Session Speakers


Speaker: Katherine Rogers Davis, PhD

“The Infamous Career Decision: Academia or Industry” (View Abstract)

Dr. Katherine Rogers Davis is currently working as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also as a software engineer and senior consultant at PowerWorld Corporation. She got her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. She loves running and scuba diving. She also served as a volunteer firefighter in Houston, Texas.

RoshniSpeaker: Roshni Kasad, PhD

“Combining Interests and Expertise to Shape your Career” (View Abstract)

Dr. Roshni Kasad’s path in STEM started off at the University of Delaware where she earned her B.A. in Biology.  After spending a year as a research intern at the National Institutes of Health, she traveled to rural India as an Indicorps Fellow to lead a hands-on science pilot project for middle school students.  She went on to complete her doctorate in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and then joined Techbridge, an Oakland-based science education non-profit.   As a Program Manager at Techbridge, Dr. Kasad works on projects that range from engaging more STEM professionals to serve as role models to training and coaching after-school and summer providers on how to lead hands-on STEM with youth.  In her free time, she loves to volunteer in her community and do anything related to the outdoors.


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Speaker: Jackie Kunzler, PhD (DABT), MBA

“The Balancing Act” (View Abstract)

Dr. Jackie Kunzler is a Senior Research Director in the Medical Products Division of Baxter Healthcare Corporation. She has a PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Illinois/Chicago College of Medicine and is a boarded Toxicologist (DABT) and Medical Technologist (ASCP).  Dr. Kunzler has responsibility for Regulatory and Operational Toxicology, Clinical and Histological Pathology, Pharmacokinetics, Cell Biology, and Safety Pharmacology. Her organization focuses on the safety and efficacy of drugs, devices and biologics. Dr. Kunzler is on the Toxicology working committee for the PQRI Leachables and Extractables Guidance for Parenteral and Ophthalmic Drug Products Initiative and is a member of the Society of Toxicology and the American College of Toxicology. Dr. Jackie Kunzler lives in Downers Grove with her husband Matt and their three children, Joe, Christine and Kim plus dog Buster.


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Speaker: Marilyn Tears, MS

“The Value of Networking” (View Abstract)

Ms. Marilyn Tears currently works as a Project Manager for ExxonMobil Development Company, Deepwater Projects. She was active in establishing the ExxonMobil Upstream Women’s network and has held several leadership roles for the network. In 2012, she was recognized with the ExxonMobil Upstream Women’s Leadership Role Model Award. Ms. Tears obtained her B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1980 and her M.S. in Civil Engineering/Structural Design – Construction Management from the University of Illinois in 1982.  She has been an active University of Illinois campus recruiter for ExxonMobil since 1982. Marilyn Tears currently resides in Houston, Texas with her husband of 29 years Nelson Tears.  Her husband Nelson is also an ExxonMobil employee. She has 2 daughters who both attend Texas A&M University.


Amy prof pic3 fall08Speaker: Amy Wagoner Johnson, PhD

“Navigating Academia and Personal Life in a Dual Career Couple” (View Abstract)

Professor Wagoner Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) at the University of Illinois.  She received her BS in Materials Science and Engineering from The Ohio State University in 1996, and MS and PhD in Engineering from Brown University in 1998 and 2002, respectively.  Her thesis research was on deformation and failure mechanisms of metal matrix composites for ballistic applications.  She joined the MechSE Department as an Assistant Professor in 2005.  Immediately following her PhD, Dr. Wagoner Johnson spent several years as research faculty at U of I during which time she changed fields and began building her research program in biomaterials for bone regeneration and in biomechanics.  She is currently a part-time faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and has affiliations with the Institute for Genomic Biology, the Department of Bioengineering, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and the Computational Science and Engineering Program at the University of Illinois. She also holds a Visiting Professor appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Washington University in St. Louis. Her hobbies and interests outside of career include  exercise, time with family, traveling with family out west, reading, learning, and sleeping!