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2022 Speakers

Alan Nursall


CEO of TELUS World of Science – Edmonton

Alan Nursall is President & CEO of TELUS World of Science – Edmonton. For twenty years, he entertained Canadians with science demonstrations and adventures in popular weekly segments Science and the City, and The Alan Nursall Experience on the Canadian television series Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada. For the past six years, Alan has hosted the popular Saturday night trivia event at Jasper Dark Sky.

Emma Louden

Return to Home, Return to Hope – Defining the Third Phase of Space Exploration

Astrophysicist and Space Entrepreneur

Emma Louden is an astrophysicist and space entrepreneur on a mission to help people find their place in space. She works at the intersection of academia and the space industry and is a strategic thinker and leader who is passionate about being a steward of the story of the relationship between space exploration and humanity. As an astrophysics Ph.D. student at Yale University, Emma studies the geometry of exoplanetary systems. Emma uses the kind of thinking spurred by this inquiry to help humanity develop a consciousness that puts the Solar System in context—Earth’s precarious position in the universe becomes clearer.

Jameel Janjua

Journey from Humble Beginnings

Fighter Pilot & Spaceline Pilot

Jameel is used to living life in the fast lane. A career as a fighter pilot and experimental test pilot on high-performance fighter aircraft in Canada, the UK, and the US has left him with some pretty unique journal entries. Jameel spent much of his youth looking upwards. While learning to fly at 16 years old in a field in Southern Alberta, Jameel never imagined that he’d become a spaceline pilot for a commercial space company, Virgin Galactic.

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Jameel is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has 4,600 hours flying experience in more than 55 different aircraft. He was also one of the final four candidates in the Canadian Space Agency’s 2009 astronaut recruitment campaign that received over 5,000 applicants. Jameel serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. In 2019, he was invested as an Officer in the Order of Military Merit, the second highest order administered by the Governor General-in-Council in Canada, in recognition of a career of outstanding meritorious service in duties of responsibility.

Jeanine Holowatuik

Capturing the Wonders of Night: Chasing the Northern Lights in the Canadian Prairies

Aurora Chaser, Astro Photographer and Explorer

Jeanine is an aurora chaser, astro photographer and explorer. She’s a recognized, and published photographer based in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Canada. Focusing her work for the past 6 years on capturing the Northern Lights. With a love for astronomy and space weather she promotes the importance of dark sky awareness and the astronomical wonders of the night sky through her presentations, photography and writing. 

Jonathan H. Ward

Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew

Author and Space Historian

Jonathan Ward’s joy of bringing the space program to life for the public began in high school, when he served as a tour guide at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, and a cruise ship enrichment lecturer in space exploration. He authored four highly-regarded books on American space history, most recently collaborating with Eileen Collins, the first American woman to command a space mission. In 2019, Jonathan earned a place in the record books as the first person east of the Mississippi River—and only the fourth person to date—to successfully image all 110 Messier Objects in one night.

Jay Ingram

The Search For Extraterrestrial Life

Author, TV, Radio, and Podcast Host

Jay Ingram has hosted two national science programs in Canada, Quirks and Quarks on CBC radio and Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada. His 19 books have been translated into 15 languages. Jay has six honorary degrees and is a member of the Order of Canada. From 2005-2015, he chaired the Science Communications Program at the Banff Centre, he is co-founder of the arts and engineering smashup called Beakerhead in Calgary, and he is one of the hosts of the podcast Anthropomania.

Patrick Pilarski

The Next Frontier: Human-Machine Integration

Associate Professor & CIFAR AI Chair Member

Patrick is a Fellow, Canada CIFAR AI Chair and Member of the Board of Directors at Amii, as well as an Associate Professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Machine Intelligence for Rehabilitation and is a principal investigator in the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control Lab and the Sensory Motor Adaptive Rehabilitation Technology Network at the University of Alberta. Patrick is also a Senior Staff Research Scientist at DeepMind in Edmonton, Alberta.

Rob Meyerson

Transforming Ideas into Reality: The Story of Blue Origin

CEO, Delalune Space

Rob Meyerson is the founder and CEO of Delalune Space, a management consulting company focused on the aerospace, mobility, technology, and investment sectors. He is an angel investor, advisor, and director for companies operating in the hypersonics, space, mobility, technology, and telecommunications industries. Rob is the former President of Blue Origin.

Rob oversaw the steady growth of Blue Origin from 2003 to 2018, building the company from its founding into a more than 1500-person organization. Prior to joining Blue, Rob was a Senior Manager at Kistler Aerospace. Rob began his career as an aerodynamicist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC).

Sarah Jane Pell

How to…Survive on the Moon!

Professor, Aquanaut, Analog Astronaut & Artist

Dr. Sarah Jane Pell is an artist testing technologies and human expression in extreme spaces. Pell is a commercial diver, aquanaut, and analog astronaut. Monash University Associate Professor (Research) in Human-Centred Computing and Creativity, Artist-in-Residence at the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform, and Chief Investigator of research in HCI design for Aquatic Performance. Her practice begins underwater to embody deep ecologies in future-focused research and interaction design.

Seth Shostak

Why haven’t we found any extraterrestrial life?

Astronomer and Fellow

Seth is Senior Astronomer and Institute Fellow at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California.  He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology.  For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies, and has published approximately sixty papers in professional journals.

Shawna Pandya

Pushing the Boundaries of Exploration

Physician, Aquanaut, Scientist-Astronaut Candidate

Dr. Shawna Pandya is a physician, aquanaut, scientist-astronaut candidate program graduate with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS)/Project PoSSUM, skydiver, pilot-in-training, VP Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies and Director of Medical Research at Orbital Assembly Corporation. She is Director of IIAS’ Space Medicine Group, Chief Instructor for IIAS’ Operational Space Medicine course, and podcast host with World Extreme Medicine’s WEMCast. Dr. Pandya was on the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero-gravity in 2015. She earned her aquanaut designation during the 2019 NEPTUNE (Nautical Experiments in Physiology, Technology and Underwater Exploration) mission. In 2021, Dr. Pandya was granted an Honorary Fellowship in Extreme and Wilderness Medicine and named one of the Canadian Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. In 2022, Shawna was named as one of the Explorers’ Club’s “50 Explorers Changing the World,” for her work in space medicine and astronautics.

Torah Kachur


Freelance scientist, CBC radio personality

Dr. Torah Kachur is the CBC Radio One National Science columnist and a sessional professor at the University of Alberta.  She received her PhD from the University of Alberta in the wonderfully irrelevant field of worm gonads and molecular genetics.  The reality of studying worm gonads for the rest of her life forced Torah into doing something she loves even more than worms and that’s talking about science.  Each week on CBC, Torah explains the latest and greatest science news stories and gets to talk about everything from white blood cells to black holes.  In the summer of 2014, Torah produced and hosted “What a Waste” – a nationally broadcasted summer show on CBC radio One as well as dozens of holiday radio specials on all kinds of topics.  She’s even guest hosted for Quirks & Quarks!