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Panelist Bios

**Check back early next year for the 2021 CRIDC panelist bios. To give you an idea of who our panelists were in 2020, please see the listing below.**


2020 CRIDC Panelists

Anthony Baldridge
Anthony BaldridgeAssociate Scientist, Phillips 66
Job Description: I'm an associate scientist at Phillips 66 currently working in the research and product development area of lubricants R&D, including passenger car motor oils and aviation engine oils. My previous work focuses on development of a novel hydrocarbon upgrading processes and additional tasks of recruiting and safety stewardship. 
Degrees: Postdoc in Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D. in Chemistry, Georgia Tech; Bachelor's in Chemistry and Mathematics, Piedmont College


Naia Butler-Craig
Naia Butler-CraigPh.D. Student, Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Tech
Job Description: 
Naia is an Aerospace Engineering Ph.D. student, GEM Fellow, and member of the High-Power Electric Propulsion Lab at Georgia Tech. She is also a NASA Pathways intern in the Science and Space Technology Systems branch at Glenn Research Center. 
Degrees: Bachelor's in 
in Aerospace Engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University  

Bill Denning 
Bill DenningPh.D. Recruiter, Applied Physics Lab (APL), Johns Hopkins University 
Job Description: I work with all APL Managers in hiring recently awarded Ph.D.s or postdocs who are a great fit for APL.  
Degrees: Bachelor's in Accounting from Wheeling Jesuit University





Lien Diaz
Lien DiazDirector of Educational Innovation and Leadership, Constellations Center for Equity in Computing, Georgia Tech
Job Description: Lien Diaz is the Director of Educational Innovation and Leadership of the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech. Her primary role includes building teaching and leadership capacity to expand access to computing education across the state of Georgia and around the nation. 
Degrees: Master of Education in Mathematics from Texas State University and Bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at El Paso


Lisa Dixon Lisa Dixon
Special Assistant to the Director, Office of Cost Assessment & Program Evalation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense
Job Description: Lisa is the lead facilitator of the communication and execution of the director’s priorities for the performance of CAPE’s mission in support of the secretary and deputy secretary of defense. 
Degrees: Ph.D. and Master's in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, International Diploma in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College - London, and a Bachelor's in Engineering Science from Trinity University



Aaron Enten Aaron Enten
CEO, Insight Optics, Inc.
Job Description: As head of the management team, Aaron leads the creation of the company’s culture, corporate strategy, investor relationships, and drives strategic partnerships.
Degrees: Ph.D. in Bioengineering and an MBA Innovation Management and Technology Commercialization from Georgia Tech; a Master's in Bioengineering Innovation and Design, a Bachelor's in Biomedical Engineering, and a Bachelor's in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Johns Hopkins University


Alice Favero
Alice FaveroAssociate Director of Graduate Studies, School of Public Policy, and Program Coordinator of the Master of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management, Georgia Tech
Job Description: My research focuses on the economics of forest-based climate change mitigation actions and climate impacts on the forests. My work has been published in interdisciplinary journals and economics journals, and I am part of the Forestry Modeling Forum. I also teach two courses at Tech: Climate Policy and Environmental Policy. Lastly, I'm the founder and co-director of the Georgia Tech Study Abroad Program on Sustainable Development and Climate Change in Italy.   
Degrees: Ph.D. in Science and Management of Climate Change and M.Sc. Economics and Finance, Department of Economics, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy

Scottie-Beth Fleming 
Scottie-Beth Fleming Senior Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories 
Job Description: At Sandia I help apply science and engineering to detect, repel, defeat, and/or mitigate national security threats. 
Degrees: Ph.D., Master's, and Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech



Sonia Garcia
Sonia GarciaSenior Director of Access and Inclusion, College of Engineering, Texas A&M University
Job Description: Sonia Garcia has 19 years in higher education and currently leads the efforts in the initiation, development, management, evaluation, and promotion of research informed and strategic comprehensive activities and programs for the recruitment and success of historically underrepresented minority students and under-served communities in engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Texas A&M University.
Degrees: Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University; Master's in Human Development from the University of Rhode Island; and a Bachelor's in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Boston 

Yakut Gazi
Yakut GaziAssociate Dean of Learning Systems, Georgia Tech Professional Education
Job Description: Yakut Gazi is the Associate Dean for Learning Systems at Georgia Tech Professional Education, overseeing learning design and development, technology infrastructure, compliance, and assessment. She has worked at higher education institutions in the United States, Qatar, Turkey, and Spain as an instructional designer, media specialist, IT consultant, faculty member, and technology leader since 1993. 
Degrees: Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University; and a Master in Educational Sciences and a Bachelor's in Teaching Chemistry, both from Bogazici University in Turkey

Jennifer Heemstra Jennifer Heemstra
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Emory University
Job Description: In 2010, Jen began her independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah, and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2016. In 2017, Jen and her research group moved to the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Research in the Heemstra lab is focused on harnessing the molecular recognition and self-assembly properties of nucleic acids for applications in biosensing and bioimaging.
Degrees: Postdoc at Harvard University, Ph.D. from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor's from the University of California, Irvine

Diptarka Majumdar
Diptarka Majumdar Executive Consultant, The Populus Group 
Job Description: Diptarka Majumdar's more than two decades in the chemical engineering industry have been spread over Kemet Electronics Corporation, DuPont, Sun Chemical, Superior Graphite and Exide Technologies spanning carbon/graphite, advanced materials for thick film microelectronics, photovoltaics, high density electronic packaging, energy storage, and electrical and electronic manufacturing. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and a past chair (2012-15) of the Materials and Processing Committee of the ECTC (Electronic Components and Technology Conference). 
Degrees: Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Master's from the University of Maine, Orono: Bachelor's from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Brian McCormack 
Brian McCormackMentor, Georgia Tech VentureLab
Job Description: I advise and assist Georgia Tech professionals in commercialization and business development activities. 
Degree: Bachelor of Philosophy from St. Anselm College



David Muchlinski
David Muchlinski Assistant Professor, School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech
Job Description: My research uses computational methodologies to determine the causes of political violence. 
Degrees: Ph.D. and Master's from Arizona State University, and Bachelor's from the University of Redlands 




Robbie Ouzts
Robbie OuztsCareer Development Advisor, Center for Career Discovery and Development
Job Description: I provide graduate students with individual and group counseling, coaching, and advising on all aspects of career development. I also conduct workshops and classroom presentations, and participate in special departmental programming. I'm a Board Certified Career Coach, National Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Certified Strengths Coach. Lastly, I collaborate with the Georgia Tech Graduate Student Government Association on this conference. 
Degrees: Master's in Counseling from Delta State University

Clara Piloto
Clara PilotoDirector of Global Programs and Digital Plus Programs, MIT Professional Education
Job Description: Clara Piloto has 20 years’ experience in leading program design, business development, marketing and communications for professional, executive, and continuing education. She has earned advanced professional certifications from the University of California Berkeley, Walter Hass School of Business, MIT Professional Education, and Harvard Law School.  
Degrees: Bachelor's from the University of California Berkeley.




Tiffany Poeppelman 
Tiffany PoeppelmanGlobal Head of BLP, LinkedIn
Job Description: Tiffany Poeppelman is the Global Head of LinkedIn’s sales rotation program called the Business Leadership Program (BLP). She leads her team to provide over 100+ early career professionals annually with unique development opportunities to learn the critical skill of selling while also acting as a culture ambassador and mentor to young people in her field of industrial-organizational psychology. She has held key roles at some of the most disruptive companies in tech, and has lived in three different countries across Europe and North America. 
Degrees: Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Northern Kentucky University, and Bachelor’s in Psychology from Bowling Green State University

Nima Ronaghi
Nima Ronaghi Ambassador, Breakout Labs
Ph.D. Student, Organic Chemistry/Catalysis, Georgia Tech

Job Description: Nima scouts and advises companies in the Atlanta area that would be a good fit for Breakout Labs (part of the Thiel Foundation), which funds early stage science startups.  
Degrees: Bachelor's in Chemistry and a Bachelor's in Biochemistry from West Virginia University


Valerie Thomas
Valerie ThomasAnderson Interface Professor of Natural Systems, Georgia Tech
Job Description: My research interests span energy systems, sustainability, industrial ecology, technology assessment, international security, and science and technology policy. Current research projects include the environmental impacts of alternative fuels, assessment of renewable electricity options, evaluation of alternative vehicle technologies, and energy development in Africa. 
Degrees: Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University and a Bachelor's in Physics from Swarthmore College


Aneeq Zia
Aneeq ZiaMachine Learning Scientist, Intuitive Surgical
Job Description: My work at Intuitive Surgical includes using machine learning techniques to develop tools to improve surgeon performance. 
Degrees: Ph.D. and Master's in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech


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