• Home
  • Program
  • Workshop Application
  • Accommodation
  • Travel
  • Local Information
  • Resources
  • Contact




Workshop 2019 Program

Keynote Speaker

What Turbulence?: Navigating your Journey on the Academic Sea!
Christine Grant, North Carolina State University


Do you feel like you're "sinking" in your academic sea? If you have identified a destination for your "academic career" boat, do you know who should be on board to advise you? This keynote address will empower current and aspiring STEM professionals with a hands-on set of tools to: (i) identify a path that is consistent with their overarching personal career goals, (ii) create strategies to combat the waves crashing up against the academic boat in the form of critical career challenges and (iii) execute a plan to negotiate the potentially turbulent "rough seas" (e.g., difficult people and situations) while pursuing exciting career opportunities in the STEM professions. Participants will use reflective exercises to identify outside their "academic career box" goals and connect with their own set of personal mentors.
Christine Grant obtained her degrees in Chemical Engineering ChristineGrant (B.S., Brown University; M.S. and Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology). A Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering at NC State (now in her 30th year), she's conducted research in surface and interfacial science. As the inaugural Associate Dean of Faculty Advancement in the College of Engineering, for over ten years she's been responsible for faculty development, special initiatives, and promotion and tenure for the college. A recipient of the AAAS Mentor Award and the NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), Christine has been recognized for broadening the participation, promotion and retention of underrepresented minorities (URM) and women in STEM. She has been a Visiting Senior Scholar at AAAS and a Grant Expert at NSF. A change agent, she has been active as a PI on multiple NSF ADVANCE grants and served on the advisory board or consulted with several ADVANCE schools including Texas A&M, Cornell, Lehigh, U of New Hampshire and the University of Cincinnati, promoting institutional transformation in STEM fields. She has received over $5 million in NSF funding in the REU, ADVANCE, CBET, and GOALI programs. Her book, "Success Strategies from Women in STEM: A Portable Mentor" by Elsevier/Academic Press is the culmination of Christine's over 30 years of leadership broadening the participation of diverse populations in STEM fields.

Topics and Session Leaders

Persuasive Messaging
Andrew Merolla, University of California, Santa Barbara


It isn't enough for scientists to AndyMerollacommunicate by merely supplying information; scientists must learn how to connect with their audience and deliver a persuasive message. This session will review different types of communication styles and message design, and help participants learn how to deliver a message that is appropriate, powerful and persuasive.
Andy Merolla is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research examines the link between interpersonal communication and well-being. He studies such topics as conflict management, interpersonal forgiveness, relational maintenance, and individuals' experiences following natural disasters. At UCSB, Andy teaches courses in communication theory, conflict management, interpersonal communication, and nonverbal communication. Andy earned his PhD in 2007 from the School of Communication at The Ohio State University.

Effective Science Communication
Brian Aguado, University of Colorado Boulder


Early career scientists need to develop BrianAguadoeffective techniques for communicating the implications of their scientific results to a wide array of audiences. Seeing that effective science communication is not traditionally a part of PhD and postdoctoral training, the goal of this workshop is to provide an opportunity for early career scientists to develop their oral and written communication skills through a variety of hands-on group activities (including impromptu, one-minute "pop-talk" oral presentations and practicing effective techniques on how to write a scientific abstract). Our goal is to equip the next generation of scientists and engineers with effective communication skills so they may disseminate their research findings to a myriad of different audiences and promote scientific discourse in the public space.
Brian Aguado is currently an NIH and Burroughs Wellcome Fund postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado. His current research is focused on developing precision biomaterials for applications in personalized medicine. Brian completed his MS and PhD in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University and his BS degree in biomechanical engineering from Stanford University. He also obtained his certificate in Management for Scientists and Engineers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Brian is also a dedicated science communicator outside of the lab and seeks to engage underrepresented populations in the sciences. He is the former president of the Postdoctoral Association of Colorado, organized seminars featuring underrepresented thought leaders in STEM for CU Café, and served on the executive board for Project Bridge Colorado. Most recently, he co-founded LatinXinBME, a new social media initiative dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive community of Latinx biomedical engineers and scientists to support each other personally and professionally through their careers

Networking for Researchers
Jean-luc Doumont, Louvain School of Engineering, Belgium


A success factor for any career, networking JeanLucDumontcan be daunting for shyer people, who then envy the "people-oriented" ones. In fact, both the introverted and the extroverted can benefit from a more systematic approach to professional networking. This session reviews the types of network worth considering and the approaches to effective networking, both face to face and online, in each case offering concrete, readily applicable tips.
Jean-luc Doumont, an engineer at the Louvain School of Engineering in Belgium, is a specialist in scientific communication, visual structure, pedagogy, statistical thinking, and other topics related to effective communication between rational minds. Jean-luc received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University and is a popular invited speaker at universities and conferences worldwide. He is the author of "Trees, Maps, and Theorems," a book on "effective communication for rational minds."

Mini Entrepreneurial Boot Camp
Gary Beall, Texas State University San Marcos


Workshop participants are placed in teams GaryBealland are given a technically based seed for a start-up business. They will then develop and pitch a business plan for that seed. This activity is supported through a series of interactive sessions on the critical components of a business plan such as market analysis, financial projections, intellectual property, sales strategies, manufacturing, and management. Each team will put together these various components, leading up to a final pitch made to the whole group. A prize is given to the winning team.
Gary W. Beall has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Baylor University.Gary's first job out of graduate school was at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he conducted research on the environmental fate of actinides originating from the civilian nuclear fuel cycle. He then moved to industry for 21 years during which he served as researcher, group leader, technical director, and vice president for a number of different companies and also founded his own company. The central theme of the research conducted during this period was applications of surface modified clay nanoparticles in paint, cosmetics, grease, pharmaceuticals, cat litter, water treatment, and polymers. He has over 130 publications in refereed journals and 48 US patents in his name. Gary co-edited the first book written on polymer/clay nanocomposites in 2000 and published the second on the subject in 2011 coauthored with Clois Powell. Gary is well known for his work on nanoparticles (especially smectic type of nanoparticles) and their surface modification and application in a multitude of application areas. Recent research interests include low cost synthesis of graphenes and other 2-D systems. He is currently Regents' Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Formosa Endowed Chair, Director of the Center for Nanophase Research, and Associate Director of the Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization program at Texas State University. Gary is also currently serving as a science advisor and adjunct professor for Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and distinguished adjunct professor for King Abdulaziz University, SA. He is also founder and CTO of Nabaco Inc. and chairman of the board for Surge Power Inc. He is also one of the original founders of SioTex Inc.

Diversity in the Workplace
Zoe Liberman, University of California, Santa Barbara


ZoeLiberman Dr Liberman's abstract will be posted here soon!
Zoe Liberman is an Assistant Professor at UCSB in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. Her work focuses on the origins and development of social reasoning. For example, she studies whether infants think of people as members of social categories (e.g., based on their language, gender, or race), and how this reasoning impacts early behavior. Before coming to UCSB, she received her B.S. in Psychology from Yale University, and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Chicago, where her work was supported by grants from NSF and NIH.

Pathways Panel


A selection of graduate students and recent graduates will describe their academic and career pathways. Learn from these individuals about how they bridged the gap between undergraduate and graduate school and went from graduate school to careers in industry, academia and successful start-ups.

Kristin Denault, Fluency Lighting Technologies, Inc


Kristin Denault founded Fluency Lighting to develop and KristinDenaultcommercialize next-generation, energy-efficient light sources based on laser technology and materials design. Kristin currently leads Fluency as the Founder and CEO, where the team is working to introduce energy-saving light sources in applications where LEDs cannot compete, and inefficient xenon or halogen light sources are still being used. Kristin has years of experience working in materials science and engineering and has published numerous scientific papers and patents in the field of solid-state lighting. She received her PhD in Materials from UC Santa Barbara in 2015, while also completing the Graduate Program in Management Practice in the Technology Management Program at UCSB, focused on providing a foundation in business and management skills. During that time, the concept for Fluency was conceived and debuted in UCSB's New Venture Competition in 2014.

Andrés Villada, University of Colorado Boulder


Andrés Villada is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at AndresVilladathe University of Colorado, Boulder. He received his Bachelor's degree at Brown University, specializing in astrophysics and performing experimental dark matter detection research with the Large Underground Xenon collaboration. Impassioned by the versatility of experimental work, Andrés chose to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering to study the revolutionary applications of smart, active materials to such emerging fields as flexible electronics and soft robotics with the Xiao research group. When he isn't in the lab or teaching Finite Element Analysis, Andrés dedicates a lot of his time to helping increase diversity in higher education as a student leader and mentor for UMAS y MEXA and STEM Routes, a student group that he helped found on the CU campus. On the weekend, you can find Andrés hiking, biking, or climbing throughout Boulder, and enjoying a show at one of Denver's legendary breweries afterwards.

Kayla Nguyen, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Kayla Nguyen is currently an Illinois Distinguished Postdoctoral KaylaNguyenResearch Associate the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She was inspired to pursue a career in science after going to an outreach event where Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was the plenary speaker. Kayla later went on to study physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of the College of Creative Studies. Afterwards, she moved from sunny California to the temperate, deciduous forest of Ithaca, NY where she completed her PhD at Cornell University and won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for her research. Kayla now focuses her time developing new electron microscopy techniques with an emphasis on imaging the smallest unit of magnetism – the electron spin. Although she is first a scientist, Kayla is extremely passionate about building more pathways for girls and young women in the STEM fields.

Michael Stefferson, Manifold


Michael Stefferson graduated with his PhD in physics fromMichaelStefferson the University of Colorado, Boulder, in May of 2018. His thesis, under Meredith Betterton and Matt Glaser, was on crowded and active matter. Outside of research, Michael organized physics outreach events for the City of Boulder's EXPAND program in conjunction with CU's PISEC. After graduation, Michael was an AI Fellow at Insight Data Science, which is aimed at helping academics transition to industry. He has been working as a Machine Learning Engineer with Manifold, a machine learning consulting firm, since January 2019.

cu logo