Women in Science Discuss Their Journeys to Success

Published : Thursday, August 8, 2019 | 1:12 PM

Join the Altadena Library on Saturday, August 10, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., for a panel discussion celebrating the achievements of a group of talented scientific innovators. Moderated by Dr. Claire Newman, eight women will discuss their unique journeys to where they are today, making an impact in the fields of astrophysics, engineering, biology, and chemistry.

An audience Question & Answer session will follow.

About the Panelists

Apryl Boyle is a Los Angeles native, surfer, sailor, skater, and SCUBA diver; Her undergraduate degree from the University of Tampa is a double major of marine science and chemistry. Her Master’s degree is in Biomedical Science from the department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Epidemiology at the Medical University of South Carolina. She started at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida before working with NOAA and then went on to work/volunteer with host of non-profits. She’s focused her research and advocacy work on sharks and has been featured on Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and other international media. Apryl is working to create Citizen Scientists and advocates for ocean and shark conservation. She is based in Los Angeles and is an independent researcher and advocate that founded a shark conservation non-profit called El Porto Shark. Their mission is ocean and shark conservation through research, education, and action.

Anne Chomyn received her B.S. in Physics from Drexel University and her Ph.D. in Biology from Caltech. She worked at Caltech for most of her career, in collaboration with her late husband, Professor Giuseppe Attardi, studying the function of mitochondrial DNA in mammalian cells. She is Senior Research Associate Emerita of Caltech.

After retiring, Anne represented her census tract on the Altadena Town Council for two years. As liaison for the Town Council, she worked with Altadena Heritage on the 2016 Parks Needs Assessment. She also volunteered at Triangle Park, the joint project of Altadena Heritage and Amigos de Los Rios. Anne has also worked with Neighbors Building a Better Altadena. She is Chair and founding member of the Altadena Town Council Filming Committee and founding member of the Altadena Town Council Safe Streets Committee.

Brittney Cooper is an Earth and Space Science MSc student at York University interested in planetary atmospheres. She is a science collaborator and member of the Environmental Science Theme Group (ENV) on Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover), and her recent work focuses on the optical and radiative properties of Martian water ice clouds.

Nicole DePasquale has known she wanted to be an engineer since she was 12 years old. She has always been interested in space (and aliens), but she didn’t know it could be a career option until her two middle school science teachers, Mrs. Whitney and Mrs. Elliot, encouraged her to pursue her studies at a STEM-specialized high school. She went on to graduate with a BS Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Astronautics and a minor in Applied Mathematics from Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL in 2013. Nicole currently works for Boeing in El Segundo and works on satellites as an Autonomy Engineer. Her favorite planet is Saturn.

Decker French is a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena. Before this, she completed her PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona and undergraduate degrees at MIT. She studies galaxy evolution and tidal disruption events using multi-wavelength observations.

Tara Gomez-Hampton, Ph.D., is a professional scientist who works as a Medical Affairs Manager at Biosense Webster, a Johnson and Johnson Company, where she assesses safety for new product development.

Tara graduated with a B.S. in Molecular Biology and Highest Departmental Honors from University of California, Los Angeles in 2005. At UCLA, Tara was a part of the research team that discovered the last unknown enzyme essential for the production of Vitamin C in plants! She continued her education as a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology, where she earned her Ph.D. in Biology in 2011.

Tara also has extensive teaching experiences, she loves to spread the love of science and to talk about science in easily comprehensible ways. She has moonlighted as a college lecturer of Biology at the California State University East Bay, in addition to teaching numerous science workshops throughout the Los Angeles area for students of all ages.

Dr. Claire Newman grew up in a small English village devouring as many sci-fi/fantasy TV shows and books as possible and writing down lots of ideas for her own stories. Following a project on wind turbines in high school she developed an interest in atmospheric physics, which she studied at the University of Oxford at undergrad and graduate level before becoming a postdoc at Caltech. She now co-owns a small planetary research company based in Pasadena. Her mystery/fantasy novel “The Matchmaker” was published in 2018.

Dr. Marie Ygouf is an astrophysicist working on planets that orbit other stars than the sun. These objects, also called exoplanets, are extremely difficult to image for two main reasons: 1) they are situated further than 10 thousands of billion kilometers from Earth and 2) they emit several billion times less light than their host stars. Taking a picture of a planet around a star at such distances is equivalent to spoting a mosquito close to a lighthouse at a distance of several hundreds of kilometers. This requires state-of-the art telescopes that block the light from the star and innovative techniques of post-processing to extract the light from the planet. Her current work consists of improving the performance of telescopes for exoplanet science. She is currently preparing observations of exoplanets with the future NASA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project (Hubble Space Telescope successor) that will be launched in space in 2021. JWST will help scientists to better understand the atmosphere of exoplanets, which is the first step to find evidence of extraterrestrial life.

The event is free and open to the public. The Altadena Library is located at 600 E. Mariposa Street. For more information call (626) 798-0833 or
visit www.altadenalibrary.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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