Opening Speaker

Chesapeake Ballroom, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Thursday March 17th, 2022

Dr. Kalisa Villafana

Yield Analysis Engineer for Intel Corporation in Arizona, First Black woman to obtain a Ph.D. in Physics from Florida State University, 2019.

Dr. Kalisa Villafana is a yield analysis engineer at Intel corporation in Chandler, Arizona. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, she migrated to the US in 2008 to pursue her undergraduate degree in physics at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She has always had a passion for learning and wanted to be impactful in STEM. Eager to contribute to the scientific field, Dr. Villafana decided to pursue a PhD in Experimental Nuclear Physics at Florida State University. Upon graduating in August 2019, she became the first black woman to obtain a PhD in Physics from FSU. Her personal philosophy is that you can achieve and excel at anything you set your mind to, if you are consistent. In her free time she enjoys working out, traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends. Her goal is to help young people be encouraged and motivated to pursue STEM careers.

Dr. Villafana is a new entrepreneur, creating a platform to foster mentorship, tutoring and professional development in young STEM professionals; Science Scholars.

Keynote Speaker

Chesapeake Ballroom, 8:30 a.m. - 9:20 a.m., Friday March 18th, 2022

Dr. Marisa Franco

Dr. Marisa G. Franco is an assistant clinical professor at The University of Maryland, speaker, and psychologist whose forthcoming book Platonic: The Surprising New Science of How to Make—and Keep—Friends as an Adult debuts with Penguin Random House in September 2022. She received her bachelor's in applied psychology from New York University and got her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at The University of Maryland. She writes for Psychology Today and has been a featured psychologist for major publications like The New York Times, The Telegraph, and Vice. She speaks on mental health and belonging at corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and universities across the country, including Harper Collins Publishers, University of California, Berkeley, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and The Department of State. You can follow her on Instagram (@DrMarisaGFranco) or sign up for her free quiz ( to assess your friendship strengths.

Luncheon Keynote

Chesapeake Ballroom, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., Saturday March 19th, 2022

Dr. Ronald Williams II

DR. RONALD WILLIAMS II is assistant professor of African American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches courses in history, politics, and public policy in the Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies. His current book project is an institutional history of the foreign policy advocacy organization, TransAfrica, and is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press. He holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.