Invited Speakers

Please see our Programme Overview for a listing and times of all the sessions. The block schedule is available here for registered attendees, speakers, and poster presenters, as well as in a more detailed form in the forthcoming conference packet.

Labour and Space – 1330–1430 UTC

Dr. Hodari is in a bright blue dress and standing behind a chair, one arm up on its back. She is looking into the camera and smiling.

Keynote Speaker: Apriel Hodari (she/her), Eureka Scientific, Inc.

Apriel K Hodari, PhD, is Principal Investigator with Eureka Scientific, Inc, and represents the United States on International Union of Pure and Applied Physics’ (IUPAP) Working Group 5: Women in Physics (WG5). She is an expert in STEM education research, equity and workforce diversity, and the cultures of STEM disciplines. Her research on the cultures of STEM disciplines, explored through the lived experiences of successful women of color in STEM fields, focuses on how these women overcome barriers and how institutions can create environments in which they can thrive.

Apriel was lead author for a collection of white papers for the Community Engagement Frontier of Snowmass 2022, entitled How to Read the Snowmass White Papers on Power Dynamics in Physics, Informal Socialization in Physics Training, and Policing and Gatekeeping in STEM. Hodari serves as PI for Centering Women of Color in STEM: Data-Driven Opportunities for Inclusion and ADVANCE Partnership: Faculty Online Learning Communities for Gender Equity: Targeting Department Level Change in STEM. She was a 2016-17 Fulbright Scholar at Queen Mary, University of London, and the 2000-2001 Optical Society of America / International Society for Optics and Photonics Congressional Science Fellow.

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A photo of Rohini in profile. She is in a black top and smiling, with short, curly hair. She is looking off to the left. Behidn her is a piece of art, which shows floral-like shapes that are filled with a peach color.

Rohini Devasher (she/her)

Devasher has trained as a painter and printmaker, and works in a variety of media including, video, prints and site-specific drawings. Her current research focuses on the twin aspects of the Earth’s skies: its celestial constants on one hand and the mutable objects of the atmosphere on the other. Her films, prints, sounds, drawings, map the antagonism of time and space; walking the fine line between wonder and the uncanny, foregrounding the ‘strangeness’ of encountering, observing and recording both environment and experience.

Her work has been shown at the Open Data Institute London (2022), Rubin Museum, New York (2021-22), the Sea Art Festival, Busan (2021), Vienna Academy of Fine Art (2021), the Kunst Leuven City Festival (2021) the 14th Sharjah Biennial Leaving the Echo Chamber (2019), Kaserne Basel (2019) Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) (2018), 7th Moscow Biennial (2017), the Spencer Museum of Art USA (2018,16), MAAT Museum of Art and Technology,  Lisbon (2016),  ZKM, Karsruhe (2016), Bhau Daji Lad City Museum in Mumbai (2016, 2018) Singapore Art and Science Museum (2016), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016), and the 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial (2014), the 1st Kochi Biennale (2012), among others.

Devasher was the Embedded Artist in Residence at the Open Data Institute (ODI) 2021-22. Recently concluded projects include the Cove Park Fully Funded Artist-in-residence programme 2022-23 with the City as a Spaceship Collective.

A selfie of KeShawn. He is smiling at the camera. He is wearing round glasses, and a wool coat over a black turtleneck sweater and white shirt. Behind him is an autumnal campus.

KeShawn Ivory (he/they), Vanderbilt University

My name is KeShawn Ivory and I’m a second year PhD student in astrophysics at Vanderbilt University, as well as a Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge student. Originally, I’m from Garland, TX, just outside Dallas. When I’m not examining simulations of galaxy clusters, I serve on two American Astronomical Society Committees: the Committee on the Status of Minorities and the Site Visit Oversight Committee. I’m also Co-Chair of Events for Black In Astro (recipient of the 2023 Annie Maunder Medal for outreach from the Royal Astronomical Society). My creative outlets are singing to no audience, cooking, writing whiny autobiographical essays, and making cocktails.

A photo of Schuyler Borges. They are slightly in profile and looking at the camera with a smile. They are wearing a

Schuyler Borges (they/them), Northern Arizona University

Schuyler Borges is a graduate student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science at Northern Arizona University. Schuyler’s research focuses on detecting remote and in situ biosignatures from Antarctic microbial mats. Schuyler is also passionate about creating accessible STEMM education and mentorship and has developed curriculum for summer planetary science workshops. In addition to these academic interests, Schuyler is passionate about supporting the mental health of people with marginalized identities in STEMM and has volunteered with THRIVE Lifeline, a trans-owned text-based international crisis hotline staffed by and for people with marginalized identities in STEMM, since its inception. With THRIVE Lifeline, Schuyler has acted as a crisis responder, crisis responder mentor, mentorship coordinator, training assistant, training curriculum developer, and deputy director for volunteer success. In their roles with THRIVE Lifeline, Schuyler has developed critical crisis response, de-escalation, and mentorship experience specifically centered on those with marginalized identities.

Space, Technology and Dual-Use – 1500–1600 UTC

Zahra is wearing a red cap, dark top, pattered trousers, and colorful flats. She is holding a sign that says Rocket Scientist with an illustration of a brown woman looking at a rocket launch. She is standing beside a sign that says NASA's next Mars rover Perseverance with a cartoon illustration of a rover with a smiley face.

Zahra Khan (she/her), Independent Researcher

Zahra Khan is a system engineer with an aerospace background. She has experience working on space systems, autonomous vehicles, and air traffic management. Spacecraft she has worked on include the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite [TESS] and the Mars Perseverance mission. She is passionate about stopping space science involvement in the military industrial complex, and is also active in highlighting disability justice issues in the space community and beyond.

Zahra is cofounder of the Feminist Islamic Troublemakers of North America, an organization working on creating constructive disruption around gender issues in the Muslim community.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University in Canada & a Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zahra is ethnically Pashtun and grew up in Pakistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Canada. She currently lives in California.

Réka Gal (she/they), Arun Jacob (he/him), University of Toronto, Faculty of Information

Réka Patrícia Gál (she/they) is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Information at University of Toronto and a Fellow at the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology. She is the co-editor of Earth and Beyond in Tumultuous Times: A Critical Atlas of the Anthropocene, published by meson press. Their dissertation maps the genealogies of technological maintenance and care labors on space stations, focusing on the implications of human-machine interdependence in outer space as it relates to issues of environmental and labour justice.

Arun Jacob (he/him) is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto and the first recipient of the Stéfan Sinclair Memorial Scholarship from the Canadian Society of Digital Humanities. Arun’s work unites media genealogy, intersectional feminist media studies and critical university studies to explore how contemporary university data management techniques and information management systems shape our sociocultural relations, experiences, and knowledge. Arun’s publications have appeared in Interdisciplinary Digital Engagement in Arts & Humanities (IDEAH), Digital Studies/Le champ numérique, The College Quarterly and Alternative Historiographies of the Digital Humanities.

A headshot of Natalie. She is looking slightly off to the left with a smile. She is wearing big glasses with metallic pink rims.

Natalie Treviño (she/her), Open University

Dr. Natalie Trevino is a postdoctoral researcher at the Open University in the UK. Her research focuses how space exploration reinforces the coloniality of being. Her primary work examines the colonial production of the human in the modern space-earth eco-system. She is also a member of the Space Ethics Group OU.

A photo of Mia Bennet. She is looking at the camera and smi

Mia Bennett (she/her), University of Washington

Mia Bennett is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Washington. As a political geographer with geospatial skills, she researches cultures and practices of frontier-making in the Arctic from the local to regional scales. Her current area of focus is the Nordic littoral, where she is examining the impacts of the construction of commercial spaceports on northern communities. Bennett’s methods combine fieldwork and critical remote sensing, a subfield whose development she is helping to lead. Since 2009, she has run a blog on the Arctic, Cryopolitics. Bennett received a PhD in Geography from UCLA and an MPhil in Polar Studies from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Scholar.

Environment and Space Science – 1800–1900 UTC

A photo of Thandi Loewenson. Thandi is wearing a dark grey sweater and long blue earrings, and is slightly smiling at the camera. The backdrop is light grey.

Keynote Speaker: Thandi Loewenson

Thandi Loewenson (b.1989, Harare) is an architectural designer/researcher who mobilises design, fiction and performance to stoke embers of emancipatory political thought and fires of collective action, and to feel for the contours of other, possible worlds. Using fiction as a design tool and tactic, and operating in the overlapping realms of the weird, the tender, the earthly and the airborne, Thandi engages in projects which provoke questioning of the status-quo, whilst working with communities, policy makers, artists and architects towards acting on those provocations. Thandi is a Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art, a contributor to the Regional Network on Equity in East and Southern Africa, a co-founder of architectural collectives BREAK//LINE and Fiction Feeling Frame and a co-curator of Race, Space & Architecture. In 2023, Thandi will be the inaugural Black Digital South Artist in Residence at the Centre for Race, Gender and Class at the University of Johannesburg.

A photo of Ruth looking at the camera. She is wearing a dark blazer and a top printed with a space pattern. They are standing in front of greenery.

Lisa Ruth Rand (they/she), California Institute of Technology

Lisa Ruth Rand (they/she) is a historian of science, technology, and the environment and an assistant professor of history at Caltech. Their research topics tend to coalesce around technologies in disuse and decay, and the politics of maintenance in mediating those states especially in extreme environments. Rand is currently writing a book on the environmental history of outer space that focuses on waste and wasting practices to trace changing ideas about outer space as a natural resource, currently titled Space Junk: An Environmental History of Waste in Orbit (under contract with Harvard University Press). She also thinks and writes about embodied reproductive futurity in space culture and has cultivated several generations of red romaine lettuce from space-flown seeds.

A headshot of Sahba. She is smiling at the camera and wearing her hair down. The background is blue and turquoise.

Sahba el-Shawa (she/her), Jordan Space Research Initiative

Sahba El-Shawa is a Jordanian-Canadian interdisciplinary researcher originally from Palestine. She is the Founder of the Jordan Space Research Initiative (JSRI), which aims to bridge sustainable development with space exploration and establish an analog research facility in Jordan. Sahba holds a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, an MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University, and is now pursuing her PhD in Sustainable Development and Climate Change at IUSS Pavia in Italy. Her PhD research centers around the neuropsychological basis of the Overview Effect, and how making it more accessible using Virtual Reality can help drive sustainable behaviour on Earth. During her studies, she collaborated with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) on robotics research and completed an internship at the European Space Agency’s Clean Space initiative focusing on the environmental impacts of space activities, both on Earth and in space. Her professional experience includes working as a verification engineer at Intel, as a system AIT engineer in the space industry, and currently as the Environmental Program Coordinator for the Space Science & Engineering Foundation. Sahba is an active volunteer in the Space Generation Advisory Council, acting as National Point of Contact for Jordan, as well as Co-Lead of the Ethics & Human Rights project group and the Space for Climate Action policy working group. She is also a National Coordinator in the Moon Village Association and its Participation of Emerging Space Countries program. Sahba was the recipient of the Women in Aerospace Young Professional Award in 2021 and the Space Generation Leadership Award in 2022. She is passionate about outreach and education, and has organized space design competitions for students around the world including Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. Sahba is a vocal advocate for decoupling defense and space. She is committed to creating opportunities for underrepresented communities in space and helping guide the space industry towards a more equitable, ethical, and sustainable future.

A photo of Nadia

Nadia Khan (she/her), MIT AeroAstro, Engineering systems Lab

Nadia Khan is a graduate student at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS). Her studies focus on space sustainability and in particular the issue of lunar waste management. As a Research Assistant in the Strategic Engineering Research Group, Nadia works with Professor de Weck and Research Assistant Dr Afreen Siddiqi on the MIT-NASA Advanced Space Technology Roadmap Architecture (ASTRA) project. As part of this Nadia examines how NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Division can maximize the ROI of future heliophysics missions, by prioritizing certain technology investments now. Before joining the lab, Nadia worked at MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative where she continued the development of the Lunar Open Architecture (LOA) platform. Nadia studied at University College London for an MSc in Space, Risk and Disaster Reduction and a BA (Hons) from Queen Mary, University of London.

Nadia has won numerous awards for her academic on lunar waste management, space science and non-academic projects on mental health and community cohesion.


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