Past Events

ARCS Forward events are personal and intimate conversations between members, current scholars and other outstanding scientists in STEM fields nationwide. These events are held live over Zoom. Recordings of past events are available on the ARCS Foundation Youtube Channel in the ARCS Forward playlist or click on an image below to view that discussion.

Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

ARCS Scholars Vincent Zabella (Orange County) and Michael Feffer (Pittsburgh Chapter) discussed their research in artificial intelligence during the February ARCS Forward session. This event was moderated by Metro Washington Chapter member Elli Nesbitt.

Michael Feffer is a third-year Societal Computing PhD student in the Software and Societal Systems Department at Carnegie Mellon University. His research tackles problems in the intersection of AI and the humanities and social sciences, primarily ones that grapple with the ethical considerations and societal impacts of AI. Vincent Zaballa is a 5th year PhD candidate in the lab of Elliot Hui at University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on using artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand how mammalian cells communicate via proteins.

Breast Cancer: Late Stage Disease and a Look at Postpartum Breast Cancer 

Breast cancer is a complex disease with many potential avenues for research. These two young scientists are studying the microenvironment of breast cancer to try and understand disease progression. Lizzy Crist (ARCS Minnesota)  is a Biomedical Engineering PhD Candidate at the University of Minnesota and uses new devices to look at the disease in its more advanced states to help evaluate the effectiveness of treatments. Michelle Ozaki (ARCS Oregon) is beginning her 5th year in Oregon Health & Science University's Biomedical Sciences PhD program researches why breast cancer is sometimes so aggressive within ten years of childbirth and how the liver and its function might be tied to that. 

ARCS Forward Looks Back: A Conversation with 2023 ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Heidi Hammel

This month's speakers are ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame 2023 Inductee Heidi Hammel, PhD (Honolulu Chapter) and Ori Fox, PhD (Metro Washington Chapter). This event will be moderated by ARCS National President Beth Wainwright (Pittsburgh Chapter). Heidi Hammel, PhD is currently the Vice President for Science for the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). ARCS Foundation has recognized Dr. Hammel for her expertise in planetary science and her work with both the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes. Ori Fox, PhD studies the ever-changing and transient Universe. He is Principal Investigator of several key JWST and HST observation programs to understand the evolution of stars and their metals. 

The Changing Ocean Habitat

This month's speakers are ARCS Scholars Jessica "Jessie" Perelman, PhD (Honolulu Chapter) and Jeremea "Mea" Songco-Casey (Oregon Chapter). This event was moderated by Diana Gordon (Oregon Chapter). Jessica "Jessie" Perelman, PhD completed her PhD in Oceanography at the University of Hawaiʻi in 2022. Her research has focused on remote, deep-sea habitats and understanding the behavior of large populations of animals who live there. She has sought to understand how these populations could be influenced by changing oceans and developing deep-sea mining industries.  Jeremea "Mea" Songco-Casey is a fifth-year PhD student in the Niell lab at the University of Oregon. She is researching how octopuses process visual scenes by investigating the molecules found in the octopus visual system.

Congenital Heart Disease in Neonates

This month's speakers are ARCS Scholars Stephanie Helman (Pittsburgh Chapter) and Omar Troubat (Los Angeles Chapter). Stephanie Helman is a fifth year PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. Her program of research is focused on predictive analytics applied to large-volume electronic health record and data registry data to identify evolving temperature patterns in neonates with congenital heart defects (CHD) after cardiopulmonary bypass surgery.  Omar Toubat is an MD/PhD student at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Omar’s career goal is to become an academic cardiac surgeon-scientist. His current research aims to (1) understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms that give rise to congenital heart disease and associated developmental abnormalities, and (2) leverage these developmental insights to inform treatment decisions and improve clinical outcomes in this population.

Baby You Can Drive My Car...Autonomous Vehicle Research

This month's speakers are ARCS Scholars Edward Andert and Trent Weiss. Edward Andert is a PhD candidate in Computer Engineering at Arizona State University. His research focuses on the use of cooperative sensor fusion of data from autonomous vehicles to detect and prevent errors from turning into crashes on the road. Trent Weiss is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of VirginiaTo be safe, autonomous vehicles must make correct decisions in unexpected traffic situations such as sudden swerving or braking of other cars.  His research sits at the intersection of Machine Learning, Motion Planning, and Bayesian Statistics to develop autonomous systems capable of navigating safely through complex and high-speed environments, with limited observability, while coping with unexpected events.

Computation Chemistry and its Environmental Applications

The speakers for this event are David A. Dixon, PhD and ARCS Scholar Kyle Angle and the event is moderated by Chris Simpson Brent, ARCS Northern California.  David A. Dixon, PhD is the 2022 ARCS Scholar Alumni Hall of Fame inductee and currently holds the position of Robert Ramsay Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Alabama. At DuPont’s Central Research at the Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware, his research focused on eliminating atmospheric ozone-depleting substances and getting replacements to market as soon as possible.  Kyle Angle is currently a Ph.D. candidate in analytical and atmospheric chemistry studying under Dr. Grassian at the University of California, San Diego. Kyle's current work focuses on the acidity of atmospheric aerosols.

Neurological Diseases

The speakers for this event are  ARCS Scholars Amanda McQuade (Orange County) and Chantel Charlebois (Utah) and the event is moderated by Kathern Plenge, retired neurologist.  Chantel Charlebois is a fifth-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah. Her research aims to better understand the mechanisms of neurostimulation to treat epilepsy and improve this therapy to provide better seizure control.  Amanda McQuade at the University of California San Francisco with a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Martin Kampmann. Her postdoctoral studies are focused on using CRISPR-based functional genomic platforms to interrogate driving factors of immune activation states associated with neurodegenerative disease.

Machine Learning and Algorithms

The event speakers are ARCS Scholars Jadie Adams, Nicholas "Nick" Heller, and Biraj Pandey and the event is moderated by Rebecca McNeilly. Jadie Adams is a third-year PhD student in the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah. Her research combines machine learning theory and image processing techniques for biomedical data analysis. Nicholas "Nick" Heller is a PhD Candidate in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on the development and validation of clinical prediction models for risk stratification and treatment planning in genitourinary cancer, especially renal cell carcinoma. Biraj Pandey is a PhD Candidate in Applied Mathematics at the University of Washington. He works at the intersection of neuroscience, machine learning, and applied mathematics. 

Public Health from a Research and Clinical Perspective

The speakers for this event are ARCS Scholars William Mundo (Colorado) and Elizabeth Sajewski (Atlanta) and the event is moderated by ARCS Member and Immediate Past President of the Northern California chapter, M.J. Whitehouse, MD.   William Mundo is in his final year of his MD/MS in Public Health at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. His research involves the combination of medical sciences and public health sciences to address health inequities in diverse communities. Elizabeth Sajewski is a fifth-year PhD student in the Environment Health Sciences program at Emory University. In her research, Elizabeth uses computational models to study infectious disease transmission, focusing on enteric viruses, and the impact of vaccination and environmental changes on disease dynamics. 

Prostrate Cancer: Three Persepectives

The presenters for this event are three ARCS Scholars:  Hersh Bhargava (Northern California), Amy Leatherwood (Oregon), and Kendra Marr (Phoenix). This event is moderated by Jill Bray. Hersh Bhargava is a second-year PhD student at University of California San Francisco focused on developing methods for reprogramming human immune cells to fight cancer.  Amy Leatherwood is a PhD student and nurse practitioner at Oregon Health & Science University with eighteen years of experience as a nurse practitioner, most recently in cancer survivorship, which is the focus of her research. Kendra Marr is a sixth-year, dual-degree MD/PhD student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucso and is pursuing a PhD in Cancer Biology, concentrating on how early-stage prostate tumors become aggressive and move to other organs.

Carbon Emissions and Offsets: Global and Local Research

This ARCS Forward event features ARCS Scholar Alumna Bechy Barak, PhD (Illinois) currently a conservation scientist at Chicago Botanic Garden and ARCS Scholar Sophie Ruehr (Northern California) who is working on her PhD in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at University of California, Berkeley.  The talk is moderated by Jessica Turner-Skoff, PhD who is the co-host and co-creator of the podcast: Planted: Finding Your Roots in STEM Careers, which engages people on the exciting and diverse career opportunities associated with working with plants. Currently, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Council on Science and Technology.  

ARCS Forward Kickoff Event featuring F. Peter Schloerb and David Coulter

The ARCS Forward Kickoff Event recording begins with an introduction to ARCS Foundation history, the ARCS Mission, ARCS Forward and the ARCS Hall of Fame program.  Following the introduction is an interview with 2021 ARCS Hall of Fame recipient F. Peter Schloerb, PhD and 2020-21 Northern California ARCS Scholar, David Coulter.  Schloerb is the UMass director of the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) Alfonso Serrano and a professor and director of the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory at UMass. David Coulter studies In the department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and specializes in searching for the visible-light counterparts to gravitational wave sources.