Keynote Speakers

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Dr. Nadya Mason

Professor, Department of Physics

University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

Learn more about Dr. Mason

Professor Nadya Mason standing next to machinery in her lab

Nadya Mason is a professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University, her doctorate in physics from Stanford University, and engaged in postdoctoral research as a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. A condensed matter experimentalist, Dr. Mason focuses on electron behavior in low-dimensional materials such as nanowires, graphene, and nano-structured superconductors. Her research is relevant to the fundamental physics of small systems, as well as to applications involving nano-scale, quantum electronic elements. In addition to maintaining a rigorous research program and teaching, Dr. Mason works to increase diversity in the physical sciences, embracing opportunities to encourage and mentor aspiring scientists from underrepresented groups and to promote a welcoming climate within the field. Dr. Mason is also committed to improving science communication, and can be seen promoting science on local TV, in museum exhibits, and via a TED talk. Dr. Mason was named a 2008 Emerging Scholar by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine, was a recipient of the 2009 Denise Denton Emerging Leader Award, the 2012 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award of the American Physical Society (APS), the 2019 APS Bouchet Award, and is an APS Fellow. She is a former General Councillor of the APS and Chair of the APS Committee on Minorities. She currently serves as Director of the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC), a $16.1 million multidisciplinary research and education center funded by the National Science Foundation.


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Dr. Sheila Nash-Stevenson

Engineer, Science and Technology Office

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Dr. Shelia Nash-Stevenson made history in 1994 when she became the first African American female in Alabama to earn a Ph.D. degree in physics. She was among the first African Americans to receive a Ph.D. in physics from Alabama A&M University and one of less than 20 African American females to hold a Ph.D. in physics in the entire United States at that time. Born and raised “in the country” of Lawrence County, Alabama, Dr. Nash-Stevenson lacked any science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) role models or mentors, but her love of math was one of the driving forces that led to her academic and professional success. She is a three-time Magna Cum Laude graduate of Alabama A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technology and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Physics.

Dr. Nash-Stevenson is currently employed with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama as an engineer with the Science and Technology Office, Science Research and Projects Division. Dr. Nash-Stevenson has co-authored several papers in the area of Laser Upconversion and holds a patent for an Optical Fiber Holder. She has served on dissertation and thesis committees, and she also mentors graduate and undergraduate students at Alabama A&M University.

In addition to being a charter member of both the City of Madison Board of Education and the Madison Rotary Club, Dr. Nash-Stevenson is also a member of Leadership Alabama, Leadership Huntsville/Madison County Alumni Association, National Technical Association, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children Patient Family Advisory Council, International Women's Forum - Alabama, WEDC Foundation Board of Directors, Alabama A&M University Alumni Association, Alabama A&M University YMTF Advisory Board, Greater Huntsville Chapter (AL) The Links, Incorporated and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. In 2013, The City of Huntsville honored Dr. Nash-Stevenson for her dedicated service and untiring effort to make the Huntsville/Madison County area a better community and for being the first African American to serve on the Madison City School Board.

In 2016, NASA selected Dr. Nash-Stevenson to represent the agency as a “Modern Figure” at the Red-Carpet Premiere of the movie “Hidden Figures” in New York City. In addition to walking the red carpet with the other celebrities, she also participated in numerous interviews encouraging girls and African Americans to pursue STEM degrees and careers.

She was named to the Alabama A&M University Alumni Hall of Fame in 2021, selected as a 2022 This is Alabama Women Who Shape the State Honoree and inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame in 2022.

Dr. Nash-Stevenson is an active member of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama where she serves as a former trustee, an usher, and a greeter. She is married to Mr. Kirby Stevenson and is the proud mother of Kecenia and Keegan Stevenson. She resides in Madison, Alabama.


Invited Speakers

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Ms. Mitzi Adams

Solar Scientist

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Learn more about Ms. Adams

I am a solar scientist and assistant manager of the Heliophysics and Planetary Science Branch of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, I graduated from Georgia State University with a B.S. in physics and earned the M.S. degree (also in physics) from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. My research has focused on the magnetic fields associated with sunspots and how those fields interact with the solar atmosphere. If the magnetic field associated with sunspots becomes twisted, a flare and/or a coronal mass ejection may occur. Coronal mass ejections are gigantic explosions of material which can travel through interplanetary space and affect the Earth through aurora, loss of communication with satellites, and power grid disruptions.

Throughout my life, many of my interests have forced me into situations where I was either the only or one of only a few females in a group (physics class, for instance). When I was in high school, I had few female friends and was often teased for being different. At the time, I was bothered by this a great deal. Now however, I enjoy my independence and rejoice in my unique personality. My choice of career has allowed me to do the things I enjoy: study the Sun and explore Earth.

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Ms. Aatiya Ali

Graduate Student

Georgia State University

Contact Ms. Ali by email

I am a second year Astronomy graduate student at Georgia State University focusing on Solar Physics. I'm primarily working on forecasting Solar Proton Events using flux data and MHD models. I also work with scientists at the High Altitude Observatory on coronal line emission disentangling. For outreach, I am involved with planning Georgia State University's REU program, and serve on the undergraduate research committee.

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Dr. Tatiana Allen

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga

Contact Dr. Allen by email

Learn more about Dr. Allen

Dr. Tatiana Allen received her Master's degree in physics and electrical engineering (1985) and her doctorate in solid state physics (1988) from the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Russia. Her thesis research on experimental studies of weak localization and electron-electron interaction in complicated band structure semiconductors was done at the Ioffe Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia, working at the laboratory of Dr. Yurii Shmartsev.

Prior to joining the physics faculty at the university of Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1993, Professor Allen was a faculty member at the Experimental Physics Department of the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Russia. Since moving to the US, she has collaborated with researchers from the University of Toronto, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the development of carbon and oxide-based materials for electronics applications.

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Dr. Jennifer Cash

Professor of Physics

South Carolina State University

Contact Dr. Cash by email

Learn more about Dr. Cash

Dr. Jennifer Cash is a Professor of Physics at South Carolina State University. Her research interests focus on Computational Astrophysics with particular emphasis on variable star time domain studies, modeling of variable stars, and database mining. Her research frequently involves undergraduate research students, particularly giving these students their first introduction to research. Her other professional interests include curriculum development and Education and Public Outreach.

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Dr. Christianne Beekman

Associate Professor, Department of Physics

Florida State University

Contact Dr. Beekman by email

Learn more about Dr. Beekman

Dr. Beekman holds the position of Associate Professor at the Physics Department at Florida State University, where she started in August 2014. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto and Oak Ridge National Laboratory after she received her PhD from Leiden University, Netherlands. Her current research is focused on the study of thin films of frustrated magnets in which she uses structural perturbations, such as epitaxial strain, to stabilize novel noncollinear spin textures. In 2019 she received a NSF Career award entitled CAREER: Study of Degeneracy Breaking Effects and Emergent Phenomena in Heterostructures of Frustrated Antiferromagnets DMR-1847887 to support her ongoing effort in frustrated magnetism.

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Dr. Cortney Chalifoux

Program Manager

Pond and Company

Contact Dr. Chalifoux by email

Dr. Chalifoux is the Program Manager of the Coatings Engineering Services Group at Pond and Company where she manages a team of coatings inspectors, engineers, and experts as they ensure the quality of painting and coating work and rework for the DoD, commercial, and utility clients. Dr. Chalifoux's role at Pond includes investigating coating failures, developing and reviewing engineering specifications for coating systems, and overseeing the QP-5 coating inspection services.

Dr. Chalifoux achieved her PhD from the University of Virginia studying stress corrosion cracking of aluminum alloys for the DoD. She has her BS in Physics from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She has her Professional Engineering License in Metallurgy and Materials Science with the State of Georgia and is a SSPC Protective Coating Specialist.

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Dr. Haihong Che

Assistant Professor, Center of Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR)

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Contact Dr. Che by email

Learn more about Dr. Che

Dr. Che received her Ph.D in physics from University of Maryland, College Park, in 2009. Then she worked as a postdoc in University of Colorado, Boulder for two years. In 2011 she moved to Goddard Flight Center in Maryland. In 2014 she became a research scientist in UMD. She joined UAH in 2019 as an assistant professor in space science.

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Mrs. Katie Cooper

Academic Advisor, College of Sciences and Mathematics

Auburn University

Contact Mrs. Cooper by email

Learn more about Mrs. Cooper

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Dr. Jennifer Curtis

Professor, School of Physics

Georgia Institute of Technology

Contact Dr. Curtis by email

Dr. Jennifer Curtis is a Professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Curtis received her B.A. in Physics at Columbia University in 1997, and her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Chicago in 2002. There her research focused on soft matter physics and optical manipulation (think microscopic tractor beams!). She helped pioneer the development of holographic optical tweezers, a powerful method to generate dynamic optical traps and optical vortices in three dimensions. During her postdoctoral research at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, Dr. Curtis began to study biological physics. During that time she was an Alexander Humboldt Fellow and eventually an independent group leader before she became a faculty member in Physics at Georgia Tech in 2007. In 2010 she received an NSF CAREER Award and in 2014 she became an Editorial Board Member of the Biophysical Journal. Her active research interests fall in the area of Physics of Living Systems / Biological Physics, and include cell adhesion and motility, phagocytosis, biofilms, and the role of the gigantic polysaccharide, hyaluronan, in mediating cell and cell-matrix interactions in homeostasis and disease.

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Ms. Sarah Dalessi

PhD Student

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Contact Ms. Dalessi by email

Fourth-year Space Science graduate student at the University of Alabama Huntsville, studying gamma-ray bursts as a part of the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor team. Her undergraduate research was on RR-lyrae variable stars at Occidental College, where she majored in Physics and Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture focusing on Ancient Greek. She is currently the head of a student group at UAH aimed at opening communication between students and faculty to discuss options for the betterment of the department. In her free time, she enjoys reading, performing in community theater shows, and caring for her dog.

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Ms. Kat Davidson

PhD Student

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Contact Ms. Davidson by email

Hello! I am a 4th year graduate student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville pursuing a PhD in Space Science, and I have a BS in Physics from Auburn University (War Eagle!). While at Auburn, I participated in undergraduate research collecting data on geomagnetic storms and participated in NASA's Summer Internship program at GSFC studying plasmasphere density evolution during substorms. Since starting my graduate program at UAH, my research topics have shifted towards Ionosphere/Thermosphere Coupling, with a NASA FINESST funded project on thermospheric wind responses to changes in ionospheric plasma convection and a HAO Newkirk Fellowship funded project on modeling thermospheric winds and their drivers. I'm looking forward to return to Auburn and participate in CUWiP!

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Dr. Aja Davis

Psy.D., Senior Staff Clinician, Student Counseling & Psychological Services

Auburn University

Contact Dr. Davis by email

Aja completed her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (D.C. Campus). She has experience working in private practice, high school, and college/university settings. In these settings, Aja has had the opportunity to work with clients that vary in presenting issues, ages, and backgrounds. Although Aja mainly works from a Cognitive-Behavioral orientation, she also incorporates relational and multicultural theory into her work with students. In her free time, Aja likes to try do-it-yourself projects, listen to music, and spend time with her family.

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Dr. Lindsay Doukopoulos

Associate Director of Educational Development, Biggio Center

Auburn University

Learn more about Dr. Doukopoulos

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Dr. Ami DuBois


U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

Contact Dr. DuBois by email

Learn more about Dr. DuBois

Dr. Ami M. DuBois is a research physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., where her research focuses on connecting laboratory studies of plasma compression and velocity shear-driven waves to the dynamics occurring in thin current sheets that contribute to magnetic reconnection in space plasmas. She is also interested in nonlinear wave-particle interactions in the radiation belts and the development of novel diagnostics for use in the laboratory and space. Ami received her B.S. in physics in 2007 from the Florida Institute of Technology, her Ph.D. in physics from Auburn University in 2013. Before she was at NRL, Ami spent 3 years as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked for 3 years at TAE Technologies, a commercial fusion energy company.

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Dr. Paula Englehardt

Associate Professor, Department of Physics

Tennesseee Tech

Contact Dr. Englehardt by email

Learn more about Dr. Englehardt

Paula Engelhardt is an associate professor of physics at Tennessee Tech University. She earned her Bachelor's in physics from Eastern Kentucky University, her master's and PhD in physics from North Carolina State University and held a postdoctoral position at Kansas State University. She specializes in Physics Education Research and curriculum development. Her doctoral work involved the development of a conceptual diagnostic assessment called DIRECT which covered dc resistive circuits. Her more recent work has focused on development of curriculum for the introductory algebra-based physics sequence with the support of two NSF grants CCLI DUE-0737324 and DUE TUES 1245684.

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Dr. Laura Finzi

Professor, Department of Physics

Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Contact Dr. Finzi by email

Learn more about Dr. Finzi

Dr. Laura Finzi is a Professor in the Department of Physics of Emory College of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Finzi is a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Finzi's laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation using single-molecule techniques, such as the tethered particle motion technique, magnetic tweezers and atomic force microscopy.

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Dr. Melissa Halford

Lecturer, Department of Physics

Auburn University

Contact Dr. Halford by email

Dr. Melissa Halford is a lecturer in the Auburn University Department of Physics. She teaches physics and astronomy courses and manages the department’s rooftop astronomy terrace. She received her bachelor’s degree in astronomy from Cornell University in 2012 and her PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona in 2018.

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Ms. Rebecca Harvey

PhD Student, Space Science Department

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Contact Ms. Harvey by email

Rebecca Harvey is a PhD student in the Space Science Department at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Her PhD research is identifying and analyzing magnetic structures in near-Earth space and their response to the terrestrial magnetosphere. This study uses wavelet analysis and Grad-Shafranov reconstruction to analyze the change in the properties of the structures as they move across the bow shock using MMS and THEMIS data. Her undergraduate work at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University included spacecraft data analysis, day/night variations in hydrogen density in the upper-atmosphere, and investigation of turbulent shear flows over growing Stokes waves. Rebecca is passionate about increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the STEM field. She founded the ERAU chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics as Vice President, and is currently heading the effort for a Gender Minorities in STEM group in the UAH Space Science Department. She is originally from North Little Rock, Arkansas, and enjoys hiking, swimming, playing D&D, and spending time with her partner Clayton, and cat Dorrine.

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Ms. Ruthie Hill

Graduate Research Assistant

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Contact Ms. Hill by email

Ruthie Hill is a graduate research assistant at the Propulsion Research Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is currently a second year graduate student pursuing her masters in Aerospace Systems Engineering. Her thesis is focused on rapid injector design development for Rotating Detonation Engines and she plans to graduate in the Spring of 2023. She is an alumni from the University of South Alabama where she received her bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering. Ruthie has worked on several aerospace projects, including the JagSat satellite program, which is a CubeSat that will map the plasma of the ionosphere that was successfully deployed in LEO in July 2022. In the future, she plans to pursue a career as a test engineer with a focus in hypersonic propulsion systems.

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Dr. Valentina Iscaro

Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

Alabama A&M University

Contact Dr. Iscaro by email

Learn more about Dr. Iscaro

Valentina Iscaro is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Program at the College of Business and Public Affairs at Alabama A&M University. She has experience as Professor of Entrepreneurship, Innovation Management and Social Media Marketing in undergraduate and graduate courses. She is an entrepreneur, a startup mentor with experience in one-to-one as well as group coaching. She is the Director of Women in Technology Huntsville, a founding mentor of the Invention to Innovation Center and serves in the Board of Directors of the Catalysts. Her research interests focus on Entrepreneurial University, Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation, Open Innovation, Virtual Networks and Knowledge Ecosystems.

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Dr. Evdokiya Kostadinova

Professor, Department of Physics

College of Sciences and Mathematics, Auburn University

Learn more about Dr. Kostadinova

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Kathryn Madzar


Opelika High School

Contact Kathryn by email

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Dr. Jennifer Meyer

Instructional Assistant Professor and Director of the Astronomy Minor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Mississippi

Contact Dr. Meyer by email

Learn more about Dr. Meyer

Jennifer Meyer is an Instructional Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Astronomy Minor. Dr. Meyer received her Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2011, specializing in the interplay between tides and orbital dynamics. After that, she had a postdoctoral appointment in Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and taught at two community colleges before joining the University of Mississippi in 2018. She is interested in planetary dynamics, Enceladus, the Moon, and STEM pedagogy.

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Ms. Tyler Dean Milkeris-Zellar

Professional Title

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Contact Ms. Milkeris-Zellar by email

Tyler Dean Milkeris-Zellar grew up in Milton, Florida, and started her college journey in the summer of 2015 at the University of West Florida. In 2019 she transferred to Auburn University and graduated with her bachelors of science in physics in 2021. Currently, she has taken a position at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as a Health Physics Technician. She has participated in two REU experiences with an emphasis in nuclear physics; at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and the Cyclotron Institute at Texas A&M. Tyler enjoys listening to music to perfect her karaoke set list and trying out new cooking recipes. span>

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Dr. Debnandini Mukherjee

Postdoctoral Researcher, Center of Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR)

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Contact Dr. Mukherjee by email

Learn more about Dr. Mukherjee

Dr. Debnandini Mukherjee is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center of Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR). She works with Tyson Littenberg's group. She works in the area of gravitational wave data analysis and astrophysics. Her work involves looking for gravitational waves from inspiralling compact object binaries comprising neutron stars, black holes or both. She has been working with the LIGO-VIrgo-KAGRA (LVK) Collaboration and using data collected by the same to look for signatures of gravitational waves and and gleaning astrophysical implications of such observations. Her focus has been on the search for intermediate-mass black-hole (IMBH) binaries which is an interesting astrophysical source for the LISA mission as well. She is also involved in developing searches for gravitational waves for the LISA mission. In particular, she is interested in developing early warning (pre-merger) searches, aimed at sending out early alerts for gravitational waves. Debnandini completed her PhD from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2018. Before joining CSPAR, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the Pennsylvania State University.

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Dr. Kimberly Mulligan

Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity

College of Sciences and Mathematics, Auburn University

Learn more about Dr. Mulligan

Kimberly Mulligan earned her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics from Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation research examined the mechanism by which insulin-stimulated skeletal muscle glucose uptake is impaired in the presence of inflammation. Upon completion of her degree, she worked for the Vanderbilt University Center for Science Outreach. In this position she was able to merge her love of science and desire to enhance STEM education through the creation of elective scientific curriculum and professional development opportunities which fostered interdisciplinary learning in the US and abroad. In her current role as the Assistant Dean of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity for the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics, she works to develop and implement initiatives which create an inclusive environment for a diverse student body, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Mulligan recognizes the opportunities that have been afforded her through the vested interest others have taken in seeing her develop as a scholar. Therefore, she utilizes her position to explore new avenues to do the same for others by promoting inclusion in higher education to help shape a STEM workforce that reflects our diverse population and ensure many voices and perspectives are represented in scientific fields.

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Laura Provenzani

Epscor Education, Outreach, and Diversity Coordinator

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Contact Ms. Provenzani by email

Learn more about Ms. Provenzani

Originally from Italy, Laura Provenzani is a UAH graduate, holding a Master's degree in Professional Communication, two Bachelor's degrees in Art Studio and Education, and a minor in Web Communication. Her experience and ambition for graphic design and digital marketing led her to join CSPAR in July of 2021, as the Outreach Communication Specialist, where she gained experience in assisting with proposal submissions, such as creating budgets and other required documents. In June of 2022, Laura started her role as the NSF EPSCoR Outreach Coordinator. In this role, Laura is responsible for creating and promoting CPU2AL and FTPP internal and external products, organizing perspective outreach events, managing external communication channels, and recruiting and coordinating the program's internships.

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Ms. Laura Robinson

Graduate Student

Auburn University

Contact Ms. Robinson by email

Laura Robinson has a MS in Exercise Science and is currently completing her MS in Nutrition/Dietetics at Auburn University. Laura has experience working as a fitness specialist in the healthcare field with an extensive knowledge base in oncology wellness, cardiac rehabilitation, and post-orthopedic surgery rehabilitation. She is a US Coast Guard Veteran currently doing research on Veteran Health Behaviors, and is interested in performing further research on Motivational Interviewing tactics along with Adult Education Theories during Medical Nutrition Therapy sessions.

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Dr. Jyoti Saraswat

Associate Professor, Mathematics

Thomas More University

Contact Dr. Saraswat by email

Dr. Jyoti Saraswat is an associate professor of mathematics at Thomas More University. She received her Ph. D in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her area of research includes optimization, statistical analysis, matrix theory, and scientific computing. She enjoys multidisciplinary research and is actively engaged in undergraduate research with her students at her current institute. She has presented her work at various national and international conferences.

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Ms. Maura Shea

Graduate Student

Georgia State University

Contact Ms. Shea by email

Learn more about Ms. Provenzani

Maura is a second year graduate student at Georgia State University studying Active Galactic Nuclei. She earned her BA in Astrophysics from Wellesley College, a women's college in Massachusetts. Maura is passionate about astronomy outreach.

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Sydney Swanson

Systems Engineer

Northrop Grumman

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Dr. Jasminka Terzic

Assistant Professor

Western Kentucky University

Contact Dr. Terzic by email

Learn more about Dr. Wang

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Dr. Yishu Wang

Assistant Professor, Material Science and Engineering

The University of Tennessee Knoxville

Contact Dr. Wang by email

Learn more about Dr. Wang

Dr. Yishu Wang is an experimental physicist working on emergent phenomena in correlated electron systems, with a particular focus on quantum magnetism and its liaison with modern device technology. She joined UTK in August 2022 as an assistant professor in the Department of Materials and Engineering, jointly appointed by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Before moving to Knoxville, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Institute for Quantum Matter at Johns Hopkins University, after she obtained Ph.D. in physics from Caltech (2018), M.S. in physics from the University of Chicago (2014), and B.S. in Engineering Physics from Tsinghua University in China (2013).

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Dr. Dawn Williams

Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Alabama

Contact Dr. Williams by email

Learn more about Dr. Williams

Dr. Williams received her doctoral degree in Astronomy from UCLA in 2004. She joined the faculty of The University of Alabama in 2008. Her research area is particle astrophysics, and she is a member of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory collaboration, and the Radio Neutrino Observatory Greenland (RNO-G) collaboration. She serves as Level 2 Lead for Calibration and Characterization for the IceCube Upgrade project.

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Dr. Amy Winebarger

Astrophysicist, Heliophysics and Planetery Science

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Contact Dr. Winebarger by email

Amy R. Winebarger is an astrophysicist in the Heliophysics and Planetary Science Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. She specializes in the analysis of observations of the solar corona and compares these observations with computer models of the solar corona. She also is involved in several instrument programs, including the High-Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C, that studies the solar atmosphere.

Prior to joining NASA in 2010, Dr. Winebarger was an assistant professor at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville from 2006 to 2010. From 2001 to 2005, she was a research scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. She was an astrophysicist from 1999 to 2001 at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass.

A native of Kingsport, Tenn., Dr. Winebarger received her doctorate in physics in 2000 from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She also earned her master's degree in physics from UAHuntsville in 1997, and her bachelor's degree in physics in 1995 from King College in Bristol, Tenn.

She has received numerous awards throughout her career and has made significant contributions in the field of physics. She was the principal investigator or coinvestigator on many National Science Foundation and NASA research grant projects. She is currently the principal investigator on a grant project for NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Physics Program. The project, underway until 2014, uses temperatures and pressures measured in solar active regions as diagnostics for coronal heating. She also has contributed to more than 10 astrophysics journal publications.

Dr. Winebarger and her husband Michael Martin, formerly of Managua, Nicaragua, have three daughters and live in Madison, Alabama.

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Dr. Maria Witte

Associate Dean, Graduate School

Auburn University

Contact Dr. Witte by email

Dr. Maria Martinez Witte is the Associate Dean at The Graduate School and Professor of Adult Education within the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology, College of Education, Auburn University. Academic areas of interest include analyzing effective content, context, and processes that enhance the teaching-learning environment, learning styles, and the assessment of learning. She has experience in the staff development and training areas. Her skills include facilitating, coordinating, developing, and delivering educational programs.

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Ms. Kai Wright

Program Manager

American Physical Society

Contact Ms. Wright by email

Kai Wright leads the administration of the CUWiP project and is a Program Manager at APS. She will be available to provide information on APS Programs encouraging the recruitment, retention, and career development of women and gender minority physicists at all levels.

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Dr. Hong Zhao

Professor, Department of Physics

College of Sciences and Mathematics, Auburn University

Learn more about Dr. Zhao