Science Festival

First, choose your class period

Then take a look at our presentations below

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

In the Shadow of the Higgs Particle

Predicted in the 1960s, its 2012 discovery closed one chapter and opened another. What can we learn now, in the shadow of the Higgs Particle?


SpeakerSteve Sekula, PhD

  • PhD in Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004.
  • B.S. in Physics, Yale University, 1998.
  • In 2008-2009, led the team that discovered the lowest-energy state of a bound pair of particles called "bottom quarks"; predicted to exist in 1997, unobserved until 2008-2009.
  • In 2012-2019, measurement of the properties of the recently discovered "Higgs particle," which provides fundamental mass in nature.
  • Co-author (with literal rocket scientist Frank Blitzer and theoretical physicist S. James Gates, Jr.) of the book "Reality in the Shadows (or) What the Heck's the Higgs?", an introduction to the sweeping extent of modern particle and astrophysics. This book is for those with a passion for scientific discovery.

Associate Professor of Physics SMU

The ER, Poisons and Crime Scenes--Stories from the "Front Line" of Medicine

This presentation will include stories and pictures from the ER at Parkland--our nation's busiest emergency department and medicine's "front line." Then learn how my journey in emergency medicine led me to study medical toxicology at the North Texas Poison Center and how I then developed a forensic toxicology practice testifying in Federal drug crime cases involving the opioid epidemic and in murder mysteries.


SpeakerStacey Hail, MD

Stacey L. Hail, MD, FACMT is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. She currently serves as attending physician in the Parkland Hospital Emergency Department and the North Texas Poison Center. Dr. Hail received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Southern Methodist University in 1995. After receiving her Medical Degree at the Medical College of Georgia in 1999, she completed both her emergency medicine residency and medical toxicology fellowship at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Hail has a prolific forensic toxicology practice serving as an expert witness for attorneys throughout the United States. She has testified multiple times as a witness for the Department of Justice involving federal drug crimes due to the national opioid epidemic. Dr. Hail also has provided toxicology commentary for local and national news venues and for documentaries on the National Geographic channel, the BBC, and the Oxygen channel.

Parkland ER Doctor & Medical Toxicologist North Texas Poison Center

What is a Blockchain, and Why Should I Care?

Blockchain is everywhere these days, yet few people understand it. This presentation explains the technology and separates fact from fiction.


SpeakerYale Vinson

  • BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University
  • Started career in defense, developing weapons systems
  • Worked in Cryptography and Fintech for the last 20 years
  • Currently Head of Innovation with MoneyGram
  • Current areas of interest include Blockchain and DLT, Artificial Intelligence and Biometrics

Global Head of Innovation and Blockchain Moneygram

Full Presentations

Defense Against the Dark Web

Who wants your data? Who is protecting it? Here is your chance to chat with two professionals from a major data bureau about hackers, exploits, and Defense Against the Dark Web.


SpeakerJohn Marino

John Marino (co-presenter)

*Experienced information security analyst with 4 years of work experience at a large credit bureau. *Specializes in initial triage and remediation of cyber threats targeting the financial industry *Holds a variety of certifications from CompTIA and SANS Institute *Started my career in information security at Best Buy working as a Geek Squad agent

Threat Detection Team Lead Experian

Digital Transformation in Oil and Gas

Woodson will discuss how the digital transformation, specifically cloud native technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence, will impact the role of oil and gas professionals in the near future.


SpeakerRyan Woodson

*Bachelor's Degree in Geology from Sam Houston State University, was recruited/hired by Halliburton right out of college *Worked in a variety of roles throughout 11 year career with Halliburton *Roles held: Software testing, product management, consulting services and technical sales. *Active member of several industry related organizations such as AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologist) and DFW executive member of PPDM (Professional Petroleum Data Management Association)

Geologist, Digital Transformation & AI Halliburton

Infectious Diseases—The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!

The practice of medicine—especially Infectious diseases—is ever changing! Learn more about this field and how it relates to you and the world around you.


SpeakerJulie Trivedi, MD

*BA from University of Pennsylvania *MD from Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School *Specialized in Adult Infectious Diseases with a focus in Hospital Epidemiology; *Oversee the Infection Prevention program at UTSW: Responsible for keeping the hospital a safe place for patients and employees. *Co-chair the Special Pathogens team at UTSW

Assistant Professor of Medicine; Medical Director of Infection Prevention UT Southwestern Medical Center

Outbreak: Why You Really Can't Escape

I will describe recent local outbreaks and how it truly "takes a village" to prevent and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Come learn about career options within the public health field.


SpeakerWendy Chung, MD

  • Dallas County Health and Human Services, Chief Epidemiologist
  • Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician
  • BS—Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • MS—Harvard School of Public Health
  • MD—University of Texas HSC, San Antonio

Chief Epidemiologist Dallas County Health and Human Services

Rise Early, Work Hard, Strike Oil

We use oil and gas products every day, from heating our homes to driving our cars to using our cell phones or just about anything plastic. Oil and gas exists all around the world but requires innovation and technology to be able to get it out of the ground and into the hands of consumers. Interested in learning more about this exciting and ever evolving industry? Have you heard of petroleum engineering and thought it sounded interested, but have no clue what we actually do and what it takes to do it? Come listen!


SpeakerAudrey Burks

*Grew up in Dallas and graduated from Highland Park High School *Bachelors degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M *Petroleum Engineer at Pioneer Natural Resources for 7.5 years in various roles such as production engineer, reservoir engineer, completions engineer and business analyst

Petroleum Engineer Pioneer Natural Resources

Robotic Surgery

Discuss applications of robotics in surgery, history of robotic surgery and future of robotics in surgery and medicine.


SpeakerDaniel Davis, DO, FACS, FASMBS

Dr Daniel Davis is Chief of Bariatric Surgery for Baylor University Medical Center and Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery for Texas A & M College of Medicine. Dr Davis is on the general surgery faculty at Baylor Dallas responsible for training the next generation of surgeons and supervises the surgical clerkship of the medical students. Dr Davis specializes in gastrointestinal surgery utilizing a minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgical approach. Dr Davis resides with his wife and 3 children in the Park Cities.

Chief of Bariatric Surgery Baylor

Texas Instruments - Semiconductor Manufacturing

I will be providing a high level overview of what Semiconductor Manufacturing is and how we are able to create the products that we do. I will also provide a background of Texas Instruments and the products that we have on the market.


SpeakerSam Delagi

-I have a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma. -I began my career working as an Equipment Engineer because I enjoy solving problems in a hands on environment. In this role worked with large furnaces and lasers. -I then became a Technician Supervisor working with Chemical Mechanical Polishers. -Now I am an Engineering Manager working with the Chemical Mechanical Polishers and Implanters leading a team of engineers and technicians.

Mechanical Engineer Texas Instruments

The Business of Environmentalism

The Business of Environmentalism


SpeakerTony Keane, CAE

Tony Keane, CAE (certified association executive), is president and CEO of EarthX in Dallas, TX. EarthX operates the largest event recognizing environmental, sustainability and resilience issues. Additionally, Keane serves as a director on the boards of Global Green, and Angels Life Skills Center. Keane has over twenty-five years experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to EarthX he was the president and CEO of International Facility Management Association, (IFMA) in Houston, TX. Previously he has served as executive director of NACE International; COO of Optical Society of America; deputy executive director of Construction Specifications Institute and Institute of Industrial Engineers. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati with a business degree in accounting and management. He holds a certificate in Executive Leadership from Rice University and is a non-practicing CPA.

CEO EarthX

The Career of a Physician-Scientist

Medicine is undergoing a sea of change at many levels: changes in healthcare delivery, economics, biology and technology. Whereas these myriad changes we face can be daunting at first, there has never been a more exciting time to make the world a better place through science and medicine!


SpeakerJoseph Hill, MD, PhD

  • Cardiologist-scientist whose research focuses on molecular mechanisms of remodeling in the stressed myocardium.
  • Graduated with an MD, PhD from Duke University
  • Pursued postdoctoral scientific training at the Institut Pasteur in Paris
  • Clinical training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
  • Faculty of the University of Iowa for 5 years
  • Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Harry S. Moss Heart Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center since 2002
  • Research focuses on deciphering mechanisms of structural, functional, and electrical remodeling in heart disease with an eye toward therapeutic intervention.
  • Editor-in-Chief of the #1 cardiovascular journal Circulation
  • Active clinical practice focusing on general cardiology, hypertension, and heart failure.

Professor of Medicine and Molecular Biology, Chief of Cardiology UT Southwestern Medical Center

The value of STEM training for arts and humanities careers

This presentation explores the multiple ways knowing how to THINK like a scientist/mathematician is of benefit to artists (focusing on filmmakers) and arts scholars.


SpeakerMark Kerins, PhD

  • As a senior in high school, on the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad team
  • Undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics (Valparaiso University)
  • Masters and Doctoral degrees in film (Northwestern University)
  • Currently a professor at SMU, where I teach filmmaking, make my own films, and write about film

Film Professor SMU

Video Games are for Everyone: Expanding Horizons of Interactive Entertainment

Video Games are for Everyone: Expanding Horizons of Interactive Entertainment


SpeakerPaul Bettner

*Paul Bettner has been creating interactive entertainment for over 20 years. In 2008, Paul and his brother David founded Newtoy, Inc., to create the smash hit Words with Friends and change mobile social gaming forever. Prior to Newtoy, Paul worked at Microsoft Game Studios where he helped create the blockbuster hits Halo Wars and Age of Empires. *In 2012 Paul founded a new game development studio: PLAYFUL CORP. Playful is on a critical mission to bring joy and connection to the world through beloved entertainment and family-friendly play. Their latest franchise, Lucky’s Tale, is a delightful platforming adventure originally released in 2016 for the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality platform. The first sequel, Super Lucky’s Tale, debuted in 2017 as an exclusive launch title for Microsoft’s new Xbox One X home console. New Super Lucky’s Tale, the third in the series, releases this fall on the Nintendo Switch. *Paul is an avid pilot and devoted family man. He lives in a 110 year-old home in McKinney, Texas with his lovely wife, Katy, and their three adorable children - Eloise, Arthur and Charlie.

Founder/CEO Playful Studios