used at Citizen Artist™. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England and a master’s degree from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Her field study in desert ecology was conducted in the Sonoran Desert and findings that support ‘other ways of knowing’ can be seen in her dissertation: Art-Based Perceptual Ecology as a way of knowing the language of place.
Dr. Woolery currently teaches art-based research methodology courses on-line through the Citizen Artist™ platform. She has taught ‘Art-based Research Methods’ courses in the Ph.D. program on Sustainability Education at Prescott College and the University of Washington’s Graduate Program on Education, Environment and Community at IslandWood, Bainbridge Island, WA. While teaching at the University of Missouri-Columbia,
Woolery co-led a summer science communication camp for high school students: The Arts As A Portal to Science, held in collaboration with MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center, where she also taught a session on: The visual image as a language to communicate science.
Woolery presents at national and international science conferences on such topics as: Data at the intersection of art and science; Explore science, enter through the arts; and The Litmus Test Dress Project: A participatory science research project exploring art-based discourse applicable to public environmental policy on global water initiatives.
Jane Maienschein Featured Speaker
Jane Maienschein specializes in the history and philosophy of biology and the way biology, bioethics, and bio-policy play out in society. She also serves as Fellow and directs the History and Philosophy of Science Project at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Professor Maienschein and her team focus on the history and underlying assumptions in development, genetics, and cell biology. They analyze epistemological standards, theories, and laboratory practices and combine that with their studies of people and institutions, as well as the changing social, political, and legal context in which science thrives.
She served as fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives during the 105th Congress. Professor Maienschein has filled many leadership roles at ASU and with professional societies including as president of two international organizations, panels with NIH, NSF, NEH, and committees at the National Academy of Sciences. Founder and director of the Biology and Society Program and Center, she promotes education and research at the intersection of biological science and society, with an emphasis on effective communication about science.
Adam R. Shapiro Featured Speaker
Adam R. Shapiro is a historian of science and religion. His work looks at the way that religious societies communicate and interpret ideas about science and technology, and the way that narratives of science-religion conflict give shape to cultural and political controversies. His first book, Trying Biology (University of Chicago Press, 2013) explored how the early antievolution movement in the U.S functioned as an expression of political opposition to education reform and the expansion of compulsory schooling in America. His most recent book, with Thomas Dixon, is Science and Religion, A Very Short Introduction (Oxford UP, 2022.) His articles on a range of science and society topics have also been published in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, American Scientist, Aeon, Undark, and several other venues.
Athena Ramos Featured Speaker
Dr. Athena Ramos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and is affiliated with the Center for Reducing Health Disparities, the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH), and the Global Center for Health Security at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha, Nebraska. She leads a Latino outreach and engagement team and serves as principal investigator for multiple community-based health and social research and education initiatives in such areas as occupational health and safety within the agrifood system, immigrant integration, and community well-being. She has over 20 years of experience developing and implementing social, health, and human service programs with culturally diverse populations. She continuously strives to bring a sense of hope and vitality to the work she does both professionally and personally.
Dr. Ramos has been honored numerous times for her commitment and dedication to making Omaha and Nebraska a healthier, more inclusive, and vibrant place to live, work, and play. She was recognized as one of the “40 Under 40” by the Midlands Business Journal, one of the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans, the American Heart Association’s Advocacy Volunteer of the Year, the Nebraska Latino American Commission’s Inspiration Award recipient, and a WCA Tribute to Women Honoree. Recently, she was awarded the Carruth J. Wagner Faculty Prize in Public Health from the UNMC College of Public Health for her work during the pandemic. Dr. Ramos is married and is the mother of four children.