Past Scientists

April 2017
Early-career professionals from eight different STEM fields: Ecology, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Psychology, Physics, Medicine, Geological Sciences and UCAR/Atmospheric Science.
Science Speed Dating

March 2017
Dr. Ulyana Horodysky, Geological Sciences Department, CU Boulder
From the Slopes to the Stars: Science in Extreme Places

February 2017
Andrew Milne and the SparkFun Staff
Electronics Engineering and Behind-the-Scenes Manufacturing Tour at SparkFun Electronics

January 2017
Catherine Klauss, Physics, JILA
Science Speed Dating Teens’ Choice: The Physics of Ultra-Cold Atoms (special tour of JILA)

November 2016
Dr. Tor Wagner, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory and Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science, CU Boulder
Psychology and Neuroscience: Drugs, Beliefs and Medicine

October 2016
Karli Carston, Institute of Cognitive Science
Ewww Disgusting! The Evolution and Neuroscience of Getting Grossed Out

September 2016
Natalie Coston, PhD Candidate in Mathematics
Fractals: A Meeting of Math, Art, and Science

April 2016

Graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and early-career professionals from six different STEM fields: Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Engineering, Sustainable Design, and Biology.
Jay Kroll, PhD Student in Chemistry; Catherine Klauss, PhD Student in Physics; Morgan Shimabuku, Master’s Degree in Physical Geography; Kyle Shimabuku, PhD Student in Environmental Engineering; Dr. Megan Peterson, Postdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Studies; Jon Nienhouse, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
Science Speed Dating: Who is Your Science Soul Mate?

March 2016
Dr. Tess Eidem, Dr. Stephanie Moon, and PhD Candidate Briana Van Treeck; CU Boulder Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Hijacking Nature’s Machinery: How Scientists Have Morphed a Bacterial Defense Into a Cutting Edge Tool
CLICK HERE to learn more about Dr. Eidem, Dr. Moon and PhD Candidate B. Van Treeck’s work and the activities they brought to the Café.

February 2016
Dr. Eugenia Silva-Herzog, Research Associate, CU Boulder BioFrontiers Institute
Fighting Infectious Disease: Cell Signals on the Front Lines of Battle Between Hosts and Pathogens

January 2016
Dr. Meredith Tennis, Faculty at CU Denver School of Medicine
Conquering Cancer: The Promise of Personalized Medicine

December 2015
Dr. Douglas Bamforth, Professor of Anthropology CU Boulder
Unearthed: Ancient Life in the Boulder Valley

November 2015
Dr. David Norris, Forensic Botanist and Professor of Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder
CSI Botany: Using Plants to Solve Crimes

September/October 2015
Dr. Carson Farmer
Leave No (Digital) Trace: The Geography of Social Media

April 2015
Dr. Liz Specht, CU Boulder, BioFrontiers Institute
Engineering Algae: Frontiers in Biotechnology
CLICK HERE to learn more about Dr. Specht’s work and the activity she brought to the Café.

March 2015
Dr. Steven Lee, Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Messages from Mars: What’s New on the Red Planet?

Laura Grace Beckerman (CU Boulder)
Is There Anywhere on Earth Like Mars?
CLICK HERE to learn more about Ms. Beckerman’s work and the activity she brought to the Café.

February 2015
Dr. Ben Hankin, University of Denver
Teen Psychology 101: Who gets depressed and anxious and why?

January 2015
Dr. Hunter Ewen, Professor of Music, CU Boulder
Architecture of Music: Reimagining Live Music Through Artificial Intelligence, Electronic Body Suits and Computers 

December 2014
Dr. Todd Dorfman, Director of Emergency Medical Services for the City and County of Boulder
Boulder
Health Care Hero: The Life of an Emergency Medicine Physician

October 2014
Dr. Jessica Metcalf, Senior Research Associate, CU Boulder
Resurrecting the Dead: Exploring the World of Ancient DNA

September 2014
Dr. Tom Yeh and Researcher Jeeeun Kim
Tactile Storytelling: Re-Envisioning the Written Word

May 2014
Dr. Brian Johnson, Dr. Wendy Mores, Rebecca Bachelor, Holden Chase, Jeff Roy
Careers in Science (Panel Discussion)

April 2014
Dr. Jeanne Callan
Biomaterials For Tissue Engineering

March 2014
Dr. Chris Ray
A Pika in My Pocket: Snuggling up to Study the Effects of Climate Change

February 2014
Dr. Kathryn Penzkover
Bioengineering: Harnessing out Bodies’ Power to Heal

January 2014
Dr. Peter McGraw
What’s So Funny? The Science of Humor!

December 2013
Dr. Nick Schneider
MAVEN: Colorado’s Mission to Mars

November 2013
Dr. Joshua Wurman
Wild Weather: Storm Chasing and the Science of Extreme Weather

Dr. Joshua Wurman of the Center for Severe Weather Research spoke with us about his research on tornados and hurricanes. He talked about how scientists study extreme weather events and his Center’s research on improving our ability to predict when thunderstorms will spawn deadly tornadoes with adequate lead times for warning people. At the end of the café we went outside to look at a “tornado pod”—a customized device used for studying the insides of tornadoes at the ground level, where they are most destructive and hazardous to people.

October 2013
Dr. Janice Moore
Zombies Among Us! Parasites that Alter Host Behavior

Dr. Janice Moore, professor of Biology at Colorado State University, joined us for a special Halloween Teen Science Café all about zombies in nature!  Many parasites have evolved ways to control their hosts’ behavior, often at great expense to the host.  These parasites cause zombie-like behavior in their hosts as the hosts behave in ways that encourage the spread of the parasites—sometimes these are worms and sometimes they’re infectious diseases like viruses. We learned about some of these weird and spectacular parasites that create zombies of their hosts and how natural selection has caused these maladaptive behaviors to persist and spread. After Dr. Moore’s presentation, we examined disease spread and the evolution of virulence by simulating a zombie apocalypse!

September 2013
Dr. Talia Karim
Preserved in Stone 

Dr. Karim spoke to us about her research on trilobites. Trilobites are an extinct group of marine arthropods (animals with exoskeletons and segmented bodies) that lived from the Cambrian (~ 510 million years ago) through the Permian period (~ 250 million years ago).  They have been found on virtually every continent and are some of the most well-studied invertebrates from this time period.  Her trilobite work involves studying Ordovician aged (488-446 million years ago) trilobites from southern Oklahoma, western Newfoundland, and the Great Basin.  The study of these extremely diverse and well-preserved animals has allowed important discoveries in the fields of plate tectonics, evolutionary biology and paleontology.

July 2013
Special Alpine Café, featuring Dr. Mark Williams
Water: A Zero-Sum Game

How does a Colorado hydrologist end up working with the CIA in the Himalayas?! Dr. Williams is a hydrologist interested in the ecology of mountain areas and the impact of climate change on our global water supply. Dr. Williams conducts research in many of the world’s mountain ranges, including the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Andes and Himalayas. In this special Alpine Café at CU’s Mountain Research Station near Nederland, Dr. Williams talked to us about ice, snow and H2O and the impacts of a warming climate on our limited water supply.

May 2013
Dr. Eliana Colunga
How We Learn Language

Dr. Colunga is an experimental psychologist and computer scientist. She’s especially interested in how language and vocabulary develop in small children. When you were a baby, and someone said to you, “Ohwhatacutebabyyouare! Doyouwantsomenicegreenpeasfordinner?” How did you learn to separate those sounds into words that you could associate with something like peas? How did you learn that a ball was the name for a ball and not a round bouncy, even though those words can also describe a ball? Do Japanese and Spanish speaking children learn language the same way? These are some of the things Dr. Colunga studies. She’ll tell us about her findings and, even more interesting, how she actually uses children to explore these questions.

April / June 2013
Dr. Noah Fierer
Belly Button Biodiversity: Fascinating Facts About Microbes That Live On and Among Us

Everybody loves cooties, right?! Dr. Fierer studies the diversity of the bacteria, fungi and other creatures that live on and in our bodies and homes. We don’t usually think of ourselves as habitat, but we are. We have totally different communities living in our eyebrows and armpits. Our microbes help us acquire nutrients, fight food, and may even be used to identify us as individuals, much like DNA. Come learn some gross and amazing facts about our microscopic microbe friends.

March 2013
Dr. Brad Conner
Risky Business: The Science of Risky Behavior in Teens

Dr. Brad Conner originally moved to LA to become a rockstar. Although he realized that stardom wasn’t for him, he remained in LA, receiving his BA, MA and PhD and completing his post-doc fellowship in Psychology and Clinical Psychology at UCLA. After spending all that time in LA, Dr. Conner then moved to Pennsylvania, where he taught at Temple University and became a licensed psychologist as well. Dr. Conner is currently teaching classes as an associate professor at CSU and conducting research on how certain genotypes and the sensation seeking personality type influence the onset and course of disorders and the engagement in risky behaviors, such as drug abuse, risky sexual behavior, and delinquency in adolescence and young adulthood.

February 2013
Dr. César Nufio
What Insects Can Tell Us About Climate Change

Dr. César Nufio left Guatemala to come to the United States when he was six years old. He completed his undergraduate studies in California before moving to Arizona to get his PhD, focusing on understanding the reproductive decisions made by insects and their impacts on the reproductive success of females and their offspring. After receiving his PhD, Dr. Nufio spent time in Costa Rice, coordinating graduate field courses for The Organization for Tropical Studies. Currently, he is a professional research associate in CU’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO) department, also working closely with the Entomology section of CU’s Natural History Museum.