Demonstrating its ongoing commitment to the empowerment of women in the Kanawha Valley, the Charleston Area Alliance is proud to announce Dr. Julie Robinson, chief scientist for the International Science Station for NASA at Johnson Space Center, as its Elevations luncheon keynote speaker Oct. 19 at The Clay Center.
Robinson will share how the ISS is yielding results across fields as diverse as astrophysics, nanomaterials, combustion, microbiology and human psychology and highlight some of the research facility’s most dramatic discoveries.
Robinson counts her experience as a delegate in 1985 at the National Youth Science Camp, located near Bartow, W.Va., as vital in helping contribute to her successful career path. Since then, Robinson has stayed connected to the prestigious Mountain State STEM program, operated by the National Youth Science Foundation, serving as a presenter to encourage the future science leaders.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Robinson and hear about the amazing work being done on the International Space Station,” said Lesli Forbes, the Alliance’s vice president of marketing and development. “Not only does she have an inspiring message about the research facility’s worldwide collaboration, bridging language barriers and engineering cultures for a common goal – she has a deep connection to scientific education in the Mountain State.”
Presented with title sponsorship support from Dow Chemical, the Elevations professional development series includes speakers who represent the diverse interests valued by the Kanawha Valley’s professional women, including Leah Curry
, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Inc. (TMMWV) Tuesday, Aug. 15 and Bestselling Mindfulness Author Emily Bennington
Monday, Nov. 13 at the Charleston Marriott.
Flying more than 200 miles above Earth's surface, the 357-foot-long ISS facility is an engineering marvel, home to the only U.S. National Laboratory in a microgravity environment. With six resident crew members representing a variety of nations, ground teams around the globe stand ready to support station activities on a daily basis.
As the chief scientist for the ISS, Robinson has overseen the transition of the laboratory from the assembly period, with just a few dozen active investigations, to full utilization, with hundreds of active investigations. She represents all space station users, including NASA-funded investigators, the new community of investigators using the station as a National Laboratory, and the international research community.
Robinson has an interdisciplinary background in the physical and biological sciences and her professional experience has included research activities in a variety of fields, including virology, analytical chemistry, genetics, statistics, field biology, and remote sensing. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Utah State University in 1989. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada Reno in 1996.
She began her career at NASA Johnson Space Center (working for Lockheed Martin), in the Image Science Laboratory and later led a major NASA-sponsored scientific project to facilitate a distribution network for global maps of coral reefs in the world. She has collaborated with ecologists and conservation biologists in incorporating remote sensing data into their projects, and most recently published the textbook Remote Sensing for Ecology and Conservation Biology. She joined NASA as a civil servant in the Office of the ISS Program Scientist in 2004, was named Deputy ISS Program Scientist in 2006, and ISS Chief Scientist in 2007. She received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2011.
The National Youth Science Camp was founded in 1963 as a part of West Virginia’s Centennial Celebration as a summer forum where two delegates representing each state exchange ideas with leading scientists and other professionals from academic and corporate worlds. The camp’s extensive alumni network is one of its major strengths – the program encourages students to go further than they think they could and encourages them to serve as West Virginia ambassadors throughout their careers.
Other notable alumni include West Bush, chairman, CEO and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation; Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo; and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, a scientist who has dedicated his career to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, among many others.
Register for the Elevations luncheon with Leah Curry Aug. 15, Dr. Julie Robinson Oct. 19 and Emily Bennington Nov. 13 at charlestonareaalliance.org.