Invited Speakers

Maryse Thomas - Keynote Speaker

Maryse Thomas is a PhD candidate in neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her current research
focuses on environmental noise and its long-term effects on brain plasticity. Since January 2018, Maryse has been the Director of Useful Science, a website and podcast dedicated to communicating science useful to everyday life in as few words as possible. The site has been called “genius” by Malcolm Gladwell and currently has over 20,000 subscribers. Recently, Maryse’s research and science communication efforts were featured in the NeuroXXceptional video series. Outside of academia, Maryse is a long-distance runner, competitive ultimate frisbee player, and dabbles in
graphic design.


Bish Paul - Communicating with Policymakers Panelist

Bish Paul is a scientist and community leader whose work straddles legislative experience, scientific research, education & outreach, diversity & inclusion, and LGBTQ advocacy.

He facilitates policy change to close gaps in access to high-value credentials & family-sustaining careers in every region of Washington. In the 2018 legislative session Bish served as TechNet’s State Policy Manager coordinating their advocacy program supporting pro- technology and innovation policy across 50 states.


Ashley D. Mocorro Powell - Advocacy and Diversity Panelist

Ashley D. Mocorro Powell is a freelance, multiracial Southeast Asian American-Pacific Islander biologist working at the intersections
of social-environmental justice and biocultural diversity who recognizes the potential of multicultural STE(A)M programs. She serves as a Natural Leader Changemaker, Adjunct Faculty Mentor for Doris Duke Conservation Scholar Programs and RAY Conservation Diversity Fellowship Program. Ashley has advocated on Capitol Hill for the National Parks Conservation Association and collaborates
with communities of color to diversify the narratives around
America’s Public Lands.


Cleo Woelfle-Erskine - Advocacy and Diversity Panelist

Cleo Woelfle-Erskine’s research focuses on ecological and social dimensions of human relations to rivers and their
inhabitants. Trained in ecology, hydrology, geomorphology, critical social science, feminist science and technology studies, he collaborates with tribes, agencies, citizen scientists, and community members. His manuscript in progress, Underflow: Transfiguring riverine relations, imagining queer-trans ecologies considers the lingering presences of Manifest Destiny and the ways that this “destiny” can be overturned to renew human-water-fish relations.


Karlisa Callwood - Advocacy and Diversity Panelist

Dr. Karlisa Callwood is the Vice President of Science Engagement and Outreach
at Pacific Science Center. She has over a decade of experience developing and
managing science education programming. Her interests include establishing practices to enhance science education, particularly for those from underserved communities, and enhancing strategies to better bridge the gaps that exist
between scientists, policymakers, and the public through informal science learning and interdisciplinary approaches.




montoniNicholas Montoni - Advocacy and Diversity Panelist

Nicholas Montoni graduated from the University of Washington with a Physical Chemistry Ph.D. in 2018. He is the founder of UW’s oSTEM and a co-organizer of two
campus-wide events, “Strengthening STEM Through Diversity” and “Strategies for Cultivating Inclusion in STEM.” Since graduating, Nick worked as a science policy consultant for a national lab and two non-profits. Nick does stand-up, plays too many video games, and dreams of having a dog.




Mark Harris - How to Pitch Workshop

Mark Harris is an investigative science and technology reporter based in Seattle, writing for Wired, The Guardian, The Economist, MIT
Technology Review, and Scientific American. He has broken stories about self-driving vehicles, giant airships, AI body scanners, faulty defibrillators, and monkey- powered robots. In 2014, he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and in 2015 he won the AAAS Kavli Science
Journalism Gold Award.




Sally James - How to Pitch Workshop

Sally James is a freelance writer who began
as a staff writer for daily newspapers, and
then focused on medical research news for
regional magazines, such as Seattle, and
Seattle Business. She also writes about health literacy and
patient advocacy. She volunteers for writing organizations,
and was a past president of the Northwest Science Writers.
Her website is and she’s
@jamesian on Twitter.

MJ Dunne - Creativity in Science Communication Panelist

MJ currently works for OCHIN, Inc., a non-profit that provides electronic health record software to community health centers across the nation. She is an active Science Communication Fellow at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) where she uses pop-culture, superheroes,
and statistics to teach children about the social determinants of health. MJ likes to garden, hang out with her book babes, give her houseplants names, forage for mushrooms, make low-brow art, and hunt for treasures with her 4-year old daughter.


Erin Pettit - Creativity in Science Communication Panelist

Erin Pettit explores glaciers and glaciated landscapes to understand changing climate and rising seas. As a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Wings WorldQuest Fellow, and Associate Professor of Glaciology at Oregon State University, she has led expeditions to the tidewaters of Alaska, the summit of Mount Rainier, the interior of Antarctica, and more. She loves sharing her stories by embracing the intersection of art and science and emphasizing the need to build an inclusive and equitable society.


Tami Tolpa - Creativity in Science Communication

Tami Tolpa has over 20 years of experience in scientific illustration and animation
for clients including: Scientific American Magazine, Science News, Harvard
University, Stanford University, UC San Francisco, the University of Washington, and numerous biotechnology companies and e-learning institutions. Tami and her colleague Betsy Palay founded Picture As PortalTM LLC in 2015 with a mission to “empower anyone — through a simple course of training — to create clear, compelling pictures that communicate about science, technology, and other subjects, no matter how complex.”



lynnBLynn Brunelle - Creativity in Science Communication Panelist

A four-time Emmy Award-winning writer for “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” Lynn Brunelle has over 25 years experience writing for
people of all ages, across all manner of media. Previously a classroom science teacher for kids K-12, Lynn has created, developed and written projects for National Geographic, Scholastic, The Discovery Channel, Disney, ABC, NBC and NPR, to name a few. She is also the creator of the Mama Gone Geek blog and Tabletop Science: videos that make science fun and accessible.