During each semester, the Science in Action Seminar Series is held every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 pm, accessible via THIS Zoom Meeting link. You may also view older Science in Action seminars on our Youtube channel.

This weekly series is presented in partnership with the San Francisco State University Bridges to Baccalaureate Program, the Skyline College Science and Math Division, and the Math, Engineering, Science Achievement Program (MESA).

The seminar series is free and open to the public. The topics vary and are geared not only towards science, but the entire college experience, so we encourage non-science students to attend. Attendance confirmation slips will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you're interested in presenting and attending the Science in Action Seminar Series, please contact Bryan Swartout.

Fall 2021 Seminar Schedule

Due to COVID-19 and closure of Skyline College campus, all remaining Science in Action seminars will be held VIRTUALLY until the end of the spring 2020 semester. To join us via Zoom, please click the respective link for a seminar. If you aren't able to watch the seminars live, visit our YouTube Channel, or click the respective link in each seminar description to be taken to a recording of the seminar you're interested in.


Student Research Panel: nEXO 

November 30, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Shannon Hoang, Jiries Kaileh, Madelaine McSwain, & Brendan Murtagh | Skyline College Students 

Earlier this year, Skyline College’s physics department, led by Prof Emilie Hein and Prof Kolo Wamba, formally became a part of an international nuclear physics experiment called nEXO and was awarded a grant by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science to participate in this research. This award has made it possible for Skyline College to partner with Stanford University and SLAC and to take on four student trainees (Shannon Hoang, Jiries Kaileh, Madeleine McSwain, and Brendan Murtagh) who are now contributing to the ongoing detector R&D activities for nEXO. Join us for a chance to ask questions about their research experience in a panel-style format. Then get a chance to join individual breakout rooms to interact with our nEXO interns! For the panel segment, please submit your questions (or vote for your favorite) by clicking on our Slido event link.


Watt does it take for our energy systems to achieve net zero? Turning analysis into action

November 16, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Monica Harnoto Kabel | Principal Strategy Analyst at National Grid

Interested in building a career fighting climate change? Monica Harnoto Kabel is a Principal Strategy Analyst at National Grid, focused on driving the electric and gas utility to achieve net zero by 2050. Prior to National Grid, Monica worked at Bloom Energy – a solid oxide fuel cell company – as a Senior Program Management Specialist. Monica holds a BS in Environmental Sciences from UC Berkeley and a dual masters in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Business from MIT. In her spare time, she enjoys discovering new hiking trails and trying to ski.


Planning around Covid-19 and Preparing for Spring 2022 Semester 

November 9, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Raymond Hernandez | SMCCD Covid-19 Safety Officer

Former STEM Division Dean and current Covid-19 Safety Officer, Raymond Hernandez visits Science in Action to share updates on how Skyline can best prepare for the upcoming Spring 2022 semester. As SMCCD students register for classes in their upcoming semester, participants in the seminar will learn about the landscape of Covid-19, strategies/mechanisms put in place to deal with the pandemic, and how that will influence SMCCD's health and operational procedures for the spring semester. 


Making Drones "See," a Summer Research Experience at Stanford  

October 26, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Ned (Nazih) Bitar | Skyline College Student

As part of the Aeronautics & Astronautics Community Research Experience (AACREs) program, Ned worked with Professor Mac Schwager in the Multi-robot Systems Lab (MSL). As drones fly they need to dodge buildings, trees, and even people to avoid smashing themselves to pieces. Working with Professor Schwager he explored how to help drones ‘see’ and ‘think’ to avoid collisions. He worked to help develop software that helps drones navigate safely using Visual-Inertial Odometry (VIO). It sounds like a simple task, but the issue is that racing drone's design follows a very bare-bones philosophy - they are designed to be ultra light-weight and fast. He had to find a way to extract data from the drone, and his day-to-day tasks varied throughout the project. The first day, alone, consisted of trouble-shooting and diagnosing issues to get the quad-rotor off the ground, installing new rotors that would produce enough thrust to lift the drone and the camera, and designing and 3D printing a custom frame to hold the camera steady. Finding the VIO package was the easy part, but getting it to work was the biggest challenge, which required learning about Linux, a ROS (Robotic Operating System), C++, and Python. After two weeks of dead-ends and failures, including a hard-drive failure, he finally succeeded, and was able to compile a ‘ROS Bag’ using a test set of data, to help the drone understand what it was ‘seeing.' During his time in the AACREs program, Ned found that research is like a black box – until you explore the data, you don’t know what you are going to learn. Come join us for an insightful reflection on Ned's summer research experience and how he was able to apply and join the AACRE program!  


Panel Discussion: Data Science at CSU East Bay  

October 19, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Panelists: Jessica Brungard & Bradley Silva

Science in Action continues our exploration of the emerging field of Data Science. Skyline College recently introduced a transfer pathway to CSU East Bay to earn a BS in Statistics with a concentration in Data Science. Get a sneak preview, and meaningful insight, into life after transfer by joining us for hosting a panel discussion with current students in CSUEB's Data Science program. Our panelists look forward to responding to questions from the audience. Submit your questions (or vote for your favorite) by clicking on our Slido event link.

Jessica Brungard is currently a Senior undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Statistics with a Data Science concentration. They also serve as the Vice President of the CSUEB Data Science Club and an advocate for pet adoption and rescue. 

Bradley Silva is formerly a community college student who transferred to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Geology. He is now a graduate student in the Data Science program at CSU East Bay and enjoys analyzing geospatial data. 

From the Bay to 𝛽-decay: A Journey into Nuclear Chemistry

October 5, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Mejdi Mogannam | Skyline Alum and Ph.D student at Michigan State University

Mejdi is a third-year Ph.D. student at Michigan State University studying Nuclear Chemistry. He is a second-generation Palestinian-American who was born and raised in San Francisco with a long-held ambition to find a meaningful career with which to have a positive impact on the world. By the end of high school, he decided that that path would be science, specifically chemistry. While attending Skyline College, with the encouragement of his professors, he was able to participate in summer programs that would foster his interest in nuclear chemistry. This further inspired him to transfer to UC Berkeley, which has had historically strong ties to nuclear science, and where he earned his BS degree in Chemistry. He is currently working on studying 𝛽-decay properties of isotopes important for astrophysics research in order to inform models that help describe how elements are made in astrophysical events such as neutron star mergers. An important factor as to why he decided to get his PH.D. and become a career scientist was the lack of role models in his community and a desire to change the narrative of who Palestinians are and can be.  


Panel Discussion: Data Science at UC Berkeley 

September 28, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Panelists: Elda Pere, Rosey Stone, and Ellen Zheng 

Interested in pursuing a degree and/or career in Data Science? Please join us to get a quick look into the program at UC Berkeley's Data Science program, one of the first universities in the Bay Area to offer an undergraduate degree in this field (2018). Skyline College began offering Math 211 (Introduction to Data Science), which was modeled after UC Berkeley's Data 8 course. In collaboration with the up-and-coming Data Scholars Program, join us for a discussion where panelists share their experiences with the Data Science program at UC Berkeley. Our panelists look forward to responding to questions from the audience. Submit your questions (or vote for your favorite) by clicking on our Slido event link.

Elda Pere is a data science and analytics consultant with a passion for supporting underrepresented communities. Pere has been recognized as New Jersey Community College Student of the Year and as a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship recipient. She is currently working with nonprofits and tech companies in the Bay Area while pursuing a master’s degree in Data Science at UC Berkeley.

Rosey Stone Now a Software Engineer at Myriad Genetics nurturing her passion for the intersection of genomics and data, Rosey Stone graduated from UC Berkeley in 2021 with a double major in Data Science and Molecular and Cell Biology after transferring from City College of San Francisco. As a Berkeley student, she performed epigenetic epidemiology research to complete an honors thesis in Data Science, as well as medical and health policy research at UCSF. She is enthusiastic about expanding access to data science education and worked both as a Connector Assistant and to establish a mentorship program for intended Data Science transfer students to UC Berkeley.

Ellen Zheng studied business and data science at UC Berkeley and is now a Program Manager at eBay. Born and raised in California's Central Valley, she originally had no intention of studying data science or any STEM related field. This changed after being introduced to data science in Berkeley's Data 8 foundations course. As the Connector Program team lead at Berkeley Division of Data Sciences, Ellen expanded and fostered an inclusive community that encouraged students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders in data science education. 

Experiences in a Virtual Summer Research Internship  

September 14, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Carissa Avina-Beltran, Hollywood Banayad, & Aidan Morson | Students at San Francisco State University

Get a chance to hear a first-hand perspective on what it is like to do a summer research internship virtually. Join us for Science In Action to hear from three San Francisco State University (SFSU) students who participated in a virtual research internship during the summer of 2021!

Carissa Avina-Beltran is a rising senior majoring in Physics with a concentration in Astrophysics at San Francisco State. After transferring from Santa Monica College, she had the opportunity to assist in cube satellite integration and prep at USC's Space Engineering Research Center. This, along with a summer at the Center for Astrophysics characterizing exoplanets, fueled her interest in the spectrograph installation she is currently working on through the Exoplanets group at SFSU. Carissa will share her research from studying TYC 8830 410 1, a ~600 million-year-old solar-mass star surrounded by inner planetary system dust. This dust lies along our line of sight and blocks out significant portions of the star's light. The research focuses on assessing the origin and evolution of the dust by analyzing multi-band monitoring obtained from the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescopes. 

Hollywood Banayad is a rising senior at SFSU majoring in physics. He transferred from Skyline College in 2020 and earned an AS-T in Physics & Mathematics. He plans on applying to graduate school at the end of the year and eventually earn a PhD in Biophysics. Hollywood's research focused on utilizing MATLAB Interface to communicate with Hardware (Lock-in Amplifier) Techniques, such as lock-in amplifier (LIA), which are commonly found in engineering and physics research labs. MATLAB interfacing is useful to communicate with various instruments and data acquisition, thereby data analysis as well. There are normally three main types of devices we aim to communicate within the lab: having only input, only output, and both input & output. His research goal is to build a MATLAB library with codes to communicate with LIA in terms of sending read, write, and status query commands.

Aidan Morson is involved in two research groups, one at San Francisco State and one at the University of Washington. At San Francisco State he does computational work with photonic crystals and quasicrystals studying bandgap geometry. The second group is with the University of Washington doing computational work with the international collaboration working on the HERA telescope. HERA is a radio interferometer trying to look at the Epoch of Reionization by observing the 21cm line produced by Hydrogen. His future research interests lie in high energy physics, specifically neutrinos and their role in explaining the early universe.

Identifying Ways to Support Students in STEM  

September 7, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Jing Folsom & Emilie Hein | Skyline College Professors

The STEM Division at Skyline College is applying for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant titled “NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (S-STEM)”. 

The main goal of this grant is to support our students to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields. Ultimately, this program wants to increase the number of students who graduate and contribute to the American innovation economy with their STEM knowledge. 

In addition to providing scholarships, this is also an opportunity for us to figure out how we can meet your needs better. To better support you (students), we need your feedback and look forward to facilitating a conversation with you to get to know the type of support you really need, may it be financial or academic, as well as in developing resume writing skills or looking for internship…. any support you need to be successful in the STEM field of your choice. 

We need your participation, please join us at Science In Action!

Learn about RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK - The Bio-Economy Welcome Party 

August 31, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link | YouTube 

Ivan Rodriquez Jaubert & Seth Peachey | SynBioBeta/Gingkgo Bioworks

Business will forever be about WHO you know! So we want to introduce YOU to the existing bio-economy community, who KNOW how to get your ideas and products to market faster. On October 6th, SynBioBeta and Ginkgo Bioworks will host the 1st annual Race Against the Clock student and start-up welcome party that will introduce and celebrate the next generation of bio-based "Gonna Be's" to the current bio-economy community. This is a unifying networking event, as we can only win the race to true sustainability by working together! We will introduce the current bio-economy companies, thought leaders and investors to the next wave of students and start-ups who want to use biology to make our planet a better place. 
So, if you are a bio-founder in need of strategic connections or a student considering using your gifts to further the bio-economy, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Science in Action Fall 2021 Kick-Off: What is Science in Action and who do you want to hear from? 

August 24, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  | Meeting Link 

Nick Kapp & Bryan Swartout | Skyline College Professors


Our Science in Action Speaker Series started in 2014 with the aim to connect Skyline students with researchers and professionals related to the STEM industry. Our speakers focus on two main themes during our sessions: sharing their research work and the educational journey that brought them there, providing a first-hand perspective to students interested in or exploring various STEM-related careers. What careers and research are you interested in? Who do you want to hear from? Spend our kick-off session with Science in Action hosts Nick Kapp and Bryan Swartout to learn about the speaker series and make requests! Hope to see you there!