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Inspiring Talks by Leading Women in Space Careers

Calling all future engineers, explorers, scientists, and astronauts! Join us for an inspiring talk series highlighting some of the amazing women who work in space exploration careers. Learn about what they do, the journeys they took to get where they are, and what it takes to be successful.

WiSE Talks is a series of engaging presentations and Q&As aimed at high school and college-level students highlighting the latest developments in space exploration while exploring the possibilities of applied STEM education. The series first began in Fall 2020 as a virtual outreach event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you are inspired by our WiSE speakers!


nasa curiosity rover

Meet the Host

Keri Bean

Miriam “Mimi” Fuchs

Mimi is an astrophysicist and telescope operator at the East Asian Observatory/James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Maunakea. In 2019, she was named an IF/THEN Ambassador at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her commitment to supporting young women in science and engineering. Mimi has been a passionate advocate for astronomy outreach in the Big Island community and has actively staffed and presented at our annual summer STARS program

Recorded Talks

Keri Bean – Deputy Lead Planner for Mars Curiosity Rover, NASA JPL

Keri grew up learning everything she could about the weather on Earth. Then in college, she discovered you could study the weather on other planets! In this talk, learn how she went from studying Martian weather to driving Mars rovers.

Dr. Kelly Lepo – Education/Outreach Scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute

Dr. Kelly Lepo is an Education and Outreach Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute where she works to support outreach efforts for the James Webb Space Telescope. She discusses infrared astronomy, the big questions that Webb will help answer, and what to expect as we wait for Webb’s first science images this summer.

Jenna Cadwallader – Flight Technician, NASA JPL

Jenna is a Jill of all trades who attended a trade school for aviation maintenance and landed her dream job building robots for space exploration. In this talk, find out how she worked her way up to become the primary drill bit technician for NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover.

Yajaira Sierra – Engineering Project Manager, NASA Glenn Research Center

From exploring the properties of nanoscale materials to evaluating systems for future suborbital flights and missions to Mars, Dr. Sierra is always excited about pushing the boundaries of innovation. Learn about her exciting career path from nanotechnology to Martian rovers. 

Jane Poynter – Founder at The Space Perspective

Jane founded Space Perspective—a human spaceflight company giving people unprecedented access to space. Learn about her company’s plans to ferry tourists to the edge of space using a zero-emissions spacecraft. Jane’s team holds the world record for the highest human flight using a stratospheric balloon.

Veronica Bindi – Professor of Physics & Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Mānoa

With NASA’s Artemis program, humans are going back to the moon to stay. A major challenge in this effort is space radiation, which is detrimental for technologies and human health in outer space. Dr. Bindi shares her work on a device providing invaluable space weather data to NASA for future human space missions.

Jessica Dempsey, Dep. Director at EA Observatory/JCMT

Dr. Jess Dempsey has worked in the icy throes of Antarctica gathering astronomical data and, among other things, been an actor and comedian. Learn about her story as well as the intriguing new findings suggesting life may exist in the Venusian atmosphere.

Monsi C. Roman, Program Manager for NASA Centennial Challenges

From an island girl in Puerto Rico to chief microbiologist at NASA, Monsi is an award-winning scientist who designs life support systems for humans in space—including those used aboard the International Space Station.

Emily Calandrelli, Science TV Host

Emily is an MIT engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host. She is the co-executive producer and host of Netflix’s “Emily’s Wonder Lab.” Find out about her exciting career as a science communicator.

Sara Langberg, Aeromechanical Engineer at AeroVironment

The Ingenuity Mars helicopter has a special mission: perform the very first powered flight on another planet. Join Sara, an aeromechanical engineer who helped develop Ingenuity, to learn how this special aircraft will pave the way for aerial exploration on other planets.

Amanda Hendrix, Senior Planetary Scientist at Planetary Institute

The Cassini-Huygens probe was the first spacecraft to enter orbit around Saturn. Learn about this exciting mission and what scientists have learned with planetary scientist and astronaut candidate finalist, Amanda Hendrix. 

Barbara Belvisi, CEO and Founder of Interstellar Lab

Barbara Belvisi is an entrepreneur and investor who is passionate about science, space, and AI. Learn about her mission at Interstellar Lab to design and build closed-loop villages and life support technologies that will help generate and sustain life on Earth and beyond.