Invited Speakers

Keynote Speaker 

Dr. Joe Palca 


NPR Correspondent, Science Desk 

Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors. Palca is also the founder of NPR Scicommers – A science communication collective.

Palca began his journalism career in television in 1982, working as a health producer for the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. In 1986, he left television for a seven-year stint as a print journalist, first as the Washington news editor for Nature, and then as a senior correspondent for Science Magazine.

In October 2009, Palca took a six-month leave from NPR to become science writer in residence at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Palca has won numerous awards, including the National Academies Communications Award, the Science-in-Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers, the American Chemical Society's James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Prize, and the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Writing. In 2019, Palca was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in journalism.

With Flora Lichtman, Palca is the co-author of Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us (Wiley, 2011).

He comes to journalism from a science background, having received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he worked on human sleep physiology.

Source: NPR Website 

Effective Visual Communication of Science

Dr. Jernej Zupanc


Founder of Seyens Ltd.

Jernej’s goal is to help scientists effectively communicate.

Reading and studying eclectically, he is always on the lookout for new approaches that can be readily applied by researchers. He distills the most fundamental and easily applicable practical advice into workshops that are structured and easy to follow, memorable, relevant, useful and a fun learning experience. He has worked with close to 3000 researchers at excellent institutions already in 19 countries and is considered to be one of the leading experts in visual communication of science.

He holds a PhD (2011) in computer science, is a National Geographic published photographer and Fulbright alumnus. He worked as the Head of computer vision at a startup and as a Horizon 2020 project evaluator but now focuses on the workshops and grant writing. 


Lori Arguelles

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Director of Policy Engagement

As COMPASS' Director of Policy Engagement, I lead our work to connect scientists to decision makers in the United States, bridging the worlds of science and policy and supporting scientists to engage.

Prior to joining COMPASS, I served as the President & CEO of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. My 25 years of experience in executive management, public relations, and government relations included positions such as Vice President of Media and policy strategy for the marine conservation non-profit organization SeaWeb, founding President and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Director of Communications for Girl Scouts of the USA, and Director of Public and Constituent Affairs for the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

I started my professional career as a radio reporter, and worked for several local and national outlets as an anchor, reporter, and producer. I also served as press secretary for two members of congress. I received my undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism and political science from Northern Arizona University and my MA in public communication from American University.

I like to travel, read, and practice yoga. When I'm not working, you can find me enjoying time with my family exploring woodlands, wetlands and waterways. 

Source: Compass Website 

Dr. Karlisa Callwood 

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Dr. Karlisa Callwood is the Director of Community Conservation Education & Action at the Perry Institute of Marine Science.  She is an interdisciplinary marine scientist, informal science educator, and science communicator with over 15 years of experience developing, implementing, and managing a variety of science education programming.  Her interests include establishing practices to advance science education, particularly for those from underserved communities, and enhancing strategies to better bridge the gaps that exist between scientists, policymakers, and the public trough informal science learning and interdisciplinary approaches. 

Dr. Taylor Welsh


Taylor is a scientist and educator, and co-founder of the Virginia branch of the science education nonprofit Science Delivered. Her work with Science Delivered includes creating and teaching innovative, hands-on science outreach programs for elementary students, as well as teaching science communication workshops for graduate students. Her favorite part of teaching science is how the students react to experiments: the looks of surprise when something happens they didn’t expect, or the looks of triumph when they accomplish something new. Taylor received a B.S. in Biology from Washington and Lee University, and earned her PhD in Biology from the University of Virginia in 2018. She also created various science programs as a Summer Programs Assistant at the Explore More Discovery Museum in Harrisonburg, VA and has training in learning theory from the University of Virginia’s Center for Teaching Excellence. She has volunteered with the Society for Neuroscience’s Brain Awareness Week, the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC. Her science communication experience also includes an invitation to present at UVA's public day and presentation awards at the Huskey Research Symposium and Brain, Immunology, and Glia Research Symposium.

Aneri Pattani

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Aneri Pattani is an investigative health reporter with Spotlight PA, a collaborative newsroom focused on holding power accountable across Pennsylvania. She is also a recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Reporting. In the past, Pattani has worked as a health and science reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, WNYC (New York City's NPR station), and The New York Times. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, The Texas Tribune, CNBC, and The Hartford Courant. Outside of reporting, Pattani loves to travel, cook, and practice Indian classical dance. Follow her on Twitter @aneripattani or contact her at

Pop Talk Workshop

Adrienne Williams

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Adrienne is an "ABD" PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering department.  Her research is in the field of skeletal muscle biomechanics.  She studies the structural and functional effects of fat infiltration that occurs in the lower leg muscles of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, using computational and experimental approaches.  Follow Adrienne on Twitter @AdrienneWilli.