Keynote Speakers

William Phillips, Ph.D. - Keynote Speaker
Keynote Luncheon, Thursday, February 26, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Joint Quantum Institute, National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Maryland
1997 Nobel Laureate in Physics
06PHY043_Phillips_Gesturing2_HRWilliam D. Phillips received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1976 and after two years as a Chaim Weizmann postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1978. He is currently the leader of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group of NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory, and a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, at NIST and the University of Maryland. Dr. Phillips’s research group studies the physics of ultracold atomic gases. In 1997, Dr. Phillips shared the Nobel Prize in Physics "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light."
Ronald Mallet, Ph.D. - Keynote Speaker
Keynote Dinner, Thursday, February 26, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
University of Connecticut

Research Professor Of Physics
Space twisting equationProfessor Ronald L. Mallett received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the Pennsylvania State University. He worked for United Technologies from 1973-5, and in 1975 joined the physics faculty at the University of Connecticut in Storrs where he is currently a research professor of physics. Professor Mallett has published numerous papers on black holes and cosmology in professional journals. His breakthrough research on time travel has been featured extensively in the media around the world, including print media such as New Scientist, the Village Voice, the Boston Globe, Rolling Stone magazine and The Wall Street Journal, and broadcast media such as NPR’s This American Life, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Science Channel, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today Show.

Professor Mallett’s recently published memoir “Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality” has been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. Award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee has written a script for a feature film of the memoir.

aziza Baccouche.jpg
Aziza Baccouche, Ph.D. - Keynote & Moderator
Physicists in the Media, Saturday, February 28, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
AZIZA Productions
Founder President & CEO
Dr. Aziza Baccouche, aka Dr. Z, is a physicist by training and currently works as a science media producer in affiliation with AZIZA Productions, a science media production company she established in the year 2000. She has always been interested in communicating science to the lay public through television.

While working on her Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics at the University of Maryland at College Park, Baccouche received a Mass Media Science & Engineering fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and was assigned to CNN’s science and technology unit in Atlanta Georgia. During her fellowship, she gained hands-on experience producing science news video segments which aired on CNN’s newscasts. This experience launched her career as a TV science producer and on-air correspondent.

Subsequent to her AAAS fellowship, Baccouche continued to produce science news segments for CNN based out of its Washington bureau on a freelance basis for a couple additional years. During this time, she had the opportunity to produce a short motivational documentary film that aired on CNN in the year 2000 and seen by k-12 students in the classroom throughout the United States. Titled The Changing Face & Image of Science & Engineering, this short film profiled six dynamic young African-American scientists.

After receiving her doctorate in physics in 2002, Baccouche became a regular science producer and correspondent for Evening Exchange on Howard University Television, a PBS affiliate station. Hosted by veteran Washington DC journalist Kojo Nnamdi, Baccouche helped stimulate the on-air roundtable discussions with experts, and also produced five to ten minute-long video segments, which were broadcast before the roundtable discussions. Stories she produced include discussions regarding the benefits and drawbacks of genetically modified foods and the significance of the human genome project, among others.

As president and CEO of AZIZA Productions, Baccouche spends most of her time running the day-to-day operations of her company and takes an active role in her company’s productions.

Baccouche is currently producing a personal television documentary titled “Seeking Vision.” Through this film, she hopes to change the general public’s perception and attitudes about the abilities of blind people like her.
Aziza Productions
DeVan Hankerson.jpg
DeVan Hankerson - Keynote & Panelist
Physicists in the Media, Saturday, February 28, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC)
Research Director
DeVan Hankerson, Research Director at MMTC specializes in industry analysis and the application of economics to public policy, particularly as it relates to telecommunications networks and information services. DeVan’s background is in regulatory economics, trade policy, competition and technology policy. Prior to joining MMTC, DeVan served as an Economic Research Associate for the government of the United Arab Emirates in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Research Department. DeVan has been active as a media and technology consultant for private, non-profit and academic institutions for the past 12 years. Before coming to MMTC, DeVan was a U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies Fellow. She is currently a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and co-chair of the consumer advocacy organization Communications Consumers United. DeVan received her B.A. from Vassar College and her Master’s in Public Policy, from The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Hakeem Oluseyi (2) Saturday Keynote Speaker.jpg
Hakeem Oluseyi, Ph.D. - Keynote & Panelist
Physicists in the Media, Saturday, February 28, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Florida Institute of Technology
Associate Professor of Physics & Space Sciences Dr. Oluseyi currently leads a research group at FIT that hacks stars to understand the fundamental interactions of plasmas and electromagnetic fields and that investigates Galactic structure and formation by using the techniques of big data astroinformatics and high-performance computing applied to survey data. Most recently, he has begun working with the 100 Year Starship Project to help lay the groundwork in preparation for the first human mission to a nearby star system.
Communicating the scientific process and the results of modern science to students and the public in the U.S. and around the world is one of his passions.
He has hosted and co-hosted on the following television network shows: Science Channel: Outrageous Acts of Science, How the Universe Works, Alien Encounters, Strip the Cosmos, and NASA's Unexplained Files. Discovery International: Deadly Dilemmas and You Have Been Warned. National Geographic: Evacuate Earth and its follow-up series How to Survive the End of the World. He has also appeared on the HBO drama The Making of the Leftovers.
Dr. Oluseyi is frequently consulted to offer scientific expertise on news programs on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and Fox News.
Educational Background Ph.D. Physics, Stanford University M.S. Physics, Stanford University B.S. Physics, Tougaloo College B.S. Mathematics, Tougaloo College
Dione Rossiter.jpg
Dione (Dee) Rossiter - Keynote & Panelist
Physicists in the Media, Saturday, February 28, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Education and Human Resources Directorate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Project Director
Dione (Dee) Rossiter is a Project Director in the Education and Human Resources Directorate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Within this role she is the Director of the AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellows Program. The Fellowship places advanced science student in news outlets across the country to work as science reporters for 10 weeks during the summer. Her goals within this position are to: convince scientists of their duty to communicate the benefits of science outside of academia to the broader society; arm scientists with the skills to communicate science more effectively to each other, students, reporters, and lay audiences; encourage more, and more accurate, science coverage within the mass media; and present viable and fulfilling alternative science career options to young scientists. She also organizes public outreach and engagement events, particular those aimed towards under-served communities, and promotes and encourages women and historically underrepresented minorities (of which she is both) in science.

Rossiter joined AAAS in 2012 after receiving her PhD in Atmospheric Science within the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. While a graduate student, she worked with the Division of Graduate Studies to create university initiatives that would address the lack of diversity amongst the graduate population. Before her final year in graduate school, she was awarded an AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellowship and was placed at Voice of America in Washington, DC. Between graduate school and her undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, she pursued her second passion, science education. She worked as an educator at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California where she taught exciting and interactive science lessons to pre-K through 12th grade student. At the Lawrence Hall of Science, Rossiter also had the opportunity to learn more about science pedagogy and write her own atmospheric science curricula.