Beyond the PhD 2017: Speakers

Keynote Address

Dr. Claudia Aguirre, Neuroscientist and Mind-Body Expert

Dr. Claudia Aguirre is a neuroscientist and mind-body expert, specializing in the connection between the brain and the skin. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from UCLA and earned her Doctorate degree from the University of Southern California, where she investigated hormonal interactions in the aging brain. In between her studies, she researched molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She has also completed a certificate course on Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Dr. Aguirre is a TEDx speaker and consults internationally in the health and wellness industries. Her clients include Unilever, Samsung, Red Bull, Dyson, and Davines, and she has current projects with TED Ed, NASA and the Global Wellness Institute.

Dr. Jonathan Whitmore, Senior Data Scientist at Silicon Valley Data Science

Jonathan Whitmore, PhD, is a Senior Data Scientist at Silicon Valley Data Science. He is the author of the O’Reilly screencast: Jupyter Notebook for Data Science Teams. And will be an Instructor at Stanford Continuing Studies Spring 2017. Jonathan is a regular conference and keynote speaker on career, science, and technical topics. He facilitated the transition between academia and the tech industry in 2014 through a Postdoctoral Fellow at Insight Data Science. Before moving into the tech industry, Dr. Whitmore worked as an astrophysicist in Melbourne, Australia, and he starred in the 3D IMAX astronomy documentary Hidden Universe. Dr. Whitmore received his PhD in physics from the University of California, San Diego (2011), and graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University (2005) with a Bachelor of Science triple major in physics, philosophy, and mathematics.

Industry – STEM Panel

Dr. Farhan Baluch, Senior Data Scientist at Netflix

Farhan is a senior data scientist on the content science and algorithms team at Netflix, where he is responsible for predicting movie and show demand prior to release on the service. Prior to Netflix he worked at Opera Solutions where he used machine learning approaches to solve problems in various domains including telecommunications and the automobile industry. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science with distinction from the University of Western Sydney, he then went on to do a master’s in computer science at the University of Houston. He obtained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at USC in 2013 focused on the study of the neural mechanisms of visual attention. A combined interest in artificial intelligence, original intelligence and data led him to pursue a career in data science.

Dr. Bill Martin, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D at Blackthorn Therapeutics

Bill Martin, Ph.D. is chief scientific officer and head of research and development at BlackThorn Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on creating new medicines for neurobehavioral disorders. As a founding team member of BlackThorn, Bill helped grow the company from seed-stage through series-A funding. Bill’s experience ranges from drug discovery and development, including research portfolio planning, to licensing and partnerships. He began his industrial career at Merck where he had research, development and strategic responsibilities within the Neuroscience franchise and continued it at Theravance Biopharma. A co-author on more than 70 primary research and review articles, Bill is a former Councilor for the Society for Neuroscience and remains active in science policy, diversity and professional development. Bill earned his BA from Swarthmore College, his PhD from Brown University and carried out his postdoctoral research at the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience at UCSF.

Dr. Parag Havaldar, Software R&D Lead at Blizzard Entertainment

Parag Havaldar received a PhD in Computer Vision and Graphics from the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Southern California. He has been working in the industry to design/architect computational solutions in the areas of computer graphics, computer vision and multimedia compression/distribution for many years. Currently, Dr. Havaldar leads a group of research and development engineers at Blizzard Entertainment to enhance animation technologies used in the cinematics of games like Overwatch and World of Warcraft. Dr. Havaldar has served as a software supervisor at SONY Pictures Imageworks, where he led SONY’s proprietary efforts in the area of performance capture for creating digital human characters. The technology developed by him and his group has been used to create stylized and realistic character animations in a variety of movies including the Amazing Spiderman Series, Beowulf, Alice in Wonderland, Monster House, Hancock, Edge of Tomorrow, Green Lantern, Oz the Great and Powerful and many more. For his work on facial performance capture to create animated digital faces, he was awarded a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award by the Academy of Motion Pictures. While at SONY, Dr. Havaldar has also led the company’s stereoscopic 3D software technology initiative to create tools and pipelines for stereo 3D content.

Dr. Thomas Barrera, President at Lithium-Ion Battery (LIB)-X Consulting

Thomas (Tom) P. Barrera, Ph.D, is currently President, Lithium-Ion Battery (LIB)-X Consulting which is a private technical consulting firm specializing in the development, design, manufacturing, test, and safety engineering of LIB power systems. Previously, Tom was a Technical Fellow for The Boeing Co., battery R&D test engineer at The Aerospace Corporation (El Segundo, CA), and fuel cell systems engineer at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX). During his 19 yr. career at The Boeing Co., Tom led teams in the end-to-end development of advanced electrical power and battery energy storage systems supporting programs such as Space Shuttle, International Space Station, TDRS, GPS, C-17, X-37B, Boeing-787, CST-100, Space Launch System, and numerous proprietary programs. As a Boeing Co. Technical Fellow, Tom received numerous team and individual awards for program execution, technical innovation, knowledge management, and customer satisfaction. In 2015, Tom received the prestigious Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems World Class Engineering Award for execution on commercial aviation LIB programs.

Industry – Humanities/Social Sciences Panel

Dr. Jennifer Rosales, Director of Research & Evaluation at Center for Social Justice, Georgetown University

Dr. Jennifer Rosales is the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Social Justice. She spent the last two years leading the creation and implementation of a multidisciplinary, system-wide education evaluation plan for the California Institute of the Arts Community Arts Partnership (CalArts CAP), as the Director of Research and Assessment. Jennifer has taught arts-based research and social science methodologies at CalArts. In addition, she has conducted mixed methods research studies on various arts programs (media, music, visual arts, and dance) and led arts integration programs for youth in Los Angeles and India. At the University of Southern California, she received her Ph.D. and MA in Critical Studies from the School of Cinematic Arts and her BA in History. Her interests include media and arts education, youth agency, evaluation and research methodologies, and social change in local and global communities.

Dr. Howard Gluss, Clinical Psychologist/Executive Coach/Radio Show Host, Khalili Bariatric and Surgical Center

Dr. Howard Gluss is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY21522), an executive coach, author and radio show host with an expertise in psychological assessment, understanding individual, group and organizational psychology. As a Psychologist, Dr. Gluss has been the Director of Psychosocial Services for a residential treatment center for the chronically mentally ill and taught graduate courses in Psychology, Stage Fright, Domestic Violence and Personality Disorders. Dr. Gluss has provided substance abuse counseling for mentally ill parolees as well as taught and developed psychological programs for Attention Deficit and Learning Disabled Children and Adolescents. Dr. Gluss’ private practice focuses on Psychological Assessment (Neuropsychological, Biopsychosocial and Forensic), Executive Coaching, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. His clinical experience addresses Chronic Illness, Mood / Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders and Obesity, Geriatric and Adolescent Psychology, LGBT Issues, Couples Therapy and Substance Abuse.

Dr. David Levitus, Founder at LA Forward and Climate Cents

David Levitus directs LA Forward, a campaign to activate a new generation of Angeleno leaders to create a fair, vibrant, and sustainable Los Angeles. He also co-founded the nonprofit tech startup, Climate Cents, so people can back local projects that fight global warming. David earned a PhD in History at the University of Southern California. His essay, “All Policy, No Power” on progressives’ failure to build political power for the long-haul was just published in the LA Review of Books. He’s grateful to be part of the 2016 Ashoka Emerging Social Innovator cohort. He’s served in leadership of his local neighborhood council and Democratic committees, as well as in social change organizations such as Liberty Hill Foundation and LA Voice.

Postdoc Panel

Dr. Eun Ji Chung, Gabilan Assistant Professor

Professor Eun Ji Chung is a Gabilan Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. She received her B.A. in Molecular Biology with honors from Scripps College (Claremont, CA) and her Ph.D. from the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program and the Department of Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. At Northwestern, Professor Chung developed biodegradable, citric acid-based polymers and nanocomposites for tissue engineering under the direction of Professor Guillermo A. Ameer. As a postdoctoral fellow, she first focused on fabricating self-assembling membranes and 3D printed structures derived from ECM proteins and carbohydrates for regenerative medicine. She then expanded her postdoctoral research and joined the laboratory of Professor Matthew Tirrell in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago to develop peptide amphiphile micelles for theranostic applications. Professor Chung is a recipient of the SQI-Baxter Early Career Award, the American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Postdoctoral Research Grant from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, and the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH. She is on the Editorial Board of the journals Experimental Biology and Medicine and SLAS Technology. She is also a member of the Society for Biomaterials, Biomedical Engineering Society, and the American Institute for Chemical Engineers.

Dr. Mimi Shagaga, Psychological Assistant at Howard Gluss, Ph.D. and Associates

Dr. Mimi Shagaga is a California Board of Psychology registered Psychological Assistant (PSB94020126) and works under the supervision of Dr. Howard Gluss (PSY21522) while pursuing licensure as a Clinical Psychologist. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. Her areas of focus in private practice include relationship issues, life transitions, sexual addiction, behavioral addictions, substance abuse, eating disorders, neurocognitive disorders, depression and anxiety. Her published works include Through the Eyes of the Voyeur: The Lived Subjective Experience of Males Who Self-Identify as Sexual Addicts.

Dr. Lionel Lee, Psychological Assistant at Howard Gluss, Ph.D. and Associates

Lionel Lee received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University. His training includes working with at-risk middle- and high school students in the Covina Valley School District, conducting neuropsychological assessments at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and working with veterans with complex conditions including PTSD at the Veterans Administration Sepulveda. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, and he is currently working in a private practice in Beverly Hills, providing neuropsychological assessment and psychotherapy. His research interests include the neuroscience of fear and anxiety, Asian American mental health, and mindfulness-based therapy. He is married and the father of a 2-year old boy who likes to sing, a lot.

Dr. Anna Kamitakahara, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

After completing her B.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Southern California, Dr. Anna Kamitakahara still loves coming to work in the lab. Now in her second year as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, her research focuses on understanding the functional organization and postnatal development of the nerves that connect the brain and the gut. She is working to advance the field in her ongoing projects: 1) To examine the neurobiological underpinnings of commonly co-occurring gastrointestinal problems in children with autism spectrum disorder, and 2) To establish a detailed molecular and anatomical map of the developing parasympathetic nervous system through which we can evaluate function and pathophysiology in the gastrointestinal tract. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Pat Levitt, a world-renowned leader in the development of neural connections and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, she is committed to enriching scientific knowledge of the developmental origins of disease.

Academia – STEM Panel

Dr. Ron Artstein, Research Assistant Professor at Institute for Creative Technologies and Department of Computer Science, USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Ron Artstein is research assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science and at the Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Rutgers University in 2002, and held positions at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology and the University of Essex before joining USC in 2007. Dr. Artstein has authored more than 70 technical papers and articles in various areas of formal and computational linguistics, and has participated in partnerships with the military, industry and private foundations to create life-size embodied computer dialogue systems that can carry a conversation with a person. His current research focuses on the collection, annotation and management of linguistic data, analysis of corpora, and the evaluation of implemented dialogue systems.

Dr. Dominique Duncan, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, USC Keck School of Medicine

Dominique is an assistant professor of Neurology at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at USC. She double majored in Mathematics and Polish Literature as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and minored in Computational Neuroscience. Her PhD was in Electrical Engineering at Yale University. After graduation, she was a professor of Mathematics at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China for a summer program for undergraduate students. She then took a postdoc position in Neurology at the Stanford University School of Medicine and one in Mathematics at UC Davis, where she developed an algorithm based on diffusion maps to classify Alzheimer’s patients using MRI data. Her current projects include combining machine learning and crowdsourcing manual validation of algorithmically segmented brain volumes through gamification and virtual reality, identifying biomarkers of epileptogenesis after traumatic brain injury, and studying the effects of high intensity exercise on the brain.

Dr. Darryl Hwang, Assistant Professor of Research at Dept. of Radiology, USC Keck School of Medicine

Darryl Hwang is an Assistant Professor of Research and Director of the 4D Quantitative Imaging Lab in the Department of Radiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He is a lifelong Trojan, obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering (emphasis in Biochemical Engineering), Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (Medical Imaging and Imaging Informatics), and Doctor of Philosophy from University of Southern California. His past experiences range a broad swath of science and engineering, including DNA computing, technology start-ups, science education, and autism information distribution. He is actively engaged in clinical translational research by providing technical expertise in medical image processing, software development, and workflow automation and optimization. His research interests pertain to the application of quantitative algorithms and efficient processing to all divisions and modality in radiology.

Dr. Sheila Tejada, Senior Lecturer at Department of Computer Science at USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Sheila Tejada is currently a professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, where she teaches courses and performs research applying artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics in education. As the academic community leader for Anita Borg Institute.LOCAL, she is passionate about empowering a diverse tech community in Los Angeles. In 1993 Dr. Tejada received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was awarded her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 1998 and 2002, respectively. Prof. Tejada has developed awarding-winning robots, such as the robot soccer team DreamTeam, that was the first world champions at the RoboCup International Robot Soccer Competion in Nagoya, Japan. She also chaired the RoboCup US Open 2004 in New Orleans, and is a speaker for the US State Department Speaker Program, delivering interactive presentations on artificial intelligence and robotics for young audiences around the world.

Academia – Humanities Panel

Dr. Jill Kickul, Professor at Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Research Director at Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, USC Marshall School of Business

Dr. Kickul joined USC Marshall School of Business in August 2016 as a professor in the The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Research Director in the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. Before joining USC, she was the director of the social entrepreneurship program at New York University Stern School of Business. Professor Kickul’s primary research areas of interest include innovation and strategic processes within new ventures, micro-financing practices and wealth creation in transitioning economies, and social entrepreneurship. She is the co-author of numerous books including Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever Changing World. Professor Kickul has taught entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship internationally for the Helsinki School of Economics, International Bank of Asia, Hong Kong MBA Program.

Dr. Andrea Hollingshead, Professor of Communication and Associate Dean of Research at USC Annenberg

Andrea B. Hollingshead is Professor of Communication in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and has joint appointments with the Marshall School of Business and the Department of Psychology. She is currently serving as Annenberg’s Associate Dean for Research.

Professor Hollingshead is an expert on collective intelligence and group decision making. Her research identifies the factors, processes, and practices that make some groups more effective than others. She has studied a broad array of groups: from very small to very large; from face to face to those supported by technology across a wide range of contexts. Much of this work has been supported by the National Science Foundation. She is the author of Groups Interacting with Technology (1994, with Joseph E. McGrath), Theories of Small Groups: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2005, edited with Marshall Scott Poole), and Research Methods for Studying Groups and Teams: A Guide to Approaches, Tools and Technologies (2012, edited with Marshall Scott Poole.)  Her research has also appeared in top-tier journals in the fields of communication, management, and social psychology.

Dr. Allen Weiss, Professor of Marketing at USC Marshall School of Business and Co-Chair of Mindful USC

Allen Weiss is a professor of marketing in the Marshall School of Business and co-chair of Mindful USC. He is also a senior teacher of mindfulness meditation at InsightLA. In 2011, his Basics of Mindfulness class at InsightLA was noted the Best in Los Angeles by LA Magazine. He also also teaches a class in the business school called Leading with Mindfulness and Compassion and has taught mindfulness in companies and organizations, including NBC4, ThinkLA, Wonderful, Ron Herman, and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

 

 

Dr. LaVonna Blair Lewis, Teaching Professor of Public Policy and Diversity Liaison at USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

LaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor of Public Policy and Diversity Liaison at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. She joined the USC faculty in the Fall of 1996. Dr. Lewis’ areas of research and professional interests consistently focus on cultural competency and health disparities, both targeting the health status and health care needs of underrepresented groups. As such, she feels she has a two-fold mission in life—1) to make the invisible, visible (if people are blind or unaware of problems for a particular group or in a particular community, you have to find ways to get these problems on their radar screen); and 2) to make people uncomfortable (she believes that if people are always comfortable, they aren’t being challenged or they have quit learning and growing). Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Family and Community Health, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and other health management and policy journals. Moreover, all of the work to date has employed a community based participatory research framework that partners with the relevant stakeholder groups in developing the research questions. She has been engaged in community-based research since 1999 and has run health policy and management pipeline programs since 2002.

Rountable: Academia – STEM

Dr. Sheila Tejada, Senior Lecturer at Department of Computer Science at USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Sheila Tejada is currently a professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, where she teaches courses and performs research applying artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics in education. As the academic community leader for Anita Borg Institute.LOCAL, she is passionate about empowering a diverse tech community in Los Angeles. In 1993 Dr. Tejada received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was awarded her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 1998 and 2002, respectively. Prof. Tejada has developed awarding-winning robots, such as the robot soccer team DreamTeam, that was the first world champions at the RoboCup International Robot Soccer Competion in Nagoya, Japan. She also chaired the RoboCup US Open 2004 in New Orleans, and is a speaker for the US State Department Speaker Program, delivering interactive presentations on artificial intelligence and robotics for young audiences around the world.

Roundtable: Biotechnology

Dr. Bill Martin, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D at BlackThorn Therapeutics

Bill Martin, Ph.D. is chief scientific officer and head of research and development at BlackThorn Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on creating new medicines for neurobehavioral disorders. As a founding team member of BlackThorn, Bill helped grow the company from seed-stage through series-A funding. Bill’s experience ranges from drug discovery and development, including research portfolio planning, to licensing and partnerships. He began his industrial career at Merck where he had research, development and strategic responsibilities within the Neuroscience franchise and continued it at Theravance Biopharma. A co-author on more than 70 primary research and review articles, Bill is a former Councilor for the Society for Neuroscience and remains active in science policy, diversity and professional development.  Bill earned his BA from Swarthmore College, his PhD from Brown University and carried out his postdoctoral research at the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience at UCSF.

Roundtable: Consulting

Dr. Khatera Sahibzada, Consultant and Industrial/Organizational Psychologist

Khatera Sahibzada is a talent management consultant and executive coach. She holds a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Portland State University and specializes in leadership development, talent assessment, and performance management. Over the course of her career, she has consulted with employees at all levels of the organization and has partnered with clients in the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and China. Dr. Sahibzada’s clients have ranged from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies spanning the globe, across a broad range of functions and industries. Prior to starting her consulting practice, Dr. Sahibzada was a talent management consultant at Personnel Decisions International (PDI), a Korn-Ferry Company, where she managed and delivered global leadership development and talent assessment programs. Her peer-reviewed articles have been published in academic journals in the field of industrial/organizational psychology and human resources. Additionally, she is a contributing author to Fast Company and Entrepreneur.com. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, World Economic Forum, Salon, Government Executive, CNN, Business Standard, TechCrunch, and The Conversation. In addition to her consulting work, Dr. Sahibzada serves as an adjunct lecturer at USC.

Dr. Claudia Aguirre, Neuroscientist and Mind-Body Expert

Dr. Claudia Aguirre is a neuroscientist and mind-body expert, specializing in the connection between the brain and the skin. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from UCLA and earned her Doctorate degree from the University of Southern California, where she investigated hormonal interactions in the aging brain. In between her studies, she researched molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She has also completed a certificate course on Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Dr. Aguirre is a TEDx speaker and consults internationally in the health and wellness industries. Her clients include Unilever, Samsung, Red Bull, Dyson, and Davines, and she has current projects with TED Ed, NASA and the Global Wellness Institute.

Dr. Jonathan Whitmore, Senior Data Scientist at Silicon Valley Data Science

Jonathan Whitmore, PhD, is a Senior Data Scientist at Silicon Valley Data Science. He is the author of the O’Reilly screencast: Jupyter Notebook for Data Science Teams. And will be an Instructor at Stanford Continuing Studies Spring 2017. Jonathan is a regular conference and keynote speaker on career, science, and technical topics. He facilitated the transition between academia and the tech industry in 2014 through a Postdoctoral Fellow at Insight Data Science. Before moving into the tech industry, Dr. Whitmore worked as an astrophysicist in Melbourne, Australia, and he starred in the 3D IMAX astronomy documentary Hidden Universe. Dr. Whitmore received his PhD in physics from the University of California, San Diego (2011), and graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University (2005) with a Bachelor of Science triple major in physics, philosophy, and mathematics.

Dr. Allen Weiss, Professor of Marketing at USC Marshall School of Business and Co-Chair of Mindful USC

Allen Weiss is a professor of marketing in the Marshall School of Business and co-chair of Mindful USC. He is also a senior teacher of mindfulness meditation at InsightLA. In 2011, his Basics of Mindfulness class at InsightLA was noted the Best in Los Angeles by LA Magazine. He also also teaches a class in the business school called Leading with Mindfulness and Compassion and has taught mindfulness in companies and organizations, including NBC4, ThinkLA, Wonderful, Ron Herman, and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

Roundtable: Engineering

Dr. James Moore, Professor of Engineering and Policy, Vice Dean for Academic Programs, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California

Dr. Moore is Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering; of Public Policy and Management; and of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California. He received undergraduate degrees in industrial engineering and in urban planning and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Northwestern University, and a master’s degree in industrial engineering and a doctorate in civil engineering from Stanford University.  He is broadly interested in transportation systems, specializing in the economic impacts of urban infrastructure decisions. He joined Northwestern’s faculty in 1986; and transitioned to USC in 1988, serving there as co-director of the construction management program from 1994 to 2010, and as director of the transportation engineering program since 1990.  He served as chair of the USC Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering from 2004 until 2010, and became Vice Dean for Academic Programs in USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering in 2011.

He is active with professional societies at the local and national level, serving as president of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences’ (INFORMS) Transportation Science and Logistics Society, and as Senior Vice President for Continuing Education and then as President of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE).  He has served the WTS Los Angeles chapter as a board member-at-large since 2005.

Dr. Neil Siegel, The IBM Professor of Engineering Management in the Daniel Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering

Neil Siegel is the IBM Professor of Engineering Management in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC.  Previously, he was for 15 years Sector Vice-President & Chief Technology Officer at Northrop Grumman, and before that, he held a variety of senior leadership positions within that company.  He holds more than 20 patents, and his inventions are used in a billion devices worldwide.  He has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, received the Simon Ramo medal for systems engineering and systems science, is a fellow of the IEEE and an INCOSE-certified Expert Systems Engineering Practitioner, and has received a variety of other awards and honors.

Roundtable: Entrepreneurship

Dr. Jill Kickul, Professor at Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Research Director at Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, USC Marshall School of Business

Dr. Kickul joined USC Marshall School of Business in August 2016 as a professor in the The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Research Director in the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. Before joining USC, she was the director of the social entrepreneurship program at New York University Stern School of Business. Professor Kickul’s primary research areas of interest include innovation and strategic processes within new ventures, micro-financing practices and wealth creation in transitioning economies, and social entrepreneurship. She is the co-author of numerous books including Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever Changing World. Professor Kickul has taught entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship internationally for the Helsinki School of Economics, International Bank of Asia, Hong Kong MBA Program.

Dr. David Levitus, Founder at LA Forward and Climate Cents

David Levitus directs LA Forward, a campaign to activate a new generation of Angeleno leaders to create a fair, vibrant, and sustainable Los Angeles. He also co-founded the nonprofit tech startup, Climate Cents, so people can back local projects that fight global warming. David earned a PhD in History at the University of Southern California. His essay, “All Policy, No Power” on progressives’ failure to build political power for the long-haul was just published in the LA Review of Books. He’s grateful to be part of the 2016 Ashoka Emerging Social Innovator cohort. He’s served in leadership of his local neighborhood council and Democratic committees, as well as in social change organizations such as Liberty Hill Foundation and LA Voice.

Roundtable: Healthcare

Dr. Marta Kubala, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Dr. Marta Kubala is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She studies tumor microenvironment, specifically tumor associated macrophages and the role of plasminogen activation system in their migration and polarization. Marta did her PhD at the Queensland University in Australia where she studied protein structures and protein-protein interactions. After completing her PhD she was strongly motivated to apply cutting edge molecular biology approaches to develop methods to target cancer. She took a position at the CHLA to be closer to the “bench to bedside” research and the patients. Marta is a member of the USC Postdoctoral Association executive council was elected as the chair of the 2018 Gordon Research Seminar in Plasminogen Activation and Extracellular Proteolysis.

Dr. Darryl Hwang, Assistant Professor of Research at Dept. of Radiology, USC Keck School of Medicine

Darryl Hwang is an Assistant Professor of Research and Director of the 4D Quantitative Imaging Lab in the Department of Radiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He is a lifelong Trojan, obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering (emphasis in Biochemical Engineering), Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (Medical Imaging and Imaging Informatics), and Doctor of Philosophy from University of Southern California. His past experiences range a broad swath of science and engineering, including DNA computing, technology start-ups, science education, and autism information distribution. He is actively engaged in clinical translational research by providing technical expertise in medical image processing, software development, and workflow automation and optimization. His research interests pertain to the application of quantitative algorithms and efficient processing to all divisions and modality in radiology.

Roundtable: Higher Education

Dr. Jesse S. Watson, Associate Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs, USC Graduate School

Jesse S. Watson is the Associate Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs at the USC Graduate School. Jesse completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) Program at Michigan State University and received an M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs at the University Southern California. He is a native Californian, US Navy Veteran, and first generation college student. Jesse’s research looks at the experiences of white undergraduate social justice advocates that influenced their continued participation in racially and ethnically diverse campus settings. Additionally, his research interests include Critical White Studies, community colleges and marginalized communities, and campus ecology.

Dr. Jennifer Rosales, Director of Research & Evaluation at Center for Social Justice, Georgetown University

Dr. Jennifer Rosales is the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Social Justice. She spent the last two years leading the creation and implementation of a multidisciplinary, system-wide education evaluation plan for the California Institute of the Arts Community Arts Partnership (CalArts CAP), as the Director of Research and Assessment. Jennifer has taught arts-based research and social science methodologies at CalArts. In addition, she has conducted mixed methods research studies on various arts programs (media, music, visual arts, and dance) and led arts integration programs for youth in Los Angeles and India. At the University of Southern California, she received her Ph.D. and MA in Critical Studies from the School of Cinematic Arts and her BA in History. Her interests include media and arts education, youth agency, evaluation and research methodologies, and social change in local and global communities.

Roundtable: Industry/Industry Research

Dr. Farhan Baluch, Senior Data Scientist at Netflix

Farhan is a senior data scientist on the content science and algorithms team at Netflix, where he is responsible for predicting movie and show demand prior to release on the service. Prior to Netflix he worked at Opera Solutions where he used machine learning approaches to solve problems in various domains including telecommunications and the automobile industry. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science with distinction from the University of Western Sydney, he then went on to do a master’s in computer science at the University of Houston. He obtained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at USC in 2013 focused on the study of the neural mechanisms of visual attention. A combined interest in artificial intelligence, original intelligence and data led him to pursue a career in data science.

Dr. Jordan Williams, Principal Scientist at Diversified NANO Solutions Corporation

Jordan (Eboreime) Williams, Ph.D. is a Principal Scientist at Diversified Nano Solutions Corporation, a company specializing in digital ink formulation, where she is integrating biology and technology in innovative ways.  As a passionate, inventive scientist with over 10 years research experience, Jordan recognizes that research goes further with a multidisciplinary approach and is applying her background in novel and creative ways within a new field. Along with her scientific experience, Jordan is a skilled conference organizer, who has planned, from budget to execution, multiple conferences, including career conferences and annual department retreats. Jordan holds a B.S. in Biology/Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Southern California.

Roundtable: Entertainment

Dr. Howard Gluss, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Howard Gluss is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY21522), an executive coach, author and radio show host with an expertise in psychological assessment, understanding individual, group and organizational psychology. As a Psychologist, Dr. Gluss has been the Director of Psychosocial Services for a residential treatment center for the chronically mentally ill and taught graduate courses in Psychology, Stage Fright, Domestic Violence and Personality Disorders. Dr. Gluss has provided substance abuse counseling for mentally ill parolees as well as taught and developed psychological programs for Attention Deficit and Learning Disabled Children and Adolescents. Dr. Gluss’ private practice focuses on Psychological Assessment (Neuropsychological, Biopsychosocial and Forensic), Executive Coaching, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. His clinical experience addresses Chronic Illness, Mood / Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders and Obesity, Geriatric and Adolescent Psychology, LGBT Issues, Couples Therapy and Substance Abuse.

 Dr. Sherry Gunther Shugerman, Founder/CEO POPmedia Brands & Adjunct Professor, USC Marshall School of Business

Founder and CEO of POPmedia Brands, and PopStar Club, Inc., Sherry Gunther Shugerman is an award-winning producer, media executive, and entrepreneur. Sherry has produced some of television’s most successful animated hits, such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, Rugrats, Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, Looney Tunes and more; and headed up production at studios such as Hanna Barbera, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox Television, Nickelodeon, and more.

Sherry currently heads up POPmedia Brands, which she founded to create, develop and produce multi-platform brands.  POPmedia has multiple projects in various stages of development, and will be starting production this year on a global series based on The Beatrix Girls, a multi-platform brand of fashion dolls who are pop-stars, which Sherry created and initially launched digitally and as a consumer product. Sherry is the recipient of two Emmy-Awards, a Cable-Ace award, and a Humanitas Award. She earned her BS degree from UCLA and her MBA from USC.

Roundtable: Academia – Humanities/Social Sciences

Dr. Meredith Reitan, Associate Dean, USC Graduate School

Dr. Meredith Drake Reitan is a higher education leader with expertise in the areas of academic program development, management and evaluation. She currently serves as an Associate Dean in the Graduate School at the University of Southern California and as an adjunct associate professor in USC’s Price School of Public Policy where she teaches classes on urban planning. As a planning historian, Dr. Drake Reitan’s work has been published in the Journal of Planning History, the Journal of Urban Design, the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research and in an edited volume for Planners Press. Dr. Drake Reitan has a PhD and Masters in Planning from USC, a Graduate Certificate in Visual Studies from USC, and a B.A. in Spanish Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz.