CEO Forum

Friday, September 29
9:00 a.m.–1:30 a.m.
Hartford Marriott Downtown

At the CEO Forum, science center and museum chief executives can discuss critical issues for the field and ways to improve the function and impact of science centers around the world—focusing on concrete tools that help institutions put their community needs and aspirations at the forefront of their work by better understanding the ecosystems and networks in which they operate. Leadership Speakers include Alfred Mays, Program Officer at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a biomedical research foundation; Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Executive Director of 100Kin10, a networked effort of 250+ partners working to support STEM educators and to train 100,000 excellent new STEM teachers by 2021; and Ron Ottinger, Executive Director of STEM Next, a national leader in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning that works to increase opportunities for youth in and out of school.

This event is open to CEOs of science museums and institutions, and can be added to your new or existing ASTC2018 registration.


Alfred Mays
Leadership Speaker

Alfred Mays, Program Officer at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, is responsible for managing grant competitions in science education and diversity of science.  He was the founder of EdSync Strategies, Inc., an education contract service that provided assistance to the North Carolina eLearning Commission, North Carolina STEM Learning Network, rural North Carolina public school systems, and the Public School Forum.  From 2007 to 2011, he served as the assistant director of the Collaborative Project, an initiative that sought to strengthen participating school systems serving low-income students in rural areas of North Carolina. Mays has also worked with the University of North Carolina General Administration, serving as the director of information resources and director of special projects. He received his B.S. from Wilmington College and M.S. in Administration from Central Michigan University. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1984 to 1994, providing information system and data management support for various Air Force missions.


Talia Milgrom-Elcott
Leadership Speaker

Talia Milgrom-Elcott is recognized for her innovative approach to tackling large, systemic challenges. At 100Kin10, she’s creating a new model for networked, nimble, and iterative collaboration that’s relentlessly focused on identifying—and solving—some of our most intractable social challenges. Under her leadership, what began as a call in President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address for 100,000 excellent STEM teachers in 10 years is becoming a reality, with more than 250 leading organizations from across sectors coming together in an unprecedented movement to train and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021. Milgrom-Elcott is a frequent public speaker and moderator, focusing on social innovation, science and technology, education, philanthropy, and the tenuous balancing act that is running a start-up, being a mother, and trying to have a life. Over the past several years, she’s led sessions or been a featured speaker at the White House, SXSW, Business Innovation Factory, the Philanthropy Roundtable, Scientific American, US News STEM Solutions, the (U.S.) National Institutes of Health, the Yale School of Management, and the Social Impact Exchange’s Conference on Scaling Impact, among others. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three little kids. She used to read lots of books and magazines, run, practice yoga, and sit in cafes reading the Sunday New York Times. Now she plays with Legos, magnetiles, and “stuffies,” and reads books with pictures, a great tradeoff, all things considered.


Ron Ottinger
Leadership Speaker

A national leader and expert in STEM learning, Ron Ottinger is known for his expertise in informal and out-of-school time STEM education and in building collaborations among schools, science centers, communities and afterschool programs that increase STEM learning opportunities for young people. Ron is Executive Director of STEM Next and serves as co-chair of the national STEM Funders Network. Additionally, Ron is the co-chair for the STEM Learning Ecosystem Initiative. As the Executive Editor of STEM Ready America, Ron convened the nation’s leading STEM experts presenting bold and persuasive evidence—as well as real-world examples of effective practices, programs, and partnerships on how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics knowledge and skills are preparing young people to be successful in school today and the workforce tomorrow. For the past nine years, he led the Noyce Foundation, which for a quarter-century was dedicated to helping young people become curious, thoughtful, and engaged learners. Prior to joining Noyce, Ron served for fourteen years as National Associate Director of the nonprofit AVID Center. He was elected to three terms on the San Diego City Schools’ Board of Education from 1992 to 2004, during a period of major reform of the school system, and was the longest running board president.


Opening Plenary Session

Saturday, September 29
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Connecticut Convention Center

Ed Yong
Keynote Speaker

Ed Yong is a science journalist who reports for The Atlantic, and is based in Washington, D.C. His work has featured in National Geographic, the New Yorker, Wired, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American, and many more.

His stories have won a variety of awards, including the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for biomedical reporting, the Byron H. Waksman Award for Excellence in the Public Communication of Life Sciences, and the U.S. National Academies Keck Science Communication Award.

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, his first book, was a New York Times bestseller, and a clue on Jeopardy! He has a Chatham Island black robin named after him.

If you read his stories from the world of science (or follow him on Twitter at @edyong209), you know that crows sometimes have sex with their dead, that hippos poop so much that sometimes all the fish die, how to survive being swallowed by another animal, and more. Like many who work in science centers, Yong has a gift for making science learning fun.

And he tackles some of the large challenges that face society, as well, including equity and inclusion issues in science, society, and science journalism. Recently he’s covered what we learn from 50 years of kids drawing scientists and when the gender gap in science will disappear, and in this essay he describes how he evaluated his own practices in reporting and interviewing—and the actions he’s personally taking in his work as a result.

Register now to be there when Yong kicks off the 2018 ASTC Annual Conference and launches more discussion about the ways individuals and institutions can engage with audiences around science and technology while also taking action to help solve challenges in society.


Dominique Browning
Featured Speaker

Dominique Browning joined the Chief Science Officer (CSO) program, which empowers youth to advocate for STEM and innovation in schools and communities, during its first year, when she was junior in high school. Pursuing her passion for STEM awareness and empowerment of women, she has advanced the program on live television in Arizona, helped launch the CSO program in St. Louis, and represented it at the White House. Now, in the fourth year of the CSO program, she is the incoming leader of the CSO Alumni Association, a sophomore at Arizona State University, and a mentor to current CSOs.





Alan J. Friedman Science Center Dialogues Luncheon

Sunday, September 30
11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Connecticut Convention Center

The Alan J. Friedman Science Center Dialogues are conducted in memory and tribute to the founding director of the New York Hall of Science, Queens. The Friedman Dialogues—sponsored by The Kavli Foundation—connect science-center professionals and science educators and communicators to timely and thought-provoking issues emerging in science and society. The session is presented in the spirit of the commitment Alan had to the science center field and the issues and interests that were reflected in his own writings and presentations over the years.

This year’s 2018 Friedman Dialogues will focus on how we can better understand ourselves—and the communities and people we serve—through the lenses of neuroscience, psychology, medicine, and public health—especially when broadening engagement in science and engaging diverse audiences means encountering different behaviors, approaches, and backgrounds in the young people and families within these communities.

How do our early experiences and environment shape us, affect our health, and impact our perception of the world? When and why do biology and physiology matter as we strive to understand what makes us human and what makes each of us unique? What are the implications for improved public health, for effective learning, and for increased equity?

This event is open to everyone, and is included with your ASTC2018 registration.


Stephanie Devaney 
Featured Speaker

Stephanie Devaney, Ph.D., is the Deputy Director of the All of Us Research Program at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health. By taking into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology, researchers will uncover paths toward delivering precision medicine.

Prior to this she led the coordination of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) from the Office of the Chief of Staff at the White House. In this role she coordinated the many components of the initiative and guided the vision of the overall effort, along with the many federal partners. Before joining the White House, Devaney worked in the Office of the Director at the NIH, where she helped advance policies critical to biomedical research and the NIH mission and assisted in the development of programs and research initiatives to advance national scientific priorities, including the PMI. Prior to that, she was a researcher at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, where she conducted research on pharmacogenetics and drug labeling, performed a meta-analysis of non-invasive fetal gender genetic testing, and was involved in public engagement surrounding the many ethical and social issues that are emerging with novel genomic technologies. Devaney received her doctorate in molecular genetics from the George Washington University and her bachelor’s degree in biology from The Ohio State University.


Kafui Dzirasa 
Featured Speaker

Kafui Dzirasa, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, with appointments in the departments of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, neurobiology, biomedical engineering, and neurosurgery. His research interests and lab focus on understanding how changes in the brain produce neurological and mental illness, and his ultimate goal is to combine his research, medical training, and community experience to improve outcomes for diverse communities suffering from neurological and psychiatric illness.

Dzirasa is the first African American to complete a doctorate in neurobiology at Duke and has participated in numerous programs geared towards exposing youth to science and technology, providing health education for underserved communities, and organizing clinics to screen for chronic diseases. He received the Charles Johnson Leadership Award in 2007, and he was recognized as one of Ebony magazine’s 30 Young Leaders of the Future. He has also been awarded the International Mental Health Research Organization Rising Star Award, the Sydney Baer Prize for Schizophrenia Research, and his laboratory was featured on CBS 60 Minutes in 2011. In 2016, he was awarded the inaugural Duke Medical Alumni Emerging Leader Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, America’s highest award for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. In 2017, he was recognized as 40 under 40 in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum, and the Engineering Alumni of the Year from UMBC.


Rae Ostman 

Rae Ostman, Ph.D., is Associate Research Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, Co-director of the Center for Innovation in Informal STEM Learning, and Director of the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net). She has broad experience planning, developing, implementing, and studying museum exhibits, programs, media, and other learning experiences in partnership with diverse organizations. Prior to joining ASU, she has worked at Acoustiguide, Cornell Botanic Gardens, the Exploratorium, Museum of the Moving Image, the Royal Ontario Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Sciencenter. She earned a doctorate in anthropology from New York University.


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Development Breakfast

Monday, October 1
8:00–9:00 a.m.
Hartford Marriott Downtown

Carolyn Berkowitz
Featured Speaker

Join your fellow fundraising professionals and chief executives for an insightful discussion of corporate social responsibility (CSR), nonprofit-corporate partnerships and ecosystems, and the ways that initiatives can achieve (and demonstrate) the most impact.

Carolyn Berkowitz is the President & CEO of the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals. An accomplished corporate citizenship professional, she led the CSR efforts at Capital One, where she re-envisioned Capital One’s corporate philanthropy focus and led a team of 35 CSR professionals in developing and executing a $450-million, 10-year strategy to prepare low- and moderate- income people for future success. Prior to Capital One, Berkowitz worked with America’s Promise, Points of Light Foundation, and the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.

Most recently, Ms. Berkowitz has served as a Partner at Mission Partners, a consulting firm dedicated to guiding nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible corporations in realizing their greatest social impact. She will continue to serve on its Equity Advisory Board, an initiative that she championed, through 2018.

Berkowitz is the co-author of “Employee Engagement in the Community – A Winning Formula,” published in People and Strategy Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management. She was twice named among the “100 Most Influential Business Leaders” in Washington, D.C., by the Washington Business Journal, and earned the Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s Visionary Award in 2015 after serving as Board Chair from 2013 to 2015 and Board member since 2006. She also serves as a member of the Virginia Community College Board as an appointee of Governor Terry McAuliffe. Additionally, she was named by former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

This event is open to everyone, but preregistration is required.
Development Breakfast fee is $45 per person.
Add this event to your new or existing ASTC2018 registration.



General Plenary Session

Monday, October 1
10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Connecticut Convention Center

Kumar Garg
Keynote Speaker

Kumar Garg is the Senior Director for Technology and Society at Schmidt Futures, where his portfolio includes four core areas of work: promoting the positive digital transformation of society by investing in data collaboratives that address concrete societal problems; expanding the number of people that are involved in discovery and innovation; investing in early stage risk-capital in nascent university research, high-potential people, and young organizations; and advancing public policy that sustains and leverages science and technology. Garg’s work will also include exploring different approaches to solving problems, including open innovation, market-shaping, and Grand Challenges.

He previously helped shape science and technology policy for the Obama Administration for nearly eight years, serving in a variety of roles in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Garg led the Obama Administration’s efforts to bolster science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, including the Educate to Innovate campaign, with more than $1 billion in in-kind and philanthropic investment; development of major State of the Union initiatives to train 100,000 excellent STEM teachers and bring computer science to all K–12 students; and creation of iconic events such as the White House Science Fair.

Working with the OSTP Deputy Director, he supervised a team of 20 staff with portfolios including broad innovation policy, advanced manufacturing, behavioral sciences, biotechnology, broadband, digital media, entrepreneurship, the maker movement, space, nanotechnology, and prizes. As a senior leader at OSTP, Garg was involved in policy development, implementation, and communication of a wide range of science and technology issues, including more than 25 Presidential events.

Prior to his time in government, he worked on behalf of parents and children seeking educational reform as an education lawyer and advocate. He received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Yale Law School.

This event is open to everyone, and is included with your ASTC2018 registration.