top of page

Mills College

Department of Chemistry and Physics


The Chan-Norris Conversations in Science series

Fall 2017


Seminars held on Wednesdays in room NSB 213 at noon.

Lunch provided!

Made possible by financial support from the Chan-Norris Endowment, the Dept. of Chemistry and Physics,

the Environmental Sciences Program, the Provost’s Office and a Mary Ann Childers Kinkead Faculty Innovation Grant.


Advocating the Chan-Norris endowment goal of enhancing and expanding the Mills College Natural Science curriculum.


Come join us for fun and enlightening conversations with some of the most interesting science, engineering and technology-based professionals. In addition to talking about what they do and why, they are here to clue you in on some of the rewards and challenges of life after college in a science and tech-minded world.


Students in all majors invited. Not your typical seminar talk!


Sept. 13, 2017

Dr. Antígona Segura Peralta, Ph.D.

Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Mexico City, Mexico

Antígona was a dispersed girl that loved stars and was amazed with all living beings, as a result she became an astrobiologist. She completed a Bachelor degree in physics, a Masters in astronomy and a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences. She is certified in the popular communication of science, after a yearlong training at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Penn State University Astrobiology Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California where she worked as part of the Virtual Planetary Laboratory (VPL). Now, she is a senior researcher at the Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She works on planetary habitability, remote detection of life and early conditions of our Solar System.


Sept. 20, 2017

Ms. Pamela Kan

President, Bishop-Wisecarver Group 

Pamela Kan, president of Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) since 2000, successfully runs this woman-owned family of WBENC-certified companies that works with manufacturers to engineer, manufacture and build linear and rotary motion solutions, custom complex assemblies and optimal embedded intelligence systems.  Kan’s entrepreneurial vision and commitment to customer service, helped guide her to expand Bishop-Wisecarver by forming Black Diamond Manufacturing Company (BDM) in 2008 and WRW Engineering in 2012. Both of these are wholly-owned subsidiaries of BWG and help integrate mechanical, electrical, software, control and systems design engineering expertise, along with 65 years of experience and 20,000+ unique clients, so the company can continue to provide a single point of service that results in custom designs, increased efficiencies and accelerated time to market.


As one of the few female leaders in the manufacturing industry, Kan is active in numerous regional and national trade organizations, as well as STEM-focused student programs and mentoring groups for new women business owners.  Kan’s involvement includes: Member of Power Transmission Distributor Association (PTDA) Foundation Board of Trustees and Founding Chair of the PTDA WORK Force Outreach Committee, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Manufacturing Institute Board of Advisors, Leadership Forum Committee Representative (FCR) for Astra RPO for WBENC. In addition, Kan currently serves as the executive committee chairman of the California Manufacturing and Technology Associations (CMTA) and serves on the Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Corporate Partnership Council.  Kan was selected as a recipient of the 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Award, as well as the 2016 Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment Award from the Women President’s Organization (WPO).


Oct. 4, 2017

Mrs. Sandra A. Cauffman

Deputy Director, Earth Science Division

Science Mission Directorate

NASA HQ, Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Cauffman currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Earth Science Division, in the Science Mission Directorate at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters.  She provides executive leadership, strategic direction, and overall management for the entire agency’s Earth Science portfolio, from technology development, applied science, research, mission implementation and operation. 

Prior to joining NASA HQ, Mrs. Cauffman worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for 25 years serving on a variety of roles.  She served as the Deputy Systems Program Director for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R Series, a multi-billion dollar operational geostationary weather satellite program developed in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Before returning to the GOES program for the third time in her career, Mrs. Cauffman was the Deputy Project Manager for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Mission, a NASA mission to the red planet, which launched on November 18, 2013 and arrived at Mars on September 21, 2014.  MAVEN is providing a comprehensive picture of the present state of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere of Mars and the processes controlling them to determine how loss of volatiles to outer space in the present epoch varies with changing solar conditions.

She served as the Project Manager (PM) for the Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (SMEX) (GEMS). In June 2009, GEMS was one of two missions selected for implementation competing on the 2008 SMEX Announcement of Opportunity (AO).  GEMS was an Astrophysics mission using X-Ray polarimetry to probe the structure and effects of the formidable magnetic field around black holes, magnetars, dead stars. Previously, Mrs. Cauffman was the Assistant Director for the Flight Projects Directorate for almost 5 years.  As assistant Director, Mrs. Cauffman helped maintain technical and administrative oversight for the Directorate.

Mrs. Cauffman served as the Deputy Project Manager for the GOES-R Series Program. Before becoming the GOES-R Deputy Project Manager, Mrs. Cauffman served as the Instrument Systems Manager for GOES-R, overseeing the research, development and implementation of multi-million dollar instruments directed toward exploration of the earth's environment, weather prediction, charged particle detection, advanced data collection and search and rescue techniques.

Before joining GOES (again), Mrs. Cauffman served as the Project Formulation Office (PFO) Office Chief, where she was responsible for planning, implementing, and coordinating all activities related to the development of feasible mission concepts, requirements generation and formulation of new projects to be implemented such us Global Precipitation Mission (GPM), Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO), Constellation X, and Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA).   

Mrs. Cauffman worked on GOES as an Instrument Manager supporting the design, development, fabrication, test and launch and on-orbit checkout of the GOES-I/M and N/P SXI and SEM instruments.  Mrs. Cauffman joined NASA in February 1991, when she started as the Ground Systems Manager for the Satellite Servicing Project, where she supported missions such as Hubble Space Telescope (HST) First Servicing Mission, Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), and Explorers Platform (EP)/Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE).  Before her NASA life, Mrs. Cauffman worked for Engineering and Economics Research (EER). 

Mrs. Cauffman has been awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and she is a two-time recipient of the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. She is also a four times recipient of the NASA Acquisition Improvement Award.  She is a Senior Fellow on the Council for Excellence in Government. She received a B.S. in Physics, a B.S in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering, all from George Mason University.  Mrs. Cauffman was born in Costa Rica and is fluent in Spanish.


Oct. 18, 2017

Dr. Steven Y. Litvin, Ph.D.

Senior Research Specialist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA

Dr. Litvin is an ecologist interested in how the interactions between organisms and their environment determine the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems. His work has spanned a variety of systems, including temperate estuaries, coral reefs, coastal upwelling systems and the deep sea. He uses a variety of empirical field, analytical, laboratory experimental, statistical and modeling approaches, in collaboration physical oceanographers, physiologists, engineers and mathematical modelers. Throughout his career he has strived to make his research relevant to the management and conservation of coastal and marine systems and has served as the assistant director of the New Jersey Sea Grant College Program and the Science Coordinator for the Marine Life Observatory Program at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford. Dr. Litvin did his B.S. in Biology at Pennsylvania State University, an M.Sc. in Ecology and Evolution and a Ph.D. in Oceanography, both at Rutgers University.


Oct. 25, 2017

Lynne Weaver, Founder & CEO +  Alexandra Nowell, Brewmaster

Three Weavers Brewing Company, Los Angeles, CA

Lynne Weaver is the Founder and CEO of Three Weavers Brewing Company, a craft brewery in Inglewood, CA. As Founder and CEO, Lynne leads all aspects of the brewery, including operations, finance and sales. 


As a former homebrewer, Lynne loved sharing her beers with family and friends. It was at these gatherings that the importance of the relationship between beer and community came to light and the idea for a new craft brewery was born. Rooted in the mission to promote a positive sense of community through her passion for craft beer, Lynne founded Three Weavers Brewing Company in 2013. 


In three short years, Lynne has cultivated and guided the growth of Three Weavers, now one of the largest, independent craft breweries in Los Angeles County. In 2017, Three Weavers forecasts production of 12,000 BBL’s and expansion of the Inglewood brewery and its team.


Before founding Three Weavers, Lynne held designations as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Enrolled Agent (EA) with the IRS and was the Lead Real Estate Tax Consultant and Accountant for a Real Estate Tax Consulting firm. 


With a growing brewery, Lynne remains committed to the brewery’s mission to build community and leverages her financial planning experience and expertise to provide counsel and guidance to management teams of local craft breweries. 


Lynne lives in Los Angeles, with her husband, Dr. Jonathan Weaver, and their three daughters (aka the Three Weavers). Lynne received a BA in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.



Questions? Contact Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, Chan-Norris Visiting Professor,


bottom of page