STEAM Dreamers April Panel
Time & Location
About the Event
Join us as we host our monthly virtual panel with our amazing STEAM Dreamer features! Ask questions live and have them answered so that you can walk away with some more inspiration on how to make your STEAM journey more fulfilling.
Link to Join: https://zoom.us/j/96380816551?pwd=SnhHa2t2Q
Ronda Hamm, PhD:
Global Academic Relations Manager, Corteva Agriscience
Dr. Ronda Hamm is passionate about providing enriching science and agriculture experiences for everyone. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education at Fresno State University. She received her Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in Entomology at Cornell University. Currently, she is the Global Academic Relations Manager for Corteva Agriscience. She has previously held roles as a Patent Liaison, Six Sigma Project Leader, and Senior Biologist conducting both laboratory and field research in Urban Pest Management and Northern Crops. Dr. Hamm was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) If/Then Ambassador. In 2019 she was recognized as an Indiana Woman of Achievement with Distinction in Science Education and was the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Informal Educator Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for her work in founding three successful science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs (two at Cornell University and one at Corteva Agriscience) that continue to grow.
Forensic Scientist Professor, George Mason University
Career: Forensic Scientist
Kelly Knight, a 2020 University Teaching Excellence Award winner, is an associate professor with the George Mason University Forensic Science Program and a STEM Accelerator. As a STEM Accelerator, she guides and mentors undergraduate students in the Forensic Science Program and coordinates K-12 STEM outreach. After obtaining degrees in chemistry and forensic science, Prof. Knight worked in forensic science laboratories for almost a decade before starting in higher education. She has qualified as an expert in both forensic serology and forensic DNA analysis and has testified in several circuit court trials. In addition to her experience with forensic casework, she has many years of experience in research which has included areas such as laser microdissection and low copy number (LCN) DNA methods. Prof. Knight has remained active in professional organizations since beginning her education in forensic science. She was recently promoted to the rank of Fellow within the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is currently serving as the Biology Section Chair for the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists.
Lataisia Jones, PhD:
Senior Ethics Specialist, American Society for Microbiology
Dr. Lataisia Jones began her journey in science as an intern at the College of William and Mary where she studied “Cell Cycle Exit Mutation in Caenorhabditis elegans”. She later received her B.S. (2010) and M.S. (2012) at the Virginia State University where she studied Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. During this time she taught undergrad biology and participated in several outreach opportunities to include teaching young students in Ghana. In 2017, Dr. Jones became the first African American to earn her Ph.D. from the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Medicine at Florida State University.
Her continued mission to further the understanding of neurological disorders that affect children led her to a position at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. where she researched Autism Spectrum Disorders for over two years.
Throughout the years, Dr. Jones visits local schools and after school programs to teach science, expose the youth to different science careers, and spread advice about attending college. She also volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House where she initiated the Young Scientist Wednesdays program to teach kids residing at Children’s National Hospital science through fun hands-on activities. To assist with science education during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Jones started a YouTube show called Kitchen Science where you can learn science from home with common household items. She also started her consulting business called Hey Dr. Tay, LLC and co-founded a non-profit called Changing Faces, Incorporated to assist schools, after school programs and youth organizations with S.T.E.M. education.
To advocate for Black S.T.E.M. leaders while providing guidance to younger generations, Dr. Jones created an initiative called S.T.E.M.ING WHILE BLACK which consists of over a hundred Black leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Dr. Jones also serves as an American Association for the Advancement of Science IF/THEN Ambassador, encouraging young girls to pursue S.T.E.M. careers during her features on a CBS show called Mission Unstoppable, WUSA9 Great Day Washington, WTOP Radio Station and much more. A statue honoring Dr. Jones and the other AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors will soon be unveiled at a park in Dallas, TX as a tribute to female STEM leaders.
Dr. Jones believes that if young girls (especially girls of color) see her working in a lab or read about her achievements, they will believe in their own ability to be anything they dream of becoming and more. With this belief in mind, Dr. Jones decided to leave the lab life to pursue more of her passion-filled initiatives through her new Senior Ethics Specialist position at the American Society for Microbiology and her ongoing work within the community. She serves over 10,000 youth yearly.
Beatris Mendez Gandica:
Program Manager, Microsoft/ Founder, Nuevo Foundation
Career: Information Systems
Beatris A. Mendez Gandica is from San Cristobal, Venezuela. She is an engineer working as a Program Manager at Microsoft. In this role, she manages the daily operations of the usage billing pipeline for Azure Data services. Her work is essential to Microsoft as it ensures that Azure’s customer billing is secure, scalable, and correct.
Beatris' has a passion for giving back to the community. In 2018 she started a nonprofit organization, Nuevo Foundation, where she works to prepare underrepresented students to become tomorrow’s leaders. Nuevo Foundation’s mission is to inspire kids to be curious, confident, and courageous by discovering the world of STEM. To date, the nonprofit has taught more than 8,500 students about computer science and STEM education across thirty-five countries and Puerto Rico.
In 2017, Beatris was selected as one of the 10 TechnoLochicas for the campaign. In 2019, Beatris was awarded the HACR Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers’ 40 under 40 award, the UWEC Outstanding Recent Alumni award, and delivered the Winter 2019 commencement address for her alma mater in Wisconsin. Lastly, she was selected to be one of the ambassadors for the American Association for the Advancement of Science IF/THEN to help shift the way our country—and the world—thinks about women in STEM.