Kara Miller, @karaemiller
Host and Executive Editor, Innovation Hub
Kara Miller is the host and executive editor of Innovation Hub, which she launched in 2011. PRI took the program national in May, 2014. Kara also contributes to “The Takeaway,” a national radio program hosted by John Hockenberry, WGBH’s “Morning Edition,” and “Greater Boston,” which airs on Boston’s PBS station. As a host, Kara has interviewed Tom Friedman, Sherry Turkle, Jared Diamond, Sal Khan, David Pogue, and Marissa Mayer, among others. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The National Journal, The Boston Herald, TheAtlantic.com, The Huffington Post, and The International Herald Tribune. Kara holds a Ph.D. from Tufts and a B.A. from Yale.
Keynote Speakers and Panelists
Paula S. Apsell, Keynote
Director of the WGBH Science Unit and Senior Executive Producer, NOVA
As Director of the WGBH Science Unit and Senior Executive Producer of the PBS science series NOVA, now in its 42nd season, Paula S. Apsell has overseen the production of hundreds of acclaimed science documentaries, including such distinguished miniseries as The Fabric of the Cosmos with Brian Greene, Making Stuff hosted by New York Times technology reporter David Pogue, Origins, and Evolution. In 2005, Apsell introduced a spinoff in NOVA scienceNOW, a critically acclaimed science magazine series. Today, NOVA is the most watched primetime science series on American television and has won every major broadcasting award, including the Emmy, the Peabody, and the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton. Apsell has been recognized with numerous individual awards, including the Carl Sagan Award given by the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and the Bradford Washburn Award of Boston’s Museum of Science. She has served on several boards, including that of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Brandeis University’s Science Advisory Council. She is a trustee of the International Documentary Association, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s first ever Public Service Award.
From 2009-2013, Karen was Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, where she led the development of the 2010 National Education Technology Plan and focused the Office’s efforts on teacher and leader support. She also was a leading voice for transforming American education through technology innovation and research. Prior to joining the department, Cator directed Apple’s leadership and advocacy efforts in education. In this role, she focused on the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers students and administrators. Cator holds a Master’s in school administration from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s in early childhood education from Springfield College. She is a past chair for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and has served on boards including the Software & Information Industry Association-Education.
Chris Dede, Keynote
Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education
Chris Dede is the Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. His fields of scholarship include emerging technologies, policy, and leadership. His research includes grants to design and study immersive simulations, transformed social interactions, and online professional development. In 2007, he was honored by Harvard University as an outstanding teacher, and in 2011 he was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. He is currently serving as a Visiting Expert for the National Science Foundation
Jacob Foster is the Assistant Director of STEM at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In this role he oversees the state’s science, technology/engineering and mathematics standards and curriculum frameworks, state-funded professional development opportunities and support for districts. Jake has been a member of a design team for the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education and a writing team member for the Next Generation Science Standards. Previously Jake has worked with the Coalition of Essential Schools on school reform, taught various high school physical and earth sciences as well as served as a middle school science coach and science teacher educator. Jake earned a B.A. from Hampshire College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Julia’s research focuses on innovative policies and practices in K-12 education. She currently writes a weekly blog, and examines competency based education policies, blended learning school models, and initiatives to increase students’ social capital.
Prior to joining the Institute, Julia worked at NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy organization that supports education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education. She also served as an instructor in the Yale College Seminar Program and a summer associate at Farella Braun + Martel LLP, a litigation firm in San Francisco. Julia graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies. She also received a JD from Yale Law School.
Dr. Gaël McGill is faculty and Director of Molecular Visualization at the Center for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics at Harvard Medical School where his teaching and research focuses on visualization design methods in science education. He is also founder & CEO of Digizyme, Inc., a firm dedicated to the visualization and communication of science. Dr. McGill recently co-authored and served as digital director for E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth iBooks biology textbook. He is the creator of the online community portal molecularmovies.com, the Molecular Maya (mMaya) software toolkit and has contributed to leading Maya and ZBrush textbooks for Wiley/SYBEX Publishing. Dr. McGill is also a board member of the Vesalius Trust and an advisor to several biotechnology and device companies. After his B.A. summa cum laude in Biology, Music, and Art History from Swarthmore College, and Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sandoz Pharmaceuticals fellow, Dr. McGill completed his postdoctoral work at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute studying tumor cell apoptosis and melanoma.
Manager, NASA Mars Public Engagement Program, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Michelle Viotti is the Manager for NASA’s Mars Public Engagement Program, which covers formal education, informal education, and public outreach activities for missions in NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. In this position, she leads a team of communications and education experts at JPL and coordinates the efforts of Mars-related education and public outreach activities undertaken by other NASA Centers and Principal Investigators at universities. Mars Public Engagement includes the Mars Student Imaging Project, Mars Robotics Education, Imagine Mars, the Mars Museum Visualization Alliance, among others.
Before becoming the Director of the Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning in June 2014 Dr. Storksdieck served as the Director of the Board on Science Education (BOSE) at the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences. As the BOSE Director, he oversaw studies that address a wide range of issues related to science education and science learning, and provide evidence-based advice to decision-makers in policy, academia and educational practice. His prior research focused on what and how we learn when we do so voluntarily, and how learning is connected to our behaviors, identities and beliefs. Martin has also previously served as director of project development and senior researcher at the non-profit Institute for Learning Innovation. He holds an M.S. in biology from the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany; an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; and a Ph.D. in education from Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany.
Professor and Director, the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade at MIT
Eric Klopfer is a professor and the Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade at MIT. Klopfer’s research focuses on the development and use of computer games and simulations for building understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The games that he works on are designed to build understanding of scientific practices and concepts as well as critical knowledge, using both mobile and web-delivered game platforms. In the realm of simulations, Klopfer’s work focuses on students understanding complex systems through, and connecting computer programming with scientific practice, critical thinking, and real-world issues. He is the co-author of the books, “Adventures in Modeling”, “The More We Know, as well as author of “Augmented Learning.” Klopfer is also the co-founder and past President of the non-profit Learning Games Network.
Michelle Wilkerson-Jerde is a learning scientist, mathematics educator and design-based researcher in the Department of Education at Tufts University. She studies how young people make sense of complex problems in mathematics and science, and how to support such sense-making. As part of this work, she designs computational toolkits with the goal of empowering young people to share, formalize, and test their own ideas about how the world works. You can find some examples of this at the Expressive Technologies Lab website. Wilkerson-Jerde and her colleagues build and study technological toolkits that enable young people to explore complex patterns and problems. To do this, they find ways to connect students’ expressive activities – things like storytelling, animation, and sketching – with the formal tools and languages of math, science, and computation.
Marisa Wolsky is the Executive Producer of Design Squad, for which she oversees all aspects of the production, translating engineering content into entertaining media. She is also Senior Producer for PEEP and the Big Wide World, responsible for managing its production and overseeing the implementation of PEEP’s educationally rich science curriculum across multiplatforms. Prior to this, she worked on the development and production of many children’s series, including Long Ago & Far Away, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?, Arthur, and ZOOM.
Teacher, Thomas Edison High School & 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator
Steve Beard is a science teacher at Thomas Edison High School in Portland, Oregon. His passion for lifelong learning has been applied to nearly 15 years of experience teaching in public, charter and private schools. He has taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District and currently collaborates with students and teachers at Thomas Edison. In addition to other tools, Steve incorporates various digital media resources in his daily lessons. He uses these tools to inspire students to engage with science, encourage balance and support student success. Steve was selected to be a 2014 Lead PBS Digital Innovator for his use of digital media in the classroom. He served as a NOVA teacher advisor on the Earth from Space program. Steve earned a B.A. from Pitzer College and a M.S. in Leadership for Sustainability Education from Portland State University where he studied the costs and benefits of screen use and digital media.