Here are some of our confirmed speakers!
This page will be updated frequently. Last Update: August 30.
Ricardo Andrade is president and executive creative director of Pixeldust Studios, a visual design and production studio for film, television and new media with studios in Washington, DC and NYC. Founded in 2004, the company’s work has generated numerous Emmy and Telly awards, producing visuals for producers of television shows and series, documentaries, and docudramas as well as for advertising, medical, educational, training and corporate clients. Prior to launching Pixeldust Studios, Andrade was an Emmy Award-winning Visual Effects Artist and Director of Art & Animation for National Geographic Television and Film. Under Andrade’s supervision, the full service art and animation department provided concept development, 3D animation, visual effects supervision and digital compositing for more than 60 hours of programming annually for National Geographic Channel, MSNBC, PBS and Fox Specials. Andrade is a member of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, The American Advertising Federation and the Visual Effects Society.
Janine Baker is vice president of Film Distribution and Development for nWave Studios, a fully integrated digital studio specializing exclusively in producing, developing and financing 3D (stereoscopic) content for the institutional and attraction themed entertainment market as well as the large format and feature film industry. Through the exhibition of the largest and most versatile library in the industry of 3D films, nWave has helped generate millions of dollars for amusement parks, entertainment centers, cinemas, museums, science centers, zoos, aquariums, shopping centers and resorts. Recently, nWave signed a deal for co-financing and production for 3D features with Studio Canal. nWave has produced and released three feature films with Studio Canal, the latest is Sammy 2- Escape from Paradise and African Safari. Prior to her work with nWave, Baker was vice president of film distribution for SimEx!Iwerks.
Dan Baron is president and founder of Footage Search, Inc. (a full-service stock footage company founded in 2002) and its successful OceanFootage, NatureFootage, and AdventureFootage collections. Baron's unique industry experience encompasses a passion for the convergence of media and technology, with a lifelong commitment to conservation. Baron holds a Master's Degree in Marine Biology. With more than 20 years of experience in the media industry, Baron's production experience has encompassed a variety of high-profile projects – including aquarium and museum exhibits, multi-screen videowalls, theater presentations, and television documentaries.
Steven Bedard has been a science writer and interactive media producer at WGBH-Boston for nearly 12 years. He has written and produced web sites, mobile apps, immersive experiences, multi-screen presentations, and short- and long-form documentaries on a wide variety of topics, from astrophysics and archaeology, to evolution and public health. Steven's passion is creating engaging experiences from unwieldy topics. He is the producer of NOVA Labs, a new online initiative that connects users with real data, and allows them to engage directly in the scientific process. He also produced the NOVA Elements iPad app, a hands-on exploration of chemistry hosted by David Pogue.
James Bell was appointed project director and principal investigator of the Center for Advancement in Informal Science Education (CAISE), a National Science Foundation-funded resource center for informal science education professionals based at the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) in Washington, DC. Bell has twenty-five years of experience in informal science education as a program developer, researcher, evaluator and administrator. He has held leadership positions at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and Petrosains: the Discovery Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and served as a consultant to the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Science Media Group and TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Bell has also recently been a visiting scholar at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out of School Environments.
Noah Besser is the creative force behind the admittedly not-so-creatively named Noah Besser Animations. Recent works include the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center Animation for display at the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s new facility. Baseball, Steroids and Climate Change, with narration by Jerry Meehl, which was featured in Andrew C. Revkin’s Dot Earth Blog at New York Times and cited in a recent Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society report. In addition to CoCoRaHS Presents: The Water Cycle, Besser has completed many other animations in tandem with The Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network. In addition, he creates the half-hour, almost animated, stick figure storyboarded show Parker St, which garnered the Jury Award for Best TV Pilot/Special at the 2009 TriMedia Film Festival.
John Bredar is a three-time Emmy Award winner and Peabody Award winner. A documentary filmmaker, author and senior executive producer of the National Geographic Specials, he wrote and produced his first film for National Geographic in 1989. Since then he has written, produced and directed 25 more, ranging from historical subjects to films about the natural world. In 2009, he developed and executive produced National Geographic Television’s first fully scripted drama, Darwin’s Darkest Hour which took a very personal look at the evolution of evolution. His first book, The President’s Photographer was published in November of 2010. Companion to the National Geographic Special by the same title, it follows the life of President Obama’s photographer while revealing the history of previous chief White House photographers going back to JFK. Bredar lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two children where he is taxed but not represented in the United States Congress.
Merit Jensen Carr is the founder of Merit Motion Pictures and the executive producer of all shows produced by the company. She has been involved in the television industry for more than 20 years and, and under her leadership, MMP has produced and executive produced a wide slate of international award-winning documentary programs, series and theatrical films. Career highlights include executive producing the 65-part Gemini award-winning series Recreating Eden, which is now broadcast around the world; One Ocean and One Ocean Interactive, a 4-part series and interactive website about the life of the ocean co-produced with the CBC’s The Nature of Things and National Geographic International; and the debut of her theatrical film TuTuMUCH, a feature documentary about young ballet dancers co-produced with the International Emmy Award winner Vonnie Von Helmolt.
Sean Casey, IMAX filmmaker and professional storm chaser makes his feature-length directorial debut with Tornado Alley, a film in which he also stars and serves as first unit cinematographer. Over the course of his career, Casey has filmed volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, and directed a number of television documentaries and music videos, including Marine: Earning The Title, The Art of Camouflage, The U.S. Army Ranger, Tonight (Violent Femmes), Machine (Violent Femmes),and Glass Sparkles In their Hair (Pond). He also currently stars in the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers reality series, one of the highest-rated cable shows on television. In addition, Casey is an inventor of sorts, having designed two tornado intercept vehicles, or TIVs, the second of which seems unwittingly poised to be one of Tornado Alley’s biggest stars. IMAX credits include Ring of Fire, Search for the Great Sharks, Africa: The Serengeti, Alaska: Spirit of the Wild, Amazing Journeys, and Forces of Nature.
Barry Clark is a producer-writer whose credits include specials for PBS, Discovery, and other broadcasters. Among his productions are Jaguar: Year of the Cat--the first HD nature special to be broadcast in the U.S.; the two-hour special Sahara: Seasons in the Sand—the first 5.1 surround special to be broadcast by PBS; and the IMAX 3D film, Galapagos: The Enchanted Voyage—one of the 30 top-grossing IMAX films of all time. He is currently working with China-based partners on the production of a slate of fulldome 3D films and on the production of a feature film, written by his partner Terry and set in the Golden Triangle of Indochina. He was one of the founders of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and served as its chairman for nine years.
Maryanne Culpepper, president of National Geographic Television, oversees all editorial and business aspects of series, specials and event production for the National Geographic Society. Additionally she manages content development and coordination of cross-divisional planning throughout National Geographic, utilizing Society-wide media, talent and marketing. Working closely with NGT’s editorial groups, Culpepper spearheaded long-range editorial planning and cross-platform collaboration between the Society's multiple media and educational units. Culpepper has been with National Geographic since 1996 moving from writer/producer to development executive, overseeing all content development, taking the lead for NGT in international co-production and finance opportunities and spearheading corporate/foundation fundraising efforts. An Emmy award-winning writer/producer with 25 years of experience in television production and broadcast management, Culpepper was founder and president of Graffiti Works, specializing in documentary, children's and corporate projects.
Len Dickter is an award-winning creative director, writer and director with 20
David Dugan is a filmmaker with a passion for science. He is chairman and co-founder of Windfall Films, a London-based independent production company with an international reputation for innovation in science documentaries. Dugan devised and produced the BAFTA-winning series Inside Nature’s Giants that dissects large animals to reveal their evolutionary secrets. He has made films with some of the world’s leading scientists, including Jim Watson for the Emmy award-winning PBS series, DNA, that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the double helix discovery; E.O Wilson on Lord of the Ants, a NOVA film about the legendary evolutionary biologist; and Stephen Hawking on Reality on The Rocks, an unusual adventure with comic genius Ken Campbell, who tries to get to grips with A Brief History of Time. Recent multi-platform productions include The Operation: Surgery Live a week of live surgery on Channel Four, where viewers could Tweet questions to the surgeon; and Foxes Live: Wild in the City, a major live event encouraging citizen science by building a nationwide interactive map of urban fox sightings in the UK.
David Elisco has been writing and producing award-winning science and natural history documentaries for more than 20 years. He currently serves as the director of development for Howard Hughes Medical Institute Television & Film. Prior to this, he was vice president of creative affairs for Sea Studios Foundation, Elisco served as series producer and producer for all projects, including the award-winning National Geographic’s Strange Days on Planet Earth, The Shape of Life, and Oceans in Glass. Before joining Sea Studios Foundation, Elisco served as vice president for Stardust Visual, where he produced six hours of programming for the Discovery Channel, including Titanic: Anatomy of a Disaster. More recently, he produced, directed and wrote several films for National Geographic, including Sex, Lies & Gender, Countdown to Catastrophe, and Virus Hunters. Elisco is a member of the IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication, serving as a consultant and producer on several non-broadcast projects designed to create measurable impact regarding science, the environment and sustainability.
Sara Elliott is the project director for Nature Works Everywhere, The Nature Conservancy’s first foray into online education. Elliott has developed several start-up programs for The Nature Conservancy, including the Design for a Living World exhibition, book and website. Elliott’s passion is developing breakthrough messaging and new platforms to advance the Conservancy’s mission to protect the land and water upon which all life depends. Elliott holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. She is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees and a founder of Mundo Verde Public Charter School in Washington, DC.
Carter Emmart is the director of Astrovisualization at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. He directs space show productions based on immersive data visualization for the Hayden Planetarium within the Rose Center. Emmart oversees software development for interactive use of the 3D universe atlas known as the Digital Universe, which can now be networked between planetariums and classrooms worldwide. The Swedish company SCISS grew out of these efforts in a series of internships he hosted from Linkoping University. Starting astronomy courses at the age of ten in the old Hayden, Emmart grew up in a family of artists and got his BA in geophysics from the University of Colorado, and his doctorate from Linkoping University, Sweden. He has had careers in architectural modeling, technical illustration and science visualization at NASA Ames Research Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research prior to joining the staff at AMNH.
Carol L. Fleisher has spent the last thirty-‐three years making documentaries for television. She is the proud recipient of the Writers’ Guild of America Award for her film, The Secret White House Tapes (co‐written by William Doyle). Carol’s six-hour telling of The Revolutionary War, narrated by Charles Kuralt, won the CableACE Award for Best Documentary Series. She is one of only two documentary filmmakers to be honored with the prestigious Humanitas Prize for two consecutive years. Her work has also garnered eight Cine Golden Eagles, a Golden Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, a Gold Award from the Houston Film Festival, two Genesis Awards and two Emmy Awards. One of Carol’s projects, the Emmy-Award-winning Why Dogs Smile & Chimpanzees Cry, premiered on The Discovery Channel to rave reviews and outstanding ratings. While this film is on the subject of animal emotions, her Chasing El Nino was a scientific adventure for PBS’s NOVA series.
Robert J. Full is a Chancellor’s and Goldman professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkeley. Following his undergraduate, master and PhD studies at SUNY Buffalo, Full held a research and teaching post doctoral position at The University of Chicago from 1984 to 1986. In 1986 he joined the faculty at Berkeley as an assistant professor of zoology. He was promoted to associate professor of integrative biology in 1991, and to full professor of integrative biology in 1995, a position he holds today. Full has received an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Distinguished Teaching Award from Berkeley, and is a National Academy of Sciences Mentor in the Life Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He recently served as a Sloan Foundation juror in the Sundance Film Festival.
William R. Grant was director of science, nature and history programming for over a decade at WNET in New York, the flagship of the US public television system. He joined WNET in 1995 and became director of its largest production department in 1997. Previously he was at WGBH in Boston for 12 years, where he was managing editor of Frontline, and then executive editor of NOVA. At WNET his department brought as many as 60 hours of programs each year to public television in the areas of natural history, science, history, business, travel and other topics. Grant was executive producer of the several award-winning PBS anthology series and mini-series. As executive in charge of production, Grant was responsible for Nature, one of public television’s most-watched continuing series, Television programs produced under Grant’s supervision have won fifteen national news and documentary Emmy awards and nine George Foster Peabody awards. Grant has served on the board of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival since its founding in 1991. He was board chairman from 2002 to 2010 and is currently Chairman Emeritus.
Fred Guterl is the executive editor of Scientific American. Previously, Guterl was a deputy editor of Newsweek, where he wrote and edited a wide range of stories for both print and digital media. He was Newsweek International's first science and technology editor, writing and editing dozens of cover packages and special issues on climate change, global health, energy, biotechnology and other subjects. He also created and edited Newsweek International's website, overseeing its home page, blogs, guest essays and news coverage. His writing and editing have contributed to numerous awards and nominations from the American Society of Magazine Editors. His article "Riddles in the Sand," which appeared in Discover, was named best magazine article in 1998 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his Newsweek article "The Wasteland," on Russia's plan to accept the world's nuclear waste, was honored by the Overseas Press Club of America for environmental writing. Guterl is author of the book The Fate of the Species, about how humans are at risk of extinction and how to avoid it. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester and has taught science writing at Princeton University.
John Hafernik is professor of biology at San Francisco State University where he teaches entomology, evolution and ecology courses. He is also president of the California Academy of Sciences and past president of the American Association for Advancement of Science, Pacific Division. He first became interested in insects as a six-year old boy in Texas and has been lucky enough to make that childhood passion his career. He studies the evolution, behavior and conservation biology of insects. His discoveries have been highlighted in Time magazine, The Week, Scientific American, Science News and New Scientist, among other venues. Recently, he discovered a new parasite of honey bees, the phorid fly Apocephalus borealis (AKA the Zombie Fly).As a follow up, he and his colleagues created a new citizen science project, ZomBee Watch to determine where in North America the Zombie Fly is parasitizing honey bees.
Laura Helft is the senior researcher for the film unit of the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She works with a team of filmmakers, scientists, and educators to create films for broadcast and online distribution. Helft seeks out new perspectives and scientific discoveries to deliver engaging educational content. She is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin/Madison with a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology. Beyond films, Helft is dedicated to sharing the fruits and spirit of science with the public through science festivals and classroom teaching.
Chris Hilton is CEO and founding partner of Essential Media and Entertainment, a Sydney-based Realscreen top 100-production company specializing in high end factual, TV Drama and children’s animation. He is also a founding partner of the North American factual entertainment outfit 11 Television. Hilton has produced over 300 hours of factual programming for international broadcasters such as PBS, BBC, Channel Four, Discovery, National Geographic, Sundance and Arte as well as all Australian television networks.
Chris’ recent executive producer credits include: A Traveler’s Guide to the Planets, Miracles, The Voyage of the Courtesans, Seduction in the City, Australia: The Time Traveler’s Guide and The Grammar of Happiness.
Bob Hirshon is program director for technology and learning at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and host of the daily radio show and podcast Science Update. Hirshon also heads up Kinetic City, including the Peabody Award winning children’s radio drama, McGraw-Hill book series and Codie Award winning website and education program. He oversees the Science NetLinks project for K-12 science teachers, part of the Verizon Foundation Thinkfinity partnership. Hirshon is currently developing a new educational mobile phone platform and working on several new games and interactive web modules. He can be heard on XM/Sirius Radio’s Kids Place Live as “Bob the Science Slob.” Hirshon is a Computerworld/Smithsonian Hero for a New Millennium laureate.
Gary Hochman is senior producer for science programming at NET Television (PBS). His recent program, NOVA: Secrets Beneath The Ice, follows polar researchers who explore, prospect, and drill rock cores to detect how Antarctica’s climate history may predict Earth’s climate future. Other national productions include: NOVA: Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land, NOVA: Buried in Ash, NOVAscienceNOW: Mammoth Mystery, NOVA: Edgerton and His Incredible Seeing Machines, Behind Lab Doors, Jungle Under Glass, Profit the Earth, Sexuality and Aging, and Seeking the Real Jesse James. He’s twice received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award, as well as a National Education Association Award for innovative educational media for the women in science series Wonderwise. His current project, Sobibor’s Hidden Holocaust, traces an archeology dig to reveal a WWII death camp the Nazis destroyed and concealed following a 1943 revolt and mass escape.
Beth Hoppe is PBS’s vice president of programming, where she is overseeing all science, history, natural history, news and public affairs. Hoppe has held key positions at WGBH’s NOVA and Thirteen/WNET, where she was Director of Science programs and executive Producer of DNA with Windfall Films and David Grubin’s The Secret Life of the Brain, both of which won the Emmy for Outstanding Science Program. Other credits include the groundbreaking Frontier House and Colonial House, Secrets of the Dead, and Innovation. Her work has received numerous Emmy awards and a Peabody award.She recently spent several years on the commercial side, making programs for Discovery, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Food Network, and History.
Richard Hutton is executive director of the Carsey-Wolf Center and adjunct professor in the Film and Media Studies Department at UC, Santa Barbara. Previously, he was vice president of media development for Vulcan, Inc., overseeing feature film and documentary units and directing all media development projects, including initiatives in the education, museum and entertainment sectors. Under his direction, Vulcan Productions produced the six-hour documentary series This Emotional Life; the Peabody award-winning Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial; and the Emmy award-winning six-part series Rx for Survival– all with the WGBH Science Unit and co-produced Strange Days on Planet Earth, a four-part series with National Geographic; the Peabody and Grammy award-winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan; and the Emmy and Grammy award-winning Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues. Hutton was executive producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS series, Evolution; the Peabody award-winning Black Sky: The Race for Space; and the blues concert film Lightning in a Bottle. Feature films produced or co-produced under Hutton's direction include Humanitas prize-winner Where God Left His Shoes, Hard Candy, Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas and Independent Spirit award-winner for Best Picture, Far From Heaven. Prior to Vulcan, Hutton was senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering and served as vice president and general manager of the Disney Institute. Prior to Disney, Hutton was senior vice president, television programming and production, for WETA Television in Washington, D.C., and, earlier, Director of Public Affairs Programming for WNET Television in New York. Hutton has authored or co-authored nine books and medical texts, as well as articles for national publications.
Susan Johnston founded the first annual New Media Film Festival ™ in 2010 and previously helped build three other film festivals, one of which is now Academy-accredited. With a background in the traditional film and TV industry, she has also become known in recent years as a pioneering new media producer, producing Mini-Bikers, the first series ever made for mobile phones, in conjunction with Fun Little Movies, as well as one of the first HD TV pilots and music videos utilizing the Panasonic Varicam & DVX100. Johnston judges at the New Media Institute and in think tanks for the New Media Project, and is a member of ATAS Interactive Media and Daytime Emmy's judge. Currently she is developing distribution outlets in the digital space with BAMMTV, NVIDIA & Indiefilmz.
Casey Kanode is currently completing his MFA in science and natural history filmmaking from Montana State University in Bozeman. He has BS in Natural Resource Recreation from Virginia Tech and a BA in Film Studies from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. From his experiences as an avid backpacker and as a wilderness counselor and teacher, Kanode has gathered a passion for telling the stories that nature has to offer us. His goal is to create films which encourage people to see the beauty in the world around them, both on a micro and macro level.
Gannon Kashiwa is currently the director of digital media at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He is a multifaceted individual who is happiest at the place where art and technology intersect. Much of his life has been focused on music and sound, starting with an early career as a guitarist, bassist and synthesist. He has played music professionally for over 35 years and continues to perform and write on a regular basis. Kashiwa is also world-renowned audio engineer and product designer. He was a senior developer for Avid’s Pro Tools audio platform and was awarded a patent for the ICON console product line in 2010. As a mixer, Kashiwa’s credits include the Bonnaroo Music Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Fugees, Dr. John, ABC Television and CBS Home Entertainment.
Mark Katz, a successful distribution industry veteran for more than 25 years, and president of distribution for National Geographic Cinema Ventures represents a wide array of highly acclaimed specialty, art and independent films. They include the award-winning 3-D films U2 3D, Sea Monsters, and Flying Monsters as well as box-office hits Forces of Nature, Lewis & Clark, Mysteries of Egypt, and Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure for WGBH and The Human Body for Discovery and the BBC as well as the highly acclaimed Restrepo, Amreeka and The Last Lions. Katz is a past Chairman of the Board for the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA). Prior to joining National Geographic, Katz was president of distribution for nWave Pictures, and previously he was VP of sales for Sony Pictures Classics, where he led the successful distribution of the original 3-D films Wings of Courage and Across the Sea of Time. He also worked for Imax Corporation, where he released the groundbreaking film Rolling Stones at the Max and the Academy Award-nominated film Fires of Kuwait.
Tom Kennedy has over twenty years experience producing feature film visual effects, visual effects commercials, and science education programs. His feature film VFX producer credits include The Mummy, Mercury Rising, Radioland Murders, and the special editions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Tom served as the Industrial Light & Magic Commercial Division’s executive producer and line producer for multiple award-winning visual effects and computer graphics-driven commercial projects. Tom’s fulldome digital planetarium production projects have included Fragile Planet (2008), Life: A Cosmic Story (2010), and Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet (2012) for the California Academy of Sciences. Previous visualization projects include the Pioneer XI Jupiter Live Encounter, Saturn Flyby and Viking Lander1 videos, visualization of migration patterns and environmental impacts of public works.
Walter Koehler’s long dreamed adventure became true when after 30 years at Austria’s pubcaster ORF, he launched Terra Mater Factual Studios as a sister company of the Red Bull Media House. Since January 1, 2011 TMFS is the new home of the former ORF UNIVERSUM team, heading the strategic development of the production house and together with his management team steers the company in all creative, technological, financial and commercial matters. After completing his master degree in journalism at Vienna University Koehler joined ORF as a freelance producer/wirter/director. As versioning producer he premiered a new slot called UNIVERSUM in 1987. In 1994 he took over the UNIVERSUM team and created the ORF Natural History Unit destined to become one of the leading brands in factual television worldwide. When ORF made him Head of Specialist Factual in 2010, Koehler soon knew that he and the whole ORF UNIVERSUM team had to move on to new and brighter horizons, which led to the formation of TMFS.
Wayne LaBar is the principal and founder of ALCHEMY studio, an independent, experience and institutional development, design and consulting services studio that designs, develops and provides creative direction for museums, science centers and other lifelong learning experiences around the world, working with staff, boards, civic leaders, governments, NGO’s, filmmakers and others involved in the informal learning field. With twenty five years of experience in the museum and science center exhibition and media field, Lebar oversaw master planning for science centers in Turkey, natural history museums in Canada and cultural centers in Saudi Arabia, and led exhibition design projects for Bell Labs, New York Transit Museum, the Caguas Science Center and others. He is currently leading content and concept for a 15/70 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) film, exhibition planning for the a new science center in Saudi Arabia and working on new museums and science centers in Turkey, Virginia and the Bronx. He has a Bachelor’s of Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and serves on the Board of NAME (National Association of Museum Exhibition) as Vice President and on the Advisory Board of the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University.
Matthew Leone is an electrical engineer at Alces Technology, Inc. in Jackson, WY. He has earned several patents for new display and sensor technologies and recently released a commercial software package for Microsoft's Kinect for Windows sensor titled the Universal Gesture Mouse. As an engineer Matthew has intimate knowledge of a wide range of hardware and software technologies and as been an active participant in the "Maker" community supporting the education and enrichment of students and hobbyists in STEM programs.
Dennis Liu directs a group that produces educational media at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His team works with independent filmmakers and scientists to produce short films intended for use in science classrooms. The team also works with teachers to produce supplementary materials to enhance the educational impact of the films. Dennis has a Ph.D. in biology, with a focus on genetics. He has a passion for explaining science to all audiences, and has been an advisor on numerous museum exhibits and writes a regular feature for the journal Life Sciences Education.
Neil Losin is a biologist, photographer, and filmmaker based in
Boulder, Colorado. He earned his Ph.D. in UCLA's Department of Ecology
and Evolutionary Biology, where he studied the evolution of
territoriality in invasive Caribbean lizards. Already an award-winning
nature photographer, Losin began producing films as a graduate student
in the sciences, and has since made the transition from academia to a
career in science media. In 2010, he founded Day’s Edge Productions
with Dr. Nathan Dappen, a fellow biologist, photographer, and
filmmaker. Their most recent project, which they funded through a
Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, is the coffee-table book
Sargantanas Pityuses, which examines the evolution, ecology, and
cultural significance of an iconic Mediterranean lizard.
Thomas Lucas has completed over 30 major documentary films covering topics ranging from wilderness fire to hammerhead sharks and long distance space travel. Lucas specializes in productions that make use of special effects and high-end computer animations. His recent productions include the giant screen programs Supervolcanoes, Dynamic Earth, and Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity. The black hole show has been seen by millions in almost 200 fulldome theaters around the world. Lucas’ television programs have included Shark Superhighway, T.Rex Walks Again,and Monster Black Holes for National Geographic, along with NOVA’s Monster of the Milky Way, Runaway Universeand Hunt for the Supertwister, which ran on the PBS national schedule for three years running. Previously, he collaborated with PBS on the limited series Beyond Human, Voyage to the Milky Way, and Mysteries of Deep Space.
Arthur Lupia is the Hal R. Varian Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and research professor at its Institute for Social Research. His research clarifies how information and institutions affect policy and politics, with a focus on how people make decisions when they lack information. He draws from multiple scientific and philosophical disciplines and uses multiple research methods. Lupia has held a range of scientific leadership positions, including principal investigator of the American National Election Studies. He also has developed new means for researchers to better serve science and society. As a founder of TESS (Time-Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences), he has helped hundreds of scientists from many disciplines run innovative experiments on opinion formation and change using nationally representative subject pools. He currently serves as an executive member of the Board of Directors of Climate Central. He is author to several books and articles, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research.
Bernadette McDaid, vice president of production for Science, a network of Discovery Communications, is responsible for leading the internal production team, overseeing programming and managing all relationships with external production partners. McDaid also works closely with the development team and serves as executive producer for Science’s highest rated series (and Emmy nominated) Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, An Idiot Abroad and Oddities. In 2011, the network won its first George Peabody Award for Wonders of the Solar System with Brian Cox and Science received an Emmy nomination for Creating Synthetic Life, which McDaid executive produced. Prior, she served as an executive producer and development executive for myriad award-winning series and specials including Discovery Channel’s The Hudson Plane Crash: What Really Happened, and Unwrapping the Shroud: New Evidence. She has also held key development and production roles at the BBC, InVision Productions, Lion Television, Powderhouse and Diverse.
Joe McMaster was the executive producer and a writer of the four-hour NOVA miniseries The Fabric of the Cosmos. He has written, produced and directed many programs for NOVA including the groundbreaking three-part mini-series The Elegant Universe, for which he also served as series producer, the two hour special Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, and more than a dozen others. With more than 20 years of experience at NOVA and other PBS series, his work has been recognized with many of the industry’s top honors. He is now an independent producer based in the Boston area.
Mary Miller is responsible for leading multidisciplinary teams in creating innovative and engaging content about current scientific research for the Exploratorium’s award-winning website and museum exhibits and programs. She is also a webcast producer and host, science writer, content and media producer, and liaison to the scientific community on numerous education and outreach partnerships. Miller has dodged icebergs in Greenland, flown in a hurricane hunter through a Pacific storm, and been diving in Antarctica. She was the principal investigator for the Webby-award winning Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists, an NSF-funded project highlighting research from Antarctica and the Arctic during the International Polar Year. Ice Stories project staff trained polar field scientists in media production and narrative storytelling provided equipment to create multimedia dispatches from remote field camps. Mary has a B.A. in biology and marine studies and a master’s certificate in science communication from U.C. Santa Cruz. She developed the media production track and teaches multimedia science journalism in the UCSC science communication program.
Ian Miller is curator of paleontology and chair of the earth sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He earned a Ph. D. in geology and paleobotany at Yale University in 2007. His research focuses on fossil plants and their applications for understanding ancient elevation, climate, and the position of continents. He is presently working on projects in the Colorado Rockies and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. Dr. Miller is the co-leader of the Snowmastodon Project. Museum crews uncovered 5,000 bones of 41 kinds of Ice Age animals, including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, camels, deer, horses, and giant bison, near Aspen. The preserved series of Ice Age fossil ecosystems is one of the most significant fossil discoveries ever made in Colorado and will change forever our understanding of alpine life in the Ice Age.
Debbie Adler Myers is general manager of the Science Channel, and executive vice President of programming for Discovery Emerging Networks. In addition, she spearheads the development, production and programming units for Investigation Discovery, Military Channel and HD Theater. Myers joined Discovery Communications in June 2005 and has been responsible for more than 500 hours of content across all of Discovery's networks, including the launch of TLC's franchise Little People, Big World. Most recently, Myers was senior vice president, daytime and fringe programming for TLC. Previously, as vice president of production for TLC, Myers created more than 500 hours of original content and oversaw the launches of LA Ink, Say Yes to the Dress, Big Medicine, Take Home Chef and Take Home Handyman as well as continuing series including What Not to Wear, Miami Ink and A Baby Story. Prior to joining Discovery, Myers was also instrumental in launching several cable networks, including E! Entertainment and Oxygen. She served for eight years as vice president of programming and development at E! where she created and ran 17 signature series.
Eric Nardone holds a master's degree in Instructional Technologies and before diving into the world of exhibit interactives, he spent ten years designing and building educational software games for children. Since joining the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Nardone has been focused on designing multiuser experiences for young and older visitors alike. He will share examples of multimedia interactives designed to foster engagement between families, friends, and strangers visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Dan Neafus has produced engaging audience experiences for over 35 years, and continues to do so as director of the Gates Dome Theater at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. His award-winning fulldome films have been distributed to theaters worldwide. He was executive producer of Bella Gaia, by Kenji Williams, Super Volcanoes, and Dynamic Earth, writer/producer of Realm of Light Re-imagined, and producer of Cosmic Journey: A Solar System Adventure and Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity. Neafus has also created numerous public and performance artworks utilizing light and form. With an emphasis on technology, he utilizes many tools in his work, from supercomputer graphics, to 3D sound and automated lighting. As founding director of IMERSA, Neafus is collaborating with fellow visionary pioneers to chart a course for the future of dome theaters and the immersive experience.
Scot Osterweil is the creative director of the MIT Education Arcade and a research director in the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. He is a designer of award-winning educational games, working in both academic and commercial environments, and his work has focused on what is authentically playful in challenging academic subjects. He has designed games for computers, handheld devices, and multi-player on-line environments. Scot is the creator of the acclaimed Zoombinis series of math and logic games, and has led a number of projects in the Education Arcade, including Vanished: The MIT/Smithsonian Curated Game (environmental science), Labyrinth (math), Kids Survey Network (data and statistics), Caduceus (medical science), and iCue (history and civics). He is a founding member, and creative director of the Learning Games Network where he leads the Gates Foundation’s Language Learning Initiative (ESL).
Charles Poe is vice president of production for Smithsonian Channel, guiding the editorial process for all original programming and international co-productions. He is a former executive producer for the long-running EXPLORER series on the National Geographic Channel, where he also launched Taboo and Reptile Wild with Dr. Brady Barr. His work has also appeared on ABC, NBC, Discovery and TLC. Career highlights include drilling into the Hope Diamond, building a life-sized Titanoboa and experiencing Shock and Awe live from Baghdad.
Ainissa G. Ramirez is a science evangelist passionate about getting the general public excited about science. Before taking on this calling, she was an associate professor of mechanical engineering & materials science at Yale University. Her research focuses on smart materials and nanomaterials. Ramirez is the founder of Yale’s premier science outreach program, a science show for kids, called Science Saturdays. She hosts two short science video series, Science Xplained and Material Marvels. Before joining the faculty at Yale University, she worked as a staff scientist at Bell Labs, where she developed an advanced solder that can bond directly to glass and ceramics, for which MIT awarded her the TR100 award—designated for the top 100 young innovators. She has been awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the NSF CAREER award, and MIT’s MLK visiting professorship.
Lowell Robinson is the director of online engagement at the Exploratorium, where he leads a group of creative technologists and writers focused on exploring online and mobile experiences. Robinson has experimented in the areas of networked exhibits, biometric recognition, mobile apps, interactive visualizations, and transmedia storytelling. Past projects have included: Color Uncovered, Evidence: How do we know what we know, Origins: The Search for the Origins of Life, The Science of Skateboarding, the Science of Gardening, and The Science of Music. Lowell is passionate about integrating content and technology to create new learning experiences.
Erik Rochner is an emerging science and natural history filmmaker with 10 years of nonfiction experience. As a native of California, Rochner chose to pursue a career in this speciality to continue his passion for exploring and sharing the natural world. Under Rochner Films, he has produced films on diverse topics that range from biofilm bacteria and chronic wounds to ecological conflicts involving Yellowstone elk. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Film and Media Studies and a post baccalaureate degree in Biology. Rochner is currently working on his thesis for MSU Bozeman's Science and Natural History Filmmaking MFA program.
Anthony (Bud) Rock began his duties as the new chief executive officer of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) in 2009. ASTC is a nonprofit international organization of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science. Rock served previously as Vice President for Global Engagement at Arizona State University, where he was responsible for expanding global awareness among students and developing new and creative international programs of research and scholarship. Before joining ASU, Mr. Rock had a distinguished three-decade career in the U.S. government service, much of it within the U.S. Department of State promoting scientific and technological collaboration throughout the world. His diplomatic service culminated in his five-year appointment as acting assistant secretary and principal deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for oceans, environment, and science.
Saul Rockman has spent more than 30 years as an evaluator, studying the use and impact of media and technology for learning in formal and informal settings. He is president of Rockman et al, an independent evaluation, research, and consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Bloomington, IN, and Philadelphia, PA. The company works with preschool, K-12, postsecondary and adult educational institutions undertaking formal education, as well as with broadly educational projects having a wide community or consumer audience. He established Rockman et al after leaving the education marketing group of Apple where he was Manager of Education Research. Prior to joining Apple, Rockman was Director of Technology Programs at WestEd in San Francisco.
Michael Rosenfeld is head of television and film for Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is responsible for overall strategic development of the film production unit, its partnerships, and its productions. An award-winning producer, writer, and television executive with extensive leadership experience in documentary production and new media, he has produced and written films covering a broad sweep of topics, from anthropology to history to volcanology. As an executive producer and production company president, he has overseen a number of legendary franchises, including National Geographic Explorer and the National Geographic Specials. In a career spanning network broadcast, cable, and public television he has won or led teams that won hundreds of industry awards, including the Peabody and almost 40 News and Documentary Emmy Awards. Before joining HHMI as head of television and film, Rosenfeld was associated with National Geographic for more than two decades as a supervising writer, producer, executive producer, and production company president. As president of National Geographic Television, Rosenfeld oversaw the production of more than 130 hours of television documentary programming a year for National Geographic Channel, PBS, and broadcasters worldwide, and oversaw NGT's first venture into television drama.
Jonathan Sahula is a Boston-based filmmaker and photographer. His recent credits includes senior producer, lead editor and creative director on NOVA’s four-hour miniseries The Fabric of the Cosmos with Brian Greene. Past work includes award winning documentaries including Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial and NOVA’s The Elegant Universe with Brian Greene for which he won an Emmy for editing. Sahula studied film at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Randy Sargent holds dual appointments at Carnegie Mellon University and Google. As Senior Systems Scientist at Carnegie Mellon, Randy works with a team to develop ways to explore massive data -- terapixel-scale zoomable and explorable videos of diverse subjects such as plants growing, or a simulation of the universe from big bang to present. As Visiting Scientist at Google, Randy works with a team to build the world’s largest zoomable videos -- videos with over 1 trillion pixels per frame, synthesized from historical satellite imagery of the Earth, allowing interactive zooming to any spot on the planet and exploring its history. GigaPan, a low-cost robotic gigapixel imager, is based on technology Randy previously helped develop while at NASA Ames Research Center. Randy joined NASA Ames Research Center in 2001, where he was engineering lead for autonomous instrument placement for the K9 prototype Mars rover, and where he built image analysis and visualization tools used as part of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. Randy has founded or co-founded three successful technology companies, and developed an early prototype of the LEGO Mindstorms robot controller at the MIT Media Lab, sponsored by LEGO.
Chris Schmidt is an Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker who has worked as executive producer, writer, director and editor with a focus factual television programming. He has traveled the world to produce and direct movies and television programs for PBS, Dreamworks Animation, The Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic and others. In 2011, Schmidt executive produced the NOVA mini-series Making Stuff hosted by David Pogue. In 2012 he continued his collaboration with Pogue with the two-hour NOVA special Hunting The Elements. In May, 2012 he joined NOVA as senior producer.
Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer who captures breathtaking images and stories that celebrate life—revealing connections, universal rhythms, patterns and beauty. His notable career spans feature films, television shows, commercials and documentaries. He won two Clio Awards for TV advertising, including best environmental broadcast spot, an Emmy nomination for best cinematography and the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award for the feature film America’s Heart & Soul. His film Wings of Life won a Best Cinematography Roscar Award. He is currently directing Mysteries of the Unseen World, a 3D Large format film for National Geographic. He is also launching Moving Art™ on Panasonic Smart TV's this fall, an IPTV channel that will inspire, entertain and transform the home viewing screen into an emotional immersive user preference experience.
Rob Semper is executive associate director and director of program for the Exploratorium in San Francisco and is responsible for leading its programs of learning and teaching for the public and educators using exhibits, workshops, media and Internet resources. He is principal investigator on numerous projects including leading the National Science Foundation sponsored Center for Informal Learning and Schools, a collaboration between the Exploratorium, U.C. Santa Cruz and King’s College, London which studies the relationship between museums and formal education and serving as co-principal investigator on the NSF funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, a national network of science centers designed to foster engagement of the public with the nanotechnology field. Over the past eighteen years Semper has guided the development of the award winning Exploratorium website that has explored the role of museums in the online world including the development of on-line fieldtrips to locations of scientific research. Since joining the Exploratorium in 1977, he has led numerous exhibit development, teacher enhancement and media development projects focused on science education for the public, teachers and students.
Logan Smalley is a former teacher, TEDFellow and documentary filmmaker, and now heads up the TED-Ed initiative at TED Conferences. Logan received a Masters in Technology, Innovation & Education from Harvard in 2007. In his work at a camp for kids with disabilities, Logan met his lifelong friend, Fellow TEDFellow and subject of Smalley’s award-winning documentary, Darius Goes West following the 15-year old living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD leaving his hometown for the first time on an epic cross-country road trip, the goal of which was to see Darius's wheelchair customized on MTV's, Pimp My Ride. Smalley’s team founded the Darius Goes West Organization and created Darius Goes West Schools Program, raising over $2mm for DMD research to date and the educational program is used annually in schools around the world. Brought on to catalyze the TED-Ed initiative in early 2011, Smalley has hosted multiple TED-Ed workshops at the annual TED Conferences and overseen the development of recently launched TED-Ed website.
Russell Sparkman is a new media craftsman with more than 25 years of visual communications experience. In 1999, he co-founded FusionSpark Media, a new media production and marketing communications firm that inspires, informs and influences through authentic online content supporting corporate, non-profit and government communications initiatives. As CEO, Sparkman has played key roles in all Fusionspark Media projects, including executive producer, chief photographer, videographer, information architect, and project manager. FusionSpark Media was launchedwith the groundbreaking web documentary initiative One World Journeys, sponsored by Epson and partnered with the WashingtonPost.com, an innovative approach to original digital storytelling that led to more than a decade of original online storytelling for environmental non-profits and government agencies. Water’s Journey: The River Returns and Water’s Journey: The Everglades, won the Best Interactive at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Florida Springs: Protecting Nature's Gems, was awarded the Best Online Reporting award from the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Stephen Uzzo is vice president of science and technology for the New York Hall of Science where he works on a number of educational and research projects related to STEM literacy, sustainability and network science. He is currently developing a major public experience on sustainability science as well as initiatives to use network science to develop metrics for measuring success in educational networks and programs to engage high school students in network science studies and computational thinking. He also serves on the faculty of the NYIT Graduate School, where he teaches STEM education and has done preservice and inservice professional development for K-12 teachers in the integration of STEM into K-12 learning. With over 20 years in formal and informal learning, Uzzo has over a decade of experience in media, including the launch of MTV and the first digital television transmission; planning and project managing complex production and computer graphic imaging systems; and engineering and research in image processing, robotics, and distance learning. Uzzo’s research interests include scientific visualization and design and inquiry-based learning for STEM, network science and learning, ecosystems ecology and systems/cybernetics and learning.
Charlotte Vick is the strategic partnership director of the Sylvia Earle Aliiance/Mission Blue and curator of Explore the Ocean in Google Earth. She serves on the board of governors for the Savannah Ocean Exchange, the Blue Ocean Film Festival and TARA Expeditions USA. She is a member of the steering committees for the Sargasso Sea Alliance, High Seas Alliance & the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. She serves as an advisor to many other non-profit organizations as well.
Dennis Wakabayashi is a seasoned digital marketer and strategist who employs a deep understanding of digital media, extensive brand experiences, project management and strong cross-functional team leadership to accomplish goals. A veteran advertising “creative” from TBWA has led digital campaigns for national brands, such as McDonald’s, American Crew, Beck’s Beer and Sears. He has also been an influential force in dotcom startups like Verio.net, which sold for 5 billion dollars in 1996. As senior manager of digital marketing for Boston Market Corporation, Wakabayashi drives digital strategy initiatives and is responsible for digital marketing programs, marketing automation, online brand campaigns, and business intelligence initiatives that increase exposure and engagement with new and current customers.
Melanie Wallace is the senior series producer for NOVA, PBS’s preeminent weekly science series now in its 39th season. In that role, she is connected to all aspects of production and works closely with senior executive producer, Paula Apsell and managing director, Alan Ritsko. She searches for talent, innovative program ideas, and co-production opportunities. Wallace is the driving force behind the deals brokered with NOVA’s numerous international partners and travels worldwide to promote the NOVA brand while highlighting the role NOVA plays in the USA to enhance science literacy and science education across a variety of platforms in public media. Before assuming the role of senior series producer, Melanie was a staff producer/director, writing, directing and supervising numerous programs and series for NOVA and WGBH. Some of these include Adventure, Odyssey, and The Ring of Truth, as well a Condition Critical: A Forum on American Health Care with TV host Phil Donahue. A complete list of Melanie’s NOVA productions are on the NOVA website.
Christine Weber is Vice President of Production for Specials at Discovery Channel. In addition to overseeing specials for Discovery Channel, Weber manages the creative partnership with BBC for all of Discovery Communications. Under her oversight, the unit has co-produced numerous highly acclaimed series and singles including LIFE, Human Planet, Frozen Planet, Dino Revolution and Finding Amelia.Before joining Discovery Communications, Weber launched and ran TTP for Tigress Productions and Tiger Aspect -- two of Britain’s leading independent producers. Weber’s long career with National Geographic delivered hundreds of hours of programming across a wide range of subjects, garnering eight Emmy nominations and four Emmy Awards.
Kenji Williams is the founder and director of Bella Gaia (Beautiful Earth) and an award-winning filmmaker, music producer, theatrical show director, and classically trained violinist. Williams explores the nexus of art and science through collaborations as diverse as NASA scientists, Deepak Chopra, and top world-music musicians. With over 30 years of film, music, performance, composition, and production experience, his current project Bella Gaia has performed nearly 100 shows, touring to eight countries and reaching over 200,000 people live and over 6 million through online and TV networks. Recognizing Bella Gaia’s ability to engage and inspire a wide demographic, NASA recently awarded a significant grant for Bella Gaia’s education platform for K-12 students across the country. Williams has earned international film awards from the Classic Stage Company to Sundance.
Ryan Wyatt assumed his role as director of Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization at the California Academy of Sciences in April, 2007. Since the Academy reopened in September 2008, more than six million people have visited the institution. Ryan wrote and directed the Academy’s three fulldome features, Fragile Planet (2008), Life: A Cosmic Story (2010), and Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet (2012). Prior to this, Ryan worked for six years as Science Visualizer at the American Museum of Natural History, contributing to the fulldome productions The Search for Life (2002) and Cosmic Collisions (2006). Previously, he opened technologically advanced planetariums in Phoenix, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ryan has also worked to develop standards and “best practices” in the planetarium community, and with Dan Neafus and Ed Lantz, he is one of the Founding Directors of IMERSA (Immersive Media Entertainment, Research, Science & Arts), which celebrates and promotes immersive digital experiences for education and entertainment in planetariums, schools, museums, and attractions.
Ka Chun Yu is the curator of space sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He received his PhD in 2000, with a research focus on star formation, and having been involved with observational programs using the Hubble Space Telescope as well as ground-based observatories from around the world. He joined DMNS in 2001 as part of a team tasked to create planetarium software to visualize the known universe for the Gates Planetarium. He continues to work extensively to create new educational content and visualizations for the digital dome, and research the most effective ways of using this type of technology for education.