Keynote Speaker

Lynda Williams (Physics)

Lynda Williams teaches physics at Santa Rosa Junior College. Her extensive science outreach activities, often in the persona of The Physics Chanteuse, have included four albums of science songs (Cosmic Cabaret, Maxwell's Equations, Parody Violation, and her latest, Science Cabaret); several original science theater shows; and featured performances at over 15 STEM festivals and conferences, including Expanding Your Horizons (for middle school girls) and special events honoring the work of physicists Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne. Williams' creative work has been covered by media outlets such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Physics Today, and People. Additionally, her passion for science literacy informs her efforts as an environmental and peace activist. Williams previously taught at San Francisco State University, where she earned a master’s degree in physics after undergraduate studies in applied mathematics at CSU-Sacramento. Williams' websites include and

Invited Speakers

Eva Amsen (Biochemistry/STEM Outreach & Communication)

Eva Amsen is a writer and science communicator, focused on the common ground between science and the arts. She runs a quarterly newsletter highlighting collaborations and overlap between scientists and musicians. Eva has written about science in culture and society for Nautilus, The Scientist, Spacing Magazine and other places -- including the science blog she has maintained since her days as a PhD student in Toronto. Eva also works in the area of scientific community management and engagement. After six years at publishing companies, she is now Scientific Engagement Manager for the Transforming Genetic Medicine Initiative, based at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. 

Padi Boyd (Astronomy)

Dr. Patricia “Padi” Boyd is the Chief of the Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and also serves as Director of the Guest Investigator Program for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, TESS (launching in 2018), and as Hubble Space Telescope Deputy Project Scientist for Operations. Born in Metuchen, NJ, Padi’s early interests were more focused on the arts, and she was active in dance, gymnastics, and theater before discovering her passion for astrophysics in her senior year of high school. She earned her BS in astronomy and physics from Villanova University and her MS and Ph.D. in physics and atmospheric science from Drexel University. Padi sings with popular a cappella group The Chromatics (pictured here), and is co-creator of their educational AstroCappella project. 

Jon Chase (Engineering/STEM Outreach & Communication)

Jon Chase is a freelance science communicator and rapper based in South Wales. Fulfilling his mission of making scientific thinking as accessible as possible, his science outreach work can be seen on TV and YouTube and at live in-person workshops. He is arguably the UK's leading science rapper, having been featured at The Science Museum, The Royal Society, and The Royal Institution, and on CBeebies’ Rhyme Rocket, CBBC’s Space Hoppers, and Channel 4 Learning. Jon holds degrees in aerospace engineering, science & science fiction, and science communication.  

John Dougherty (Computer Science)

John Dougherty, or "J.D.", has worked at Haverford College since 1997. His research interests include computing education and outreach, accessible computing, and dependable parallel/scientific computing. J.D. is a Senior Member of the ACM, in particular SIGCSE, having served as Symposium Chair in 2008 and in 2014, as well as Program Chair in 2007 and 2013 (Panels/SSs 2006; Publications 2005; Accessibility 2012). Before Haverford, J.D. was an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Philadelphia University. He was educated entirely in the Philadelphia area, with a B.A. from La Salle College, M.S. from Drexel University, and Ph.D. from Temple University. 

Lawrence Lesser (Mathematics/Statistics)

Dr. Larry Lesser is a statistics/mathematics education professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, where he's been since 2004. He has 100 peer-reviewed papers and books, two National Science Foundation grants (with Penn State’s Dennis Pearl and Perimeter College at Georgia State University’s John Weber), and has won statewide teaching awards (e.g., UT-ROTA, Minnie Stevens Piper Professor). His math-and-music outreach has yielded 70 published songs, a dozen national contest awards, dozens of conference performances or radio/TV appearances, five journal articles, and an issue of The Mini Page. Lesser’s websites include and

Mark Sullivan (Music)

Mark Valentine Sullivan is a composer, photographer, and educator. His compositions have been performed widely, and his images licensed and featured in books, magazines, and exhibitions. For several decades at Michigan State University, he has taught music composition, computer music, photography, and aesthetic theory. He wrote a book on the relationship between music, language, and movement, and more recently, developed courses on the pedagogy of composition, and creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial action. Throughout this time, he also created integrated media arts programs for youth. The most recent involved creating a program to develop literacy through songwriting and media composition. He currently splits his efforts between the College of Music, and the Innovation Hub for Learning and Technology, working on several projects that integrate art and media composition into STEM education (STEAM). One recent music composition centered around ideas in subnuclear and astrophysics, created in conjunction with FRIB physicists; another dealt with musical reflection on built space, in particular, as found in Zaha Hadid’s EEBAM architecture.

Vaughn Watson (Education)

Vaughn W. M. Watson is an assistant professor of English Education in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His research focuses on the interplay of literacy and identities in the lived experiences of Black youth, youth of color, and immigrant youth. Watson’s research examines social and cultural contexts of youth’s practices within and beyond school, including contexts of English education, civic learning and action, and qualitative participatory research methodologies. He has published research findings in journals including the Review of Research in Education (in press); the American Educational Research Journal; Urban Education; Literacy; the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education; and the Michigan Reading Journal. Watson taught high school English for 12 years in New York City.