6th Annual oSTEM Conference - Presenter and Panelist Bios


Aaron Carroll

Aaron Carroll

Aaron Carroll is a transgender mechanical engineering student in his junior year. He attends the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and struggles with mild bipolar disorder.

Aaron Piña

Aaron PiƱa

Dr. Aaron Piña grew up in a small coastal town in southeast Texas and received a B.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University in 2011. After graduating, he moved to Colorado where he completed his M.S. in Atmospheric Science (2013) and recently received his Ph.D. in Ecology (October 2016) from Colorado State University. Aaron’s research has focused on mountain meteorology, air pollution transport from agricultural operations, and nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park. Aaron hopes to work at the interface of science, technology, and policy.

Adam Stoffel

Adam Stoffel

Adam is a consultant in Microsoft's Modern Applications Solutions Centers group. He works with customers of all sizes across industries to help them realize value from modern apps and apply digital transformation to their businesses. Adam is also serving on the oSTEM National Board as the Vice President for Information Technology.

Allie Mae Daquera-Brinkworth

Allie Mae Daquera-Brinkworth

Allie Mae Daquera-Brinkworth is a scientist and educator with a strong commitment to social justice and a specialty in how informal STEM education institutions address food sovereignty, cultural representation and engagement, capacity building, and social inclusion in underrepresented and underserved communities. She holds a BS in Horticulture and an MS in Education from Virginia Tech, where her research focused on plant physiology, and an MPS in Horticultural Biology: Human-Plant Interactions from Cornell University. Her thesis explored education and outreach programs at public gardens as museums in four countries, designed to engage at-risk and underserved populations.

Amy Phan

Amy Phan

Amy is currently a digital product manager at Capital One. Previously, she held marketing communications roles in non-profit education, finance, and tech. She is a M.S. candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, Medill and holds a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Policy and a B.A. in Media Studies, Political Economy, and Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Amy was involved in the oSTEM Chapter at Berkeley and attended the 2nd oSTEM National Conference in 2012. She currently helps the executive board with outreach and communications. Outside of oSTEM, Amy is also involved with Reaching Out MBA and Out for Undergrad. Some of Amy’s favorite hobbies include good coffee, photography, tennis, video games, and reruns of Friends.

Angie Gonzalez

Angie Gonzalez

Angie Gonzalez is a 4th year at NYU studying physics and electrical engineering. She grew up in Farmingdale, New York and currently lives in Brooklyn with her mother and two dogs. Angie identifies as a queer Latinx woman and uses both they/them and she/her gender pronouns. She has been involved at the NYU LGBTQ Student Center throughout her time at NYU, is going to be a second-year resident assistant, and is a teaching assistant at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Angie was also named a HSBC Point Foundation Scholar in 2015. Last summer, Angie interned at NASA’s Goddard at Institute of Space Studies researching West African Monsoon Systems. This is Angie’s first time at an oSTEM conference and she is excited to finally meet other engineers and scientists like her. She is very passionate about the intersections of LGBTQ identity, race and ethnicity, and being in STEM.

AP Fritts

AP Fritts

AP Fritts is a Software Engineer for Box, serves on the Box Pride Board, and is Vice President for Finance at oSTEM. After completing a Bachelors of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University, AP joined Raytheon Missile Systems to develop a streamlined process for configurable logic development and other enterprise applications to support engineering. After Raytheon, AP worked for a few small startups and began his own business, AP Endeavors. AP now works on enterprise software at Box, developing the frontend web application and helping build frameworks to support transformation in the workplace.

Ashish Agrawal

Ashish Agrawal

Ashish is a PhD student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. His research explores how faculty experience teaching when they cross national and cultural boundaries. He is also deeply interested in understanding the issues faced by international students in general and international LGBTQ students in particular in the USA.

Bill Peters

Bill Peters

Bill Peters is a PMP certified Sr. IT Project Manager at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, MI. Bill has held various project management positions in his career at AAA Michigan and Team Detroit Inc. before arriving at Ford Motor Company in 2012.

Blake Gaither

Blake Gaither

Blake is a Senior Systems Engineer with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems division. Having worked seven years in autopilot & ballistic missile defense, he is now in the Electro Optical Systems Line of Sight Control group. Blake is the enterprise Vice President of Operations for Raytheon’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies employee resource group and is the former enterprise President of Raytheon’s early career employee organization. Originally hailing from the SF Bay Area, he received a BSME from Tufts University and a masters in controls engineering from the University of Washington.

Brandon Haddock

Brandon Haddock

Brandon Haddock, Ph. D is the Coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center at Kansas State University (K-State). Haddock has a B.S. in Geography, Geology, and Planning and a M.S. in Geospatial Science from Missouri State University. They received their Doctorate in Geography at Kansas State University where their research has focused on issues of rural sexualities and gender identities and the attachment to rural place and space.

Bruno Da Rocha Azevedo

Bruno Da Rocha Azevedo

Bruno da Rocha-Azevedo, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist at the Dept. of Biophysics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a member of the LGBTQ Diversity task force at the American Society of Cell Biology.

Bryce Griffler

Bryce Griffler

Bryce is the Safety, Health, and Environmental (SHE) Assurance Audit Lead for the Platforms & Services sector at BAE Systems, Inc. His responsibilities include leading all SHE audits for locations worldwide, including munitions, ship repair, and vehicle manufacturing sites. Bryce was the President and Founder of the first BAE Systems, Inc. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Allies (LGBTQA) Employee Resource Group (ERG), OutLink. Bryce gains additional practical work experience through teaching American Red Cross and American Heart Association Lifeguarding, CPR/AED, First Aid, and first Responder Courses. He also continues to serve his community as the Programs Committee Chair for the Alumni Council at Madison House, a non-profit community service organization. Bryce is the Conference Vice Chair for the 6th Annual oSTEM Conference. His interests include cruises, running, credit card churning, Google, and safety. Bryce holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Advanced Safety Engineering & Management at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Carolyn Brinkworth

Carolyn Brinkworth

Dr. Carolyn Brinkworth is the Director of Diversity, Education and Outreach for the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) based in Boulder, CO. She oversees all education and outreach programs at NCAR, and provides expertise and support in equity and inclusion issues at the center, including employee training and development. Carolyn has a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Southampton and a Masters in Education from Claremont Graduate University. Her thesis, "From Chilly Climate to Warm Reception: Experiences and Good Practices for Supporting LGBTQ Students in STEM" is available from CGU. Before joining NCAR in 2014, Carolyn worked for Caltech and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope as a postdoc, a staff scientist, and the Deputy Lead for Public Affairs. In 2013, Carolyn was honored with the NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Medal: “For outstanding leadership, dedication and commitment, volunteerism, mentoring and coaching of underrepresented student groups through science education workshops and programs.” She also volunteered with The Trevor Project, running suicide prevention workshops for LGBTQ youth. Carolyn lives in Boulder with her partner, Allie, who she met at a social justice workshop.

Christopher Cross

Christopher Cross

Christopher N. Cross, a member since 2015, is a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience and anatomy with a specialty in neuroepigenetics. He holds a Master of Science degree in neuroanatomy from Howard University. In 2013, he was a graduate research fellow at the National Institutes of Health having received a fellowship to conduct research in neurogenetics at the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease. His undergraduate studies were at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. As an undergraduate, he received a fellowship to conduct biomedical research at the National University of Ireland Galway as a research fellow. His professional experience includes working as the assistant curator at the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory, where he helps manage and conduct research on the Cobb collection and New York African Burial Ground, in addition to lecturing undergraduate students on critical thinking, research theory and human anatomy. In 2014, as a congressional science fellow, he liaised with the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and helped generate science policy documents, including bill amendments. His background also includes research as a junior scientist at Harvard University, volunteer work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and tutoring children K-12. He was recently named PBS NewsHour's 2015 STEM Superstar Under 30. He also serves on the advisory board of STEADY Academy, an organization that creates accessibility for disabled youth interested in science, engineering and technology.

Chris Siefe

Chris Siefe

Chris Siefe is a first year graduate student at Stanford University, pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering. He graduated in Spring of 2016 from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Chris quickly fell in love with oSTEM and helped found the oSTEM chapter at UC Santa Barbara in 2013. He also advocates for other aspects of diversity in STEM, and has been heavily involved with the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) for this reason.

Chrono Nu

Chrono Nu

Chrono Strai Nu (gender-neutral) is a first-generation, non-traditional student with a double-major BS in Neuroscience and Mathematics from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Their participation in the McNair Scholars Program there made it possible to successfully navigate the graduate school application process, resulting in multiple offers from different research universities. Currently, they are a 2nd year dual-major PhD student at the University of Michigan in the Biomedical Engineering and Scientific Computing programs. Their academic interests are in brain-computer interfacing, neuroscience, and machine learning. Outside of school, they like to study and encourage unusual animal relationships between adversarial species, such as the friendly relationships between their wolf-husky hybrid, dwarf bunny, and two cats.

D Conner

D Conner

D Conner is a professional chemist at Chemours in Wilmington, Delaware, currently working in research and development on plastics applications of pigments. Ze is a founding member of oSTEM Inc and was profiled in 2015 as one of the Royal Society of Chemistry's 100 diverse faces of chemistry. Ze holds MS and BS degrees in chemistry from Penn State and University of Delaware, respectively. Outside of work, hir creative pursuits include singing with the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, songwriting, cookery, and various handcrafts.

David Falk

David Falk

David B. D. Falk is a 3rd year honors mathematics major at Penn State University. As one of the founding members of Receiving with Thanksgiving, Penn State's first LGBTQA+ Christian network, he is passionate about creating safer spaces for students with intersectional identities. He also serves as President of Penn State’s oSTEM chapter (an LGBTQA+ STEM network), Vice President of the Westminster Presbyterian Fellowship, and as a Mission ACTivator at State College Presbyterian Church. David enjoys conquering difficult mathematical proofs, challenging theological discussions, and advocating for social justice. He believes that in many ways his faith grew deeper as he came out as gay because he began to take scripture more seriously and critically examine the context behind the words in the Bible.

David Leander

David Leander

David was born in Daegu, South Korea, and was raised in St. Louis, Mo. He attended Northwestern University, graduating in 2010 as a triple major in Materials Science, Economics, and Spanish with a minor in Global Health Studies. David was involved in athletics as a dedicated member of the varsity cheerleading team, serving as captain in his final years. He studied abroad in Mexico City through a public health summer program, assisting in data collection for metabolic syndrome research by interviewing subjects in Spanish. David pursued two other undergraduate research projects in biomaterials and public health. With Dr. Shad Thaxton at the Feinberg School of Medicine, David worked on a U.S. patented cancer therapeutics project using surface-functionalized, biomimetic gold nanoparticles. He performed a small interview-based study focused on the linguistic barrier within the Spanish-speaking population of Chicago and the availability of prescription medication instructions. After graduation, David worked for 3 years as a Project Manager at Epic Systems, a leading electronic medical records company based in Madison, Wis. During his first year of work, he continued his passion for performing with the cheer and stunt squad for the NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks. Through his work at Epic, he led implementations of software systems in emergency departments, and traveled to over 80 hospitals across the country. He gained an appreciation for the healthcare side of medicine, as he assisted in the design of the documentation for clinical and billing purposes. After Epic, while preparing to apply to medical school, he completed a research internship at Aurora Health Care, using Epic data for a study focused on the geriatric population and the 30-day readmission rate. During this time, David also began volunteering as an HIV counselor at a free health clinic. Later on, he continued to work with Epic as a consultant while applying to medical school. After committing to Geisel, David had the rare opportunity to travel around the world through a unique frequent flyer offer. He and his partner, John, developed their own itineraries for the trip of a lifetime through over 20 countries. David is eager to start his medical education and further define his role as the 'Epic guy'.

Ed Holachek

Ed Holachek

Ed works as an Engineering Recruiter for Rockwell Automation. He volunteers for ROKout, Rockwell Automation’s Employee Resource Group, other diversity and inclusion programs, and founded Rockwell Automation Armed Forces Veteran & Family Support Group. Mr. Holachek earned his BS in Business Management from University of Phoenix, and is a US Army Airborne Special Operations veteran. He holds PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and Society of Human Resources Management Certified Professional certifications.

Ells Long

Ells Long

Ells is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of New Hampshire where she studies experimental nuclear and particle physics using Jefferson Lab's electron accelerator. Overseeing a number of graduate and undergraduate students, Ells’ research maps out the internal structure of protons and neutrons using spin-polarized targets and is developing a novel tensor-polarized target, which will be used to bridge nuclear and nucleonic effects. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Physics from Kent State University and a B.S. in Physics from Juniata College. Along with her position on the board, Ells founded and organizes for LGBT+ Physicists, and served on the APS ad-hoc Committee on LGBT Issues. She has also served as the director of the oSTEM Trans Working Group, Member at Large for the APS Forum of Graduate Student Affairs, member of the UNH President's Commission on the Status of GLBT Issues and the Transgender Policy and Climate Committee, and volunteered with the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads in Virginia and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland in Ohio where she focused on supporting and advocating for trans communities and HIV prevention.

Emily Li

Emily Li

Emily Li is a Master’s candidate in the GWW Mechanical Engineering School at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During her two-year presidency of oSTEM@GT, the organization hosted company diversity panels, development workshops, and helped hosted the 2014 National oSTEM Conference at the Georgia Tech Hotel. She promotes diversity and inclusion practices and multiculturalism as a peer educator in the realms of Campus Residence Life, Student Diversity Programs, and the GT Counseling Center. She also strives to be a mentor to other students regarding professional development and to be an aspiring ally serving as a peer facilitator of GT’s space space and allyship training.

Eric Patridge

Eric Patridge

Eric is a Data Scientist at 5AM Solutions, where he contributes to life science technology projects involving clinical data sets. Before arriving at 5AM Solutions, Eric was a Research Scientist at Yale University, where he coordinated research programs in both natural products chemistry and protein chemistry. His scientific background touches upon an array of disciplines, including pharmacology, enzymology, microbiology, electrochemistry, bioinformatics, and computational modeling. He holds a PhD from The Pennsylvania State University and is a graduate of Skidmore College, where he obtained a dual major in Chemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology.

Erica Snider

Erica Snider

Erica Snider received her B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. in high energy physics from the University of Chicago with a thesis on multi-particle production in proton-anti-proton collisions. After a post-doctoral position at The Johns Hopkins University where she contributed to the discovery of ht top quark, one of the elementary constituents of matter, she joined the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as a staff physicist. In that position, her research turned toward searches for new physical phenomena and for evidence of the Higgs boson, the particle that explains why many elementary particles have mass. After 14 years in that position, she came out as transgender, ending a decades-long struggle to understand her gender non-conformity stretching back to some of her earliest memories. Now four years into her renewed life as an open trans-woman, she remains a valued member of the Fermilab staff, taking on leadership positions within both her service roles to the laboratory, and her research roles on her experiments after transition. She is excited at this, her first outreach effort within the trans community, to share the story of her outward transition within the workplace.

Gopinaath Kannabiran

Gopinaath Kannabiran

Gopinaath Kannabiran is a Visiting Lecturer and a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction Design with a PhD minor in Inquiry Methodology at the School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington. His research interests include power and marginality in design, ecological sustainability, feminist action research, and human sexuality. He is Diversity and Inclusivity Co-Chair for ACM CHI 2017. Gopi advocates and seeks ways to enhance 'educator-learner' relationships involved in technology related curricula as a necessary and powerful strategy for combating oppressive social ideologies and enhancing interpersonal well-being.

Helen Larson

Helen Larson

Helen Larson is a 19 year old lesbian studying aerospace engineering. She has adhd, anxiety, and depression, and was undiagnosed for most of her life. For this reason, she is passionate about speaking out about her mental illness and making sure people know that mental illnesses do not always present in the same way. She loves washi tape, overly organized planners, and rocks, and is happy that she made it this far.

Husani Oakley

Husani Oakley

Husani S. Oakley is the Chief Technology Officer at GoldBean, an online investing platform that helps people start their investment journey with companies and brands they love, know, and buy. He is a veteran technologist who has spent over fifteen years building world-class experiences, online and offline, that bridge the gap between art and science. His creative, technical, and production leadership in the advertising industry has been recognized by One Show, AICP, Webby Awards, and the FWA, and he's spoken at conferences such as SXSW, ADMA, Digital Dallas, and Internet Summit. A co-founder of Flavorpill Productions, Atlantico USA, and Oakley+Partners, Husani's most recent role was Director of Creative Technology at Wieden + Kennedy, creating campaign work for Nike, ESPN, Heineken, Delta, and Target. Because he drinks entirely too much coffee, Husani is also the Executive Producer and Creative Director of Sessions In Dance, a modern dance company. He lives in the NYC area with his partner and their dog.

Jacqueline Birkel

Jacqueline Birkel

Jacqueline works in Management Consulting – as a Senior Analyst at Accenture. Jacqueline is a Gender Authenticity Advocate for Accenture’s North American Headquarters (Chicago, where she is based), assists with US LGBT & STEM recruiting, mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and leads her client’s local Philanthropy Initiatives.

Jaimie Marie Stewart

Jamie Marie Stewart

Jaimie Marie Stewart is a Bioengineering PhD candidate and GEM Associate Fellow at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) working on designing dynamic RNA nanostructures with gene silencing abilities. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering with a concentration in cell and tissue engineering and a minor in Italian from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). During her time at UIC she participated in leadership positions for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) UIC chapter. She worked on research projects pertaining to computational modeling and simulation of drug delivery, medical device design, and tissue regeneration. Jaimie is also passionate about teaching and tutoring; she has worked with the America Reads Challenge program as a tutor in Chicago Public Schools. She has also served as a committee member for UCR’s BlaqOUT Conference, a conference for those who self identify as Black, African American, or of African descent and as Same Gender Loving, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning or somewhere on the LGBT spectrum.

James Scott P. Pignatella

James Scott P. Pignatella

James Scott P. Pignatella is a Senior Systems Engineer working in flight test and data analysis at Raytheon Missile Systems. Scotty earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University. He started his engineering career with Hughes Aircraft Company in 1994 as a new college hire and completed his gender transition on the job shortly thereafter. In 2007, Scott was chosen by his peers at Raytheon to be designated an engineer “with Honors.” He has served multiple years on the board of the Raytheon Tucson GLBTA ERG, including a term as President in 2010, and is currently the Director of Operations for the Southwest Region of the GLBTA ERG. He was honored by the Raytheon GLBTA as the recipient of the Louise Young Award in 2014. Scott has been a member of Out & Equal’s Transgender Advisory Committee; has volunteered as a mentor for youth through Boy Scouts and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and for trans youth at Camp Born This Way. Scott is also the owner/photographer of Tomcat Enterprises Photography. He resides in Tucson, Arizona with a small herd of cats, a plethora of books, and a network of friends.

Jeff Mueller

Jeff Mueller

Jeff Mueller is an active duty member of the US Air Force, joining in 2001 through ROTC at the University of Notre Dame after completing a BS in Aerospace Engineering. His first assignment was as a missile combat crew member at Malmstrom AFB, MT. During his time there he was recognized with the Gen Thomas Powers Award for "The Most Outstanding Missile Combat Crewmember in the Air Force." From there he moved to Peterson AFB working for the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, primarily performing operational testing on GPS. He then worked for the Missile Defense Agency in Ground Test at Schriever AFB, CO testing the end-to-end capability of the missile defense system, including deploying new capabilities across the world. He currently works at the Space and Missile and Systems Center's GPS Directorate as the Chief, GPS Next Generation System Integration at Los Angeles AFB, CA where he works on the development of the Next Generation Control Segment (OCX) ground system for GPS. He recently completed a Masters of Engineering in Systems Engineering from Cornell University. Jeff is very active in the LGBT community having served as the board co-chair for OutServe-SLDN for 3 years. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors assisting with chapter and membership services, serving the over 8000 members and running the organization’s IT infrastructure. He is the founding Chapter Leader of the Colorado/Wyoming chapter which was recognized as the OS-SLDN Chapter of the Year and the Colorado Springs Pride Center Organization of the Year for 2012. He is the President of Space Lambda Alliance, a Los Angeles Air Force Base private organization supporting the LGBTQA community. He is very active in the Civil Air Patrol having served as a squadron commander for 4.5 years as well as running several major activities. He also sings with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles where he serves as the Tenor 2 Section Representative. Jeff and his husband Eric have been married for 3 years and live in Los Angeles, CA.

Jen Chow

Jen Chow

As a UX Research Lead at Shopify, Jen has been actively building a team of researchers with diverse perspectives. Prior to Shopify, she founded the Design Research practice at Nurun Toronto (now Razorfish Toronto) and worked as a Design Strategist, consulting to retail clients including Walmart, Sears, LCBO, and Home Depot on digital customer experience. Jen’s passion is to help teams make better design and business decisions informed by customer insights. She's a keen believer that inclusion, diversity, and collaboration lead to better outcomes.

Jeremy B. Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia, studying the evolutionary genetics of trees' adaptation to climate and disease. His professional website is jbyoder.org, and he tweets at @JBYoder.

Jonathan Soulsby

Jonathan Soulsby

Jonathan is a mechanical engineer who recently graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. During college, he held multiple officer positions in his school’s LGBT club. When he was president he worked to found the oSTEM chapter on his campus and led the chapter to attend multiple conferences per year. After his term as President he continued to work with the officers and also served on the MBLGTACC Oversight Committee.

K. Ryder Fox

K. Ryder Fox

Ryder Fox is an undergraduate Atmospheric Physics major at New Mexico Tech. A former television news videographer and storm chaser, they look forward to completing a degree in the physics behind weather phenomena. Ryder's internship in 2016 with the National Center for Atmospheric Research allowed them to recreate Hurricane Patricia while also advocating for greater transgender and gender nonconforming representation in the STEM fields. While working as an undergraduate researcher at their university, Ryder also is a TA, helping incoming students who want to understand climate change. Ryder serves on oSTEM's national Committee on Trans / Non-Binary Diversity and as the president of NMT's oSTEM chapter. Ryder lobbied for Transgender 101 training for staff, faculty and students and secured gender-neutral facilities on campus. Continuing to work toward optimal inclusivity for all underrepresented groups on campus, Ryder is currently designing a diversity and inclusion center for NMT.

Kshitij Deshmukh

Kshitij Deshmukh

Kshitij (KD) is an Indian immigrant who came to the US in 2002 for graduate studies at Penn State, and has since earned his doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering and has gathered 7 years of professional experience at CD-adapco, a Siemens business. He has lived 14 years or over 80% of his adult life in the US and he still continues to traverse the US immigration maze in hopes of a green card. KD is out and proud at his workplace in Oklahoma and is engaged with his community – at the open and affirming Parish Church of St. Jerome, at Oklahomans for Equality and with many international LGBT individuals facing hostile laws and society in various parts of the world. He strongly identifies with the struggles of immigrant LGBT and STEM LGBT identities, which have made him sensitive to intersectional identities that each of us cohabits. As he continues to learn the many ways his immigration uncertainties color his relationship with his US citizen partner of seven years and his career choices, he also continues to strive to be authentic and truthful to his agglomerated multifaceted identity.

LaShaina Shakes

LaShaina Shakes

Shakes is an Associate Manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb where she focuses on Strategy and Business Operations within the Research & Development organization. In her role, she manages projects involving strategy consulting, business process optimization, financial forecasting and valuation, decision modeling, competitive intelligence, organization development, and change management. Prior to working in this capacity, Shakes earned her MBA at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, received her B.S. in Biology and Mathematics from SUNY’s University at Albany, and worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as a Cancer Research Specialist. In addition to serving on oSTEM's national organization as the Director of Committee on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, Shakes is an active member of the National Black MBA Association and the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. During her studies at business school, she served as the President of Tepper’s Out&Allied Club where she established relationships and fostered dialogue with employers and alumni who value diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. As an undergraduate, Shakes was honored with two campus wide awards for programming geared towards deterring stereotypes and providing awareness within the LGBT community.

Lilian Martinez

Lilian Martinez

Lilian Martinez is an undergraduate Chemical Engineering major at New Mexico Tech. Her background is in non-profit fundraising, and event planning. Lilian has ample experience with the LGBTQ+ community as a support group leader, event organizer, and advocate. Her background makes her passionate about helping people (and puppies!) overcome extensive challenges. She offers support to many trans/non-binary students navigating their experiences as underrepresented students on campus. Her work as the Vice President of the oSTEM chapter at New Mexico Tech has helped create a safer and more inclusive environment.

Makayla Gurick

Makayla Gurick

Makayla is a Tester and Lead Network Administrator with BAE System’s Cybersecurity Products Group, where she performs all levels of software testing for BAE’s XTS Guard and STOP OS. She is also responsible for administering and maintaining her group's overall network infrastructure. Makayla is also Co-VP of Communications for BAE’s LGBTQA Employee Resource Group, called OutLink. Makayla first heard of oSTEM through OutLink and was encouraged to attend the 2015 conference. That weekend was her first time venturing out and introducing herself to the world. She had such a great time and was so inspired by all the amazing people she met, as well as all of the amazing personal stories she heard that it enabled and gave her the confidence to continue to be her true self every day since and she hasn’t looked back. She’s been hooked on oSTEM ever since then and is striving to help oSTEM grow and have as much of an impact on others as it’s had on her. When she has spare time, Makayla enjoys playing video games (mainly PS4), traveling wherever, getting her hands on new technology, and partying with friends.

Matthew Allen

Matthew Allen

Dr. Matthew Allen graduated with a B.S. in Optics from the University of Rochester in 1997. He then spent one year as a Fulbright Fellow studying laser-plasma interactions at the Institute for Laser Engineering at Osaka University in Osaka, Japan. He received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from UC Berkeley in 2004, and joined Sandia National Laboratories in 2005. After spending two years as a radiation-detection scientist at the Sandia/California site, he served as a Congressional Fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives in the 100th Congress (2007-2009). He returned to Sandia National Laboratories, A Lockheed Martin Company, in 2009 as a radiation-detection scientist at the Sandia/Albuquerque site where he spent five years on research relevant to radiation detection for national security applications. In 2014, he joined Sandia’s Center for Remote Sensing where he studies nuclear detonation phenomenologies and sensor science.

Matthew Welmers

Matthew Welmers

Matthew is recently graduated with a Masters of Science in Chemistry from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN. Currently, he is working as a Research Chemist at NanoChem Solutions Inc. As a Research Chemist Matthew is responsible for developing novel products for use as anti-scale agents or corrosion inhibitors. Matthew hopes to someday return to graduate school to complete a PhD in Organic Synthesis. His involvement with oSTEM is acting as Conference Programming Committee Chair. He was responsible for the 2015 National Conference and hopes to remain involved for the 2017 National Conference. For fun, Matthew enjoys exploring the great outdoors, a good book, making delicious mixed drinks and strives to learn something new everyday.

Michael Mills

Michael Mills

Dr. Michael Mills is an atmospheric scientist whose research has focused on stratospheric ozone, climate, aerosols, volcanic eruptions, geoengineering, mass extinction events related to interstellar clouds, space tourism, and nuclear winter. His early work has led to better enforcement of the Montreal Protocol protecting the ozone layer, and his recent work has revealed the first definitive signs that the Antarctic ozone hole is beginning to heal. He received his undergraduate degree from M.I.T., and his Ph.D from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has participated in field measurement campaigns, which have taken him within both the Antarctic and Arctic Circles. He currently works at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where he is a developer and community liaison for the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM), a comprehensive numerical model spanning the range of altitude from the Earth’s surface to the thermosphere. As a graduate student in 1992, he served on the Chancellor’s Task Force on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues, authoring the committee’s recommendations for equal benefits for same-sex couples. He has been involved in activism and advocacy for LGBT equal rights from fights against Colorado’s Amendment 2 and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, to domestic partnership, marriage equality, and transgender awareness.

Mike Giordano

Mike Giordano

Mike Giordano is a recent graduate of The College of New Jersey with a B.S. in chemistry. His research in protein conformation biophysics included mapping the folding pathway of large, multi-domain proteins and the effect of mono- and trivalent cations on small, intrinsically-disordered peptides. He also participated in a research project that utilized rat models to study the effect of environmental enrichment on alcohol and sucrose consumption when presented concurrently. Mike plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in pharmacology to study neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Nathaniel Granor

Nathaniel Granor

Nathaniel focuses on work that involves building bridges between different communities, whether teaching a cappella to music students in Myanmar, or his current role at TEALS. TEALS is a Microsoft Philanthropies program that helps high school build and grow sustainable computer science programs through co-teaching partnerships with industry volunteers. At TEALS, Nathaniel has been involved with everything from curriculum and teacher training to program implementation and research, and now oversees the eastern half of the program.

Navya Varshney

Navya Varshney

Navya is a third-year graduate student at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. She has a keen interest in pharmaceutical research, working closely with scientists to uncover therapies in chronic neuropathic pain states. Outside of her academic life, Navya has become a valued instructor at Kaplan Test Prep, teaching the MCAT, DAT, OAT, and PCAT to hopeful future healthcare professionals. She takes pride in seeing her students excel on these entrance exams and matriculate into the graduate program of their choosing. Working in Ann Arbor, MI, Navya has served as an advocate for increasing LGBTQ representation in the sciences, from public health to small molecule research. She will be sharing her experiences in research at UofM and the FDA and providing tips for a successful graduate school application.

Philip Chow

Philip Chow

Philip Chow is a 2nd year Aerospace Engineering MS student at CU Boulder. When procrastinating on his homework, he enjoys such nerdy pursuits as attending hackathons, playing video and board games, and reading hard science fiction novels.

Robin Bjorkquist

Robin Bjorkquist

Robin is a graduate student in the physics department at Cornell University, pursuing a PhD in experimental particle physics. She works on the Muon g-2 experiment, which is located at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. Robin graduated from Reed College with a BA in physics in 2009. Before coming to Cornell, she spent two years working as the Associate Director of the Reed Research Reactor. Robin enjoys teaching and science outreach. She helped organize the Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Cornell in 2013. She is also a Committee Chair for Expanding Your Horizons, an annual science conference for middle school girls featuring hands-on workshops and exposure to female scientists.

R. Shawn Abrahams

R. Shawn Abrahams

Shawn is a Botanist and PhD student at the University of Missouri- Columbia, studying comparative phylogenetics and bioinformatics. Their research explores the relationship between polyploidy and the processes of domestication and ferality in the Brassica genus. They enjoy the outdoors, nerd topics, board games, and a good old fashioned Vogue off. Shawn received his B.S. in Botany from the University of Florida. During Shawn's undergraduate career at the University of Florida, they were the founding president of both the university's oSTEM Chapter and their organization for queer people of color (QPOC United). Shawn takes these experiences into their position as VP of Membership in understanding the pressures of being a student leader and importance of building a supportive community.

Samuel Brinton

Samuel Brinton

Whether Sam is walking the halls of Congress to educate the Hill on the differences in nuclear reactors or belting out a favorite tune with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C., it’s hard to miss the bright red mohawk. The signature hairstyle started as a dare in graduate school and continues to turn heads. You might not expect a nuclear scientist from Kansas to have a bright red Mohawk. That is part of the reason Sam has it. Having a chat on preconceptions is right up his alley. Whether that’s on technical topics or in Sam’s extraordinary efforts on social issues like supporting LGBT survivors of conversion therapy, Samuel is always willing to have tough conversations with an open mind. Just as nuclear energy is sometimes misunderstood, so is the sexual minority community. As a proud kinky and gender-bending person, Sam seeks to bridge these gaps in understanding.

Sandy Adams

Sandy Adams

Sandy Adams has over 35 years of leadership experience, most of which she performed in a dual career path as a civilian business leader and as a U.S. Navy officer. Sandy retired in 2015 as a Rear Admiral in the Navy after 34 years of active and reserve service. After the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Defense of Marriage Act, Sandy became the first Navy Admiral ever to come out as gay or lesbian while still serving in uniform. She married her partner Pat after 32 years together with the Navy’s knowledge and support. Sandy served as a Navy surface warfare officer and was among the first women officers to serve on Navy ships. Among many other assignments, she served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom and in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Storm. She has a BA degree from Michigan State University in Journalism and MA degree in National Security Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. Sandy started her civilian career working as a technical writer for a defense related nuclear research laboratory. Over her civilian career, Sandy worked in manufacturing and supply chain leadership roles with pharmaceutical, retail, automotive, and aerospace industries. At one company she had leadership responsibility for North and South America operations for a $700M business including 2000 people and 4 sites in the US, Mexico, and Brazil. She has proudly been with Raytheon for over 10 years and helps lead Supply Chain management for a major division.

Sarah Burgamy

Sarah Burgamy

Sarah Burgamy, Psy.D. is the founder of a very active private practice in Denver, Colorado, PhoenixRISE, with specialty offerings in identity development (considering intersections of target and non-target status identities), sexual minority competency as well as transgender and gender variant issues with adults, adolescents and children. She has previously instructed courses as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Denver in the Psy.D. program and the International Disaster Psychology Master’s program focused on arenas of development and culture, LGBTIQQ cultural competency, and cross cultural analysis. Dr. Burgamy is the current Colorado Representative to the American Psychological Association (APA) Council of Representatives and a Board member of the Colorado Psychological Association (CPA). She has previously served as the Diversity Division Chair of CPA. Additionally, she worked as the contracted psychologist to Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) from 2007-2013, particularly the Youthbuild program, in Denver, serving low-income and, primarily, racial/ethnic minority youth ages 18-25. Dr. Burgamy has been a member of the Board of Directors for Urban Peak, a non-profit organization in Colorado serving youth experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, since 2008.

Sharon Harney

Sharon Harney

Sharon has been working in the technical communications field for over 25 years. Ms. Harney specializes in working with engineers and development teams, making their work usable by a wide variety of audiences. She particularly enjoys working with early-career professionals and college students. She earned her BA in English with a minor in Biology at Michigan Technological University, and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Stacey Dixon

Stacey Dixon

Dr. Stacey Dixon joined the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) as its Deputy Director in January 2016. Dr. Dixon joins us from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) where she most recently served as Deputy Director of InnoVision and oversaw geospatial intelligence research and development. Prior to InnoVision, she served as NGA’s Chief of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. From 2007 to 2010 she worked on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) staff, and for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assigned to the National Reconnaissance Organization (NRO)’s Advanced Systems and Technology Directorate from 2003 to 2007. Dr. Dixon holds doctorate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. She was a chemical engineering postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Dixon is a native Washingtonian and currently resides in the District of Columbia.

Stacy Speer

Stacy Speer

Stacy J. Speer is a Program Director at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS) and serves on GPS OCX CM team on the program and responsible all aspects of configuration management. Stacy is a Past President of the Raytheon Missile System (RMS) Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered and Allies (GLBTA) employee resource group. In 2011, Stacy was honored by the RMS GLBTA employee resource group with the Louise Young award. The award is given annually to a Raytheon employee who has made major contributions to improving the workplace for LGBT employees. Stacy lives in the Arizona desert with her wife Kathy, who are both Army veterans.

Steve Comingdeer

Steve Comingdeer

Steve is a senior manager at Accenture, supporting the North America Health & Public Service business in an operations leadership capacity. Steve also leads the LGBT recruiting team for the North America LGBT employee resource group. Outside of Accenture, Steve serves as adjunct faculty for the health management programs at the University of Minnesota, and Northeastern University; and, serves on various non-profit boards locally in the Twin Cities area.

Therese Klein

Therese Klein

Therese has more than 30 years of experience with industrial automation, military and consumer electronics firms. Through this she has held a number of engineering and leadership positions focused on developing new products. In her current role, she manages complex development projects utilizing multi-location and global development teams at Rockwell Automation. Ms. Klein holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University and MS in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin.

Tom Waidzunas

Tom Waidzunas

Tom Waidzunas's research interests are at the intersections of sociology of sexuality, gender, science, technology, and the body. He is interested in how sexuality and gender become constituted as objects through scientific controversies and practices, and understanding the significance of sexuality and gender in the context of technoscientific professions and work. His research brings together sexuality and gender studies, science and technology studies, sociology of social movements, and sociology of work and organizations. He is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled "Drawing the Straight Line: Sexual Reorientation and the Scientific Fringe," which examines debates over sexual reorientation therapies and ex-gay ministries from the 1950s to the present in the United States and abroad. As reorientation has moved from the center to the margins of science over these decades, social movement and professional struggles over sexual orientation change efforts have produced particular notions of what it means to be "straight" or "gay" within science, as well as techniques the measurement of “sexual orientation." Looking at the ex-gay movement as a transnational phenomenon, he traces how sexual reorientation and knowledge of "sexual orientation" have shaped the politics of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, where as Postdoctoral Fellow in the Science in Human Culture Program and Sociology Department at Northwestern University from 2010-2012, he had the opportunity to travel to Kampala, Uganda to study the controversy over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the roles of religion, science, race, and national identity in this issue more closely.

Velu Raju

Velu Raju

Velu Raju, was born and raised in South India. He earned his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Madras. After his undergraduate work he moved to the US to earn his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Toledo, Ohio. His graduate thesis work identified the different failure modes of automotive-clutch plates and it won him the Engineering School's outstanding graduate thesis award. During his graduate school days he came to realize his identity as a gay man. In grad school he became active in several campus activities focusing on LGBT issues through various platforms (Student-Senator, Board Member at Student Legal Services and Student Activities Committee). Upon graduation he worked for Cummins Inc., a diesel engine manufacturer in southern Indiana, as a mechanical design engineer where he oversaw automotive component design, testing and approval. At Cummins he was a Board Member in its Diversity Council and LGBT-Employee resource group. At Cummins he taught diversity courses (e.g. LGBT Safe Leader training), led college recruitment efforts at national LGBT conferences and worked with HR to raise awareness and resolve LGBT-related work-safety incidents. He has won several awards at Cummins for his contributions to diversity and technical improvements (including the 2013 Cummins Chairman's Quality Award). Velu is also a founding and board member of Orinam.net, an online bilingual LGBT support network for queer people from South India. Through this program he continues to mentor questioning and at-risk youth from South India who are located around the world. As a Vice-President of Immigration Voice, California chapter he has led advocacy events in Washington DC to bring attention to the needs of STEM immigrants. Currently he works in San Francisco Bay Area at the Pacific Gas and Electric company as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He served as a Communications Director for the LGBT employee resource group and has been a panel member on LGBT topics hosted by that group. LinkedIn

Virginia Hoyer

Virginia Hoyer

Virginia Hoyer is a Quality Control Manager at The Herbalist in Seattle, Washington, supporting an array of natural products and extracts sold in stores and online. Prior to her current position, Virginia worked as a Laboratory Manager at PhytaLab, Washington’s original Cannabis testing facility that provided quality assurance testing for compliance with Washington's "marijuana reform" laws. She performed similar work as a Quality Control Manager with Analytical 360, another state-of-the-art testing facility for medical marijuana in Washington State. Virginia is a graduate of Washtenaw Community College and has a Bachelor's degree from Bastyr University.

Yen Nong

Yen Nong

Yen is a Masters student in Architecture with a concentration in Interior Design at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on designing sustainable housing for low income seniors. She is also actively engaged in building a community of international LGBTQ students at Virginia Tech.