Science Festival

First, choose your class period

Then take a look at our presentations below

Note, however, that enrollment ended on Jan 27, 2020.

Digital Fabrication at the Atomic Scale

Digital information technology changed your world; digital fabrication at the atomic scale will change it again. I will explain how and why you should consider being an engineer.


SpeakerJohn Randall, Ph. D.

  • I am a card carrying Nano-Nerd with a PhD from the University of Houston, 38 years of Industrial experience making really small things, and 31 US patents
  • I have worked for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory (4 years), Texas Instruments (15 years with 2 years in Belgium), and Zyvex as CTO, VP, and Pres (18 years)
  • Zyvex Labs has a plot to rule the world with Atom by Atom Manufacturing and is working to heal the blind (Human Trials in 2020)
  • I am addicted to computer programming, robotics, and playing Alto Sax
  • I love my wife and kids

President Zyvex Labs

Fiber Optic Communications

State-of-the-art optical communications and its key building blocks will be described.


SpeakerSalam Elahmadi, Ph.D.

• Hands-on entrepreneur and executive with strong project management and a cross-disciplinary background that includes signal processing, fiber optic communication, RF design, and mixed-signal IC design. • Successfully launched industry-first telecom products enabling multi-million-dollar yearly revenues • Over 16 years of experience in System Design, Test, and Deployment of wireless, wireline, and optical communications systems • Author of numerous granted patents and peer-reviewed publications. • Invited speaker to technical events & conferences • Ph.D. EE

Founder & CTO Menara Networks

The Promise of Protons

Learn about the physics and technical aspects of proton therapy and how it is applied to the treatment of cancer. With the promise of proton therapy, we are leading the way with more advanced technology in radiation therapy for improved patient outcomes.


SpeakerGary Barlow

  • More than 35 years of experience in radiation therapy
    • Seven years as Technical Director of the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute
    • Five years as Administrative Director of Texas Center for Proton Therapy
  • A passionate advocate for the benefits of proton therapy
  • An experienced leader and manager

Administrative Director US Oncology

Full Presentations

Civil Engineering and Beyond

Grayson will be discussing the basics of civil engineering, what it means, and what it takes to become a civil engineer. Additionally, Grayson will discuss what it takes to be successful as a civil engineer, and opportunities which can be capitalized in the industry. Grayson will also discuss career trajectory and show many examples of different kinds of projects available in the industry.


SpeakerGrayson Hughes, PE

  • Grayson was born & raised in Highland Park, went to Texas A&M University to study Civil Engineering
  • Grayson has been practicing Civil Engineering in the North Texas market for over a decade
  • Grayson has worked starting from the bottom as an entry level designer to managing an office for a national engineering firm
  • Grayson works in the private land development industry, developing new projects all over Texas and outside in other states
  • Grayson was highly involved in band during HS, played trumpet and was the senior Drum Major of the band.

Civil Engineer WGI

Developing New Pain Medicines to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic

Pain is one of the most common medical problems and also one of the most difficult to treat. I will discuss how research into non-opioid pain medicines can transform how we think about treating pain and reduce the burden of the opioid epidemic.


SpeakerTheodore Price, PhD

*BS in Neuroscience from UTD *PhD in Pharmacology from UTHSCSA Medical School *Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuroscience and Pain at McGill University, Montreal, Canada *Eugene McDermott Professor at University of Texas at Dallas and Director of Center for Advanced Pain Studies *Co-Founder of 3 Biotech companies: CerSci Therapeutics, Ted's Brain Science Products and 4E Therapeutics

Professor University of Texas at Dallas

Guyanese Perceptions of Wild Cats and Implications for Conflict

In these talks I will provide an overview of the themes that drive people's perceptions of wild cats - jaguars, pumas, ocelots - in Guyana and what these mean for the survivability of these species in Guyana. I will situate my talk in my personal experience and upbringing in Guyana; I will also provide how my perceptions of wild cats today compared to when I was growing up in Guyana and how that is influencing my plans to protect wildlife.


SpeakerAnthony Cummings, Ph.D.

  • A geographer with interests in human-natural environment interactions and human-wildlife conflict
  • Work seeks to understand how changes in the natural environment and climate systems impact the potential for food availability for indigenous peoples and the animals with which they are associated
  • Utilizes Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing tools (drones) to study land-use and land-cover change with swidden agriculture landscapes
  • Developing a potential for conflict index between humans and wild cats in his native Guyana

Geospatial Information Sciences Professor University of Texas at Dallas

Honey Money!!

Honey bee business. Bee removal. Pollination. Honey sales.


SpeakerMichael Leidner

Owner - South Texas Apiaries LLC

Middle and High Scool Science Teacher

Physics, Chemistry, Biology, AP Biology, 6th & 7th grade

Mud Engineer - Halliburton

B.S. Range and Wildlife Management - Texas A&M University Kingsville

M.Ed. Education Adminsitration - University of Texas at Arlington

Owner South Texas Apiaries LLC

New Advances in Surgery using the da Vinci Robotic System

New advances in robotic technology have allowed surgeons to perform, and patients to undergo difficult procedures in a minimally invasive way. Students will have an opportunity for a hands on experience with the da Vinci Surgical Robot.


SpeakerRichard Salter, MD

  • Attended Abilene Christian University, graduated 1983
  • Attended Texas Tech University Medical School, graduated 1988
  • Internship and Residency at University of Kentucky, completed 1992
  • Specialized practice in Ob-Gyn in Dallas for 25years, started Advanced Ob-Gyn Associaites in 2008
  • Main interest is in minimally invasive and advanced gynecologic surgery, utilizing the da Vinci surgical robotic system.

MD, Ob-Gyn Advanced Ob-Gyn Associates

Opportunities in Petroleum Engineering & Unconventional Oil and Gas Exploration

Opportunities in petroleum engineering & an overview of how unconventional oil and gas exploration works in the U.S.


SpeakerTom Elsener

Matador Resources from 2013 to Current - Incorporate all oil and gas disciplines (geology, reservoir, completions, land, legal, regulatory, accounting, midstream, exploration, A&D, etc) into comprehensive oil and gas development plans in a public company traded on the NYSE.

EnCana Oil & Gas from 2007 to 2013 - Various onshore unconventional oil and gas engineering including Reservoir, Completions, Drilling, Exploration and Business Development

Rowan - Offshore roustabout summer of 2005

Texas A&M - BS Petroleum Engineering in 2007

Highland Park High School in 2003

SVP - Reservoir Engineering & Senior Asset Manager Matador Resources

Polymer Chemistry - More Than Meets the Eye

Polymers, more commonly known as plastics, are widely used in everyday life. Chemists have the ability to tinker with the molecular structure of polymers and therefore affect polymer properties. Polymer applications, including drug delivery and 3D-printing, will be described.


SpeakerDavid Son, Ph.D.

  • B.S. in chemistry from Andrews University (Berrien Springs, MI)
  • Ph.D. in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (Washington, D.C.)
  • Professor at SMU since 1996
  • Conducts research in inorganic and organometallic chemistry, including polymer synthesis and characterization
  • Teaches general chemistry and organic chemistry

Professor of Chemistry SMU

Preparing for a Successful Career Lift Off

The future of work requires: • Leading with teamwork • Overcoming failures and adjusting flight plans • Becoming problem finders and problem solvers


SpeakerAlicia Morgan

• Alicia M Morgan is the Vice President of Education and Programs at Frontiers of Flight Museum. • She is a graduate of Tuskegee University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and New Mexico State University with a Master’s of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering • Her professional experiences in process and program management include working in the aviation and defense industry and a successful transition into nonprofit sector leadership. • She has worked at Fortune 500 companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon • A TEDx speaker, Society of Women Engineers WE Local Honoree, and Dallas Business Journal Women in Technology Advocate Honoree, each year, Alicia engages with over 42,000 students through Museum programs, outreach, and K-12 education.

Vice President of Education and Programs Frontiers of Flight Museum

Product Development in Food & Beverages: A Food Scientist's View.

Considering a career at a Fortune 50 company? Come learn how science helps drive retail through a product development perspective.


SpeakerJonathan Licker, PhD

  • Works for Walmart at the global Home Office in Bentonville, Arkansas developing frozen food for Walmart Private Brand across categories including Fruit, Smoothies, Juices, Single & Multi-serve meals, Ice Cream and Novelties.

  • Earned a PhD from Cornell University in Food Science & Flavor Chemistry.

  • Served on Cornell University advisory council since 2003-2018. Provides guidance for the food science department’s students, faculty, programs, and curriculum. .

  • Worked for PepsiCo in Research & Development in Plano, Texas for 19 years developing snacks for Frito-Lay and other global brands such as Lays, Doritos, Cheetos and Sunchips..

Senior Manager, Product Development. Private Brands Walmart

Video Career Paths plus Roles and Responsibilities of video game developers

Video Career Paths Roles and Responsibilities of video game developers


SpeakerGary Brubaker

  • Gary Keith Brubaker was appointed Director of SMU Guildhall in June 2012. Brubaker has extensive experience in the games industry, having served as a development director, a manager of core technology, and lead programmer.
  • He has worked for major studios and indie developers including LucasArts, Atari and Electronic Arts
  • He has shipped games for many popular brands including: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lego, Mission Impossible, Terminator, Lord of the Rings, Dungeon & Dragons and Monkey Island.

Director SMU Guildhall