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

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

Full Presentations

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

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

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

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

The Chemistry of Light - Glowstick Bioimaging and Volumetric Holograms

The interactions between light and matter at the molecular level generate the colorful visual landscape that fills our day to day life. Our laboratory designs and synthesizes small organic molecules that translate chemical events into colorimetric, fluorescent, or chemiluminescent responses by finely tuning this light-matter interaction. This presentation will focus on chemiluminescent bioimaging using chemistry similar to that found in glowsticks and a new type of volumetric 3D display based on photoswitch chemistry.


SpeakerAlex Lippert, Ph.D.

  • B.S. in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania
  • Postdoctoral Research in Chemical Biology from University of California, Berkeley
  • Currently an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Southern Methodist University

Chemistry Professor 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

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