Keynote Speakers

Dr. Lina Dostilio

Dr. Lina Dostilio is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement at the University of Pittsburgh. She is responsible for supporting community-facing work that includes community relations, cultivating strategic opportunities to advance Pitt’s community engagement agenda, and implementing the University’s place-based community engagement initiative through the development of neighborhood-based community engagement centers.

Dostilio is the 2019 Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities Research Fellows. In this role, she is developing a multi-institution research project that investigates the impact of place-based community engagement on community capacities. She was previously the Scholar in Residence directing the Campus Compact’s Project on the Community Engagement Professional, a national research project staffed by 19 research fellows across the country that has produced, The Community Engagement Professional in Higher Education: A Competency Model for an Emerging Field (Stylus Publishing, 2017) and The Community Engagement Professional Guidebook (Stylus Publishing, 2019). Dostilio has also served as a past-chair of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and is on the editorial board of the Metropolitan Universities. Her research as a scholar-administrator has focused on multi-sector partnership development, place-based community engagement, and the evolution of the community engagement profession within higher education.

Dr. Marla A. Franco

Marla A. Franco, Ph.D., serves as the Assistant Vice Provost of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Initiatives and the Executive Director of Assessment, Research, and Grant Development at the University of Arizona (UA). She led efforts at the UA that resulted in the university becoming recognized as a federally designated HSI in 2018 and is now working across the full scope of the university enterprise to develop a centralized vision for optimizing this designation in a way that truly benefits students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Dr. Franco has provided strong leadership within the STEM community, including co-authoring a consensus report titled Transforming STEM Education at Hispanic Serving Institutions in the United States, co-chairing the first NSF HSI Program conference grant, and spearheading a national adaptive case study award to support institutional change towards greater equity in STEM.  With close to 20 years of experience in higher education, she leads strategically, courageously, and with a fierce passion for what she does. 

Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg

Dr. Jeffrey B. Goldberg serves as the Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. He is the chief academic officer of the University and oversees all academic programs and units exclusive of the health sciences. He is responsible for all affairs related to the academic mission of the University, including the faculty, academic programs, and related budgeting. As a member of the President’s senior leadership team, his role includes coordination of the strategic plan for the institution, and ensuring that the University demonstrates excellence as it pursues its missions of delivering an engaging education, innovating in research and creative discovery, and partnering for community impact, as well as its land grant obligations to the State of Arizona.

As Interim Provost, Dr. Goldberg is leading a set of important initiatives, including implementation of the strategic plan for the University of Arizona. He is also leading a campus-wide process to refine an internal budget model for the University based on performance activities and incentives, known as Responsibility Centered Management.

Dr. Goldberg has been on faculty at UA since 1985, most recently serving as dean of the College of Engineering from 2010 until his appointment as Acting Provost in 2018, and associate dean of academic affairs prior to that.

Jeff received his undergraduate education at Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Michigan. He holds a tenured appointment as professor in the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering, where his research focused on applying operations research models to system design problems—and he brings this systems view to bear (down) on the operational excellence of this tremendous land grant university.

Dr. Suzi Iacono

Dr. Suzi Iacono is the Head of the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Since she joined NSF in 1998, she has served in many leadership roles, including Acting Assistant Director in the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Deputy Assistant Director for CISE, Senior Science Advisor, Acting Division Director in Computer and Network Systems (CNS) and Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS), and Program Director in IIS.

Prior to coming to NSF, she held a faculty position at Boston University School of Management, was a visiting scholar at the Sloan School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a research associate at the Public Policy Research Office at the University of California, Irvine.

Over the years, she has written journal articles, book chapters and conference papers on social informatics, an area of interdisciplinary research and education that integrates aspects of computer and social sciences. Dr. Iacono received her PhD from the University of Arizona in information systems and her MA and BA from the University of California, Irvine in social ecology.

Panelists

Dr. Kevin Bonine

Kevin Bonine, PhD  Director, Education and Outreach, Biosphere 2; Director, Outreach Initiatives, College of Science
Joint Faculty in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Kevin’s career lies at the intersection of academic research, environmental awareness, effective education, and community engagement. He grew up in Tucson and attended the University of Arizona as a Flinn Scholar earning undergraduate degrees in both Economics and in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Kevin’s graduate degrees are from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he focused on evolutionary physiology using lizards as a model system. His recent research on reptiles and amphibians includes Gila monsters and canyon treefrogs, with emphasis on natural history, ecology, population genetics, and conservation – incorporating citizen science opportunities. Kevin has taught many well-regarded UA courses, including introductory biology, herpetology, conservation biology, and vertebrate physiology. Other courses include a collaboration with ASDM and Biosphere 2, titled Sonoran Desert Discovery, wherein UA students teach desert ecology to school children and the public. During the summer, Kevin occasionally teaches a three-week field course that explores the ecology and natural history of our region – from atop the Santa Catalina Mountains, through the Sonoran Desert, ending at the Desert Sea in the Northern Gulf of California in Mexico. Launched earlier this year was a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that shares ‘Biosphere 2 Science for the Future of Our Planet’ with a global audience. Recent initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation include training for underrepresented groups in Earth systems science; recruitment, training, and retention of STEM teachers in southern Arizona; and exploration of best practices in digital complements to science education programs. Kevin has been recognized with the UA College of Science’s Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award, named both a Flinn-Brown Fellow of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and a Faculty Fellow in the Haury Program for Environment and Social Justice, and recognized with the Philecology Endowed Chair at Biosphere 2. Kevin serves on the boards of directors of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Friends of Saguaro National Park, and the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.

Dr. L. René Corrales

Dr. L. René Corrales received his M.Ed. from the University of Arizona South in 2015, his PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 1988, his M.S. from UCSD in 1983, and his S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982. He was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas from 1989 – 1991, and then joined the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 1991 to 2006. In 2006, Dr. Corrales joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in a joint position with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry where he led a computational materials chemistry effort. He received the UA Honors College Excellence in Teaching award in 2013.  More recently, he has spent several years teaching secondary science during which time he has received several teaching honors including the NSTA Vernier Technology Science Teaching Award and the ACS Southern Arizona Division High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year Award. Currently he teaches middle school mathematics and science at Santa Cruz Catholic School and concurrently holds an adjunct position with the University of Arizona South where he teaches pedagogical content knowledge to aspiring STEM teaching interns.

Dr. Eric Lyons

Dr. Eric Lyons is an associate professor in the school of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona.  His research focuses on scalable computational systems and infrastructure to support and accelerate life science research, and the structure, evolution, and dynamics of genomes. To support this, Dr. Lyons is a co-PI on CyVerse, a $100M NSF funded project to provide cyberinfrastructure for life science research; his research group develops and maintains the comparative genomics platform, CoGe (http://genomevolution.org), which currently stores over 47,000 genomes and provides dynamic tools for analyzing, comparing, and visualizing genomic data.  He has authored over 75 peer reviewed articles and book chapters.  Dr. Lyons also serves on the boards of the nonprofit Phoenix Bioinformatics, LLC located in Redwood City, CA, The Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State University, and The Boyce Thompson Institute located in Ithaca, NY.  Dr. Lyons has a bachelor’s degree in Immunology, Master’s degree in Microbial Biology, and PhD in Plant Biology, all earn at UC Berkeley.  Prior to joining the University of Arizona, Dr. Lyons worked in biotech, pharma, and software companies around the SF Bay Area.

Nirav Merchant

Nirav Merchant is the Co-PI for NSF CyVerse a national scale Cyberinfrastructure for life sciences and NSF Jetstream, the first user-friendly, scalable cloud environment for NSF XSEDE.

He received his undergraduate degree in Industrial engineering from the University of Pune, India, and graduate degree in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona (1994).

Over the last two decades his research has been directed towards developing scalable computational platforms for supporting open science and open innovation, with emphasis on improving research productivity for geographically distributed interdisciplinary teams. 

His interests include data science literacy, large-scale data management platforms, data delivery technologies, managed sensor and mobile platforms for health interventions, workforce development, and project based learning.

Dr. Laura Meredith

Dr. Laura Meredith is an interdisciplinary scientist working at the intersection of functional microbiology and atmospheric chemistry.She has been an Assistant Professor in the University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE)since January 2017. She currently has faculty affiliations with the BIO5 Institute, the department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, the Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP), and the Global Change GIDP. She is the Director of the Biosphere 2 Tropical Rain Forest.

Kathleen Prudic

Kathleen ‘Katy’ Prudic is an entomologist interested in discovering how ecological and evolutionary interactions promote biodiversity and how they can inform conservation decision making specifically in relation to pollinators. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment

She is co-director of eButterfly, an online citizen science platform that harnesses the observations of thousands of butterfly enthusiasts across the globe to understand how and when butterflies and other pollinators react to environmental changes. She also works with Adventure Scientists to target large scale data collection of pollinator and plant biodiversity on public lands

Her research encompasses precision conservation, human-computer networks, and data science.

Her discoveries have been published in as ScienceProceedings of the National AcademyNature Communications Biology, Proceedings of the Royal Society B and Behavioral Ecology and covered by Associated Press, BBC, CBC, National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine.

Monica Ramirez-Andreotta

Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is an assistant professor of Soil, Water and Environmental Science with a joint appointment in the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. Ramírez-Andreotta is a community-engaged environmental health scientist investigating the fate & transport of pollutants in environmental systems, exposure pathways, phytotechnologies, and ways to improve environmental health literacy. As such, she is often found talking to and training communities and hosting community gatherings and data sharing events.  Ramírez-Andreotta is a playful, highly spirited individual who enjoys hanging with her boo, exercise, and democratizing science. She Tweets @EnvSci_G_Roots. Contact: mdramire@email.arizona.edu

Dr. Benjamin L. Ruddell

Dr. Benjamin (Ben) L. Ruddell, Ph.D., P.E., is an Associate Professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems at Northern Arizona University, the President of Ruddell Environmental consulting, and the Director of the FEWSION project. His PhD is in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His professional experiences are in the fields of civil engineering, water resources, systems analysis, ecology/ecohydrology, and engineering research and education in an interdisciplinary university setting.

Dr. Joaquin Ruiz

Joaquin Ruiz received his B.S. (1977) in Geology and Chemistry from the University of Miami and his M.S. (1980) and Ph.D. (1983) in Geology from the University of Michigan. He was Assistant Professor at the University of Miami from 1982 to 1983. In 1983, he joined the University of Arizona Geosciences Department as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989 and Professor in 1993. He served as head of the Department of Geosciences from 1995 to 2000. He has been Dean of the College of Science since 2000, Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science from 2009-2018, and Vice President for Innovation since 2013. He is also the Thomas R. Brown Chair and Director of Biosphere 2. Dr. Ruiz served as President of the Geological Society of America (2010-2011). He is also a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical Society, the Geochemical Society, and the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and was named a “National Researcher” by the Mexican government in 2010, when he was recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions and efforts to enhance Mexico’s scientific and technological capacity through collaborations with the UA and research institutions in Mexico. He has served as Secretary of the Volcanology Section of the American Geophysical Union, Councillor of the Geological Society of America, and as a National Science Foundation Panel Member for the Instrumentation and Facilities Program and the Centers for Excellence in Science and Technology Program. He has served as Associate Editor of the American Journal of ScienceGeologyRevista, and Geofísica International of the Institute of Geology, UNAM. As a scientist with equal abilities in chemistry and in geology, Dr. Ruiz addresses many first-order problems in the Earth Sciences, such as the development of new isotope systems for studying ore deposits and the tectonic processes involved in the growth and evolution of Mexico. His research team addresses problems ranging from the origins of life to present-day climate change.

Mr. Sean Ryan

Mr. Sean Ryan, M.S., is a Professional Development Coordinator, and holds a Master of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona. He taught nine years in the classroom as a certified K-8 educator. He works at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Northern Arizona University. His expertise includes STEM community education and outreach, design of professional development activities and resources, program implementation, and partnership development.

Obiageli Sneed, Ed.D.

Obiageli Sneed, Ed.D.

As an experienced educator and passionate lifelong learner, Dr. Obiageli Sneed has worked across multiple education platforms including k-12, the Arizona Department of Education, and Arizona State University (ASU). She currently serves as the Senior Instructional Designer for ASU’s Future H2O ( futureh2o.asu.edu/ ). In this role she manages the facilitation of Future H2O’s water education efforts including the development of their online continuing professional education curriculum and community engagement activities.

Dr. Sneed’s research interests focuses on the engagement of students in virtual learning environments, with a particular emphasis on how the use of learning technologies can impact student engagement at and beyond the course level.

Betsy Wilkening

Betsy Wilkening

Transforming knowledge into action empowers teachers and students to create positive change in their community. As a 5th-generation Arizonan, and descendent of two of Tucson’s founding Mexican families, I strive to be part of the positive change.

Transforming knowledge into action empowers teachers and students to create positive change in their community. As a 5th-generation Arizonan, and descendent of two of Tucson’s founding Mexican families, I strive to be part of the positive change.

At Arizona Project WET (APW) I use my previous engineering and classroom teaching experience. In the Recharge the Rain project I help educators and students put knowledge into action to combat climate change and build a resilient community. Through the MATE underwater robotics program, students are provided real world engineering challenges.

In Spring 2009, I participated in the PolarTREC program and assisted a group of international researchers during their field campaign in Utqiagvik, Alaska. This expedition introduced me to field research and set me on a path of communicating science to students and the public. Currently, I am actively involved with Polar Educators International, a network of teachers and researchers.

At APW we work with teachers and students, using systems thinking tools, to make connections to water in their community, and draw relationships to global water issues. Lastly, by providing opportunities for students to solve problems, conserve water, and harvest the rain, we not only transform learning, we transform our community.