Meet our dynamic speaker lineup comprised of TIME Magazine’s Kid of the Year, influential Women in STEM and Project Scientist program alumnae.
Inventor, TIME Magazine’s first ever “Kid of the Year” in 2020, Young Scientist Challenge Winner, Recipient of the United States Environmental Protection Agency President’s Environmental Youth Award
Gitanjali Rao was recognized as America’s Top Young Scientist and received an EPA Presidential award for inventing her device “Tethys”—an early lead detection tool. Gitanjali is also the inventor of “Epione”—a device for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction using genetic engineering, and “Kindly”—an anti-cyberbullying service using AI and Natural Language processing.
She was honored as Forbes “30 Under 30 in Science” in 2019 and TIME’s “Top Young Innovator” and “TIME Kid of the Year” for her innovations and STEM workshops she conducts globally, which has inspired over 50,000 students in the last two years across five continents and 26 countries. In her sessions, she shares her own process of innovation that can be used by students all over the world. She often presents in global and corporate forums on innovation and the importance of STEM.
Gitanjali is the author of the book “Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM”, which guides students, educators, or teachers with a prescribed 5 step innovation process. She was honored as one of America’s Top Youth Volunteers by Prudential in 2021 for her workshops. She is working with large organizations to influence an innovation curriculum earlier in education in underprivileged areas.
Assistant Research Professor, Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, Arizona State University
STEM Girls Change the World Host
Tara Nkrumah, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology. Dr. Nkrumah’s conferred degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Middle Tennessee State University, a Masters in Education from Tennessee State University, and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of South Florida. Her research agenda focuses on science curriculum leadership development with an emphasis on culture, equity, and engagement in science. Tara employs various approaches to inquiry such as image theatre, narrative, and other arts-based methods. She has published in Journal of Language and Literacy Education (JoLLE) and presented at 2 national conferences – NARST A worldwide organization for improving science teaching and learning through research, and University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA). Tara’s 20 years of experience as a science educator include positions at schools in the U.S and in West Africa.
VP, Social Impact Marketing & Insights at Salesforce.org, Project Scientist Board Member
Moderator for Fireside Chat
Devi is a leading cause branding and purpose marketer who oversees the social impact stories of Salesforce and its nonprofit, education, and philanthropy community. Devi has over 20 years of experience leading corporate citizenship brands at the UN Foundation and Cone Communications, among other brands where she specialized in CSR and social impact strategies.
Executive Director, STEM Funders Network, Project Scientist Board Member
Moderator for Women in STEM Q&A Panel
Errika is the Executive Director for the STEM Funders Network which focuses on ensuring equitable access to STEM education and opportunities from cradle to career across the country. She has over 25 years of industry experience and she’s served on several national and community boards focused on STEM education and advocacy, literacy, early learning, workforce development and women/girl’s empowerment. Errika is a published co-author, magazine editor, and Forbes contributor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. And she’s been honored as an Outstanding Georgia Citizen by the Secretary of the State, a Woman of the Year by Atlanta’s Women in Technology, as an Ecosystem Builder by the Tech for All Alliance.
Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Alcon
Kristen Weirick is a developer of people and teams. For 20+ years she has partnered with company leadership across varying industries as a talent expert, to define and implement strategies that leverage talent resources to drive growth initiatives and create an enviable culture where all talent can thrive.
Currently she is Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Alcon, the global leader in eye care, dedicated to helping people see brilliantly. Kristen defines and delivers global strategies to ensure Alcon has the best talent at all levels. Similarly, she partners with leaders and associates across the organization to create a diverse and inclusive environment that fosters innovation and drives performance.
When she is not in the office, Kristen can be found training for distance swimming and running events and traveling the globe with her family. Kristen, her husband and their three dogs split their time between their homes in Fort Worth, Texas and Southwest Michigan.
Project Scientist Alumna, Science Lover & STEM Empowerer
“My name is Bennett Hall. I am a ninth grader at Myers Park High School! I ride horses and have a horse named Bella. I enjoy science and empowering girls in stem!”
Project Scientist Alumna, Future Astrogeologist, Project Scientist Student
“Hi my name is Ilyana this is my fifth year with Project Scientist. I am going into sixth grade and I’m 11 years old. When I grow up I want to be an astrogeologist. I play soccer and softball and am a Girl Scout. I also play piano and speak Mandarin Chinese. Some of my hobbies are playing sports, swimming, saving bees and researching every possible pet a Californian can have. I have a pet mouse named Dannielle, a dog named Rex, and a leopard gecko named Sandy. I enjoy going on hikes, playing with my pets, and taking my dog on excursions. I hope to travel the solar system one day starting with Earth, and be the first woman to orbit Jupiter, my favorite planet. Also I plan on having lots of pets.”
Project Scientist Alumna, New York University Abu Dhabi, Pre-Med Track Student
“My name is Grace Pedroza. I am a 19 year old from North Carolina with Mexican roots. I am currently a freshman at New York University Abu Dhabi intending to major in either Bioengineering or Computer Science while on the Pre-Med track. My passion for STEM and the medical field has encouraged me to participate in different volunteering positions with MEDIC and Project Scientist. In the future I plan to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a surgeon and work on research that uses STEM principles to learn and cure chronic illnesses. Most importantly I hope to continue inspiring and helping younger girls.”