2021 Keynote Speakers

Invited speakers will address emerging trends and opportunities related to innovation, social justice and research as a catalyst for change.

Mishuana Goeman, PhD: Innovation

Mishuana Goeman.

University at Buffalo Center for Diversity Innovation visiting scholar; Professor of Gender Studies, American Indian Studies, and affiliated faculty of Critical Race Studies in the Law School, UCLA

Mishuana Goeman, PhD, Tonawanda Band of Seneca, is a professor of gender studies, American Indian studies, and affiliated faculty of critical race studies in the Law School at UCLA. She is also the inaugural special advisor to the chancellor on Native American and Indigenous affairs. In 2020-21, she is a distinguished visiting scholar with the Center for Diversity Innovation at the University at Buffalo located in her home territories. Along with several journal and book chapters, she is also the author of Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) and a co-PI on two community based digital projects, Mapping Indigenous L.A (2015) and Carrying Our Ancestors Home (2019).

Keynote Title: Imagining Ethical Land Relations and Marking Indigenous Presence in Our Universities

Mark Anthony Neal, PhD: Social Justice

Mark Anthony Neal.

Distinguished professor of African and African American Studies and the founding director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE), Duke University

Mark Anthony Neal, PhD, is James B. Duke professor of African and African-American studies and professor of English, and chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University. Neal is the author of six books including What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Public Culture, Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture, the Post-Soul Aesthetic and Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities, and the forthcoming Black Ephemera: The Crisis and Challenge of the Black Musical Archive. Neal also directs the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE) which produces original digital content, including the weekly video podcast Left of Black, (now in its 11th season), produced in collaboration with the Franklin Humanities Institute. Neal is a three-time graduate of SUNY institutions, earning BA and MA degrees in English from Fredonia, and a PhD in American Studies from the University at Buffalo.

Keynote Title: If You Don't Own the [Servers]: Aggregating Blackness in the Digital Era

Tara Ruttley, PhD: Research as a Catalyst for Change

Tara Ruttley.

Associate Chief Scientist for Microgravity Research, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters

Tara M Ruttley, PhD, is currently the Associate Chief Scientist for Microgravity Research at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters in the Office of the Chief Scientist in Washington, DC. Her role consists of representing and communicating the biological and physical science research that’s happening on Low Earth Orbit platforms such as the International Space Station, and supporting NASA’s Chief Scientist in developing research recommendations for the agency as NASA plans to return humans to the moon. Combining her love for biology and human spaceflight, she pursued her BS degree in biology and an MS in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University. Upon completion of her MS degree, she began her career at NASA at the Johnson Space Center in 2001 where she was hired as a biomedical engineer for the medical equipment and human research hardware used on the International Space Station (ISS). While working as an engineer, she concurrently pursued her PhD in neuroscience and then joined the ISS Program Science Office, where she spent over a decade playing an active role in managing, evaluating and communicating ISS science activities before moving to NASA Headquarters in 2019. Ruttley has also recently completed a MA degree in anthropology-archaeology from the University of Houston, where her research was on the role of religion in slavery and social control on U.S. plantations before the Civil War. Ruttley has authored publications ranging from hardware design to neurological science and also holds a U.S. utility patent. She is a past McNair Scholar student from Colorado State University.

Keynote Title: The world needs researchers. Now is your time.