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SLI Events

STEM Equity Seminars for Owls

Interested in equity, diversity, and inclusion issues in the STEM field? Join us for talks with academics, practitioners, and educators who are doing the work in a variety of ways.

Open to students, faculty, and staff interested in these issues, our STEM Equity Seminars for Owls (SESO) series is hosted by the Science Learning Institute in partnership with our Foothill STEM Division .

SESO will return in Fall 2021.

Check out all the recordings from spring 2021 SESO talks below.

Seminar Series Format

Each session will involve a main speaker(s) who will present their research or work. There will be time for questions and answers at the end of each talk.

For most talks, our speaker will also host one on one or small group sessions after their presentation to give students and faculty a chance to engage in discussion in a more intimate setting.

Dr. Heather Flewelling, Astronomer

Pixel Pipelines and Surfing Telescope Data

Friday, April 30, 2021

11 a.m.–Noon PT,
main presetation.

12:30 –2:30 p.m. PT,  one on one/ small group sessions.

Link for Recording

Dr. Flewelling's Bio

Heather FlewellingI received my BS in Physics from the University of Texas in 2001, and my PhD in Physics from the University of Michigan in 2009.  For my PhD thesis, I studied Optical afterglows of Gamma-Ray Bursts, but also spent a lot of time writing code for the reduction pipeline for robotic telescopes and for an instrument mounted on one of the telescopes in Hawaii.  For my first postdoc, I worked on the data reduction pipeline for the Pan-STARRS telescope, which at the time had the world's largest camera used for astronomy, with 1.4 Gigapixels.  During my time in Pan-STARRS, I helped to design, test, and built the schema and database for the now publicly available Pan-STARRS database. This database is the largest astronomical database for a single telescope, with >6 billion objects, in 5 filters, and covering 3/4 of the sky. I also mined the Pan-STARRS data to find new and exciting variable stars. Later, I worked as a postdoc for the ATLAS project, where I helped with their pipeline and helped to find new near earth asteroids as well as new comets.  I recently started a new position at Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, as an instrument scientist, where I help with the queue scheduling, and making sure the images from the MegaPrime Imager are reduced quickly and accurately.

 I am a vocal advocate for improving diversity in STEM. I co-created Astronomy Allies with Katherine Alatalo, which is a grassroots effort to provide mentoring and help to scientists experiencing harassment or other issues at astronomy conferences. I am currently a member for the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA), where I am lead editor of the AASWomen newsletter, a newsletter which shares stories about women scientists, career advice, and job opportunities.

LinkedIn profile for Dr. Flewelling

Shoshanah Cohen, Esther Conrad, and Jorge De Luna, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University

Community Engagement in STEM Classrooms: Building Community Partner Relationships and Enhancing Learning

Friday, May 28, 2021

1–2:30 p.m. PT

Link for Recording

Link for slides

Speaker Bios

Shoshanah CohenShoshanah Cohen, Director of Community Engaged Learning in Engineering, received her BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford as well as an MA in Technology Strategy from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She started her career working in manufacturing and spent more than 20 years in the field of global operations before moving to academia.

Esther ConradEsther Conrad, Director of Community Engaged Learning for Environmental Sustainability, received her undergraduate degree in Earth Systems at Stanford, and has worked on environmental and international development issues for over 15 years. She completed her Master’s degree in International Affairs at Columbia University and her PhD in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, where her research focused on policies to support sustainable water management and adaptation to climate change.

Jorge De LunaJorge De Luna, Director of Community Engaged Learning in Health, holds a BS in business management and a master of public health degree, both from San Jose State University. Jorge’s experience in healthcare spans over twenty years of successful work as a business manager and consultant, program director, and health educator.

Dr. Steven Lopez, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

Green Chemistry through Diverse Co-workers, Collaboration, and Computations

Friday, June 11, 2021

11 a.m.–Noon PT

Dr. Lopez will describe the trajectory that brought him to his current position as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northeastern University. Dr. Lopez's group uses computational methods and machine learning to understand the mechanisms of light-driven processes and reactions on an ultrafast timescale. These calculations provide insights into the changes in the molecular structure where experimental techniques cannot do so, providing rich experiment-theory collaborations. Dr. Lopez will also describe research opportunities specifically for community college students across the US enabled by Northeastern University and the Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering.

Steven LopezDr. Lopez received his BS in Chemistry from New York University and his Ph.D. in Computational Organic Chemistry from UCLA . He completed a postdoc at Harvard in Computational Chemistry and then started at Northeastern University in 2017. Dr. Lopez's group focuses on using computational chemistry and machine learning to understand light-driven processes in molecules and materials towards sustainable chemistry and energy. They’ve published 15 papers since he arrived at NU and raised 1.8M in external funding. Dr. Lopez is also the Founder and Director of ADSE, a national non-profit organization focused on increasing diversity and inclusion across Science and Engineering from community colleges to professional research careers.

Link for Recording

Read Dr. Lopez's Bio

If you have any questions or suggestions for speakers, please contact Christina Rotsides, Chemistry instructor, at  or SLI Director Sophia Kim at


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Christina Rotsides, Chemistry Instructor