Science & Technology Festival

First, choose your class period

Then take a look at our presentations below

Note, however, that enrollment ended on Feb 04, 2021.

2020 Sci-Tech Fest Keynote

Keynote Speakers John Carmack and Palmer Luckey discuss how modern technology, and that being imagined for tomorrow, impacts our daily lives and can improve the future of many in the coming years. From virtual reality and artificial intelligence to video games, aerospace, and more, these industry veterans give us a glimpse into our advancing world, and what we can expect in the near future.


SpeakerJohn Carmack/ Palmer Luckey

John Carmack: Co-Founder of ID Software, Founder of Armadillo Aerospace, Consulting CTO of Oculus. Palmer Luckey: Co-Founder of Oculus, Co-Founder of Anduril

John Carmack:Co-Founder of ID Software, Founder of Armadillo Aerospace, Consulting CTO of Oculus. Palmer Luckey: Co-Founder of Oculus, Co-Founder of Anduril

Bailin’ wire and a Pair of Pliers

What could bailing wire and a pair of pliers have to do with you and this conference?

What do they have to do with Space Exploration?


SpeakerMatt Leonard

Matt has over 23 years of experience in the space industry, through his contacts. Mr. Leonard earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1987. He has held successively more responsible positions, including Simplified Air For EVA Rescue (SAFER) project manager, ISS Launch Package Manager for Assembly mission 6A, Mission Manager for Station and Shuttle Processing for ISS missions 12A and 13A at the Kennedy Space Center. Mr. Leonard led the Human Adaptation Countermeasures Office Project Management Office, where he received his Project Management Professionals Certification. Mr. Leonard led the Program Review Integration Office for the Constellation Program, which successfully completed the program’s first program wide System Requirements Review. Mr. Leonard served as Deputy Manager, Lunar Surface Systems Project Office, Constellation Program The Lunar Surface Systems Project was responsible for establishing the Lunar Outpost, maintaining NASA’s pre-eminence in space, by leading the development of a sustained human presence on the Lunar surface. Mr. Leonard served as a lecturer for the ESET Program, teaching a Product Development class and as the NASA Liaison to Texas A&M Look College of Engineering (LCOE). Mr. Leonard increased the collaboration between the LCOE and NASA/JSC by identifying mutually beneficial projects and drafting a Space Act Agreement for both parties.

President & CEO TSTAR (Texas Space Technology Applications and Research)

Building Interactive Experiences Through the Years: From PC to Console to Mobile to VR and Beyond

As we move rapidly into the future it's worth looking back to see how technology evolution has impacted the development of interactive experiences. During my 20 plus years as a developer I've noticed that while we've made great leaps forward in computer and graphics processing, the fundamentals of gameplay, storytelling, and the development process itself still follow the same rules. I'll give historical context for various insights that I hope will be both informative and entertaining.


SpeakerMatthew Hooper

*Matt Hooper has been creating award winning interactive entertainment for over 20 years.
*As lead designer and creative director, he's shipped dozens of software titles representing tens of millions of copies sold across a wide spectrum of platforms, from mobile to PC to the many consoles.
*In the past 6 plus years he's helped Oculus bring a new level of immersion to the world through VR.
*While spending most of his career on gaming, his focus is broadening into areas including enterprise use cases and future of work through AR/VR.

Program Manager Oculus

Building Organs: One Gene, One Cell at a Time

We will address how organs and blood vessels are made, all the way from the genetic code to developing embryos.


SpeakerOndine Cleaver, PhD

  • Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, for the last 15 years
  • Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University
  • BS, Molecular Biology - The University of Texas at Austin

Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center

Engineering and Energy

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 in 2008 *Bachelors degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M *Petroleum Engineer at Pioneer Natural Resources for 8.5 years in various roles such as production engineer, reservoir engineer, completions engineer and business analyst

Petroleum Engineer Pioneer Natural Resources

Engineering as a Career Choice

I will describe enginering as a profession and as a basic career building block. Engineers are at the forefront of the technologies of tomorrow. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers thinks these are clean energy, pressure technology, bioengineering, manufacturing, and robotics. I will describe these and discuss the different engineering disciplines you can pick as a career choice.


SpeakerJoe Fowler

*BS, MS, PhD Mechanical Engineering Texas A&M University *Co Founder, President 1984-2016 Stress Engineering Services. Multi discipline consulting firm with 400+ employees *Distinguished Alumni Texas A&M College of Engineering *Board of Governors American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 100,000+ Members *Former Chair of Board Offshore Technology Conference - 50,000-100,000 attendees run by 12 professional societies

Co Founder Stress Engineering Services Inc

GAMERS: A Documentary

Filmed and released in 1999, this documentary by Katherine Kang is a historic look at video games, 3D graphics, and the Internet - new mediums at the time. GAMERS takes a look at the culture, technology, and future of video games as seen in 1999 and gives us a glimpse into how the industry developed into the behemoth that it is today. Traveling the country interviewing industry legends, developers, publishers, gaming press, and cyber athletes, Katherine Kang writes and directs from the perspective of a gamer herself.


SpeakerKatherine Anna Kang

Video Games Developer, Film Maker, and Entrepreneur

Video Games Developer, Film Maker, and Entrepreneur

History of Robotic Surgery

Discuss applications of robotics in surgery, history of robotic surgery and future of robotics in surgery and medicine. NOTE: VIDEO MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES OF REAL SURGERY AND INTERNAL ORGANS THAT SOME VIEWERS MAY FIND DISTURBING


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

Let's Build a Particle Accelerator

Particle accelerators, which can hurl small bits of matter up to speeds close to that of light, are able to reproduce energy conditions much like those found near the beginning of time when the universe came into existence. How does a particle accelerator work, and why do we need them? Let's learn how to build one and find out!


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 2012-2020, 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

LIVE: Open Innovation at NASA: Harnessing the Power of the Crowd to Solve Hard Problems and Adapt to Rapid Changes in Technology

This talk will describe NASA’s use of crowdsourcing to tap into new innovations and how NASA is adapting to new ways of accessing skills and talent as technology advances at a relentless pace. The talk will also include methods and approaches for accessing the innovations and expertise that are necessary for anyone who hopes to be successful in the emerging future of work.


SpeakerSteve Rader

Steve currently serves as the Deputy Director of NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI), which is working to infuse challenge and crowdsourcing innovation approaches at NASA and across the federal government. CoECI focuses on the study and use of curated, crowdsourcing communities that utilize prize and challenge-based methods to deliver innovative solutions for NASA and the US government.

  • Steve has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rice University
  • He has worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for 30 years:
  • worked in mission control;
  • flight software development for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station;
  • command and control systems development for the X-38;
  • led the Command, Control, Communications, & Information C3I) architecture definition for the Constellation Program.

In 2015, Steve was named as one of 20 Challenge Mentors for U.S. Government Services Administration’s (GSA) Prizes and Challenges government-wide community of practice. Steve has worked with various projects and organizations to develop and execute over 100 different challenges. He speaks regularly about NASA’s work in crowd-based challenges and the future of work both publicly and internally to the NASA workforce to promote the use of open innovation tools.


LIVE: Rewiring the Brain

The vagus nerve connects most of the human body’s major organs with the brain and plays a major role in controlling the response of the brain to external stimulation. Research at the University of Texas at Dallas and Zyvex Lab’s spin-off company Teliatry has shown that a Neuromodulation Implant can effectively rewire the brain to deal with a number of maladies including stroke, spinal cord injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disease, and possibly other conditions. John Randall CEO of Zyvex Labs, and Executive VP at Teliatry, will explain the way that Targeted Plasticity Therapy, using innovative implants made by Teliatry, can be used to not merely treat the symptoms of neurological problems, but to actually rewire the brain to cure the problems.


SpeakerJohn Randall, Ph. D.

John N. Randall, CEO of Zyvex Labs, Executive VP of Teliatry, Adjunct Professor at UT Dallas, and Fellow of the AVS, IEEE, and Micro Nano Engineering Society.

  • I am a card carrying Nano-Nerd with a PhD from the University of Houston, 39 years of Industrial experience in Micro- and Nano- Fabrication., making really small things, and 33 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)
  • I joined Zyvex Labs in March of 2001, and have a plot to rule the world with Atom by Atom Manufacturing and is working to heal the blind (Human Trials in 2020)
  • I have 115 articles published in refereed journals, more than 50 conference proceedings and other publications with > 4300 citations and 32 issued US Patents with > 900 citations.
  • I am addicted to computer programming, robotics, and playing Alto Sax
  • I love my wife and kids

President and CEO Zyvex Labs

LIVE: The Future of Retail

The retail industry is on the verge of a pivotal shift where no-touch digital experiences, data, and AI will drive the retail sector post-pandemic.


SpeakerAmy Osteen

  • Unlike many attorneys who specialize in one industry, I've spent 20 years managing a broad range of legal affairs for local and global enterprises. I’ve worked with technology companies, financial services companies, consumer product companies, real estate companies, musicians, and all forms of entrepreneurs. I’ve led legal departments. I’ve led human resources departments. I’ve managed insurance risk. I took the patent bar not to prosecute patents but to be able to manage and monetize intellectual property portfolios. I’ve spent hundreds of days in a courtroom and even more in boardrooms. I worked hard to be able to choose what I want to do. And what I love to do is technology!
  • My latest adventure is as General Counsel for Spacee Inc.
    • Spacee uses computer vision AI to create unforgettable retail experiences through computer vision and robotics, gather actionable real-time analytical data, and increase supply chain efficiency so retailers can offer a differentiated customer service experience.
    • Spacee's two divisions built using the same technology stack: Sense (touch and hover retail experiences) and Deming (supply chain robotics).
      • Sense: Spacee's Sense (SaaS software) transforms the web into reality. Sense transforms your environment into an interactive interface (wall, table, window) that facilitates upsells, consumer education, and market new products while providing real-time analytical data, usually only available through a website. The Spacee experience can be touch or hover.
      • Deming: Spacee's Deming (robot + SaaS software) provides an intelligent, automated inventory management system for retail and warehouse spaces. By knowing both backstock and front-of-house inventory, companies can better control their supply chain and store floors, ushering in a new era of inventory management.

General Counsel Spacee Inc.

No Bones About It

An overview of the swimming mechanics of live squid and how that is important for mechanical engineering.


SpeakerPaul Krueger, PhD

  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1997) from the University of California at Berkeley
  • M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics (1998 and 2001, respectively), both from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) in 2002; is currently a Professor and department chair
  • Recipient of the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (2004), and the Ford Senior Research Fellowship from SMU (2012)
  • Research interests include unsteady hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, vortex dynamics, bio-fluid mechanics, bio-morphic propulsion, fluid-boundary and fluid-particle interactions, and fluid processes in additive manufacturing

Mechanical Engineering Professor and Chair SMU

Pain research, the opioid epidemic and pursuing research as a career

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

The Rapid Rise of Customer Success

Customer Success is a rapidly growing profession in the field of as-a-Service technologies. We'll explore what this is, and how it's evolving the way technology companies interact with their customers. We will also look at some of the innovative technologies driving change in the world today.


SpeakerSpencer Knapp

  • Spencer leads a team of Customer Success Managers that work with a variety of IBM Cloud customers in their ongoing journey
  • For the last 10 years, Spencer has helped large corporations understand how and why to adopt cloud services. He coordinates with multiple teams to ensure that his customers are successful in their use of IBM Cloud.
  • He also has led projects to better equip his extended team for success, such as building out an education program for a team of 100+ people worldwide.
  • Spencer holds a BA in Biology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He would be happy to talk about how he used his liberal arts education to move into technology!

IBM Cloud Customer Success Leader, North & Latin America IBM

Full Presentations

Defense Against the Darkweb

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


SpeakerJohn Marino

John Marino (co-presenter)

*Experienced information security analyst with 5 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

Senior Threat Detection Analyst Experian