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Shoot for the Stars

Women in Science and Engineering Symposium

Biographies of the Women In Science & Engineering Symposium Hosts, Keynotes and Speakers


2021 Keynote Speakers

Dr. Victoria Coleman

Dr. Victoria Coleman

Chief Scientist of the Air Force

Dr. Victoria Coleman is the Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force, Arlington, Virginia. She serves as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Chief of Space Operations. She provides assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the department’s mission. In this role, she identifies and analyzes technical issues, bringing them to the attention of department leaders. She interacts with other principals, operational commanders, combatant commands, acquisition, and science and technology communities...

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Major General Angela Salinas (USMC, Retired)

Major General Angela Salinas (USMC, Retired)

CEO, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas

Angie Salinas, Major General U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) joined Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas as the Chief Executive Officer in July 2015. Prior to becoming the CEO, she served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 39 years. A woman of many firsts, she made history as the first Latina selected and promoted to the general officer ranks in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the time of her retirement in September 2013, she was the senior ranking woman and the senior Hispanic in the Corps. A Girl Scout alumna, Salinas is a role model to girls and women seeking to break through the glass ceiling. She commanded at...

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Dr. Dana Born (Brigadier General, USAF, Retired)

Dr. Dana Born (Brigadier General, USAF, Retired)

Chair, Senior Executive Fellows (SEF) Program Faculty Advisor, Black Family Graduate Fellows & National Security Fellows Lecturer in Public Policy

Dana H. Born Faculty Chair, Senior Executive Fellows (SEF) Program; Faculty Advisor, Black Family Fellowship; Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government) is a retired Brigadier General with 30 years of service in the United States Air Force. Prior to coming to Harvard, from 2004-2013, she served two terms as the Dean of the Faculty at the United States Air Force Academy where she was also the Professor and Head of the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department. Previously, Dana served as an Exchange Officer with the Royal Australian Air Force, Assistant Director...

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Dr. Rengin Gök

Dr. Rengin Gök

Staff Scientist, Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division

Dr. Gök is a staff scientist in the atmospheric, earth, and energy division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and holds a PhD in Geophysics from Bogazici University in Instanbul, Turkey.  Dr. Gök is responsible for managing the seismic cooperation program for International Seismic Engagement in the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus region.   She builds partner capacity for Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty implementation and develops models for seismic monitoring and seismic hazard assessment. Her research interests include developing...

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2021 Speakers

Mr. Simon Sinek

Mr. Simon Sinek

Optimist and Author

Described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect,” Simon has devoted his professional life to help advance a vision of the world that does not yet exist; a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired, feel safe wherever they are and end the day fulfilled by the work that they do. He shares his ideas through his books: •Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, a global bestseller (with over 1 million books sold in the U.S. alone) •Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t...

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Dr. Mihan House McKenna Taylor

Dr. Mihan House McKenna Taylor

Senior Research Scientist (Near-Surface Phenomenology), US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Recipient of the 2013 USACE Researcher of the Year award for innovative remote monitoring of structures, Dr. McKenna Taylor specializes in bringing reality to intelligent decision making. She leads multi-disciplinary near-surface phenomenology research to create adaptive, effective, and revolutionary tools and scientific programs to shape future operational environments, including terrain shaping and near-surface persistent surveillance. Using geophysics and geotechnical engineering to proactively manipulate and assess the near-surface interface, she executes and fosters research to meet...

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Patricia Sudol

Patricia Sudol

CAPT, United States Navy (Retired)

CAPT Pat Sudol was one of the first women to enter the Naval Academy in 1976, graduating in 1980 with a degree in Oceanography.  As women were not permitted to serve on combatant ships at that time, she was assigned to USS HOLLAND (AS 32), a Submarine Repair Ship, where she served as their first female Repair Department Division Officer, the Engineering Department Electrical Officer, and as the Operations Department Head during the ship’s circumnavigation of the globe.  She qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer, and was selected to go to Department Head School to prepare...

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Col Sarah Cleveland

Col Sarah Cleveland

Commander, 709th Support Group

Colonel Sarah U. Cleveland is the Commander, 709th Support Group, Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC), Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. She leads a 440-person group responsible for providing cyber operations, agile software maintenance, configuration management, logistics, supply, central repair, remote sensor maintenance, personnel, facility, emergency management and postal support for the more than 1,000 Airmen assigned to the center. The group also operates and sustains the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System, enabling AFTAC’s global treaty monitoring mission to support...

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Dr. Abby Bickley

Dr. Abby Bickley

Assistant Professor of Nuclear Engineering

More information coming soon!

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Dr. Phillip Brown

Dr. Phillip Brown

Professor, Clemson University

Phil Brown, a professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson University, joined the faculty in January 2002. He earned a BSc in 1987 and received a Ph.D. from The School of Textile Industries in Leeds in 1991. After a few years of research work, including 1.5 years at Herriot Watt University as a teaching/research fellow, he went back to Leeds as a lecturer in the School of Textile Industries at Leeds University. Phil’s current research interests include, but are not limited to, fiber spinning and the production of deep groove capillary surface channeled...

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Dr. Virginia A. Davis

Dr. Virginia A. Davis

Daniel F. and Josephine Breeden Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Auburn University

Dr. Virginia Davis is the Daniel F. and Josephine Breeden Professor in Auburn University’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Her interest in STEM started with doing science and engineering fair projects. She earned her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Rice University in 2006 under the guidance of Professor Matteo Pasquali and the late Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley. She received her bachelor of science in engineering and masters of engineering from Tulane University’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Between her BSE and PhD degrees, she worked for...

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Ms. Priscilla Moore

Ms. Priscilla Moore

Lead, College Projects, NASA Internship and Fellowships

Priscilla Moore serves as the Lead, for the College Projects Team in the Academic Engagement Office at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, (KSC) Florida. Ensuring NASA Internships are award to eligible students in order to support educational opportunities that provide unique NASA-related research and operational experiences for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as educators. These opportunities serve students by integrating interns with career professionals emphasizing mentor-directed, degree-related tasks, while contributing to the operation of a NASA...

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Ms. Sarah Metott

Ms. Sarah Metott

More information coming soon!

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Ms. Laurie Whittaker

Ms. Laurie Whittaker

More information coming soon!

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Ms. Stacey Lazelle

Ms. Stacey Lazelle

Chemistry STEM Outreach Educator, U.S. Air Force Academy

More information coming soon!

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2021 Symposium Hosts

Colonel Katharine G. Branson

Colonel Katharine G. Branson

Commander, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Space Force Base, Florida

Colonel Katharine G. Branson is the Commander, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Space Force Base, Fla. AFTAC operates and maintains the United States Atomic Energy Detection System to monitor foreign compliance with various treaties limiting nuclear testing. The focus of AFTAC’s more than 1,000 professionals is to detect special events in the atmosphere, underwater, underground, and in space to determine if they are nuclear and to report them to U.S. senior decision makers. Colonel Branson earned her commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps...

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Dr. Theresa E. Watson

Dr. Theresa E. Watson

Dr. Theresa E. Watson serves as the Deputy Chief Scientist of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Space Force Base, Fla. The focus of AFTAC's more than 1,000 professionals is to detect special events in the atmosphere, underwater, underground, and in space to determine if they are nuclear and to report them to U.S. senior decision makers.  As the Deputy Chief Scientist, Dr. Watson is charged with advising the AFTAC Chief Scientist, Commander, and Senior Executive Staff on scientific and strategic issues related to the center's mission, technology development, vision...

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Chief Master Sergeant Amy L. Long

Chief Master Sergeant Amy L. Long

Command Chief, Air Force Technical Applications Center

Chief Master Sergeant Amy L. Long is the Command Chief for the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., where she advises the AFTAC wing commander on matters concerning the readiness, utilization, training, morale and welfare of the 1,000- member center and its 14 detachments around the globe who support AFTAC’s international treaty monitoring activities. AFTAC operates and maintains the United States Atomic Energy Detection System to monitor foreign compliance with various treaties limiting nuclear testing. AFTAC is also the designated U.S...

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Click here to see our past keynotes and other speakers from previous events.