Paul J. Rodi

Paul J. Rodi

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 Goodman

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

Dr. Matthew Simon

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 “EvilPenguin” Roeder

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.

N.A. Ratnayake

N.A. Ratnayake

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 @quantumcowboy@wandering.shop.

Dr. Andrew Owens

Andrew Owens

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.

Dr. Christopher A. Jones

Dr. Christopher A. Jones

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

Robert E. Hampson

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.

Dr. Ben Davis

Dr. Ben Davis

Ben Davis has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and an M.S. in Nuclear Astrophysics from the University of Notre Dame. His career has included software development and industrial controls engineering (robot programming and electronics are truly as fun as they seem). As a lifelong fan of science fiction, his main avocations now involve history, futurism, and skepticism. He is semi-retired and works as a college professor. “Dr. Ben” lectures on a number of subjects ranging from computer programming and math to, of course, astronomy and physics. When not traveling with his wife, playing with his dogs, climbing rocks, or attending cons, he spends his spare time pondering general relativity, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and more recently, the science of explosives. Sometimes, he hunts for true psychics, ghosts, and other paranormal phenomenon to no avail.

Jack Clemons

Jack Clemons

Jack Clemons is both an SF author and a “rocket scientist”. He has a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering and was an engineer and team leader on NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. He was most recently Senior Vice President of Engineering for Lockheed Martin, where he led a team that redesigned the air traffic control systems for the United States and the United Kingdom.

Jack’s works of fiction have earned him a 2018 Established Artist Fellowship for Literary Fiction by the Delaware Division of the Arts, and membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). His non-fiction book, Safely to Earth: The Men and Women Who Brought the Astronauts Home, recounting his time on NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, was published by University Press of Florida in September 2018.

Jack appeared in the “Command Module” segment of Moon Machines, the Discovery Science Channel’s award-winning six-part documentary about the Apollo Program. He also writes a space and science column for Amazing Stories Magazine print edition.

Jack gives talks across the Mid-Atlantic region, including RavenCon, Balticon, the SFWA tent at the Baltimore Book Festival, and at NASA Goddard’s Spaceflight Center, on the Apollo Moon Program, on the design and first flights of the NASA Space Shuttle, and stories of the unsung heroes who made these programs a success. He also participated in science and science fiction panels at these and other conventions including WorldCon 76.

Jack will be available for panels and talks, and do readings from his book Safely to Earth at RavenCon 14.