Keynote: Climate Change, Comic Books and Becoming a Better Scientist through Storytelling

hh_shane_campbell-31Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton is an evolutionary biologist who studies physiological and genomic adaptation to climate change. Much of his work focuses on how human activity, from climate change to urbanization,  shapes evolution in wild populations. In addition to his research, he also has a passion for science communication. His most recent project, The Biology of Superheroes Podcast, combines science fiction with modern research to explore the limits of form and function in the natural world.




Research talks

IMG_3997Elizabeth Butler
I am a graduate student in the Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences department, currently working at the National Solar Observatory studying solar flares. Solar flares have the potential to be very harmful to society. My research looks at how they work by examining them in ultraviolet light. I come from a liberal arts college tucked deep in the northern woods with a double Bachelor’s in Physics and Creative Writing. I feel very passionately that these two activities flex the same mental muscles, and this passion has developed into a strong belief in science communication and outreach, both within science and outside. When I’m not at my desk working, I can usually be found in a coffee shop writing. Sometimes I do both at the same desk.

79dc796f-f26b-4206-84f3-b2857a41bbe3Sakshi Singh
Sakshi Singh is a graduate student in the Electrical Engineering department at CU interested in imaging through scattering media using computational techniques. She is part of Dr. Piestun’s lab where she is developing a flexible fiber probe for imaging deep brain neural activity. Sakshi completed her Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Amrita University, India.  Her interest in optics and medical imaging was fueled through her undergraduate research experience in Terahertz imaging as a NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellow (NURF) at the University of Notre Dame. What excites her most about her research is its multidisciplinary nature at the nexus of electrical engineering, physics, and biology and its huge potential impact towards the advancement of medical sciences. Apart from her research, Sakshi enjoys the Indian dance form, Kathak and pencil sketching.

portrait-photoLaura Maguire
Laura Maguire is a fifth-year physics graduate student at CU Boulder in the Hough biophysics lab. She’s interested in understanding how our bodies can filter molecules with such precise control. Ultimately, her goal is to create new technologies that take advantage of the clever systems our bodies have already developed. Laura’s first introduction to biophysics was as an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College in California, when she was thrilled to realize that she could be a physicist and study biological systems at the same time. She loves the interdisciplinary nature of biophysics – there’s never a shortage of interesting problems or of new ways to approach them. In many ways, it’s like solving a jigsaw puzzle, which she also loves: Laura and a group of friends once assembled a 24,000-piece puzzle, which was at that time the largest commercially-available puzzle in the world.

U30d7Z2KDemetrios Pagonis
Demetrios is a 5th-year graduate student in the Chemistry Department at CU. His current research in the Ziemann lab investigates the chemistry of the indoor environment. Demetrios was drawn to atmospheric chemistry by the way that fundamental aspects of chemical reactions impact large-scale issues such as air quality and global climate. His other research projects focus on the chemistry of organic aerosols, cloud formation, and the best ways to simulate the atmosphere inside a laboratory. When he’s not in the lab Demetrios tries to maximize the amount of time he spends outdoors, running and cycling in the mountains.

headshotKatharine Adamyck
Katharine Adamyk is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Colorado Boulder.  As a child, Katharine didn’t enjoy memorizing multiplication tables, but did enjoy solving puzzles and writing imaginative stories.  A series of dedicated and passionate educators eventually convinced her that math could be more like the latter than the former. She now works in the field of algebraic topology (specifically, stable homotopy theory) and teaches as a TA in the CU Math Department. When she’s not teaching or doing math, Katharine can be found hiking, camping, and soon kayaking her way across Colorado.  

GoldenKeyTeisha2Nov2014_2-editedTeisha Rowland
Teisha J. Rowland, Ph.D., has had a unique career path as a scientist and science writer. After completing her undergraduate studies in MCDB and Humanities at CU Boulder, Teisha went on to receive her Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara in MCDB, where she investigated human pluripotent stem cell biology. Teisha specifically helped develop methods for turning these cells into retinal cells to eventually treat people with age-related macular degeneration.

While a graduate student, Teisha enjoyed developing a stem cell blog (AllThingsStemCell.com) and writing a weekly biology column of more than 60 articles with the Santa Barbara Independent (independent.com/bio). Upon graduating in 2011, she pursued a career as a professional scientific writer/editor, which included being a medical writer/editor at the UCD Anschutz Medical Campus, publishing two biology books (the “Biology Bytes” series: biology-bytes.com/book), and being an educational scientist/writer at an award-winning non-profit organization, Science Buddies, where her writing was featured by Scientific American and National Public Radio.

Teisha returned to academic research in 2015, driven in part by the early death of her mother-in-law from breast cancer and a desire to contribute more to the world of research. Upon returning, Teisha became a postdoctoral fellow at Anschutz, where she pursued high-throughput drug screening using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from individuals with genetic heart muscle diseases. Teisha recently started a postdoctoral position at CU Boulder, in the laboratory of Prof. Thomas Cech, where she investigates the molecular mechanisms by which human iPSCs produce the enzyme telomerase, which is important for maintaining telomeres, and how cancer cells become immortal through the reactivation of this enzyme.”

Last year’s invited speakers:

Dr. Aisha Morris, RESESS director

aisha-morrisAisha R. Morris is an Education Specialist and the Director of the Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS) internship program managed by UNAVCO. Aisha’s primary area of focus is crafting strategies for recruiting, training and retaining the geoscience workforce of the future. In her current position, Aisha is responsible for UNAVCO’s Geo-Workforce Development Initiative, including managing undergraduate and graduate student internship programs and supporting early career professionals as they transition into the geoscience workforce. Aisha earned her B.Sc. in Geology from Duke University and both her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her graduate and postdoctoral research interests focused on the geology and evolution of volcanic terrains on Earth and other rocky planets, contributing to discoveries regarding the presence of water in recent Martian history.

In addition to geological research, Dr. Morris has a passion for exposing as many people to the importance of the earth sciences as possible. She volunteered in the Earth Science classroom of the Science and Technology Entry Program, educating and exciting students about the earth sciences, including job and intellectual potential within the field. During the summers of 2010 and 2011, Dr. Morris also acted as Camp Director for the Girls Get It! science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) camp for middle school girls from the Syracuse City School District.

She also has a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo!

Dr. Madeline Sofia

Image courtesy of Meredith Rizzo/NPR

I grew up outside Cleveland, the daughter of an insurance agent and a high school science teacher. As a kid, I spent hours in the woods capturing salamanders and frogs and bringing them home to my parents. Back then I thought I wanted to become a veterinarian. I asked (and surprisingly received) a sheep’s heart to dissect for my 14th birthday.

I went on to study biology at the University of Mount Union, in Alliance, Ohio, where I got involved in research on endangered salamanders and a fungus that was wiping them out. This fall, at the University of Rochester Medical Center, I received my Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology, studying Vibrio cholera, a fascinating 4 billion-year-old, single-celled organism that’s evolved to outsmart the human immune system — and cause cholera.

During graduate school, I also came to realize how much I love helping other researchers describe their work in ways that can ignite that same passion for science in everyone. My career goals started shifting in that direction, and I helped develop two science communication classes at Rochester.

As an intern at NPR last summer, I worked with science correspondent Joe Palca on Joe’s Big Idea, a project designed to go beyond “Eureka moments” to tap into the minds and motivations of people who do hands-on research. I got to go to the White House to interview scientist Girl Scouts who are trying to solve the problem of Styrofoam waste; I got to write about using parasites to alleviate symptoms of Crohn’s disease. And, along with Joe, I co-hosted the NPR Live Lab, in which we brought how-it-works science to everyday questions, with insight and immediate feedback from NPR’s Facebook community.

Maybe most important, I got to connect with a group of young scientists who are also eager to share science with the public, the wonderful worldwide community we’ve come to call Friends of Joe’s Big Idea — FOJBIs. Joe and I are especially interested in telling the stories of young scientists who want to reach diverse audiences. If you’re interested in working with us, check out the JBI Facebook page and give me a shout at msofia@npr.org. We want to help young scientists produce and promote their own content. It’s your community, too. Join us!

Listen and read more by Dr. Sofia

Steven Zeisler

Steven Zeisler is a recognized world-class expert in innovation, working and studying for three decades in the fields of leadership, entrepreneurship, strategic thinking, applied creativity and business innovation. He has run a start-up business within a Fortune 15 company and, in 1994, founded Zeisler Associates, Inc., helping organizations around the world innovate at increasingly higher success levels. Zeisler’s effectiveness is based on solid research, applied study and successful real-world business experience. He debunks many of the myths and misconceptions about creativity and innovation promulgated by fads and social mania.

Dr. Jane Zelikova and a special showing of the film “End of Snow

JZ Bio Photo

Jane Zelikova is an ecologist interested in the impacts of environmental change on natural and managed ecosystems. Currently, she is a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy, on leave from her position as a research scientist in the University of Wyoming. She combines a strong emphasis on research with an interest in science communication and activism, thinking about ways to expand the role of science in tackling global issues. She is the co-founder of 500 Women Scientists and also Hey Girl Productions and the executive producer of the film “End of Snow.”

We’ll be showing “End of Snow” during lunch in SEEC S228 following the morning workshop.