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 Conference Speakers 

Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. He entered the United States Navy and served as a Fighter Pilot in F-4 “Phantom” and F-14 “Tomcat” Aircraft and flew combat missions in Southeast Asia, making more than 300 carrier landings aboard the Aircraft Carriers “USS Coral Sea” and “USS Enterprise.” After attending the Navy Fighter Weapons School “Topgun,” and the Navy Test Pilot School, he served as a Flight Test Pilot prior to being selected as an Astronaut in 1978 in the first Space Shuttle Astronaut selection.

In 18 years as an Astronaut he flew 5 Space Flights, 4 of them as the Mission Commander, aboard the Space Shuttles “Challenger”, Columbia”, “Atlantis”, and “Endeavour”. His final Space Flight was the first mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station “Mir” in 1995.  In his career with NASA, he held the positions of Deputy Chief of NASA Aircraft Operations, as the Chief of the Astronaut Office, and as the Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations.  After leaving NASA in 1996, Captain Gibson flew for 10 years as an airline pilot with Southwest Airlines.

In a flying career covering over 40 years, he has accumulated more than 13,000 hours of flight time in more than 60 types of military and civilian aircraft. He has been an Air Race Pilot continuously since 1998 in the Reno National Championship Air Races, racing in the Unlimited Class and the Jet Class.

He has received numerous honors, awards and decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross, and has established 5 Aviation and 3 Space World Records. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Westminster College in 2002, and from the California University System in 2004. Captain Gibson was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003.

Paul Gillin is a veteran technology journalist with more than 25 years of editorial experience. Since 2005, he has advised marketers and business executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach buyers cost-effectively. He is a popular speaker who is known for his ability to simply complex concepts using plain talk, anecdotes and humor. Gillin was previously founding editor-in-chief of TechTarget, one of the most successful new media entities to emerge on the Internet. 

Prior to that, he was editor-in-chief and executive editor of the technology weekly Computerworld for 15 years. His critically acclaimed 2007 book, The New Influencers, chronicles the changes in markets being driven by the new breed of bloggers and podcasters. Among the more than 100 positive published reviewers of The New Influencers were The Wall Street Journal, The San Jose Mercury News and the BBC. The book was also awarded a silver medal in the business category by Foreword magazine. His next book, Secrets of Social Media Marketingwill be published in the fall of 2008. 

In addition to his consulting and speaking, Gillin writes columns for BtoB and Deliver magazines and online for Ziff-Davis Enterprise. His work has appeared in scores of publications, including The New York Times, Advertising Age and the San Jose Mercury News. His website is He also writes the popular Newspaper Death Watch blog, as well as his own blog: Gillin is a Research Fellow and a member of the advisory board of the Society for New Communications Research and he co-chairs the social media cluster for the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. Married with two children, he lives in Framingham, MA, where he lives and dies by the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox.

Moira Gunn hosts both Tech Nation and its weekly segment, BioTech Nation, the sole nationally-syndicated biotech segment on National Public Radio’s SIRIUS Satellite Radio Service NPR Now and NPR Talk.  Its weekly reach further includes over 200 public radio stations nationwide, multiple airings to 133 countries on American Forces Radio International, and popular podcasts via the Internet.  A former NASA scientist and engineer, Gunn holds a software patent in nutrition science, and she was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, where she also earned an MS in computer science.  She is the director of information systems programs in the College of Professional Studies at the University of San Francisco.  In this capacity she focuses on expanding the credentials of working professionals to deal with today’s information explosion.  At the same time, her media work is dedicated to making the issues related to science and technology visible, comprehensible and compelling to the adult listening public. Her book Welcome to BioTech Nation… My Unexpected Odyssey into the Land of Small Molecules, Lean Genes, and Big Ideas was cited on Library Journal’s “Best Science Books of 2007.”  She was recently named the EE Times 2008 Educator of the Year for her contributions to updating the information systems curriculum to reflect the needs of modern society.

Willard Cooper, after being laid off from a welding position, pursued an EET degree at Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), where he enrolled in ATE curriculum.  After only a few semesters, his National Guard unit was activated and sent to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon return, Cooper re-enrolled at FDTC and was hired by ESAB Welding and Cutting Products as an engineering technician intern. After graduating from the EET program, he was hired full-time at ESAB as a Factory Service Engineer, and often travels to provide troubleshooting/ training on ESAB machinery. Cooper has also graduated from the Palmetto Military Academy, where he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, and recently took part in a Military Officer Basic Course in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He and wife Catashia have 4 daughters.

Charles Daniel entered Wallace State College in Hanceville, Alabama as a Fast Track student (early college acceptance program) at the age of 16. He completed his high school degree and AAS degree concurrently at the age of 18. At Wallace State, Daniel chose to pursue a degree in Automotive Manufacturing Technology. He recently completed his finals and began work as an Industrial Maintenance Technician at an automotive tier supplier to Honda.

Priscillia A. Holliday graduated with honors from Houston Community College (HCC), TX with an AAS degree in Process Technology (May 2007).  She held an internship with BP America where she served as a petroleum engineering technologist.  Currently, she works as a technical assistant with Chevron, and is pursuing her BS in Engineering from McNeese State University, LA.

Marlena Jackson is a biotechnology program graduate from the City College of San Francisco.  Seventeen years ago, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She watched and cared for her mother as she struggled through chemotherapy and radiation treatment.  Jackson painfully experienced the struggles of all cancer patients and their families.  The Bridge to Biotechnology Program at City College of San Francisco was the force that led to an internship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An opportunity to become a co-op student in the DNA purification group at Genentech in research followed, as did the encouragement to complete an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.  As a current Research Assistant at Genentech, Jackson contributes to the research that will hopefully lead to new treatments for, and a better understanding of cancer.  The journey she would like to share is about family, life, and the mentors that continue to encourage her to believe that she can make a difference in the lives of others.

Katrice Jalbert participated in the biotechnology program through her high school's vocational school, the Seacoast School of Technology.  From there, she enrolled into the biotechnology program at Great Bay Technical College, NH.  She graduated in 2007 with an associate’s degree in biotechnology. Jalbert completed an apprenticeship with Lonza Biologics in the summer of her freshman year (2006), where she was able to work in every department of manufacturing, upstream to downstream. She was then hired full time in May of 2007 at Lonza after finishing her degree. Jalbert has worked for Lonza for two and a half years and is currently taking classes at the University of New Hampshire to obtain her bacalaurate degree in microbiology. Lonza is reimbursing her100% tuition for all of her classes.

Dylan Maho, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe from Wisconsin, traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico to seek higher education at a tribal institution known as Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). Maho capitalized on several internship opportunities while at SIPI including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratories (home of the Atom Bomb), and the Federal Aviation Administration. He currently works as a Navigation Communication Tech Ops for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Joan Ferrini-Mundy is the Director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. In this role she supports NSFs strategic goal of “fostering research that will advance the frontiers of knowledge” to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning. The signature programs of DRL are: Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE), Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12), Information Technology Experiences for Student and Teachers (ITEST) and Informal Science Education (ISE). Collectively, these programs support research, development, implementation, evaluation, and synthesis to build a knowledge base for ongoing innovation in STEM learning, in both formal and informal settings, at all levels. 

While at NSF Ferrini-Mundy continues to hold her faculty position at Michigan State University where she is a University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education and Assistant Vice President for STEM Education Research and Policy. Ferrini-Mundy was a Visiting Scientist in NSFs Teacher Enhancement Program from 1989-1991 and worked at the National Research Council from 1995-1999 as Director of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board and Associate Executive Director of the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education. From

1983-1999 Ferrini-Mundy was a member of the mathematics department at the University of New Hampshire, and in 1982-1983 she was a mathematics faculty member at Mount Holyoke College, where she cofounded the Summer Math for Teachers Program. Active in professional societies, Ferrini-Mundy has served on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Teachers (NCTM), chaired the Writing Group for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, and completed a term as a member of the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America in 2006. Her research interests include calculus teaching and learning, the development and assessment of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching, and the improvement of student learning in K-12 mathematics and science.

Cora B. Marrett is the Assistant Director of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  She leads the NSF’s mission to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education with oversight of a budget of approximately $825 million and a staff of 150. EHR is the principal source of federal support for strengthening STEM education through education research and development (R&D).  Marrett currently co-chairs the Subcommittee on science, technology, engineering and mathematics Education of the National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Science. 

Prior to her appointment at the NSF, Marrett served as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in the University of Wisconsin System. Her NSF position is in conjunction with the UW-Madison Department of Sociology, where she remains a tenured faculty member. Earlier, she held the post of Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. 

Her current position represents a return to NSF.  She served at NSF as the first Assistant Director of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.  She received the NSF's Distinguished Service Award for her leadership in developing new research programs and articulating the scientific projects of the directorate. Marrett also served as the initial chair of the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE). 

In addition to her faculty appointment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she has been a faculty member at the University of North Carolina and Western Michigan University. Marrett holds a B.A. degree from Virginia Union University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from UW-Madison.  She has an honorary doctorate from Wake Forest University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Sigma Xi, the Science Research Society. 

Marrett received the Erich Bloch Distinguished Service Award from the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network, given annually to an individual who has made singular contributions to the advancement of science and to the participation of groups underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  She is widely published in the field of sociology, and has held a number of public and professional service positions.

Linda L. Slakey joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) in November 2006 as Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE). She is a graduate of Siena Heights College (B.S. in Chemistry), and the University of Michigan (Ph.D. in Biochemistry.). She did postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin. Slakey was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1973. She was head of the department from 1986 until 1991, and Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) from 1993 until 2000. In September of 2000, she was appointed Dean of Commonwealth College, the honors college of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scientific work focused on lipid metabolism and vascular biology, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the National Science Foundation. As Dean of NSM and of Commonwealth College she was active in supporting teaching and learning initiatives throughout the university.

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