Lunchtime Keynote Speaker
Mr. Gerald D. Gerry Griffin

Mr. Griffin is the former Director of the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. His career in the United States space program began in 1960 and has included senior positions in government and industry. At NASA, in addition to his position as Director of the Johnson Space Center, he also served as the Deputy Director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Hugh F. Dryden Flight Research Center in California. Mr. Griffin also held the posts of Associate Administrator for External Relations and Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. In the private sector, he held senior engineering posts with Lockheed and General Dynamics.

During NASA’s Apollo Program, Mr. Griffin was a Flight Director in Mission Control and served in this capacity for all of the Apollo manned missions. He was Lead Flight Director for three lunar landing missions: Apollo’s 12, 15 and 17. During the flight of Apollo 13, Mr. Griffin was scheduled to lead the lunar landing team in Mission Control. When the landing was canceled after the oxygen tank explosion, he led one of the teams of flight controllers who were responsible for the safe return of the astronauts.

Plenary Session: The State of Aerospace in North Carolina

Mr. Christopher Chung, Chief Executive Officer at Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC)

Session 1: Space Science

In this session, scientists in diverse disciplines will share their current research, as well as discuss questions at the crux of human exploration in long-duration flight and deep space.

Moderator: Dr. Mike Roberts, Deputy Chief Scientist, U.S. International Space Station (ISS) National Lab


Dr. Rafael Loueiro, Assistant Professor of Botany, Winston Salem State University, OMNICROP

Lindsey Sullivan, PhD candidate in bio-engineering, UNC-Chapel Hill, Changes in Bone Structure in Space

Kate Richardson, Undergraduate student of physics, UNC-Chapel Hill, Visualizing Spacecraft Missions with OpenSpace Software

Session 2: Space Technology

In this session, panelists will discuss their research – conducted in NASA centers, academia, industry or through leveraged partnerships – and its real-world applications in the space technology arena.

Moderator: Coming soon!


Dr. DeWayne Cecil, Chief Climatologist, Global Science & Technology, Inc. (GST), Destination SPACE (Satellite Program for Aerospace-Centered Education)

Mrs. Julie Williams-Byrd, Acting Chief Technologist, NASA Langley Research Center

Ms. Julie Hoover, Instructor, Durham Technical Community College, High Altitude Student Platform (HASP)

Katherine Tighe, Undergraduate student of mechanical engineering, Duke University, Mars 2020 – Return Sample Research

Session 3: Future Flight

In this session, panelists at the cutting edge of aviation and aerospace will highlight current  research that is preparing us for the day humankind ventures into deep space.

Moderator: Dr. Shrinath Ekkad, Department Head for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NC State University

Panelists: More coming soon!

Mrs. Carrie Rhoades, Flight Systems Engineer, NASA Langley Research Center

Session 4: Career Panel and Roundtables

In this panel students will hear from technical experts about their academic and career pathways, as well as gain an understanding about recruitment trends form human resource professionals. During the more personal roundtables, students will have the opportunity to have their questions answered from experts in diverse fields.

Panelists: More coming soon!

Mr. James Ainsworth, Director of Engineering Services, Collier Research Corporation – HyperSizer Software

Mr. Tom Davis,Vice President, Science and Research Programs,Crown Consulting, Inc.