KEYNOTE Dr. Pamela Gay - Professor at SIUE & podcast co-host of Astronomy Cast
She is the Director of Technology and Citizen Science at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. She is also an astronomer, writer, and podcaster focused on using new media to engage people in science and technology. Through CosmoQuest.org, she works to engage people in both learning and doing science. You can join her as we map our Solar System in unprecedented detail through our citizen science projects, and learn astronomy through media productions like Astronomy Cast. Through this weekly podcast, Fraser Cain and Dr Gay take you on a facts-based journey through our Cosmos, exploring not only what we know, but how we know it.
Crystal Quade - Missouri House of Representatives
She is the Missouri House Representative (D) for Greene County’s District 132. She was elected to her first term in office in November 2016. Quade is director of chapter services at Care to Learn, a nonprofit organization that addresses the health, hunger and hygiene needs of economically disadvantaged children in several school districts across Missouri. She previously worked as a field representative for Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, as regional field director for Organizing for America and as a U.S. Senate constituent services representative. While earning her Bachelor of Social Work degree at Missouri State University, Crystal was a legislative intern to four-term Representative of the 132nd, Charlie Norr. Quade currently serves as a Greene County Democratic Committeewoman and is a member of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri, board member of the Midtown Neighborhood Association and The Kitchen, Inc. She has also worked with the Springfield, MO Community Focus Report, Civic Engagement Team.
Jennifer Conner - Sierra Club
Justin Thomas - NatureCITE
He is the Director of the Institute of Botanical Training and Science Director for NatureCITE. In both positions he conducts botanical and ecological research and instructs plant identification workshops. He has twenty years of professional experience, a Master of Science degree in Botany from Miami University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Justin also teaches botany at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is the junior author of the Ecological Checklist of the Missouri Flora, holds a research associateship at Missouri Botanical Garden and serves as a scientific advisor to several conservation groups.
Robert Powers - Professor Powers Science Symposium
Robert Powers first found his love for science while brewing beer and working at The Home Brewery in Ozark. Fascinated with the chemistry involved, he realized that there was something lacking in the science classes he’d attended, and decided to do something about it. He obtained his BS in Chemistry Education from MSU and an M.Ed in STEM Education from Concordia University and has been teaching chemistry and physics to high school and middle school students for over 7 years, currently at The Summit Preparatory School. In 2014, he and his wife started Professor Powers Science Symposium, a nonprofit organization offering hands on lab-based science education opportunities for kids and adults. Classes are on evenings, weekends and week long summertime camps. He firmly stands up for putting evidence ahead of bias as well as the importance of challenging our own opinions if the science behind them does not hold up. When he’s not completely immersed in sharing his passion for science with everyone around him, he plays guitar and sings in various local bands, brews beer and spends time with his wonderful wife and their three boys.
Vicke Kepling - Peace Network of the Ozarks
Vicke Kepling is a community organizer and a progressive activist who fights for human rights and environmental issues. Kepling was involved in the disability field until 2011 when her perspective broadened with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
While attending school at Missouri State University, Kepling was involved with the MSU Students for a Sustainable Future and helped with their annual Earth Day event–Ecopalooza. Kepling and members advocated against a marketing project that promoted fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline. She spoke at the MO LOVE environmental event and was a co-writer for the solar tables on campus.
After graduating with two master’s degrees, Kepling has taught writing classes at Missouri State using sustainability as a focus. In her Writing for Social Change class, she required students to keep a sustainability journal. Some students wrote that they had never really considered environmental issues and their relationship with the planet before the exercise.
As a grassroots activist, Kepling has organized four March against Monsanto events and seven No Dakota Access Pipeline actions requesting that banks divest from fossil fuels. She organized a group trip to Standing Rock in North Dakota and raised $1,350 plus supplies for the campers. Kepling and others were at the bridge on November 20 when tear gas, water hoses, and concussion grenades were used against peaceful protesters.
Kepling is one of the organizers of the Greater Springfield Missouri Green Party, supporting the party’s focus on environmental issues. The group has created over 1,000 wildflower seed bombs in hope of educating children and increasing pollinating insects. Kepling is a member of the Sierra Club and has lobbied with the group at the state capitol building in Jefferson City. She maintains a small garden in front of her house.
Brandon Bond - People's Climate Movement
He is a librarian and author who has been a lifelong advocate for Civil Rights and an environmental activist. He is a member of The People’s Climate Movement and serves as a liaison between the grassroots movements and the scientific community. He was on the front lines at Standing Rock, and did humanitarian work in Ghana. An ordained minister, he now dedicates himself to protecting the rights of all humanity, and preserving the fragile environment. Brandon works primarily with young adults, and does all he can to bring these passions to the next generation.
Dr. Waafa Kaf MD, MSc, PhD - Communication Sciences and Disorders Department, Missouri State University
Dr. Kaf is recognized globally for her teaching and research expertise. She has an active record of publications, presentations, and workshops at both national and international conferences. Dr. Kaf is an active member of several professional organizations such as the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association and the American Academy of Audiology and is currently the president of the Missouri Academy of Audiology. She is also an expert reviewer to several professional journals. In addition, she has been featured locally on the MSU website and nationally including the Hearing Health Magazine for her innovative research on Meniere’s disease.
Dr. Kaf’s Awards and Honors:
2017 Foundation Award for Excellence in Research, Missouri State University
2016 2016 Director’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Research, Honors College, Missouri State University
2013 Excellence in Community Service Awards, Missouri State University
2013 ASHA’s Research Mentoring-Pair Travel Award (RMPTA)
2009 Margo Skinner Award for Outstanding Audiologist in Missouri
2009 Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, Missouri State Foundation
She is currently in need of study participants who have been diagnosed with Endolymphatic Hydrops (Meniere’s disease). If you are interested in learning about participating, download the flier to learn more: PDF
To contact Dr Kaf:
Phone: 417-836- 4456