About Our Speakers:


Ellen R. Stofan, PhD

John and Adrienne Mars Director, National Air and Space Museum

Dr. Ellen Stofan is the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She came to the Museum with more than 25 years of experience in space administration and planetary science.

Stofan was previously Chief Scientist at NASA, serving as the principal advisor to the Administrator on science programs and strategic planning. She helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars, and worked on strategies for NASA to support commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it transitions from the International Space Station (ISS) to sending humans to the Moon and Mars in the mid-2020s.

She held senior scientist positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including work on missions exploring Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn. She served as chief scientist for the New Millennium Program, and principle investigator on the proposed Titan Mare Explorer. She is currently on the Science and Engineering team of the NASA Dragonfly mission working to send a rotorcraft lander to Saturn’s moon Titan.

Stofan holds master’s and doctorate degrees in geological sciences from Brown University, and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William And Mary. She serves on National Geographic’s Board of Trustees, and on the Collier Trophy selection committee. Stofan is an honorary professor at University College London, and was on the board of the College of William & Mary Foundation for 10 years, including serving as board chair.

Parul Khurana

School of Natural Science and Mathematics IU East

Parul Khurana is an Associate Professor of Biology, Associate Dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics, and the current Chair of the Department of Science at Indiana University East. She is an Indiana University Bicentennial Professor. She was chosen as one of 25 faculty members selected to travel around the state delivering presentations about research or professional activities at various community forums. Parul earned her Bachelor of Science in Botany, and Master of Science in Plant Molecular Biology from University of Delhi, India. After that she moved to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. in Plant Cell Biology from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Parul joined IU East in January 2011, and since then she has taught a range of biology courses including Introduction to Plant Kingdom, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry at the undergraduate level. She currently does research with undergraduate students on the cellular mechanisms of plant root gravitropism and phototropism using Arabidopsis thaliana as the model system. She is also interested in biology education research dealing with self-regulated learning and how students change their study methods with different modes of teaching; and conducts research on internationalization of STEM courses and programs. Parul received the Indiana University East New Faculty Teaching Award in 2014, and was inducted into the Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching in 2016. She is the founding advisor of the Xi Delta Chi Chapter of the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society and the Pre-Professionals Club at IU East, and is involved in various extracurricular student experiential or engagement activities. Her contributions were recognized by the IU East Student Success and Engagement Award, which she received earlier this year (2020).

Bryn Tolchinsky

Microbiologist, Scientist at ThermoFisher

Bryn is a scientist studying the microbiome and utilizing viral vectors to impact scientific innovation. Bryn has experience in both the academic and industry sides of research, conducting undergraduate research at the University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute, interning in research and development at Elanco Animal Health, and currently working in viral vector services at ThermoFisher Scientific. She is passionate about microbiology and science communication. Beyond science, Bryn loves fitness, exercise science, and nutrition.

Caeley Looney

Reinvented Magazine Founder and President

Mission Analyst for L3Harris Technologies

Caeley Looney refers to herself as a "total space geek, avid Netflix binger, and French fry lover." Her Twitter tag line reads ‘Rocket Scientist by day, Editor in Chief by night’ as she does exactly that. Having graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2018, she now works full-time as a Mission Analyst for L3Harris Technologies where she supports their small satellite programs. Once the work day is over, she comes home and works on Reinvented Magazine. As Founder and President of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Caeley works to empower young girls to pursue STEM fields through the creation of the nation’s first ever print magazine written for girls in STEM. Outside of work and running a nonprofit, Caeley is continuing to advance her education by pursuing her M.S. in Space Systems Engineering part-time at Johns Hopkins University online. On a less professional level, Caeley spends most of her free time running distances most people call crazy, knitting, and going on long walks on the beach with her dogs.

McKenzie A. Hughes

Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University

McKenzie A. Hughes is affiliated with the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University. Currently, she is studying for the MCAT with the intention to apply to medical school during the upcoming cycle. In the interim, she nurtures a keen interest in data-driven research to reduce healthcare disparities, with several publications in preprint.

McKenzie sits on the alumnae board for the Center for Women’s Leadership, and believes empowering other women and girls will pave the way for progress and ignite monumental change.

Natasha Hinojosa

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

University of California Santa Cruz

Natasha Hinojosa is a proud Latina in her 1st year as a Ph.D. Student at the University of California Santa Cruz in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department.

She intends to study how feeding traits evolve in response to different environmental conditions. Through the pursuit of her graduate degree, she aims to integrate her skills for scientific illustrations and underwater photography and videography to better scientific communication. Additionally, by obtaining her Ph.D., she will become a first-generation graduate student and first to focus on the Biological Sciences.


Dr. Adele Goldberg

Member of HITS scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Adele Goldberg spent her career as a research laboratory manager at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center; as the founding CEO and President of a technology spinoff from Xerox; and as a founder, Board member, or advisor to a number of technology startup and public companies. Dr. Goldberg received an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Chicago, for work jointly conducted while a research associate at the Stanford University Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences. From 1984-1986, she served as National President of the ACM, the U.S. computer professional society where she also served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Computing Surveys. She has also volunteered on technical advisory boards of international research institutes, on the Board of the San Francisco Exploratorium, and as a member of the Dean’s Council of the University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division.

Solely and with others, Dr. Goldberg wrote the definitive books on the Smalltalk-80 programming system, and has authored numerous papers and a book on project management and analysis methodology using object-oriented technology. She edited The History of Personal Workstations, published jointly by the ACM and Addison-Wesley in 1988 as part of the ACM Press Book Series on the History of Computing which she organized, and co-edited Visual Object-Oriented Programming.

Dr. Goldberg is an ACM Fellow and recipient of a number of awards including the 1987 ACM Systems Software Award, PC Magazine 1990 Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Dobb’s Magazine Excellence in Programming Award in 2002, University of Chicago Alumni Professional Achievement Award (2012), and honorary degrees from the University of Michigan (2014) and the Open University, UK (1998).

Navya Vaticonda

Business Intelligence Engineer

Navya is an experienced developer with the experience as software engineer, senior data analytics consultant and currently works as a Business Intelligence Engineer. She earned her bachelor's degree in Information Technology from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and earned her master's degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University. Navya came to the U.S. from a small town in South India where education and basic needs are still a dream to many. Navya states that although her parents were not able to study past their high school due to family and financial circumstances, later in their lives they realized how education plays a vital role in sculpting one’s thoughts. They have always ensured that their children get a better education so they can have better careers and better lives. Their hard work always inspired Navya to excel in her academics as a child. The first time she had an opportunity to play with the computer was during her secondary education, and she remembers it being an “aha” moment for her after seeing what people can do with a simple line of code. It sparked her interest in computer programming and led her to pursue her career in computer science by obtaining her Bachelor’s and Master’s in the field that she fell in love with. Navya feels like her mathematical and problem-solving skills helped her advance her career in computer science. She is proud to say that she is a first generation of "techie" in her family, and she feels really privileged to get the opportunities that helped her get to where and what she is today.

Amrutha Wheeler

Data Scientist

Amrutha Wheeler is a mother to a charming toddler and data scientist for a consulting firm based in Indianapolis, IN. She was not a great student in elementary school. She learned of her appreciation and skill with numbers through an eighth-grade Math teacher who helped her realize that numbers and patterns are present in everyday life.

Her work today centers around healthcare data, and how health care providers can optimize their decision making to improve patient outcomes. For example, how can OBGYNs help expecting mothers by understanding their social and economic circumstances as well as lab tests? She enjoys employing statistical techniques to uncover trends in data.


Dr. Aprille Ericsson

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

New Business Lead and Acting Chief Technologist

Instrument Systems and Technology Division

Aerospace Engineer, Professor, Technologist, Project and Program Manager

During her 28+ year tenure with NASA, Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson has held numerous positions. In 2017, Dr. Ericsson assumed the position of New Business Lead (NBL) (and in 2019 Acting Chief Technologist) for the NASA GSFC Instrument Systems and Technology Division. In this role she seeks to foster government partnerships that enables industry and small businesses to collaborate with universities, to solve strategic R&D challenges faced by United States government agencies. In her role as NBL, she serves as engineering representative on the Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Planetary and Earth Science and Cross-Cutting Technology Lines of Business strategy teams. Just prior to that position, she served as the Capture Manager for a proposed Astrophysics mid-sized Class Explorer, called STAR-X. Prior to that proposal development, Dr. Ericsson served as the NASA GSFC Program Manager for Small Business and Innovative Research (SBIR) in the Innovative Technology Partnerships Office. Currently, she leads the Agency’s small business acquisition of “Sensors and Detectors” as the SBIR S1 Topic Manager. Formerly, she served as the Deputy to the Chief Technologist for the Engineering and Technology Directorate with a focus on cubesat and smallsat mission development. She has also served at NASA HQs as a Program Executive (PE) for Earth Science, and a Business Executive for Space Science.

For 10 years, Dr. Ericsson was an Instrument Project Manager (IPM) leading spaceflight mission teams and instruments proposal developments that include: the Near-Infrared Spectrograph on the James Webb Space Telescope; the Project Engineer for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (launched 2009); and, Instrument Proposal Manager for the SCIM Mars mission. For 3.5 years she served as the Acting IPM and Deputy IPM for ICESat-2’s (launched 2018) sole instrument, the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), a $500M LIDAR instrument which continues to provide important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat(-I), on which Dr. Ericsson was PE in 2003. Dr. Ericsson first joined GSFC as an Attitude Control Systems Analyst, where she developed practical control methods, and analyzed structural dynamics for several spacecraft missions and concepts.

She has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at several Universities. Currently, she sits on Academic boards at the National Academies (Board of Higher Education and Workforce), MIT (Industry Advisory Council for Minority Education), Chair of the Advisory Board for Howard University (HU) Department of Mechanical Engineering and previously as a HU Trustee and Blacks at MIT. She is Co-Lead Advisor for the Dynamic Mathematical Visionaries NSBE Jr. Chapter. Dr. Ericsson has served as an MIT Education counselor for the almost 15 years. She has also been a reviewer for proposals at NSF and NASA and Subject Matter Expert for NASA funded University grants.

Dr. Ericsson received her B.S. in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from MIT. She received her Master of Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the Aerospace option from HU. Her HU graduate school research was developing control methods for orbiting large space platforms like International Space Station.

Dr. Ericsson has been honored with numerous awards, some of the most prestigious are the Western Society of Engineers - “The 2016 Washington Award”, and The Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta PI - Distinguished Alumnus. She is proud to be the first (African American) female to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from HU; the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, the Aerospace option from HU; and the first African American female civil-servant at NASA GSFC to obtain a Ph.D. in Engineering.

Krystina Pearson- Rampeearee

AviateHer Founder

Flight Systems Engineer

STEM Ambassador

Krystina is a Chartered Engineer in Liverpool working as a Flight Systems Engineer. She studied Aerospace Systems Engineering at university and became the first engineer in her family, after being inspired by an airshow she attended. As a Flight Systems Engineer, she is involved in the whole life of equipment within a system; from development, to going on the aircraft, to support once in service. A Flight Systems Engineer role is a collaborative, multidisciplinary role and Krystina enjoys all the different aspects she gets to be involved in. Krystina volunteers as a STEM Ambassador and mentor and also sets up her own business, AviateHer, selling accessories to promote diversity in STEM. As there was a lack of visible females when she was studying and early on in her career, she is passionate about encouraging and inspiring more young girls to consider STEM careers and push past those gender stereotypes!

Margo Stokebrand presenting for

SWE: Society of Women Engineers

SWE is a national organization which has focused on empowering and providing a voice for women in engineering and technology. The University of Kansas’s SWE chapter is composed of women from all grade levels pursuing an engineering degree, with focuses on mentor and mentee relationships, hosting educational events for the community, and distributing information to ensure that everyone in engineering has the opportunity to be successful.

Margo Stokebrand is a current student at the University of Kansas and a member of the Society of Women Engineers, also known as SWE. She is an avid reader of poetry and loves the outdoors, Margo finds the most joy in her engineering community and organizations. Margo will share stories on behalf of the students from Society of Women Engineers and Women in Computing. Both of these student organizations are dedicated to making sure that women are successful in their education and have a network of students that are just as passionate for engineering and technology.


Ann B. Kim

Associate Professor of Fine Arts

Indiana University East

Ann Kim is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Indiana University East. The scope of her recent interests and obsessions have been ever so widening, but more specifically include antipodes; constructing meaning in paintings through physical actions as metaphors; layering, shredding, and weaving translucent surfaces; cutouts as drawings; mythological archetypes; and the collapse of the way we understand time and location.

Carrie Longley

Assistant Professor, Fine Arts

Fine Arts Program Coordinator

Indiana University East

Carrie is the Assistant Professor, Fine Arts and Fine Arts Program Coordinator at Indiana University East. Currently collaborating with Professor of Information Science, Dr. Katy Borner to create 3-D models in clay which represent the growth and intersections of fields of knowledge.


Dr. Sujatha Ramdorai

2020 Krieger-Nelson Prize Winner

ICTP Ramanujan Prize Recipient

Sujatha is a mathematics professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the recipient of the 2020 Krieger-Nelson Prize for her exceptional contributions to mathematics research. She is the first Indian to win the ICTP Ramanujan Prize, the world's most prestigious award for mathematicians working in developing countries, and a winner of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award. She was a member of the National Knowledge Commission and a Member of the Scientific Advisory Council to India's prime minister. Sujatha is a member of the Scientific Committee of several international research agencies such as the Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advanced Research, Banff International Research Station, International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics. She joined the Mathematics Department at the University of British Columbia and has become a bridge between mathematicians in India and Canada. Sujatha is very famous for developing the number theory called IWASAWA theory in collaboration with Cambridge University. Her research covers a broad range of subjects, including motives, K-theory, the theory of quadratic forms, and arithmetic geometry. She is an incredibly versatile, technically powerful, and creative mathematician. (^3)


^1 IU (2020). Parul Khurana. https://news.iu.edu/iu-experts/profile/m/818/khurana-parul

^2 NSBP (January 2019). Aprille Ericsson-Jackson. https://www.nsbp.org/nsbp-news/bhm-physics-profiles/2019-honorees/131-aprille-ericsson-jackson

^3 Canadian Mathematical Society (February 2020). Dr. Sujatha Ramdorai to receive the 2020 Krieger-Nelson Prize. https://cms.math.ca/news-item/dr-sujatha-ramdorai-to-receive-the-2020-krieger-nelson-prize/