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
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 .
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.
All sessions are recorded and posted here as well as on the Science Learning Institute YouTube channel for later reference.
School Year 2021-22 Talks
We have finished up our talks for the 2021 - 22 school year. Join us back in fall 2022 for our next series!
In order to ensure a secure Zoom environment, we will be using a waiting room and only admitting participants with a first and last name. Additionally, we will close the Zoom room at 10 minutes past the starting time and only admit participants who contact the Dean (note will be included in the waiting room).
Dr. Kellie Ann Jurado, Presidential Assistant Professor of Microbiology at University of Pennsylvania: 11/12/21
Lessons from Viral Inflammation
Friday, 11/12/21 from 11am - 12:30pm
Kellie Ann Jurado is a Presidential Assistant Professor in the Microbiology Department at University of Pennsylvania. Her research program is interested in emerging viral pathogenesis and in delineating antiviral immune control mechanisms at the maternal-fetal interface and in the central nervous system. She completed her postdoctoral training in Immunobiology with Akiko Iwasaki at Yale University and earned her PhD with Alan Engelman at Harvard University. She is the recipient of many prestigious grants and fellowships, including the L’Oreal for Women in Science Award and mostly recently being named a Pew Biomedical Research Scholar.
Link to the Jurado Lab's website
Dr. Mireille Kamariza, Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows at Harvard University: 1/28/22
The power of solvatochromism: using environment-sensitive probes to diagnose tuberculosis
Friday, 1/28/22 from 11am - 12:30pm
Born in in Burundi, Dr. Mireille Kamariza faced many barriers to becoming a scientist. It was only after immigrating to the United States and later when she started her undergraduate schooling at San Diego Mesa College that her scientific journey began. Given her background and personal interests, Dr. Kamariza's scientific research has since grown to focus on tackling important questions in infectious disease research, especially those that may have direct impact in her country of origin.
In her talk, Dr. Kamariza will describe her work developing novel reagents to rapidly detect tuberculosis in low-resource settings.
Beyond her research duties, Dr. Kamariza is dedicated to increasing diversity in STEM. She has founded and launched several student groups that have gone onto becoming pillars of diversity initiatives during her undergraduate and graduate career. Additionally, she has developed programming to inspire the scientific community to push towards more inclusive research practices and academic agendas. Ultimately, Dr. Kamariza intend to continue leveraging equity and inclusion in social practices and in scientific designs of academic research.
Check out this short video about Dr. Kamariza and her work on PBS Newshour.
Dr. Wendy Todd (Smythe), Dr. Henry Higholt Endowed Professor at University of Minnesota, Duluth : 3/4/22
Indigenous Geoscience Community: Creating Capacity & Safe Spaces for Diverse Scholars
Friday, 3/4/22 from 11am - 12:30pm
Dr. Wendy Todd (Smythe) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth and holds a joint appointment between the Departments of American Indian Studies and Earth & Environmental Sciences. She was the 2019 Professional of the Year by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) for her interdisciplinary research in geoscience, Native Education, and policy, in 2020 she was elected to the AISES Board of Directors. She was just awarded the Dr. Henry Higholt Endowed Professorship. Dr. Todd is Alaska Native Haida.
This discussion will introduce the Indigenous Geoscience Community whose goals are to address the importance of diversity in the geosciences and will consider Indigenous and Western knowledge systems, education equity, the elements of Place, Belonging, and Identity, that collectively create a Secure space for diverse scholars.
Frank Cascarano and David Marasco, Physics Instructors at Foothill: Friday, 5/20/22
From Foothill and the Physics Show to the SOFIA
Friday, 5/20/22 from 1pm - 2:30pm
Frank Cascarano is a physics instructor at Foothill where he has been teaching since 2003. He did his undergraduate studies at UC Davis in physics and received an M.S. degree from UC San Diego, also in physics. Before coming to Foothill, Frank taught Physics and Astronomy at Hartnell College in Salinas, and prior to that he worked for ten years as a Process Engineer and Manager in the semiconductor industry. Frank’s interests include cooking, beermaking, woodworking, home improvement projects, and watching his sons play roller hockey.
David Marasco has taught physics at Foothill since 2004. He did his undergraduate studies at UC San Diego in physics and philosophy and went on to Northwestern for his Ph.D. David is involved equity efforts in physics through organizations such as the American Association of Physics Teachers, and has been involved in organizing the local chapter for over a decade.
Together Frank and David have been running the Physics Show since 2007, educating young children and their families about science and physics and especially committing to sharing this performance with children from local Title I schools. The Physics Show has gotten much local praise and acclaim bringing together science with entertainment akin to a magic show with lots of “wow” moments. They have involved Foothill students in these shows, providing them a chance to share their knowledge and engage in community service.
David and Frank will share more about their personal journeys to where they are currently as well as about a recent trip they took on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), which is a Boeing 747SP aircraft which carries a 2.7 meter reflecting telescope. They will share about their trip, what they learned and gained, and what they hope to apply in their classes and teaching.
Past Spring 2021 Talks
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.
Dr. Flewelling's Bio
I 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.
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
Shoshanah 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 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 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.
Dr. 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.