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2019 Student Research Conference Keynote Lecture


 


2019 Conference Keynote Address

"Lights in the Darkness: Stories from the Underground"

Dr. Johanna Kovarik

Saturday, March 23, 2019  /  10:00-11:15 am  /  DSU 3020  /  Free and open to the public


Dr. Karen Kashmanian Oates is a Professor of Biochemistry and the Dean of Arts & Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Oates received her B.S. in Biology from Rochester Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from The George Washington University. She then served as a Visiting Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Oncology and Hematology division. Dr. Oates joined WPI from the National Science Foundation, where she had served as a deputy director of the Division of Undergraduate Education charged with supporting innovative programs to strengthen undergraduate education and help revitalize American entrepreneurship and competitiveness. She began her academic career at George Mason University, where, as associate dean for the new College of Integrated and Interdisciplinary Studies, she helped create George Mason's New American College environment. She later served as inaugural provost for the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, where she established the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and helped secure NSF funds for Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities, which works to improve undergraduate STEM education by connecting learning to critical civic questions. Among the honors she has received are the Bruce Albert's Award, presented by American Society for Cell Biology for excellence in science education reform, and the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor presented by the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2012 she was inducted as a fellow into the prestigious American Association for the Advancement as a Science Education fellow. As the inaugural holder of the Peterson Family Deanship of Arts & Sciences, she oversees seven academic departments (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Humanities & Arts and Social Sciences & Policy Studies), as well as several interdisciplinary programs including Environmental and Sustainability studies, Robotics and Interactive Media and Game Development. - See more at: https://www.sigmaxi.org/programs/lectureships/2016-2017-lecturers#sthash.GHjR2PZt.dpuf
Dr. Karen Kashmanian Oates is a Professor of Biochemistry and the Dean of Arts & Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Oates received her B.S. in Biology from Rochester Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from The George Washington University. She then served as a Visiting Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Oncology and Hematology division. Dr. Oates joined WPI from the National Science Foundation, where she had served as a deputy director of the Division of Undergraduate Education charged with supporting innovative programs to strengthen undergraduate education and help revitalize American entrepreneurship and competitiveness. She began her academic career at George Mason University, where, as associate dean for the new College of Integrated and Interdisciplinary Studies, she helped create George Mason's New American College environment. She later served as inaugural provost for the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, where she established the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and helped secure NSF funds for Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities, which works to improve undergraduate STEM education by connecting learning to critical civic questions. Among the honors she has received are the Bruce Albert's Award, presented by American Society for Cell Biology for excellence in science education reform, and the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor presented by the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2012 she was inducted as a fellow into the prestigious American Association for the Advancement as a Science Education fellow. As the inaugural holder of the Peterson Family Deanship of Arts & Sciences, she oversees seven academic departments (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Humanities & Arts and Social Sciences & Policy Studies), as well as several interdisciplinary programs including Environmental and Sustainability studies, Robotics and Interactive Media and Game Development. - See more at: https://www.sigmaxi.org/programs/lectureships/2016-2017-lecturers#sthash.GHjR2PZt.dpuf

 Johanna Kovarik

Presentation Description
Beneath layers of rock, caves and karst systems hide away some of the most productive groundwater on earth and are an amazing repository of fossils, archaeological artifacts, and unique minerals. A growing number of scientists are heading underground to study caves, and it all begins by letting the geology of the cave speak to us through mapping these hidden environments. As the data hidden away in caves have the power to impact science across the board, so do the unique stories and perspectives other people have to share. To truly understand others and to work collaboratively, we must leave space for their story to emerge without influencing it with our bias. Equally important is defining our own narrative, even when people would define it for us. Learn more about what caves can teach us and travel around the subterranean world with Dr. Johanna Kovarik as she brings her own research story to light through images of these fantastic places.

 

Biography
Dr. Johanna Kovarik has studied caves and karst watersheds since she got her first job with the National Park Service in New Mexico in 2003. She earned her Master's degree in Geoscience from Western Kentucky University and her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. Her research work is primarily in land use and watershed dynamics, groundwater vulnerability, and natural resource management; she has joined grant-funded cave expeditions around the world as a geoscientist. Dr. Kovarik served for the past seven years as the National Cave and Karst Program Lead for the U.S. Forest Service, moving into this role from her work as a geologist and hydrologist on the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska. In 2015 she was awarded the National Rise to the Future: Friend of Fish and Watershed Award from the U.S. Forest Service for her national and international work with karst watersheds, and is a Fellow of the National Speleological Society.

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 Last Modified 1/31/19