Dr. Kat Sinclair loves most everything in the sci-fi realm, but also real science. With a background in microbiology, she currently teaches a variety of college biology courses and is happy to share her thoughts and knowledge. She is also a singer in Dimensional Riffs, the nerd rock band, and loves combining nerdiness and music for pure entertainment.
Paul Rodi attended the State University of New York Maritime College where he earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Nuclear Science, Computer Science, and Mathematics along with his Coast Guard Engineering license. Following graduation, he served as a merchant marine watch officer and Instructor at SUNY Maritime. He then attended the University of Virginia where he earned a Master of Engineering degree in Nuclear Engineering. Upon graduation he went to work for Virginia Electric and Power Company (now Dominion Energy) and has worked there for over 37 years in various positions. While working for Dominion, he earned a Master of Project Management Certificate from George Washington University, a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) certification, a Six Sigma Certification, a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, and a Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP) Certification from the SANS Institute. He was also certified as a U.S. Technical Expert by the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) and worked on NIST standards. For the past ten years, his work has been in IT Power Generation Cyber Security supporting the power generation units and NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection regulatory compliance. For the past 20 years, Rodi has coached and mentored numerous FIRST Robotics teams, both FRC and FTC, some of which have won championships in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina and progressed to World Championships. He is also FIRST Lead Robot Inspector for Central Virginia. He, along with his children, started a public charity, The Institute for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (I4STEM), to promote STEM education. Rodi is married to his wife, Carol, and is the proud father of three engineers (Christina, Paul, and Robert) and has one grandchild.
Brad has been a guest at local science fiction conventions for thirty years. Formerly a contractor at NASA Langley Research Center, working at their Visitor Center and in support of traveling exhibits, he also developed presentations for the Science Museum of Virginia. These assignments came as a result of being a space-program fanatic from the earliest days of NASA.
In the mundane world Brad owns Group 7 Properties, a residential property management business with condominiums and townhouses in Hampton and Newport News.
Dr. Matthew Simon is a Habitation Design Lead at NASA Langley Research Center. He designs space habitats to support astronauts for missions to the Moon and Mars. Matt also has interests in the colonization of space and architecture for extreme environments. When not working, you’ll find Matt digging into science fiction and fantasy novels, sampling fine anime, or nerding out board gaming. Matt appears at this event in his personal capacity as an earthling; no official NASA endorsement is intended or should be implied.
Brent is currently a neuroscience PhD student researching how to restore damaged memory function. A life-long geek, he enjoys writing sci-fi and fantasy to relax from work. Very occasionally he even remembers to finish a story.
Nalin Ratnayake is an engineer, educator, and writer presently living in Hampton Roads, VA. He has worked on advanced aeronautical flight projects as well as launch vehicles and deep-space systems, having published eleven technical papers in the aerospace field. He also completed an M.Ed. focused on the intersection of scientific literacy and social justice, and spent five years teaching physics and building STEM programs in urban public schools.
Nalin writes fiction under the name N.A. Ratnayake. His speculative fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres Magazine as well as the post-colonial SF anthology We See A Different Frontier. His short story “Remembering Turinam” received an honorable mention in Gardner Dozois’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Thirty-First Edition. Nalin’s Mars novel, Red Soil Through Our Fingers, was released in January of 2016, and explores a future of corporate-controlled space settlement.
Find Nalin online at naratnayake.com, or on Mastodon as @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Owens is a space systems engineer and analyst who works primarily on human space exploration mission development and technology assessment. Originally from Atlanta, he received a BS in mechanical engineering from Rice University and a master’s and PhD in space systems from MIT, where his dissertation research focused on logistics and risk assessment and system design optimization for crewed missions to the Moon and Mars. He’s interested in all aspects of science, technology, history, and policy (though spaceflight will always hold a special place in his heart), as well as how they impact society, and how the stories we tell each other influence the way we perceive challenges and opportunities.
Paula S. Jordan, a former orbit analyst, writes moderately hard, character-driven science fiction, with three stories (so far) in Analog. Her first novel, a present-day alien contact story set in western North Carolina, is nearing completion. Working title: Of Seas and the Stars. The story connects a small-town group of friends with a centuries-old alien-watch network to defend both humans and friendly aliens against anti-human alien invaders.
After degrees in history and drama and several years as a freelance writer, Paula earned a BS degree in physics and worked at Computer Sciences Corporation supporting 30+ unmanned science and weather missions for both NASA and NOAA, including the Clementine mission that first detected water on the moon. She invites you to visit her Facebook page at Facebook.com/PaulaSJordan/, and on Twitter: @PaulaSJwriter.
Chris is an aerospace engineer at the NASA Langley Research Center, and a science enthusiast with a concentration in building a better future for humanity. His areas of expertise include systems analysis for human and science space concepts, decision science, play-by-play announcing of robotics competitions, and the board game Terraforming Mars. His areas of anti-expertise include most of his golf game, anything connected to musical performance, artistic expression outside of PowerPoint, and spelling the word restaurant. Outside of work, he is the staff to two cats, and enjoys word games, racquetball, and live music in divey venues.
Robert E. Hampson, Ph.D. is THE (brain) scientist behind the science fiction for more than a dozen writers. He has assisted in the (fictional) creation of future medicine, brain computer interfaces, unusual diseases, alien intelligence, novel brain diseases (and the medical nanites to cure them), exotic toxins, and the brain effects of a zombie virus. His recent forays into short fiction have been published in the Four Horsemen universe (Chris Kennedy Publ.), the Black Tide Rising universe (Baen), in Science Fiction by Scientists (Springer), the TRADOC Mad Science Writing contest (Small Wars Journal), and is co-editor (with Les Johnson) of the mixed science and fiction anthology Homo Stellaris (Baen).
Dr. Hampson is a Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology with over 35 years’ experience in animal and human neuroscience. His professional work includes more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles ranging from the pharmacology of memory to the effects of radiation on the brain, and is leading a multi-institutional clinical research effort to develop a “neural prosthetic” to restore human memory. With more than two million words in scientific writing alone, communicating science to professionals and lay audiences is his greatest interest. He is known to many by his former pen-name “Tedd Roberts,” having given public talks on science, science fiction, and the science in science fiction to professors, student and civic groups, and government agencies as well as at SF/F conventions.