Anna Voelker founded the SciAccess Initiative in 2018 with the support of The Ohio State University President’s Prize. The inaugural SciAccess Conference took place in June of 2019, bringing together 250 teachers, students, and disability advocates with a shared passion for accessible STEM education. In 2020, Anna organized a virtual SciAccess Conference, which had 555 attendees from all 7 continents and 46 nations, shown here in blue. In 2020, SciAccess received recognition The Ohio State University Community Engaged Program Award for “outstanding achievement for impactful programs focused on community-university partnerships.” Anna currently serves as the Coordinator of Outreach for The Ohio State University Department of Astronomy and the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics.
Christy Albrecht is a logistics and management professional with experience in event/conference organization, informal education, and scientific research. Her past projects, primarily at Yerkes Observatory (as a part of the University of Chicago), include organizing logistics and travel for astronomy/BVI conferences, managing large scientific educational events for individuals with disabilities, and mentoring STEM undergraduate interns in inclusive STEM education. Her academic credentials are from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied Operations/Technology Management and Economic Research.
Kate Meredith is the former Director of Yerkes Education Outreach (YEO) at Yerkes Observatory. She is passionate about making astronomy and STEAM accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or background, and keeping the Geneva Lakes community engaged in former YEO programs. She brings two key former YEO programs with her to GLAS Education: Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA) and Sloan Digital Sky Survey outreach. Kate is the lead educator for the IDATA project, a software development grant to develop accessible astronomy image processing software. Recently recognized by the Geneva Lake branch of the American Association of University Women for her leadership in astronomy education, she is very excited to share her passion and experience with others through the future efforts of GLAS.
Dr. Thomas Tubon is an established scientist and professor in the Biotechnology Department at Madison College and is an honorary research fellow at UW Madison. He teaches program courses in the Applied Associates Degree in Biotechnology, Post-Baccalaureate Certificates in Biotechnology, and Human Stem Cell Technologies. He currently serves as the Principal Investigator and Director for the National Science Foundation– Advanced Technological Education program for developing workforce-centered programming in Emerging Technologies and for the creation of a National Coordination Network for Cell and Tissue Manufacturing. He serves leadership roles in the NSF Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing, and the National InnovATEBIO Center for Biotechnology.
Dr. John Beacom is an internationally known researcher in physics and astronomy, a popular teacher of introductory courses, and a leader in bringing the excitement of science to the public. He is the faculty advisor for Anna Voelker and her SciAccess work through the Ohio State President’s Prize. At Ohio State, he is College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, Henry L. Cox Professor of Physics and of Astronomy, and Director of the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). John is a longtime, active proponent of increasing public appreciation of science as well as broadening the participation of underrepresented groups, through both his own work and his institutional roles. His 2015 TEDx OSU talk can be found here.
Caitlin O’Brien is a sophomore at Ohio State studying Astronomy and Astrophysics. She is the President of the Astronomical Society at Ohio State and Vice-President of the SciAccess Zenith Mentorship Program. She also serves as a telescope operator at the Smith Lab Observatory, and a planetarium presenter at the Arne Slettebak Planetarium. She is currently working with Anna Voelker on a thesis addressing the accessibility of planetarium shows.
Alaina Sliwinski graduated cum laude from the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business with a B.S in business administration and finance in December 2019. She was a Brooke Owens Fellow which led to her current employment with Space Capital in NYC. She expanded upon her passion for the space industry and STEM through her experiences as a supply chain intern at SpaceX, as an intern lobbying for companies such as Orbital Insight through Ohio State’s Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP), and as financial intern at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
Michaela Deming is a fifth year undergraduate at the Ohio State University studying Astronomy and Astrophysics. She got her start in accessible outreach as a member of the Ohio State Department of Astronomy’s 2020 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), working on the virtual SciAccess 2020 Conference. Michaela became the President of the SciAccess Zenith Mentorship Program in the autumn of 2020 and is an active member of the Astronomical Society at Ohio State. Her other work in astronomy outreach includes volunteering as a telescope operator at the Smith Lab Observatory, training as a presenter at the Arne Slettebak Planetarium, and giving educational talks to audiences ranging from school-age to adult. She will graduate cum laude from Ohio State in May 2021 and plans to pursue a career in astronomy outreach.