Keynote Sessions

Mayim Bialik

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 | 8:30am-9:30am

Mayim Bialik, Actress & Neuroscientist
"The Big Bang Theory - Making Science Cool (and Funny)"


Mary (Missy) Cummings

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | 8:00am-9:00am

Mary (Missy) Cummings, Naval Officer, Military Pilot & Professor, Duke University
"The Future of Drones"


Mayim Bialik, Actress & Neuroscientist

Mayim Hoya Bialik is best known for her lead role as Blossom Russo in the early-1990s NBC television sitcom Blossom and now appears regularly on the #1 comedy in America, CBS' The Big Bang Theory playing neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler, for which she has earned three Emmy nominations.

Bialik was born in San Diego, California to first generation Jewish American parents, documentary filmmakers and teachers. She played the young Bette Midler in Beaches and also has had guest roles on some of television’s most beloved shows of the 1980s and 1990s, such as MacGuyver, Webster, Facts of Life, and Murphy Brown. She also appeared in Woody Allen’s television production of Don’t Drink the Water and HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Bialik earned a BS from UCLA in 2000 in Neuroscience and Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and went on to the Ph.D. program in Neuroscience, also at UCLA. She completed her doctorate in the Fall of 2007, which examined Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome. Bialik was a dedicated student leader at UCLA Hillel, leading and starting a Women’s Rosh Chodesh group, chanting and blowing shofar for High Holiday services, and conducting and writing music for UCLA’s Jewish a cappella group.

She gave birth to her first son in 2005, and her second son (born at home, largely unassisted) in 2008. Bialik is an avid student of all things Jewish and speaks all over the country for a variety of Jewish and academic organizations.

Bialik wrote her first book about Attachment Parenting, Beyond the Sling in March 2012 and her second book, Mayim's Vegan Table, came out in 2014. She writes regularly for the Jewish parenting site Kveller.com.

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Mary Cummings, Naval Officer, Military Pilot & Professor, Duke University

Mary (Missy) Cummings received her B.S. in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy in 1988, her M.S. in Space Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994, and her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2004. A naval officer and military pilot from 1988-1999, she was one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots.

Cummings is currently an associate professor in the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences, and is the director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory. Her research interests include human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-systems engineering, public policy implications of unmanned vehicles, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

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