Making Discoveries that Make a Difference
Krista Gauthier – The Dyslexic Edge: Alternative Pathways to STEM Excellence @ Exploratory Hall, Room 3301
Oct 26 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Krista Gauthier

The Dyslexic Edge: Alternative Pathways to STEM Excellence

Do these phrases sound familiar?  Our media bombards us with these messages almost daily.  In fact we have heard them so often, many times without solutions, that we have begun to tune them out or have become paralyzed by the overwhelming scope of the problem. Whatever the reason for our inaction, these crises are not any less real to those affected by them, especially for those students who everyday are faced with limited prospects simply because of the way their brain works.  Every day our educational system is contributing to the widening achievement gap and denying access to the STEM pipeline for millions of our students, those students who have the learning difficulty known as dyslexia.
Currently in the United States, 15-20% of our students have dyslexia, yet our elementary school reading curriculum is not appropriate for these learners due to the fact that they, “…simply are not able to categorize the sounds of language or connect sound to meaning in the same way as other students.” (Marshall, 2013) In the early grades especially, the curriculum takes up the majority of learning time, The average elementary school spends 520 minutes per week on Language Arts, and only 352 minutes per week on math instruction. (McMurrer, 2008). This leaves students with dyslexia feeling isolated and unintelligent, ultimately losing confidence and the joy of learning.  Faced with less than ideal prospects, these students are denied access to so many pathways to success and in some cases turn to a life of crime evident in the fact that 48% of our current prison population is dyslexic. 
Simultaneously, these students are not exposed to subjects that many of them would excel in, namely science, math, engineering and technology, or STEM. Moskal (2014) states, “some researchers speculate that these brain differences, which result in challenges to language development, may provide dyslexic students with an advantage in STEM.” Referencing Davis and Braun (2010) in “The Gift of Dyslexia”, Moskal explains the difference between two-dimensional and three-dimensional reasoning, the latter used by many dyslexic students in problem solving. Dyslexic students are more flexible in their ability to look at problems from different angles without changing their own position, a skill which is helpful in physical science but creates reading challenges in that a change in angles quickly turns a “b” into a number of other letters.
So, what if instead of shuttling these students through the door leading to poverty, limited opportunity, and in some cases prison, we slid that door closed and opened one leading to a life filled with following their passion?  Come learn how we can change the tide for these students not only so they can reach their full potential but also so that all of us can benefit.  We will discuss briefly what dyslexia is before moving onto how we can better teach students from K to Workforce and do our part here in Northern Virginia to create alternative pathways to STEM excellence.
About the speaker:

Krista K. Gauthier is the founder and Executive Director of Sliding Doors STEM & Dyslexia Learning Center, an innovative after-school program for children with dyslexia in grades 1-5. Krista first conceived of Sliding Doors (or SDSquared for short) when, as a parent of a child with dyslexia, she noticed that the access she was able to provide her daughter in both remediation and STEM enrichment was denied to so many for a variety of reasons. Also, in taking this journey with her daughter, Krista realized that people with dyslexia are uniquely suited to excel in STEM fields. She knew that helping ALL children with dyslexia reach their full potential could help us all by funneling them onto STEM pathways and encouraging them to take their place as our future innovators.

Krista has over 10 years of experience in education, both as a teacher and as a researcher in educational theory and curriculum.  Krista holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from Boston College and a Master’s Degree in Literature from Northeastern University.  Krista used those degrees in her role as a high school English teacher in Denver Colorado and then began a PhD in Educational Anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder with a focus on gender issues in education.  At Boulder, Krista was the lead researcher on a National Science Foundation grant to help middle and high school girls pursue engineering.  After taking time to raise her two daughters, Krista served as a development director for a NOVA Catholic School and most recently worked as the STEM Programs Director for a non-profit called RoboNation.  Krista has taken this myriad of experiences to found and build Sliding Doors.

Jessica Pitts & John Miller: Urban Sustainable Development: The Practitioner’s Perspective @ EXPL Hall, Room 2312
Nov 1 @ 4:30 pm – 7:10 pm
Seminar by Radiant Earth Foundation @ Exploratory Hall, Room 3301
Nov 8 @ 9:30 am – 10:15 am

Title: Cloud solutions for Earth Observation in the era of Fat Data


Yonah Bromberg Gaber

Platform Developer Community Associate

Radiant Earth Foundation



Radiant Earth Foundation is a non-profit organization seeking to address the massive problem of EO data. We are actively working to aggregate the world’s open Earth imagery and provide access and education on its use to the global development community. At the center of Radiant Earth Foundation is an open technology platform that will help people discover and analyze the vast resources of Earth imagery, accelerating improved decision-making and fueling new solutions, discoveries and innovations. In support of this user-driven platform, Radiant Earth Foundation offers an integrated and robust community development program to guide people in the use of imagery, geospatial data sets and tools. This includes insights into the commercial marketplace and related policies.

With so many EO satellites in orbit today, we have far more data than users can look at with their eyes. Spaceborne imagery is a prime example of “big data” and has traditionally been processed locally on machines operated by specialists. However, the cost of cloud storage and computing has fallen dramatically in recent years. This has initiated an explosion in the use of EO data by companies and a growth in startups innovating to deliver new insights about the world around us. These large volumes of EO data and the ability to process it quickly, is changing our world. The open Radiant Earth platform allows the development of EO-based applications for users without any expertise in remote sensing or geospatial technologies.

This seminar will address cloud-based EO, the technologies being developed, and practical options for doing cloud-based remote sensing.

Drone Clinic @ GMU Intramural Field 4
Nov 16 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

ASPRS Mason is hosting a drone clinic for anyone interested in learning about and how to fly drones. The clinic is free and no experience is necessary!

ASPRS will be showcasing and demonstrating a Mavic 2 Pro and a Phantom 4. They will be going over take-off/landing, maneuver/flight, and some advanced settings.

Dress warmly! We will have coffee, tea and hot chocolate available, along with some light refreshments.

For more info, follow ASPRS Mason on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Fall 2018 Mapathon @ Exploratory Hall, 2301 & 2310
Nov 16 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

What better way to end Geography Awareness Week than with a good ole fashioned Mapathon? Each semester GGS hosts a Mapathon to promote humanitarian efforts and to use our skills to give back to the global community. Join us this Friday for mapping, pizza and fun!

Guest Lecture – Dr. Emmanouil Anagnostou @ Merten Hall, Room 1203
Mar 12 @ 5:46 pm – 6:46 pm

“Innovations on Power Grid Resilience at the Eversource Energy Center”


The Eversource Energy Center at the University of Connecticut is conducting research that address technological and societal challenges related to the modernization and resilience of electric grid. In this talk we will review projects pursued by Center researchers in predictive analytics for infrastructure and vegetation mapping and outage forecasting, and innovative solutions for electric reliability, forest sustainability, grid hardening and grid security including potential physical and cyber-attacks. We will discuss possible solutions considering the complex interdependencies of technology, economics and regulation.  Also considered will be the relationship between natural gas and the electric grid. Included will be a discussion of Outage Forecasting, Vegetation Management, Remote Sensing, and Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) for synchronizing multiple DER technologies such as renewable power generation sources (PV, hydropower and wind), Combined Heat and Electricity (CHE) devices, pump-hydro, and battery storage. The talk will also discuss implications of the above technological solutions under alternate futures and extreme weather and security based outage events.

About Dr. Anagnostou:

Dr. Anagnostou is the Alumni Association Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Eversource Energy Endowed Chair in Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He is the founding Director of the Eversource Energy Center ( and Applied Research Director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation ( He holds Ph.D. and MSc degrees in Hydrometeorology from the University of Iowa (1997 and 1995, respectively) and a diploma in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (1990).

His research expertise is on remote sensing applications in water resources with focus on hydro-meteorological extremes and the synthesis of sociological and engineering methods to create people-centered solutions to the nexus problem of water, food and energy insecurities and risks. His research uses a systems-based approach that integrates earth observations, models and analytical methods across climate, hydrology, the environment and recently social sciences to reduce climate risks and promote sustainability of water and energy resources. In his capacity as Eversource Energy Center director he leads critical power grid resilience and grid modernization initiatives and through CIRCA he is leading efforts to develop a flood early warning system and improve flood risk estimates across Connecticut. He has been science team member of NASA’s Precipitation Science Mission since 2000. He was leader of a Marie Curie Excellence Team (2007-2010) funded by the European Commission to investigate application of Earth Observations in water resources, and currently coordinates a National Science Foundation multi-institutional food security project in Ethiopia ( He has supervised 17 PhD and 12 MS (thesis) students and 8 post-doctoral research associates. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Hydrology.

Guest Lecture – Mike Kaczor @ Johnson Center, 325, Meeting Room A
Mar 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm

“U.S. Domestic Policies For Our Forest Resources”

About Mike Kaczor:

Mike Kaczor has worked with the Soil Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of Agriculture since 1983. He received his B.A. from Rutgers University and his Master’s Degree from Texas Tech University. His expertise in geosciences have given him unique experiences in land use policy for natural and cultural resources.

GeoBowl @ Exploratory Hall 2301
Apr 12 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Faculty/Staff v. Students Soccer Game @ Intramural Field 5
Apr 13 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

It’s that time of year!! Our semi-annual Faculty/Staff v. Students Soccer Game is coming up this Saturday, April 13th. We hope to see you there! We’ll bring the food and equipment, you just need to bring yourself…and friends, family, or pets if you like. All are welcome! Let’s have some fun!

Guest Lecture – Dr. Saiko Diallo @ Exploratory Hall, 3301
Apr 16 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

We Are All in It Together: Training the Next Generation of Model Thinkers

We need to train the next generation of scientists, modelers and analysts to be technically competent and socially aware multidisciplinary collaborators. Model thinking and Modeling and Simulation can play an even more significant role in society if we expand our horizons beyond socio-technical problems and tackle broader challenges impacting the human condition. In this talk, we discuss multidisciplinary collaboration, inclusion and social awareness as three pillars that can form the basis for maintaining and increasing the relevance of our field in a world where technological change is outpacing our ability to manage and predict its impact on key aspects of life and society. We present tools, models and practical examples to illustrate the importance of each pillar and provide a framework for what we hope will become an intense and fruitful debate within the scientific community.

About Dr. Saiko Diallo

Chief Scientist, Research Associate Professor, Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), Old Dominion University

Dr. Diallo has studied the concepts of interoperability of simulations and composability of models for over fifteen years. He is VMASC’s lead researcher in Human Simulation and Simulated Empathy where he focuses on applying Modeling and Simulation to study how people connect with one another and artificial beings, and how they experience their environment and creations. He currently has a grant to conduct research into modeling religion, culture and civilizations. He is also involved in developing cloud based simulation engines and User Interfaces in order to promote the use of simulation outside of the traditional engineering fields.

Dr. Diallo graduated with a M.S. in Engineering in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation in 2010 both from Old Dominion University. He is the President-Elect and a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS). Dr. Diallo has over one hundred publications in peer-reviewed conferences, journals and books.



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