Science Festival

First, choose your class period

Then take a look at our presentations below

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

Cardiac Electrophysiology: Where Engineering and Medicine Intersect to Provide Care for Patients with Heart Rhythm Abnormalities

I will discuss the medical devices (pacemaker, defibrillators, catheters, etc) that we use to care for patients with abnormal heart rhythms and how we perform procedures with these medical devices.


SpeakerManish Assar, MD

  • BS in Biomedical Engineering Science from Univ of Texas in Austin. Became interested in this because of artificial heart development in the mid 1980s.
  • Medical school at Univ. of California, San Francisco where I first learned of the field of cardiac electrophysiology (EP), specialty of heart rhythm abnormalities.
  • Did internship and residency in internal medicine at UT Southwestern/ Parkland hospital which provided rigorous training and consolidated plans to pursue cardiology.
  • Completed fellowship in Cardiology at Duke University Medical Center, and Cardiac EP fellowships at Duke and Univ. of Western Ontario in Canada.
  • Have been practicing as an interventional cardiac electrophysiologist at Baylor Univ Med Ctr where I am involved in patient care and research and the program director for the cardiac EP fellowship. heavily involved in teaching medical students, residents and fellows.

Invasive Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Baylor Scott and White Hospital Baylor Scott and White Health

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

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

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

Sam's Club Now: Developing innovative retail technology

Sam's Now is Sam's clubs test lab for new innovative technology like computer vision, robotics, machine learning, and augmented reality. We'll discuss how the future of brick and mortar exists in an online shopping world and I'll also share stories and insights from my time at Toyota future mobility and Sam's club on what it takes to get hired and succeed in an innovative group within a large company.


SpeakerJonathan Saffian

  • Studies Electronic Media at the University of Cincinnati & Communication Technology at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • Began my career in consumer research managing online research communities for P&G, Bank Of America, Kraft Food, JC Penny, etc.
  • Moved to Dallas with Toyota managing business intelligence and research for their future mobility group
  • Currently working at Sam's Club's Innovation office in Dallas as the senior product manager over all innovations for the Sam's Now store in Lower Greenville

Senior Product Manager: Now Club Sam's Club

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 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

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

Constructing the Future of DFW

A peek into the world of managing multi-million dollar construction projects in DFW.


SpeakerCourtney Kelly, P.E.

*Seven-year construction management professional *Attended SMU, obtaining undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering and Math, and a graduate degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structures *Worked on construction projects for DFW and Love Field Airports, NTTA, and TxDOT *Became a Licensed Professional Engineer in 2016

Controls Engineer/Project Manager Oscar Renda Contracting

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

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

Pediatric Orthopaedics

This presentation will review the breadth of options a career in medicine provides and highlight a few of the surgical treatments provided by pediatric orthopedic surgeons.


SpeakerKarl Rathjen, M.D.

  • Assistant Chief of Staff, President Foundation at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
  • Professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
  • Honor graduate of The University of Texas at Austin
  • Received his medical degree, completed his general surgery internship and his orthopaedic surgery residency at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
  • Completed his fellowship in pediatric orthopaedic surgery at Children's Hospital San Diego.  
  • Member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; the American Medical Association; the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America; the Texas Orthopaedic Association; and the Scoliosis Research Society.

Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

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

Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Vandermeer will be covering the basics of Veterinary Medicine (i.e. requirements for education and licensing, day-to-day operations in a veterinary practice, surgical procedures, and other career paths in veterinary medicine)


SpeakerJohn Vandermeer, D.V.M.

  • Native of Highland Park and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1983
  • Undergraduate education in Biomedical Science at Texas A & M University
  • Veterinary degree from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine
  • After graduation in 1990, returned to Dallas and joined Highland Park Animal Hospital
  • Professional interests include orthopedic surgery and endoscopy

Veterinarian Highland Park Animal Hospital