Invited Speakers


Our 2018 speakers:


dRobert Kosara - Keynote Speaker
Robert Kosara is a research scientist at Tableau Software. His focus is on the communication of data through visualization and visual storytelling. Robert is also working on furthering our understanding of visual perception and cognition, so we can make data easier to understand and develop tools to communicate it more effectively. In work with the Climate Impacts Group at UW, Robert is helping people understand climate data and what it means for individuals and organizations. His full list of publications can be found on his vanity website. Before joining Tableau in 2012, Robert was Associate Professor of Computer Science at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Robert received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. Degrees in Computer Science from Vienna University of Technology (Austria). In his copious spare time, Robert likes to run long distances and writing articles for his website,



David Bogan - Improv Workshop Facilitator
David Bogan is the Educational Director, Roadshow Manager, and an Applied Improvisation facilitator at CSz Seattle - Home of ComedySportz. He currently performs at The Atlas Theater every weekend in a wide variety of improv comedy shows and performances. He is an over 20 year veteran of ComedySportz, and is a teacher of improv in many different capacities, ranging from short form improvisational comedy, to corporate team building, to public speaking coaching and trainings. His varied life has led him all the way from being a U.S. Marine, to eventually making improv comedy and education his full time career.




catCat Dayger - Public Policy Panelist
Cat Dayger has worked in such disparate areas of science as human reproductive disease and animal husbandry in Illinois, habitat restoration in Southern Oregon, behavioral neuroscience at OHSU, seasonal behavior and physiology at Portland State, natural resources policy in Governor Kate Brown's office and now in science program management back at OHSU. The common theme in most of these has been seeking to understand a question from multiple levels from cellular biology, organismal physiology, behavior, up to how researchers approach on a problem and work together to solve it. Now at OHSU, Dr. Dayger develops policies and systems to support the success of trainees, and help scientists form creative and productive teams at the Knight Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research (CEDAR) Center. Dr. Dayger seeks to combine effective communication, leadership, and policy toward helping science and academia better serve society. Cat received her BS and MS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, her PhD in Biology from Portland State University and has served as a Sea Grant Policy Fellow.

CarreraIsabel Carrera Zamanillo - Education and Outreach Panelist
Isabel is a Mexican biologist who moved to the United States in 2012. Since her arrival, Isabel has both participated in and created many science outreach projects in the cities of Chicago and Seattle. Currently, she works as an outreach specialist for the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium as well as its K-12 education program, the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP). As an instructor in the department of Earth and Space Sciences, Isabel teaches students how to create culturally sensitive STEM material.





timTim Essington Improv Workshop Facilitator
Tim Essington is a Professor at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences where he teaches marine conservation and management, and conducts research on sustainable fisheries, marine food webs, and marine fish ecology.  He took his first improv class in 2014 and quickly became “that guy who won’t shut up about his improv class”. He is a cast member at CSZ Seattle, where he performs regularly. By teaming up with CSZ Seattle instructors, he created a training program to show scientists how they can develop skills through improv to enhance their communication skills.  He has been co-leading these training courses for the past 3 years, and is excited to bring the magic of improv to the world.



PantheaPanthea Hedari - Write-a-Thon Facilitator
Panthea Heydari is a cognitive neuroimager and researcher at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. Panthea completed her PhD in Neuroscience at USC with a focus on functional imaging, stroke, and occupational therapy. Currently, she uses machine learning and fMRI to study emotions and intelligence. Panthea is an active science writer and an advocate of clear science communication. She is an editor for the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, ad hoc reviewer for Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, and speaker for science communication bootcamps. Her writing has been featured exclusively in the OHBM Blog, Huffington Post, and USC GSG. When she is not writing or in the lab, you will find Panthea running with her dog, Willie, competing in ultramarathons, or hiking the trails of sunny Southern California.



MaMichelle Ma - Write-a-Thon Facilitator
Michelle Ma is the assistant director and a science writer at the University of Washington’s news office. She writes news releases and stories about UW research, covering topics in fisheries, forestry, marine science, horticulture and ecology. Before coming to the UW, Michelle was a reporter and web producer for newspapers, including The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Daily Triplicate in rural northern California.





KrizanSylva Krizan - Public Policy Panelist
Sylva has been a part of Biotech for approximately 15 years. She graduated with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan where she focused on stem cell-biomaterial interactions for orthopedic applications. She then spent time at the US FDA in CBER (Center for Biologics and Evaluation Research) and CDRH (Center for Devices and Radiological Health) as a Commissioner’s Fellow focusing in regenerative medicine and she subsequently joined CDRH as a Biomedical Engineer premarket reviewer. In her time at FDA, she reviewed applications in cell therapy, dental devices, plastic and reconstructive surgery devices, and orthopedic devices. Since leaving FDA, Sylva has worked at NanoString Technologies, a diagnostic and life-science company based in Seattle, where she built the Regulatory Affairs group from the ground up while still a start-up, and led the successful submission and clearance of the company’s first diagnostic product for Breast Cancer prognosis, the Prosigna Assay. She is currently the Director of Regulatory Affairs and has helped to build the development programs for companion diagnostics, working in conjunction with many large Pharmaceutical Partners.


Martin-MorrisLinda Martin-Morris - Education and Outreach Panelist
Linda is Principal lecturer in the Department of Biology at University of Washington Seattle. She has been teaching cellular and molecular biology as well as biological pedagogy since 1997.  She received the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016 and has worked on faculty senate and other shared-governance councils. Linda also works with high school teachers from around Washington State who teach a course she developed on neuropharmacology to their high school students. She earned her PhD from Brandeis University and BS from Cornell University.




McFaddenTom McFadden - Education and Outreach Panelist
Tom is a middle school science teacher by day (The Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA), and a science rapper by night. His YouTube channel, “Science With Tom," features rap battles between Rosalind Franklin and Watson & Crick, lyrical odes to cellular respiration, and dozens of professional-grade student-produced music videos about biology.







MistryKelly Mistry - Public Policy Panelist
Kelly Mistry is a lead organizer for the Seattle chapter of 500 Women Scientists, an organization whose mission is to serve society by making science open, inclusive and accessible. Kelly’s background includes working in environmental science communication and advocacy campaigns in the nonprofit sector, for organizations including the Seattle Aquarium, the Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Alaska Zoo. Currently, in addition to her work with 500 Women Scientists, she is working with the Alaska Center for FASD (whose mission is to provide
advocacy and support for people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and their families) on their communication strategies and organizational development. Kelly is originally from Alaska, where she developed an appreciation for wilderness and the complicated, interconnected relationships that exist between human society and the natural environment. She earned a BA from Marlboro College and plans to pursue graduate study in environmental science in the near future. She lives with her husband and their pets (a cat and a dog) on a boat on Lake Union in Seattle.


SpencerScott Spencer - Public Policy Panelist
Scott Spencer is from the great state of Ohio and attended The Ohio State University. While at The Ohio State University he earned a BS in Molecular Genetics and a BA in chemistry and was also a member of the Varsity lacrosse team. He is currently a Graduate Student Assistant (GSA) at the Office of Research Information Services (ORIS) and also a concurrent Master’s candidate in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities. He is the president of the Science & Technology (S&T) Student Interest Group as well as chair of the GPSS Science and Policy Committee. Outside of school, you can find Scott drinking lots of coffee, watching buckeye sports or snowboarding throughout the Pacific Northwest.



ToplaTami Tolpa - Write-a-Thon Facilitator
Tami Tolpa has over 20 years of experience in scientific illustration and animation for clients including: Scientific American, The Scientist, Science News, MIT's Technology Review, Harvard University, and the University of Washington, as well as numerous physicians and biotechnology companies. Tami has an MFA in medical illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She’s a past board member and current Fellow of the Association of Medical Illustrators. Her professional website is and she’s on twitter @tolpastudios.




TwedtJudy Twedt - Education and Outreach Panelist
Judy Twedt, an interdisciplinary researcher at UW,  blends music and data to create climate soundtracks and climate 'infosonics' which open new channels of expressing and interpreting climate science. An active public scholar, she also works to elevates science in public decision-making. She co-founded a climate justice speakers bureau which speaks with labor audiences about climate science and climate justice, is a founding member of the King County Labor Council Climate Caucus, and represents the student labor union, UAW 4121, on the steering committee of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. She has been recognized with the Husky100 Award, the Husky Green Award and the College of the Environment Award for Community Impacts.