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Welcome to our USAGSO STEMinist: Adventures in STEM with Everyday Superheroes Host Directory!

Thank you to all our STEM Superheroes who have hosted a STEMinist session over the last 2-years! Learn more about each of our past hosts below. 

Dr. Raven the Science Maven

Raven Baxter, Ph.D., aka Dr. Raven the Science Maven, is an internationally acclaimed American educator and molecular biologist known for effortlessly merging science with pop culture. Using her magnetic personality, she challenges the status quo to prove that science communicators aren’t all one and the same. 

Dr. Raven’s kicked off our STEMinist series in 2021 with this special video

Paula Garcia Todd, Chemical Engineer

Make an impact! Paula Garcia Todd grew up in Brazil knowing that she loved STEM and wanted to pursue engineering to create change and help people. With a background in chemical engineering, her career has focused on Pharmaceutical Sciences to help fight diseases. She believes that everyone working in a STEM field has a responsibility to educate our younger generation on the beneficial, real-life impact of STEM. In 2020, she was named "Woman of the Year in Engineering" by Women in Technology.

Paula Garcia Todd is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassador and featured in the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit

Dr. Harshini Mukundan, Microbiologist

Meet Harshi! Dr. Harshini Mukundan who goes by Harshi, is a microbiologist and team leader at the Los Alamos National Labs. Her work focuses on developing diagnostics of infectious diseases. She leads and participates in projects aimed at developing rapid detection and diagnostics assays for breast cancer, influenza, toxic panels, and others. In addition to her research, she excels in scientific and community outreach activities and mentoring and has received numerous awards and honors. She advocates for her treatments to be accessible to all people, so that all people can be healthier and happier.

Dr. Harshini Mukundan is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassador and featured in the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit

Dr. Olivia Mullins, Neuroscientist and Founder and Executive Director of Science Delivered

Dr. Olivia Mullins is Founder and Executive Director of Science Delivered, a science education nonprofit which focuses on elementary science and educational equity. She also developed and implemented the STEM Trading Card project, where modern and diverse STEM professionals are featured in a trading card format, and created free resources for classroom and at-home science, which can be found at:

Prior to her work at Science Delivered, Dr. Mullins was a neuroscientist working at the University of California, San Diego. She received her BA from Boston College in 2004 and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University of Virginia in 2012. She additionally wrote the kid’s science experiment book “Experimenting with Science,” published through the junior “For Dummies” series.

One of Dr. Mullins’ top interests is ensuring all elementary school students are provided with a foundational, hands-on, and high quality science education.

Erin Twamley, Educator and Author

Erin Twamley is a writer, a researcher, an educator (M.Ed.), a Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and a STEMinist. Her passion is working with kids of all ages and grade levels, with a focus on upper elementary (3rd-6th). Erin writes on the topics of women, diversity, science, technology, engineering and math or STEM. She is an award-winning nonfiction children book author. Erin brings interactive encounters to schools, libraries, and Girl Scout troops all around the world. She has lived on three continents.

Erin is also the co-creator and host of our USAGSO STEMinists: Adventures in STEM with Everyday Superheroes program series. 

Janice Lao, Environmental Scientist

Janice Lao is both an Environmental Scientist and a Development Economist. Her life’s work is in making businesses a force for good. She has a rare combination of deep scientific and cross-discipline knowledge, and the ability to engage and communicate effectively. For over 20 years, she has been multi-awarded internationally for her work in sustainability, including being named in Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s most influential sustainability leaders, the only Asian, and one of the youngest, in the list.

Jasmine Cox, Textile Engineer

Jasmine Cox serves as the director of textile technology programs and business innovation at Gaston College’s Textile Technology Center. In this position, she plays an instrumental role in giving students from rural, western North Carolina the opportunity to earn a degree in textile technology through the Gaston College of Textiles and the Wilson College of Textiles.

In addition to her day job, Cox serves as a member of the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council (DYALC) within the Wilson College and chairs the DYALC’s event committee.

Learn more about Cox’s path to success in this Wilson College News update

Iris Caldwell, Mentor and Fashion Model

Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Iris Caldwell jump-started her career in fashion and moved to NYC. There Iris obtained two out of three of her degrees and found her true love for mentoring. Throughout her career, Iris has had internships with companies like Donna Karen International, NBA Brooklyn Nets, NBA Charlotte Hornets but it all led her back to her passion of helping youth and preparing them for their futures.

While in school at Queens University for her master's in Communication Iris had her first job with Girl Scouts Hornet’s Nest Council. There she was able to hone in on mentoring and non-profit work. Now Iris is a middle school success coordinator for a non-profit and is helping the youth of today find their passion and purpose within themselves.

Does Iris look familiar? She’s appeared on countless runways, magazine covers, and television shows!

Dr. Kristen Lear, Bat Conservationist

Dr. Kristen Lear loves bats! Dr. Lear currently works as Bat Conservation International's Agave Restoration Program Manager leading the organization's Agave Restoration Initiative to restore critical foraging habitat for endangered pollinating bats and support community livelihoods in the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico.

She is also passionate about public outreach to raise awareness and appreciation of bats and their conservation. Engaging with the public, including local community groups, social media communities, and policy makers, is a vital part of conservation and is an aspect of her work that she strives to continually build upon and develop! Through her mentoring and youth activities, Dr. Lear hopes to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM/STEAM, increase science literacy among the public, and support the next generation of scientists.

Dr. Kristen Lear is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassador and featured in the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit

Melissa Luker, Environmental Conservationist

Melissa Luker is an experienced program and training facilitator with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit sector. She is skilled in outdoor education and ethics, training, mentoring, STEM research, and more! Melissa earned her master’s degree focused on Restoration Horticultural Science from Cornell University. Among her favorite past roles in the STEM field, are Master Educator with Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Restoration Specialist with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Park Ranger at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

In addition to being an Overseas Volunteer Partner, Melissa loves hosting USAGSO’s annual Girl Scouts Love State Parks programs

DaNel Hogan, Educator and Physicist

DaNel Hogan is the Director of The STEMAZing Project for the Office of the Pima County School Superintendent where she teaches teachers how to better engage students to make sense of the world using 3-dimensional science instruction. DaNel finds her creativity and imagination focused on #STEMontheCheap hacks – using inexpensive materials to teach STEM lessons. From programs serving early childhood educators to systemic, district-wide teacher leader programs and multi- and single-day professional development opportunities for teachers, DaNel enjoys helping teachers cultivate STEM minds and particularly enjoys working with STAR Fellows as they start their teaching careers.

Before returning to Tucson to lead The STEMAing Project, DaNel served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, DC. While in DC, DaNel was involved in national level STEM issues and particularly focused on K-Gray Energy Literacy. Prior to her Einstein Fellowship, DaNel Hogan was a physics teacher for nine years. 

Dr. Davina Durgana, Statistician

An International Human Rights Statistician and Human Trafficking Professor, Dr. Davina Durgana is a Report Co-Author and Senior Statistician on the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index, and works for the Minderoo Foundation. ⁠

She is the American Statistical Association's 2016 Statistical Advocate of the Year, Vice Chair of Statistics without Borders, and a Forbes Top 30 Under 30 in Science for 2017 for her work on statistical modeling, human security theory, and human trafficking.

Dr. Davina Durgana is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassador and featured in the #IfThen SheCan Exhibit

Dr. Jessica Fagerstrom, Medical Physicist

Dr. Jessica Fagerstrom is a Medical Physicist who is passionate and committed to treating cancer patients with the highest quality healthcare. Through her current work at the Northwest Medical Physics Center, Dr. Fagerstrom ensures that radiation is delivered safely and effectively. Dr. Fagerstrom is board certified in Therapeutic Medical Physics through the American Board of Radiology and is an active member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

Dr. Fagerstrom enjoys volunteering with young students, encouraging the next generation to pursue a career path in Medical Physics and other STEM professions. She also loves hiking, marathon running, and snorkeling with her husband, family, and friends.

Dr. Jessica Fagerstrom is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassador and featured in the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit

Isha M. Renta López, Meteorologist

Isha M. Renta Lopez is a scientist that works in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) as an Analyst and Program Manager. In her current position she manages programs, leads people, is involved in the science policy process, and performs research and development analysis. Previous to this position, Isha was a meteorologist/forecaster for the NOAA’s National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office. In her duties Isha provided forecasts and briefings for their partners and the public, issued warnings, as well as data analysis. Before that, Isha worked as a Research Meteorologist for the Department of the Navy.

Before her work for the Navy, Isha worked as a Student Researcher at Howard University, and at various organizations including the National Science Foundation, NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, and NOAA’s Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch. Isha was also part of a 30-day research cruise that took place in May 2007.

Isha founded and currently directs Semilla Cultural, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the Afro-Puerto Rican musical and dance genre of ‘bomba’. 

Dr. Arylene Simon, Biomedical Engineer

Patented inventor, Dr. Arlyne Simon, is a biomedical engineer and author of a children’s book series called Abby Invents. Recognized as a trailblazing female innovator by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Arlyne invented a blood test that detects when cancer patients reject bone marrow transplants. Her passion for healthcare has led her to design syringes, train clinical lab technologists in Kenya, help build supercomputers and now design medical imaging equipment.

As an author, Arlyne crafts stories about a girl inventor who creates things that do not exist – like unbreakable crayons, folding machines, and more! Eager to inspire more girls to become inventors, Arlyne founded a multicultural children’s products company named Abby Invents - a one-stop shop for future inventors. To date, Abby Invents has reached more than 5,000 future inventors.

Dr. Arlyne Simon is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassador and featured in the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit