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Keynote and Vision Speakers


Keynote Speaker

Dr. Frances Colón

Dr. Frances ColonDr. Frances Colón is the CEO of Jasperi Consulting, a boutique firm that provides science, environment and technology policy advice to higher education institutions as well as state and national-level policy-makers. She is a 2018 New Voices Fellow of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez's appointee to the City of Miami Sea Level Rise Committee. From 2012- 2017, Colón was the Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State. As a science diplomat in Washington D.C., Dr. Colón led the re-engagement of scientific collaboration with Cuba and coordinated climate change policy for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas announced by President Obama. Dr. Colón is the founder of Cenadores Puerto Rico, a non-profit platform that facilitates collaboration between the Puerto Rican diaspora and civil society on the Island. In 2016, Dr. Colón was named one of the 20 most influential Latinos in technology by CNET and was a 2015-2016 Google Science Fair judge. Dr. Colón earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2004 from Brandeis University and her B.S. in Biology in 1997 from the University of Puerto Rico.



Forward Vision Speaker

Dr. Talitha Washington

Dr. Talitha WashingtonDr. Talitha Washington is a professor and mathematician at Howard University in Washington, DC. In August of 2017, she joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a Program Officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education. She is the co-lead of NSF’s new Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program, which seeks to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs. Dr. Washington is a life member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and is an alum of the SACNAS Leadership Institutes. She is an elected member of the Council of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Her research interests include the applications of differential equations to problems in biology and engineering, as well as the development of nonstandard finite difference schemes to numerically solve dynamical systems. Dr. Washington completed her undergraduate studies in mathematics at Spelman College and studied abroad at the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in Mexico. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of Connecticut. She was a VIGRE Research Associate in the Department of Mathematics at Duke University. She held assistant professorships at The College of New Rochelle and the University of Evansville, and most recently, an associate professorship at Howard University.