SciAccess 2020 Recordings
The Science Accessibility Conference
Anna Voelker is the Coordinator of Outreach for The Ohio State University Department of Astronomy and the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). Anna graduated from The Ohio State University in 2018 with a self-designed degree in Science Communication and Accessibility and a minor in Astronomy and Astrophysics. In 2018, they received the OSU President’s Prize, a $100,000 award for projects that foster social change. Anna used this funding to launchSciAccess, an international initiative designed to promote disability inclusion in STEM. The inaugural SciAccess Conference took place in Columbus, Ohio on June 28 and 29, 2019. It drew 250 attendees from around the world and featured over 60 speakers who shared their expertise in science accessibility. This included keynote presentations by space explorer Anousheh Ansari and renowned autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin.
Anna specializes in accessible astronomy outreach for diverse learners and has worked extensively with blind students using 3D printing and other multi-sensory educational approaches. Previously, they worked in space science outreach at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the South African Astronomical Observatory, and the Aerospace Corporation. Anna is thrilled to be collaborating with Ohio State and NASA to host the SciAccess 2020 Conference for an online audience of 750 attendees. The Welcome Address will discuss the past, present, and future of the SciAccess Initiative.
Heather Tomko is the Outreach Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh’s National Center on Family Support. Tomko is an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her Masters of Public Health. In July 2018, Heather was crowned Ms. Wheelchair USA, and spent the year promoting her platform, “Increasing Inclusion for People with Disabilities into their Communities.
As a woman with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular disease, Tomko is passionate about disability advocacy and access. She serves on the Board of Directors of CLASS, a local disability resources organization, and is the founder of Accessible YOUniverse (www.accessibleyouniverse.org), an organization focused on disability advocacy, education, and representation. Heather was the winner of the 2018 Dick Thornburgh Disability Service Award, which is awarded to a student at the University of Pittsburgh who has made a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities. She also blogs at The Heather Report (www.theheatherreport.com), where she talks about her life and what it’s like to live with a disability.
Dr. Soyeon Yi is South Korea’s first and only astronaut. She was selected as an astronaut in December 2006, out of 36,000 contestants vying for the title of South Korea’s First Astronaut. On April 8, 2008, she launched into space on- board Soyuz TMA-12. During her 11-day mission at the International Space Station (ISS), Dr. Yi completed an aggressive number of experiments contributing to South Korea’s science textbooks and science channel television lectures. During her historical return to earth on April 19, 2008, she survived a force of nearly 16-G (versus 4-G average) upon the ballistic re-entry. Due to re-entry complications, the first to welcome her return to earth were nomads in the plains of Kazakhstan.
Dr. Yi received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and her Ph.D. from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). Her Ph.D. thesis is “DNA Separation Chips Using Temporal Asymmetric Ratchet Effect in NonUniform E-Fields”. In May 2014, Dr. Yi received her MBA with emphasis on Technology and Global Leadership at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. Currently, Dr. Yi is working with Studio XID developing digital prototyping softwares as the Global Business Lead, and with Silicon Valley-based satellite startup, Loft Orbital Solutions Inc. as the strategic business development & international partnerships. Dr. Yi is passionate about nurturing the next generation of leaders in STEM; she is not only volunteering for various non-profits as an inspiring speaker but also lecturing at University of Washington and local community colleges. When she is not busy with her global speaking engagements, she enjoys singing, playing the piano, gardening, crafts and hiking.