Catalina Martinez is the Regional Program Manager for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), with an office on the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) Campus. A certified diversity professional with three graduate degrees from URI (MS Oceanography, MMA Marine Affairs, MBA), Ms. Martinez began herocean science career with NOAA in 2002 working on ship operations and logistics, as well as education and outreach initiatives associated with expeditions to explore little known and unknown ocean areas. Ms. Martinez spent many years sailing on research vessels as Expedition Coordinator for NOAA OER, and currently spends most of her time managing the joint efforts associated with multiple important collaborations at URI, and as regional liaison for the program.
Ms. Martinez also works on a variety of local, regional, and national efforts to face the barriers to entry for underrepresented individuals into STEM fields, and was honored with the URI Diversity Award for Staff/Administrator Excellence in Leadership and Service in 2010 for this work. She consistently seeks to increase potential for life success for individuals born to challenging circumstances, and was recognized by the YWCA as one of their 2015 Women of Achievement in Rhode Island for promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity. Ms. Martinez also received the 2016 NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research EEO/Diversity Award for Exemplary Service for dedication to improving the representation of women and minorities in STEM. Most recently, Ms. Martinez was honored
with the 2019 Women of Color in STEM Diversity Leadership in Government Award for demonstrating sustained leadership in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Federal workforce.
Narragansett Times: Narragansett resident wins STEM award.
Providence Journal Bulletin: Once a high-school dropout, now honored for promoting STEM diversity.
Professor Jen Heemstra received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. At Irvine, she performed undergraduate research with Prof. James Nowick investigating the folding of synthetic beta-sheet mimics, which instilled in her a love of supramolecular chemistry. She then moved to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she completed her Ph.D. with Prof. Jeffrey Moore in 2005 studying the reactivity of pyridine-functionalized phenylene ethynylene cavitands. After a brief stint in industry as a medicinal chemist, Professor Heemstra moved to Harvard University to pursue postdoctoral research with Prof. David Liu exploring mechanisms for templated nucleic acid synthesis. In 2010, she 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, Professor Heemstra 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. She also writes a monthly column for Chemical & Engineering News where she offers advice on professional development topics. Outside of work, Professor Heemstra enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, as well as rock climbing, cycling, and running.
Dr. Nicole Cabrera Salazar is a Latina astronomer who is passionate about social justice in science and technology. After creating multiple initiatives in graduate school for marginalized students, she decided to shift her career away from research to focus on changing the culture of STEM l through her company Movement Consulting. Nicole is also a dedicated mentor, helping Black and Brown scientists uncover their full potential.
Movement Consulting is a social innovation company disrupting science and technology by empowering marginalized people to be their whole authentic selves. We partner with universities, research institutions, and tech companies who are committed to supporting marginalized scientists but may not know where to start. Rather than focus on diversity and inclusion in STEM, we believe that we have a responsibility to integrate marginalized people’s stories, traditional knowledge and values, and their ways of being and doing science.
Nancy Ryan Gray is the current President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gordon Research Conferences. Nancy received her B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 and her Ph.D. in Fuel Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University in 1985. She was a Scientific Fellow at the Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, during 1984. Nancy has participated in and been an invited speaker at the Analytical Pyrolysis Gordon Conference. Prior to joining GRC, Nancy served as the Director of Membership at the American Chemical Society (ACS). The Membership Division included the Departments of Career Services, Membership Activities, Meetings and Expositions, Awards and Divisional Activities, Local Section and Community Activities, and Industry Member Programs. In addition to serving as Membership Director, Nancy was the liaison to the Board Committee on Grants and Awards and the Council Committee on Nominations and Elections and was responsible for stewarding the ACS national election process. Prior to joining the ACS, Nancy spent nine years working as an industrial research chemist at Exxon Production Research Company in Houston, Texas. Nancy served as Research Specialist in Organic Chemistry working in the Environmental Conservation Section where she was responsible for communicating chemical data and technical results to operations and field management personnel at Exxon as well as to environmental compliance regulators and government representatives. Nancy developed, organized, and presented technical training courses in oil and gas exploration and production, petroleum geochemistry, and environmental site assessment and remediation. Nancy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Chemical Society.