Panels and Speakers


Maryam Zaringhalam, Ph.D.

Maryam Zaringhalam, PhDMaryam Zaringhalam, PhD

(photo credit: Michael Bonfigli)

Maryam Zaringhalam is a molecular biologist who traded in her pipettes for the world of science policy and advocacy after receiving her PhD from The Rockefeller University. She is currently based in Washington, DC where she is an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, producer for The Story Collider, and a leadership member of 500 Women Scientists. Her words have appeared in Slate, Scientific American, and Quartz. Her cat is named Tesla, after Nikola and not Elon Musk's car. For insights like this and more, follow her on Twitter: @webmz_

Panel 1: Science Improv

Jenny Spencer, MSPH, Improviser & PhD Candidate, University of North Carolina

Jenny Spencer
Jenny Spencer has been performing and teaching improv in the Triangle area since 2006, including spending the last six years as a cast member of the group Third Date, based in Durham. She is also a PhD student studying health policy and management at the UNC School of Public Health, where her research focuses on decision modeling and cancer health equity. One magical day she put these two halves of her life together and discovered how helpful her improv skills were when it came to communicating, teaching, and advocacy in science and health policy. She was a participant in Triangle ComSciCon in 2017 and is thrilled to be back this year to share her love of improv, talking, and talking about improv.

Panel 2: SciComm Careers

Mohamed Noor, Ph.D., Professor of Biology at Duke University

Dr. Mohamed Noor

Dr. Mohamed Noor joined Duke's Biology Department in 2005 and served as chair from 2013-17. His research focuses on understanding what genetic changes contribute to the formation of new species, and how the process of genetic recombination affects species formation and molecular evolution. He is a recipient of the Linnean Society's Darwin-Wallace Medal as well as several Duke teaching and mentoring awards. Noor has also served in a number of society offices, including president of the American Genetic Association and president of the Society for the Study of Evolution. He is also currently editor-in-chief of the journal Evolution. He has published two books, including the recently-released “Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us about Evolution, Genetics, and Life on Other Worlds,” an entertaining introduction to genetics and evolutionary concepts (paralleling the scientific content of his Duke and Coursera classes) through the lens of the popular science-fiction television show.

Jory Weintraub, Ph.D., Science Communication Director, Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Jory Weintraub, Ph.D.

Jory Weintraub is Science Communication Director and a Senior Lecturing Fellow with the Duke Initiative for Science & Society.  He teaches science communication courses for Duke undergrads and grad students, and runs scicomm workshops for Duke faculty and postdocs.  He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Science Communicators of North Carolina (SCONC). Jory received a BS in Biochemistry from UC San Diego and a PhD in Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill and then completed an NSF-funded postdoctoral fellowship in STEM education, with a focus on STEM diversity and minority outreach.

Tamara Poles, Community Engagement Specialist, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Tamara is a biologist and environmental scientist by training but uses her skills to conduct science outreach as an informal educator for museums and science centers. Now that she has earned her Master’s Degree in Education, she uses her education and experience to train scientists and STEM professionals in science communication. She also coordinates community events across North Carolina to enable scientists to hone their skills in public communication while allowing the public to interact with scientists in their community and learn about valuable research. Tamara has developed and currently manages the IMPACTS program at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

Stephanie Schuttler, PhD. Research Associate, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Dr. Stephanie Schuttler studies the behavior, conservation, and ecology of mammals living in human-modified landscapes. She collaborates with K-12 teachers worldwide to implement eMammal, a citizen science camera-trapping program, into science classrooms. The students collect data for eMammal as part of their science classroom activities, and Stephanie uses the student-collected data to study the behavior, distribution, and range of mammals throughout the world. Simultaneously, she conducts research on students’ perspectives towards the wildlife they see on their local camera traps to see if citizen science can improve attitudes and increase connections to nature. Stephanie is highly interested in increasing people’s connections with nature and is an avid blogger and science communicator through social media.

Chelsea Berg, Interim Director of EPA-RTP Community Engagement and STEM Education, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Chelsea Berg is an environmental scientist with a background in outdoor education, art, and storytelling. Her current research focuses on the intersection of public health and ecosystem services, but she’s put it aside for three months to man the helm of EPA’s STEM outreach and education program. Both of her jobs emphasize communication, and she’s had the opportunity to participate in Alan Alda workshops, an Edward Tufte course, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Science of Science Communication meeting. Her previous work at EPA focused on maps for community use. Ask her about data visualization, poster design, systems science, scuba diving, and the difference between science translation and translational science. You can request Chelsea and other EPA speakers through the Speakers Bureau.

Panel 3: Science Policy & Controversy

Madhusudan Katti, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, NCSU

Madhusudan Katti
Dr. Katti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science and the Chancellor's Faculty Excellence Program for Leadership in Public Science at North Carolina State University. He is an evolutionary ecologist who discovered birds as an undergrad after growing up a nature-oblivious urban kid near Bombay, went chasing after vanishing wildernesses in the Himalaya and Western Ghats as a grad student, and returned to study cities grown up as a reconciliation ecologist. He studies animals and plants in cities with the goal of applying our understanding towards reconciling biodiversity conservation with human development. He writes for the Social Evolution Forum, The Nature of Cities, Network, and other outlets. He founded the Central Valley Café Scientifique and host an affiliated radio show, "Science: A Candle In The Dark" which airs on the 4th Tue of each month at 3:30PM (Pacific Time), and is also available as a podcast.

Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, Ph.D., Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist

Dr. Lindsey Haynes-Maslow an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at NC State University. Lindsey researches policies that lead to a healthy behavior. She is an expert on the intersection between food systems, nutrition and public health, as well as the impact of government policies driving the food system. She has over 10 years of experience working with non-profit, private, and public organizations that focus on obesity prevention for low-resource communities. Before coming to NC State, Dr. Haynes-Maslow worked for the advocacy organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, on federal food and nutrition policy, specifically the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and The Farm Bill. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of NC State’s SNAP-Education program, Steps to Health. She has a Ph.D. in health policy and management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also earned a Masters in healthcare administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Alexa Sutton-Lawrence, Ph.D., Southeast Regional Program Director at The Wilderness Society

Alexa Sutton Lawrence is the Southeast Regional Program Director for The Wilderness Society, where her work focuses on identifying and protecting endangered cultural landscapes on federal public lands. Prior to TWS, Alexa was the Science Policy (SciPol) Program Director in the Initiative for Science & Society at Duke University. In 2017, she completed her Ph.D. in Environment at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment; she had previously completed an M.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Science at Texas A&M and a B.S. in Biology at Howard University. She is an active member of the Ecological Society of America and the Explorers Club, and a founding member of the Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Committee in the Society for Conservation Biology.

Brian Clark, Ph.D., Interim Director of Duke’s Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy

Brian Clark is currently the Interim Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Duke University’s Initiative for Science and Society. Previously, Brian worked as an energy and environmental policy advisor for Senator Elizabeth Warren. He earned his PhD in physics from Harvard University, where his research was in high energy experimental physics at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. He also earned a Master of Advanced Study in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar, and a Bachelor of Science from North Carolina State University.

Panel 4: SciArt & Multimedia

Angela Zoss, Ph.D.,Assessment & Data Visualization Analyst, Duke University Libraries

Angela Zoss

I work as the Assessment and Data Visualization Analyst in the Assessment and User Experience department at Duke University Libraries. Prior to May 2018, I worked as the Data Visualization Coordinator for Data and Visualization Services. Since 2012, I have created many library workshops and short courses on visualization; consulted with students, researchers, and faculty members on research projects; and helped to introduce visualization concepts and tools into a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. I hold a Master of Science in Communication from Cornell University and a doctorate in Information Science from Indiana University. My research spans a wide range of subjects and methods — from qualitative analysis of interview and observational data to pattern detection in large, quantitative datasets.

Rob Nelson, Director, Untamed Science

Rob Nelson is an ecologist, filmmaker, and educator. He has a B.S. in biology and marine science from the University of Miami, a M.S. degree in population and behavior ecology from the University of Hawaii, and M.F.A in science filmmaking from Montana State University. Rob is the director of a non-profit, whose mission is to help explain the science of our world, with special attention to those that are not understood well by the public. Rob is also conducting a side research project on the rare white squirrel phenomenon in the US. He has won several science filmmaking awards. Of note, he was awarded an Emmy award for his work on Mysteries of the Driftless, a documentary film he produced and hosted. His web series Untamed Science was also given the Science Media's special jury award for it's unique reality approach to science storytelling. Currently, Rob is the host of the Science Channel series, 'Secrets of the Underground.'

Josh Hall, Ph.D. Director of Graduate Admissions & Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program, UNC School of Medicine

Joshua Hall is Director of Graduate Admissions and the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at UNC School of Medicine. In addition, he serves as Science, Training, and Diversity Team Leader in the Office of Graduate Education. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill and was a SPIRE postdoctoral fellow also at UNC. For the past nine years, he oversaw North Carolina DNA Day, an annual event that sends over 150 scientists to high school classrooms across North Carolina. Josh is passionate about helping science trainees succeed and is actively involved in research on factors that contribute to success and productivity in biomedical graduate school. In addition, he is the creator and host of the podcast, Hello PhD, which explores the human side of science and life in the lab!

Ariana Eily, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate, Duke Initiative for Science and Society

Dr. Ariana Eily is a postdoctoral associate at the Duke Initiative for Science and Society, focusing on science communication. She is interested in deepening connections between science and the public, and part of her work delves into the intersection between art and science. This includes using improv to train scientists to be more engaging communicators, creating courses to expand our thinking about how science and society interact, leading an interdisciplinary team exploring STEAM initiatives, and establishing a science-art exhibit called the Art of a Scientist. Her PhD work was a crowd-funded project focused on uncovering the mechanisms of nutrient exchange in the intricate symbiosis between the small aquatic fern, Azolla, and its obligate nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium, Nostoc azollae. An alumna of Rollins College, she has long had a passion for making science more inclusive, and a large part of her dedication to science communication is to make science accessible to everyone.

*Other events throughout the workshop will include Keynote speaker, career networking lunch, blog-post writing and expert review lunch, and pop-talks!*