Life on Venus? Astronomers See a Signal in Its Clouds
LinkedIn
The planet Venus

By Shannon StironeKenneth Chang and 

High in the toxic atmosphere of the planet Venus, astronomers on Earth have discovered signs of what might be life.

If the discovery is confirmed by additional telescope observations and future space missions, it could turn the gaze of scientists toward one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Venus, named after the Roman goddess of beauty, roasts at temperatures of hundreds of degrees and is cloaked by clouds that contain droplets of corrosive sulfuric acid. Few have focused on the rocky planet as a habitat for something living.

Instead, for decades, scientists have sought signs of life elsewhere, usually peering outward to Mars and more recently at Europa, Enceladus and other icy moons of the giant planets.

The astronomers, who reported the finding on Monday in a pair of papers, have not collected specimens of Venusian microbes, nor have they snapped any pictures of them. But with powerful telescopes, they have detected a chemical — phosphine — in the thick Venus atmosphere. After much analysis, the scientists assert that something now alive is the only explanation for the chemical’s source.

Some researchers question this hypothesis, and they suggest instead that the gas could result from unexplained atmospheric or geologic processes on a planet that remains mysterious. But the finding will also encourage some planetary scientists to ask whether humanity has overlooked a planet that may have once been more Earthlike than any other world in our solar system.

“This is an astonishing and ‘out of the blue’ finding,” said Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an author of the papers (one published in Nature Astronomy and another submitted to the journal Astrobiology). “It will definitely fuel more research into the possibilities for life in Venus’s atmosphere.”

“We know that it is an extraordinary discovery,” said Clara Sousa-Silva, a molecular astrophysicist at Harvard University whose research has focused on phosphine, and another of the authors. “We may not know just how extraordinary without going back to Venus.”

Sarah Stewart Johnson, a planetary scientist and head of the Johnson Biosignatures Lab at Georgetown University who was not involved in the work, said, “There’s been a lot of buzz about phosphine as a biosignature gas for exoplanets recently,” referring to the search for life on worlds that orbit other stars. “How cool to find it on Venus.”

Continue on to The New York Times to read the complete article. 

Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Raising Our Voices for Diversity in the Geosciences
LinkedIn
A geologist working underground

By Lucila Houttuijn Bloemendaal, Katarena Matos, Kendra Walters, and Aditi Sengupta

Almost 50 years ago, in June 1972, attendees at the First National Conference on Minority Participation in Earth Sciences and Mineral Engineering [Gillette and Gillette, 1972] held one of the first formal discussions on the lack of diversity in the geosciences.

Unfortunately, despite the many conversations since then addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), the geosciences still face many of the problems cited in that meeting. These problems include, for example, difficulty recruiting youth from marginalized groups into a field that is often hostile to them and scientists from underrepresented backgrounds routinely needing to go above and beyond their peers to prove their professional value and right to belong.

Clearly, drafting statements in support of diversity—as many institutions have done—is not enough to effect change in the geosciences. Individuals and institutions must engage deeply and with a long-term mindset to ensure sustainable efforts that translate to real, personal success for geoscientists from a diversity of backgrounds. In addition, the community must continue to create spaces for conversations that highlight and share best practices focused on improving DEI.

As members of AGU’s Voices for Science 2019 cohort, we learned several effective methods of science communication. For example, we learned that by sharing lessons learned and blueprints for action with broader audiences, we can more effectively use our voices and power to demand real, tangible goals to make the geosciences inclusive and accessible. From among the 2019 cohort, a small team of scientists from a variety of fields and career stages thus convened a town hall at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2019 to discuss improving DEI. At the town hall, titled “Power of Science Lies in Its Diverse Voices,” panelists highlighted their approaches and work to increase diversity in the geosciences for an audience of roughly 100 attendees.

To make the town hall an example of a diverse event, invited panelists represented a wide array of fields, nationalities, ethnicities, genders, and career paths and stages. Below, we highlight the advice and work of the panelists, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Sujata Emani, Heather Handley, Tamara Marcus, Bahareh Sorouri, and Robert Ulrich, to provide avenues for readers to promote diversity, incentivize DEI work, and enact change in their own fields, institutions, and lives.

Continue on to EOS: Science News by AGU to read the full article.

Scientists Have Discovered a Genuine Room-Temperature Superconductor
LinkedIn
Superconductor stock image

By Joel Hruska

The search for a truly room-temperature superconducting material has been one of the great Holy Grails in engineering and physics. The ability to move electricity from Point A to B with zero resistance and hence no losses would be a game-changer for human civilization.

Unfortunately, until today, every known superconductor still required very cold temperatures. Today, scientists announced they’ve achieved superconducting at 59 degrees Fahrenheit/15 Celsius. While this is still a bit chilly, you can hit 59F in a well air-conditioned building. This is a genuine breakthrough, but it doesn’t immediately clear the path towards easy deployment of the technology.

At extremely low temperatures, the behavior of electrons through a material changes. At temperatures approaching absolute zero, electrons passing through a material form what are known as Cooper pairs. Normally, single electrons essentially ping-pong through the ionic lattice of the material they are passing through. Each time an electron collides with an ion in the lattice, it loses a tiny amount of energy. This loss is what we call resistance. When cooled to a low enough temperature, electrons behave dramatically differently. Cooper pairs behave like a superfluid, meaning they can flow through material without any underlying energy loss. Tests have demonstrated that current stored inside a superconductor will remain there for as long as the material remains in a superconductive state with zero loss of energy.

There are two problems yet standing between us and a more effective exploitation of this discovery. First, we aren’t sure exactly why this combination of elements works in the first place. The research team used sulfur and carbon, then added hydrogen, forming hydrogen sulfide(H2S) and methane (CH4). These chemicals were placed on a diamond anvil and compressed, then exposed to a green laser for several hours to break sulfur-sulfur bonds. This much is known. Unfortunately, determining the exact composition of the material has proven impossible thus far. The diamond anvil prevents the use of X-rays, and existing technologies that can work around that problem aren’t capable of locating hydrogen atoms in a lattice. The team’s efforts to characterize and understand its own discovery are still ongoing.

Continue to ExtremeTech to read the full article.

2 Scientists Awarded Nobel Prize In Chemistry For Genome Editing Research
LinkedIn
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna at an event together

By Nell Greenfield Boyce and Mark Katkov

The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded this year to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their work on “genetic scissors” that can cut DNA at a precise location, allowing scientists to make specific changes to specific genes.

“This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true,” the Nobel Committee said in announcing the prize.

Already, doctors have used the technology to experimentally treat sickle cell disease, with promising results.

While some research advances take decades for people to fully appreciate how transformative they are, that wasn’t the case for this new tool, known as CRISPR-Cas9.

“Once in a long time, an advance comes along that utterly transforms an entire field and does so very rapidly,” says Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, which has long supported Doudna’s research. “You cannot walk into a molecular biology laboratory today, working on virtually any organism, where CRISPR-Cas9 is not playing a role in the ability to understand how life works and how disease happens. It’s just that powerful.”

Since scientific papers were published in 2011 and 2012 describing the work, Charpentier says people had repeatedly suggested to her that it was worthy of a Nobel Prize.

“It was indeed mentioned to me a number of times, maybe more than what I would have liked, that one day this so-called discovery may be awarded the Nobel Prize,” Charpentier said in a press briefing.

Still, even after winning other big awards, she says, that possibility didn’t completely hit her until Goran K. Hansson, the secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, called to tell her the news.

“I was very emotional, I have to say,” says Charpentier, who added that she had been told that winning a Nobel is always a big surprise and feels unreal. “Obviously, it’s real, so I have to get used to it now.”

There’s been an ongoing feud, including a fight over lucrative patents, over who deserves the most credit for the development of CRISPR-Cas9.

“It’s a big field and there’s a lot of good science being done in this field. But we have decided this year to award the prize to Charpentier and Doudna, and I can only say that,” said Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, when asked if the committee had considered including anyone else in the prize.

Continue on to NPR to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: Peter Barreras/Invision/AP and NPR

How Engineers are Contributing to the COVID-19 Fight
LinkedIn
software engineers hands typing on keyboard with abstract technology background

By Trevor English

Around the world, there are a plethora of engineers, physicists, scientists, and otherwise just normal people making superhuman efforts at fighting back against COVID-19. From 3D printed masks to mechanical ventilators, the STEAM community is putting up a solid fight.

Let’s take a look at a few of the top engineering projects:

3D Printed Solutions

With 3D printing practically in the mainstream, it’s been a primary tool for engineering to fight against the coronavirus. One notable project is the NanoHack Mask. While there have been a number of 3D printed masks, this mask design offers up versatility in just what you use for the air filtering portion.

Designed specifically for use with a polypropylene filter material to fit in the bottom, it can provide filtration for up to 96.4 percent of microorganisms the size of one micron and 89.5 percent of microorganisms of .02 microns.

Notably though, due to the way that the interface of the mask was designed, it allows for you to replace the filter material with any other found material if you don’t have access to the specific filter required.

Source: Copper3D

Robotic Solutions

While there have been a plethora of companies and individuals that have hacked robots to create ventilators for seriously ill patients, we’re going to focus on another robotic innovation helping patients’ well-being: Robot doctors.

Researchers at Chulalongkorn University have rolled out three new telemedicine robots that can aid the doctor-patient relationship while sparing the regular human interaction. The robots can easily be used by hospital staff to communicate with COVID-19 patients remotely.

The robots were initially designed by the university team to help care for patients that were recovering from strokes, but they are now being repurposed to supply world-class leading medical care during a time when intense quarantine and isolation is needed.

These robots not only maintain a strict barrier between doctor and patient, but they also help one doctor quickly and easily talk with multiple patients. Seeing multiple patients after one another in hospitals often requires stripping and reapplying medical garb, whereas telemedicine robots can easily avoid that.

The robots are capable of assessing the patients’ conditions as well as helping the medical staff to easily track the patients’ symptoms.

Sanitation Solutions

Sanitation has become of a big concern in the overcrowded medical systems where coronavirus outbreaks are peaking. In many places, there is a serious deficit in medical supplies that is forcing doctors and nurses to reuse their surgical masks.

This presents a need for a device that can quickly and easily disinfect surgical masks with a 100 percent success rate. That is exactly what Prescientx, a company located in Ontario, Canada, has tried to create.

They have engineered a device that can disinfect N95 masks utilizing ultraviolet, or UV light. The device is situated overtop of the masks and a UV-C light is shone on the mask at different angles for differing amounts of time. That said, it doesn’t take very long to disinfect just one mask. In fact, the device, called the Terminator CoV, can disinfect up to 500 masks per hour. This can be life-changing for medical staff across the world as they battle the need for safe and clean protective gear.

The machine isn’t just specific to one kind of N95 mask, either. Thanks to the way that it is built, it works practically universally with a variety of mask types and sizes. The masks are driven through a reflective aluminum tunnel for disinfection. While in this tunnel the UV-C light is shone, being sure to hit the masks at all angles, as UV light rays cannot pass through the N95 grade mask material.

How You Can Get Involved

At the end of the day, we’re all in this fight together as we engineer against the coronavirus. Sharing ideas and collaborating is the first step. Check out our map that showcases the most notable engineering contributions to fighting the COVID-19, as well as the latest and most accurate statistics, at interestingengineering.com

Source: https://interestingengineering.com/how-engineers-are-contributing-to-the-fight-against-the-outbreak

Navajo Roots Trailblaze a Path to Mars
LinkedIn
Aaron Yazzie's headshot

Aaron Yazzie continues to set his sights higher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. With a Diné (Navajo) background, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and as a Mechanical Engineer with a focus on Sample Acquisition and Handling at NASA, Yazzie designs mechanisms for acquiring geological samples from other planets.

Diversity in STEAM Magazine had a chance to talk with Yazzie about his Native American background and how it influenced his journey to NASA.

DISM: Can you tell us about your background and journey to becoming a mechanical engineer at NASA?

Yazzie: I was born in Tuba City, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. I was born to parents who were 1st generation college students in their families—families that have had traditional Diné upbringings. Their first language was Dinébizaad (Navajo Language), their first known homes were our traditional Diné Hooghan (Navajo Hogan Houses/Dwellings). They learned the English language in elementary school, where they were the first generation in their family forced to attend school by the US government. From that unique beginning, and from that early-childhood culture shock and trauma, both my mother and father made it through an educational system rigged against them, graduated high school, and went to college—the first in their families. My mother earned her degree in education—she became a high school level math teacher. And my father received a degree in civil engineering—he became an engineer for the Arizona Department of Transportation. Both of them have been pioneers of Indigenous achievement in higher education and STEM careers. They may not be known and recognized by the larger Native community as STEM pioneers, but they are certainly my inspiration and the trailblazers to my career at NASA.

I grew up in Holbrook, AZ, a small border town to the Navajo Reservation. My brothers and I grew up, and attended school in the Holbrook School District, where we all graduated proud “Holbrook Roadrunners.”
Growing up, I didn’t have any examples or role models who went to prestigious private schools or went on to work at places like NASA. I knew I wanted to transcend the expectations of my family and my hometown, which is why I always strove for the highest grades in school, participated in all the school leadership positions and sought out all the high school summer enrichment programs. These are the programs that ended up transforming me from a self-doubting minority student into a solid college applicant with some awareness of my self-worth. They gave me the confidence to apply to, and to eventually be accepted to, Stanford University—an event that changed the course of my life.

Making the transition from small-town public school to prestigious private college was a big challenge. Nothing about my time at Stanford was easy, whether it was the rigorous academics or the constant financial struggle. Not to mention being separated from a tight-knit home community like the Navajo community for the first time. I was forced to learn quickly how to adapt, persevere, and overcome many challenges during my time at Stanford. Thankfully, there was a supportive community of BIPOC students who were going through the same challenges as I was. We all supported each other and made it through—not only graduating, but each of us moving on to do incredible things.

I was hired by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory mid-way through my senior year at Stanford. I was heavily involved with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society from the time that I was a high school freshman. I grew from there to be president of my high school AISES chapter, then became the Stanford AISES chapter president, and then National AISES Region 2 Student Representative. Along the way I received a 4-year scholarship from AISES to attend Stanford, and while there, I received 2 NASA internships through AISES. One placed me at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and one at NASA Glenn Research Center. By the time I was ready to look for a job, AISES had helped give me a college education, 2 NASA internships, and a job opportunity with one of the most prestigious engineering institutions in the world. I met the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory recruiter at the AISES National Conference in 2007. From that interaction, I received an on-lab interview, and was hired soon after. I have been working as a Mechanical Engineer at NASA JPL for 12 years and counting.

DISM: Tell us about your significant milestone – when NASA’s InSight lander touched the surface of Mars. What were you feeling, and how was that experience?

Yazzie: NASA InSight was the first mission I worked on where I was tasked with leading the design and delivery of space flight hardware. Up until this point in my career, I supported missions as a test engineer or support engineer. When InSight successfully launched into space, it was the first time something I designed—something I touched with my own hands—went into space. And when it landed on Mars, it was the first time I sent something to another planet. I was completely thrilled, and overwhelmed with emotions when I saw the first set of pictures of my hardware on Mars. Considering where I came from, this achievement was monumental!
Being an engineer from a remarkably underrepresented community in STEM fields, it is a constant struggle to overcome imposter syndrome. I did not think I was a thriving or even adequate engineer at NASA. It’s a shame that it took an achievement like sending something to Mars to convince me that I belonged in my field, and that I belonged at NASA.

DISM: Can you tell us more about “Mars 2020”? What is the mission? How has the experience been?

Yazzie: Currently, I am the lead engineer for the Mars 2020 Drill Bits. We are sending the Mars 2020 Rover “Perseverance” to drill rock samples and save them in hermetically sealed tubes, so that we can eventually bring those samples back to Earth in future missions to determine if life exists on Mars. Additionally, this mission will study the history of rocky planets and conduct experiments that will pave the way for humans to travel to Mars. It’s really incredible to be part of another historic NASA mission. I’ve grown so much as an engineer—now sending my second flight hardware to Mars, but also being able to lead a team and be a mentor for the first time in my career. I’m very proud to have successfully delivered my parts to the rover, and very excited for the Mars 2020 launch in July 2020.

DISM: How has your Navajo background influenced your career?

Yazzie: Coming from an Indigenous background, I have a deep appreciation for the advancements of my family and ancestors before me. Considering that Native Americans weren’t granted basic civil rights in this country until 1968, it is remarkable that our people have not only overcome this historic oppression, but have been able to thrive and advance. I reflect on my own family, where as recent as one generation ago, my parents spoke no English, but learned in a small amount of time that education was the modern way to advance their people. My own academic achievements and this career I have been fortunate to achieve has all been made possible by the advancements of the Navajo people who have come before me. And it is for them that I use my privilege and platform to continue on.

DISM: What advice would you give to Native Americans wanting to pursue engineering?

Yazzie: Be resilient. It’s almost guaranteed that along your STEM journey, you will look around and not see very many others like you, from backgrounds like your own. But please understand that there are people in all directions of your life that are there to help you. Those before you, who want to help you succeed through mentorship and wisdom. Those beside you, who are on your same journey. And those behind you, who see you as an inspiration and role model. Recognizing that you have a full circle of support and inspiration will help you achieve any and all of your goals.

Emmys 2020: Record Number of Black Actors Score Nominations
LinkedIn
collage of emmy nomination images

The Television Academy nominated a record number of Black actors for Emmys on Tuesday morning, with 34.3% of the acting nominees being Black.

There were 102 acting nominees this year across lead, supporting and guest categories for drama, comedy and limited series/TV movie. Thirty-five of those slots went to Black actors (notably, Maya Rudolph actually accounts for two of those slots, being nominated against herself in the guest comedy actress category for her work on both “The Good Place” and “Saturday Night Live”).

Other nominees in top acting categories include Billy Porter, Sterling K. Brown, Zendaya, Anthony Anderson, Don Cheadle, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina King, Jeremy Pope, Octavia Spencer and Kerry Washington.

This is a notable increase from last year, when Black actors made up 19.8% of the nominee pool, as well as an increase from 2018, when there were 27.7% Black actors nominated — the previous highest percentage in the Academy’s history.

“2020 isn’t just about the global health crisis. This year we are also bearing witness to one of the greatest fights for social justice in history, and it is our duty to use this medium for change. That is the power and responsibility of television — not only delivering a multitude of services or a little escapism, but also amplifying the voices that must be heard and telling the stories that must be told. Because television, by its very nature, connects us all,” said Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO, Television Academy, at the start of the nominations announcement.

But the fight for inclusion is far from over, as these numbers have ticked up but are still far from parity. And although the acting categories are still split by gender, which forces parity, the writing and directing categories are not.

The writing categories fared better than directing, but only marginally, when it came to parity. Not including the variety series writing category which lists entire staffs on the ballots, the select writers scoring noms in the drama, comedy, limited series/TV movie/dramatic special, variety special and documentary or nonfiction program consisted of 40 people, 13 of which were women. This is 32.5% women nominees (67.5% men). The limited series/TV movie/dramatic special category is what really made the difference, with six of nine nominees here being women, including “Unorthodox’s” Anna Winger and “Normal People’s” Sally Rooney and Alice Birch.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

How to Set Up a Virtual Event
LinkedIn
A woman watching a virtual panel while taking notes from her desk at home

By Jerri Barrett, Marketing and Event Consultant

COVID-19 has significantly impacted the event industry, forcing some organizations to cancel 2020 events, while others are moving to virtual events.

Virtual events are not new. For International Women’s Day 2013, Global Tech Women launched a global virtual conference, which featured more than 70 speakers from around the world and ran for 36 hours. More than 11,000 attendees joined the conference from 50 countries. A key learning from that conference: “When a conference is virtual, what becomes critical is the promotion of the conference to create awareness and excitement. Our sponsor, Google, helped us achieve global visibility and drove the global engagement,” said Deanna Kosaraju, CEO of Global Tech Women.

In 2016, VMware began hosting a conference on its campus in Silicon Valley called Women Transforming Technology (WT2). Over the past four years, the conference became an annual tradition, and plans were well underway for 2020 when the COVID-19 crisis began. The call for participation had been completed, the schedule of speakers was set—including Hollywood icon Laura Dern as the closing speaker—and registration had opened.

“I have always been a worrier/planner, so while I was watching the news in February and hearing more and more about COVID-19, I realized that we would need to be making a decision about whether to take our conference—scheduled for May 5—virtual, and the sooner we made the decision, the better off we would be,” said Arti Sharma, diversity & inclusion program manager, VMware. “We realized when the shelter in place order came into effect on March 6 that over 500 people were probably not going to want to nor be able to sit in the same room in May. On March 11, we got the approvals and input we needed to transition to a virtual conference plan.”

Sharma shared some issues that need to be addressed when making a conference virtual:

Registration fees: Because WT2 was underwritten by VMware and other sponsors, WT2 had the option to offer free registration for attendees and made registration open to everyone. They have seen an enormous spike both in attendee numbers and in the number of countries represented. What was formerly a Silicon Valley-focused event has now become global with representatives from multiple countries across six continents. While most organizations do not have this option, the cost structure for a virtual event is very different and needs to be accounted for in registration pricing.

Plan for breaks: Attendees working from home are frequently interrupted by children, significant others and pets. Make sure there are breaks between sessions and offer attendees speaker-led activities like stretches or gentle exercises.

Prepare your speakers: Every speaker at the WT2 conference agreed to participate virtually without hesitation. Each speaker can rehearse twice before the event to ensure they are successful. Rehearsals are scheduled close to the time of day their session will be held, so in addition to testing equipment and access, speakers will be given feedback on their lighting and background. Someone will introduce them, monitor the chat and organize Q&As, and make sure all attendees can access the system with their passwords. Make full use of volunteers and committee members.

Security: Everything should be password-protected and available to only registered attendees, each with a unique code.

Recordings: Video conference platforms include the option of recording sessions. Have speakers sign video waivers, and plan how attendees can access these recordings after the event.

Accessibility: Accessibility issues have been raised for a number of conferences—virtual conferences are no different. Closed captioning is available in some video platforms.  AccessSIGCHI has created a guide for creating Accessible Remote Attendance on its website.

The conference app company Whova recently launched a series of webinars for their customers who manage conferences and need to rapidly address becoming virtual.

Key issues highlighted include:

Virtual conference platforms. Video conferencing platforms vary in their pricing, ability to scale, and the amount of control over access that can be exercised

Time zones. Conference organizers should be mindful of time zones and consider shorter days

Sponsor/attendee engagement. Event sponsors will turn to event organizers to demonstrate unique ways to connect with attendees. Conference apps, websites and conference programs can be used to convey important sponsor information. Networking functions in apps and on-video platforms can connect sponsor representatives to individual attendees. Also consider using gamification functions to encourage attendees to visit sponsor pages and websites.

Attendee networking. Many conference attendees seek to broaden their networks and identify collaborators and mentors. Consider providing a platform to enable attendees to create a profile page and engage on a community bulletin board, and offer the option during sessions for attendees to chat with each other.

In March, the RESPECT Conference had three days needed to go virtual to help protect their attendees. Brianna Blaser, counselor/coordinator at DO-IT at the University of Washington, was both a presenter and attendee of the conference. “As it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to go to Portland, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to present my paper but also that I would miss out on connecting with colleagues who I only see in person once or twice a year. I was so glad to hear that RESPECT was going virtual. They made heavy use of breakout rooms for small group discussions, which meant I was able to connect with so many of those colleagues and meet new people as well.”

136 Black Innovators in STEM + Arts You Should Know and Support!
LinkedIn
Collage of more than 25 black innovators' headshots

By Lisa Mae Brunson

For generations, Black voices and influencers have been suppressed and overlooked. Black people and Black communities are constantly fighting for an end to racial, social, and economic oppression.

It is the responsibility of non-Black communities to hold themselves accountable and to educate themselves on what is happening in our world. Together we can uplift and amplify Black voices that cannot be heard or are refused to be listened to.

With Wonder Women Tech’s platform, it is one of our goals to support and amplify Black business people, Black speakers, Black entrepreneurs and Black people who innovate in STEM and the Arts.

Women Tech is highlighting 136 influential Black speakers who have spoken and shared their accomplishments, aspirations, successes, and stories with the public on the Wonder Women Tech global stage. These innovators each come from different parts of the world, various industries and all have a unique perspective on how we can work together to share ideas, cultivate belonging and propel change.

  1. Caroline Hubbard (@carol_hubb) Product Manager, Growth and Engagement at The Wing
  2. Denecia Jones (@Denecia777) Business and Life Coach, Founder of Jadestone Solutions, Co-Producer of Soul-Well Business
  3. Cheryl Sutherland (@Please_Notes) Founder and CEO of PleaseNotes, Resident MC, Speaker Relations, Partner and Sponsorship Lead at Wonder Women Tech, Business Development Strategist at Res-O-Nate Consulting, Resident Faculty at The Women’s Leadership Intensive
  4. Natasha Bansgopaul (@BansiBans) Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of VegaX Holdings, Chief Operating Officer of Konstellation, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of DarcMatter
  5. Michael Greene (@greene1of5) Vice President & General Manager System Technologies and Optimization, at Intel, Advisor at Advisory Cloud
  6. Abi Mohamed (@abii_mohamed) Co-Founder, Partner, and Tech Lead at CGVentures, Programme Manager at Tech Nation, Venture Scout at Backed VC, Instructor at Code First Girls
  7. Lisa Mae Brunson (@MissLisaMae) Founder and Chief Visionary of Wonder Women Tech and Hiring Humans, Podcast Host of The Wonder Women Tech Show
  8. Felicia Williams (@cheersfelicia) Head of Product Design and Creative Strategist at Facebook London, Principal Creative Director and Design Lead at Microsoft, Creative Head and Owner of Black Hound, LLC
  9. Suki Fuller (@SukiFuller) Founder and Analytical Storyteller at Miribure, Advisory Board of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, Analytical Storyteller at Group of Humans, Founding Ambassador of FiftyFiftyPledge, Global Judge and Mentor at Mass Challenge
  10. Melissa Guy (@MelissaLGuy) President of Signal Hill Chamber of Commerce, President/Co-Founder of Asset Media Group, Inc., Co-Founder of Web Commercial Pro, Board Member of Elevate Your Game, Program Director of Urban Media Foundation
  11. Alex Addae Brobbey (@byc_london) Founder of BY Creative and Hairshare
  12. Cecilia Harvey (@ImCeciliaHarvey) Chief Executive Officer of Hyve Dynamics Ltd.
  13. Chisara Nwabara (com/in/chisaranwabara) Product and Service Strategy, Chilosogy Consulting, Product Coach at Mind the Product
  14. Mark Martin (@urban_teacher) Computer Science Visiting Lecturer at University of Hertfordshire, Computer Science Leader at South Bank Engineering UTC, Advisory Board Member at Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, Google Certified Teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
  15. Priscilla Baffour (@Cilla4Talent) Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Financial Times, Founder of We Do Diversity
  16. Rioch Edwards-Brown (@Rioch1) Founder of So You Wanna Be In TV?, Media Campaigner for The Five Percenters
  17. Simi Awokoya (@similola) Founder of WittyCareers, Cloud Solution Architect for Microsoft
  18. Giselle Frederick (@giselle__ldn) Founder of Zingr, Co-Founder of Sonaaar
  19. Bianca Jackson (@JAXDigitalPM) LinkedIn Expert and Public Speaker of JAX Digital LLC, Event Venue Manager and CEO of BrickRose Exchange, Fellow at SEED SPOT, Social Innovation Fellow at StartingBloc
  20. Izzy Obeng (@IzzyObeng) Founder and Managing Director of Foundervine, Non-Executive Director of Capital Enterprise, Ambassador of One Young World
  21. Nzinga Shaw (@ZingShaw) Global Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Starbucks
  22. Miracle Olatunji (@mirolatunji) Summer Analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Career Prep Fellow at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Founder of OpportuniMe, Public Speaker and Presenter at American Program Bureau
  23. Jessica Okoro (@thejessicaokoro) Program Manager of HR Digital Today, TEDTalks Speaker
  24. Dr. Joseph Bryant Jr. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-joseph-bryant-jr-11643123/) Founder and CEO of PROSPEAK Sports Management and Speaker Bureau, Executive DIrector of The K.I.N.G. Movement, National Sports Director of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Founder, Author, and Speaker for JBMinistries and Good News Today Foundation
  25. Babangida Kure Yohanna (https://www.linkedin.com/in/babangida-y-kure/) Lecturer Enterprise Development at QA Ltd., Entrepreneurial Finance Specialist
  26. Amanda Mcintyre-Chavis (@AmandaMcChavis) Chief Experience Officer and Founder of Legend Factory Co., Vice President of Business Development at Excelsior Music Studio LLC,
  27. Taneshia Nash Laird (@taneshia) President and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall, Adjunct Professor at Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Co-Founder of MIST Harlem, Founder and Principal at Legacy Business Advisors, LLC
  28. Brandon Anderson (@brandn_andersn) Founder of Raheem, Guest Lecturer at Claremont McKenna College
  29. Aerica Banks (@erikashimizu) Founder of Shiso LLC, Patent Policy Analyst at Google
  30. Zuri Hunter (@ZuriHunter) Developer at Black Cape, Technical Lead for Black Girls Code DC
  31. Sibyl Edwards (@saedwards) Digital Art Director, President of DC Web Women
  32. Deloris Wilson (@yosoydlo) Founder and Principal at AXL Impact Studio, Senior Fellow at Humanity in Action
  33. Yasmin Taylor (com/in/yasmin-taylor-997769b9) Back End Developer/ Platform Engineer at UpContent, Flatform Data Engineer at Adarga
  34. Tameka Vasquez (@tameka_vasquez) AVP, Global Marketing Lead of Genpact
  35. Barbara H. Whye (@barbarawhye) Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer VP of Human Resources at Intel Corporation
  36. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. (@RevJJackson) Journalist, Minister, Civil Rights Activist, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  37. Anthoni Allen (com/in/anthoni-allen-49828670) CEO Brand Strategist and Public Speaker at A Allen Group, Head of Public Relations and Brand Partnerships at A Allen Group
  38. Arabian Prince (@OGArabianPrince) CEO of Mik Lezan Music, Owner of Hypnotic FX and One Fader, President of LAFTC Southern California Robotics Competition, Founder, Chief Innovator of Inov8 Next LLC, Founding member/rap group N.W.A.
  39. Joycelyn James (@jfjamesesq) Tech & Innovation Portfolio Manager, Officer of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development- Government of the District of Columbia
  40. Adonica Shaw (@adonica_shaw) Digital Media Strategist, TEDx Speaker, Philanthropist, Founder of The Surrender Circle
  41. Alexandria Lafci (@laughsee) Co-Founder at New Story
  42. Aniesia Williams (@iamaniesia) MarCom SME, Journalist, Advisor of Black Girls CODE, Freelance Comms Consultant
  43. Deena Pierott (@deenapierott) Founder iUrban Teen, Diversity and Equity Advisor, Founding Member Black Women in Stem 2.0, Digital Prestidigitator
  44. Everette Taylor (Everette Taylor) Serial Entrepreneur of ET Enterprises
  45. Gina Davis (com/in/ginamarcel) Vice President of Engineering at NationBuilder, Vice President of Professional Services at NationBuilder
  46. Keith Wilson, M.D. (com/in/keith-wilson-24b261110) Chief Medical Officer Molina Healthcare
  47. Mark Anthony Thomas (@workandprogress) President at Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
  48. Mckenzie Maree (@McKenzieMaree) Founder & CEO Prohaus Group, Co-Author of The InsurTECH Book, Co-Founder and CEO of Beyond Capital Markets
  49. MoJen Jenkins (@mojenmusic) Infrastructure Manager at RYOT, Technical Project Manager
  50. Tunji Akintokun (@Tunji_Akintokun) Director and Head of Sales UK at PwC, Non Executive Director at England Athletics, Non Executive Director at Regital

Read the complete article at The Medium.

Leading the Way: Dr. Sean P.J. Whelan, Scientist of the Year
LinkedIn
Dr. Sean P.J. Whelan in a suit and tie in an office setting

In February, NOGLSTP was pleased to announce its 2020 Recognition Awards for LGBTQ+ Scientist, Engineer, Educator, and Organization of the Year. Dr. Sean P.J. Whelan was awarded Scientist of the Year for his outstanding research and groundbreaking discoveries in the field of virology.

Little did we know at the time how important Dr. Whelan would be to the times that we are all living in.  In July of 2019 Dr. Whelan was named head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and the Marvin A. Brennecke Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Previously he was the head of the virology program and professor of microbiology and immunobiology at the Harvard Medical School where he still directs a virology Center for Excellence in Translational Research working to find small molecules that prevent viruses form entering or replicating inside cells.

Whelan is thus a significant global leader in advancing the understanding of emerging viral infections. His virology research provides crucial insights into the function and structure of emerging diseases. “Since 1980, there has been a new, emerging infectious disease of humans on average every six months. Almost two-thirds of those agents are enveloped viruses, and the techniques we apply can rapidly provide insight into them,” Whelan said.

His studies focus on how viruses attach to cells, slip inside and hijack our bodies. Dr. Whelan identified the protein that the Ebola virus uses to latch onto cells and also the molecular process that rabies virus uses to invade cells. His research framework especially applies to the recent emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most approved antiviral drugs target the molecular machinery that viruses use to replicate, but such drugs do not exist for negative-sense RNA viruses, the category to which our current viral nemesis belongs. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of viral invasion and replication provides new targets for the development of antiviral therapeutics.

Whelan is a gay man whose openness has created opportunities to connect, network, and work with other LGBTQ+ scientists. He wants to encourages colleagues to be open and provide examples for students and young scientists. “It is important for LGBTQ students to understand that they may encounter some barriers, but those barriers are not insurmountable, and they can progress and succeed,” Whelan said. We have a hero in our midst who can potentially lead us out of this pandemic. Thank you, Dr. Sean Whelan, for your insights and service in bringing health and safety closer for all of our communities.

About NOGLSTP: The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) is a membership-based professional society managed by volunteers and a nonprofit educational organization under IRS section 501(c)(3). It was established in 1980 and incorporated in the State of California in 1991. Its mission is to educate the scientific and general communities about the presence and accomplishments of LGBT individuals in STEM professions. NOGLSTP presents educational symposia and workshops nationwide, and fosters dialog with other professional societies, academia and industry to facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace. For more information, visit https://www.noglstp.org/. NOGLSTP’s Recognition Awards were established in 2005 as a means to document and honor the contributions of outstanding LGBTQ+ science, engineering, technology, and mathematics professionals. The awards also honor corporations, academic institutions, and businesses that support LGBTQ+ professionals so that their achievements may be known and recognized as role models. The 2020 Recognition Awards were announced during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA on February 14, 2020. Additional information on past awards are available at:  noglstp.org/programsprojects/recognition-awards

The Man Behind America’s New Spacesuit: Jose Fernandez
LinkedIn

This weekend, and for a while now, new dad of the entertainingly-named little boy, X Æ A-12 Musk, and footloose Twitter aficionado Elon Musk is having one of what he hopes will be a long future of space moments. It’s no small accomplishment to get the nod from NASA bigs that you can carry the most precious asset, their astronauts, up to the big game on the International Space Station, and kudos to Daddy Musk, and to NASA, for that.

But, talk about a cool flight suit: Musk and his deeply pedigreed Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez took a couple of years to design the new NASA super-skinny pressure suits. The spacesuits certainly look snazzy, with their close-to-the-body cut, their elegant dark silver (fireproof!) piping over the white Teflon fabric, their highly articulate gloves and neck, and the black knee-high boots that seem to quote the Duke of Wellington’s own below-the-knee cavalry boots, albeit ready for the wear and tear of outer space rather than that of Napoleon’s cannon at Waterloo.

Mr. Fernandez is no stranger to durable, tight-fitting clothes for heroes, having worked on costumes for Batman V Superman: Dawn of JusticeTronIronman 2The Amazing Spiderman, and Captain America: Civil War, to name just a few of his impressive credits. He was first approached by SpaceX in 2016 to participate in a design competition and freely recounts that he didn’t, at first, understand that it was for a real space effort, not a movie production about a space effort, to which he would be submitting his work. “I didn’t know what SpaceX was, and I thought it was a film,” the modest Fernandez says.

Not so the light, ovoid, and very open-to-the-cosmos Fernandez helmet. Fernandez has not simply given his astronauts a better, less obstructed field of vision. The helmet tops a flexible and, for a spacesuit, very extended and articulate neck piece, best seen above on astronaut Doug Hurley, left, as he boards the Tesla on May 27 en route to the spacecraft before the first launch was scrubbed. In fact, some of the old NASA helmets would wholly prevent the astronaut from even contemplating getting his head low enough to get into a car as astronaut Hurley is doing. We’ll get to see Hurley and his partner Bob Behnken do it again on Saturday, and again with the excellent product placement of the Musk-enterprise-friendly Tesla as the new and very cushy official NASA launch-tender ride.

With the visor up, the Fernandez helmet resembles that of a Parisian pompeur , a fireman’s helmet, jaunty and protective at once. Visor down, the sleek ovoid quotes some of Kier Dullea’s very, very cool space headgear that Stanley Kubrick had commissioned for his masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. In addition, close viewers of the Grammys and all fans of disco/electronic/dance/trance will notice a strong connection in the NASA helmet to the helmets sported by the ultra-shy French pop duo Daft Punk.

This is no accident: It should be noted that Daft Punk has in fact commissioned the brilliant Fernandez for several pieces of their trademark weird-oh disco-robot headgear. But as a deeply schooled “extreme couture” tailor to all sorts of cinematic superheros and heroines embroiled in narratives whose origins stretch back to the early 20th century, Mr. Fernandez would be well aware of Kubrick’s earlier camera-friendly helmet innovations.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article

Photo: Getty Images

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service