Olivia CastelliniDr. Olivia Castellini, Museum of Science and Industry 

Olivia Castellini is a Senior Exhibit Developer at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago. She has made a career out of translating complex scientific concepts for the public in entertaining and engaging ways, including the multi-award winning Science Storms, MSI’s 26,000 sq. ft. exhibition on the  science behind natural phenomena.

She has been a featured speaker at conferences worldwide and is a frequent presenter to school groups, the media and the public. Olivia holds an MA and a PhD in physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a BA in music and physics from DePauw University.  However, her background extends well beyond a traditional scientist: she is also a musician, martial artist, triathlete, model and actor.


Viktoriya Golovkina, Prism Computational Sciences, Inc., Madison 

Viktoriya Golovkina is currently the VP of Operations and Business Development at Prism Computational Sciences Inc., where she is responsible for strategic business planning, order forecasting, and user support. She was previously a Sr. Support Physicist at Accuray/TomoTherapy Inc., where she was involved in development and implementation of quality assurance and commissioning protocols for multiple radiation treatment systems; launched 24/7 global physics support within customer support organization; and designed on-site product training course for clinical physicists as well as post-service physics training for distributors and service engineers. Prior to pursuing her career in industry, Viktoriya was a research specialist at the Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she conducted multi-disciplinary experiments in the field of nanolithography. Viktoriya holds an MS in Physics, Non-linear Optics, and Laser Spectroscopy from Moscow State University and an MS in Atomic Physics from the University of Nevada-Reno. Her accolades include the TrueNorth Recognition Award from Accuray Inc. in 2013 and a Teaching Assistant award from the American Association of Physics Teachers.


Dr. Kawtar Hafidi, Argonne National Laboratory

Kawtar Hafidi is the Associate Chief Scientist for Laboratory Directed Research and Development at Argonne National Laboratory.  She is an experimental nuclear physicist in Argonne’s Physics Division with more than 17 years of experience in conceiving and conducting fundamental research.

Dr. Hafidi received her PhD from the University of Paris XI in France in 1999.  Her research interests focus on the study of the structure of nuclear matter in terms of its most fundamental constituents, namely quarks and gluons.  She has previously been on detail assignment to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Nuclear Physics.  She was responsible for the management, oversight, and review of instrument and experiment construction projects in the U.S. and abroad.

Dr. Hafidi has led Argonne’s Women in Science and Technology program and was chair of the American Physical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women in Physics.  Her numerous awards and recognition include the U.S. Department of Energy Outstanding Mentor Award and the Association for Women in Science (AWIS-Chicago chapter) Innovator Award.  Recently, she received the Pinnacle of Education Award by the U.Chicago-Argonne LLC for her efforts to inspire and encourage young women to consider scientific careers and the Argonne National Laboratory Diversity Award.


Kerry Kresse, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Kerry Kresse graduated with a BS in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980.  She received her MLS in Library Science from the UW-Madison in 1981.  Kerry worked at Iowa State University libraries and the University of Kentucky libraries before becoming the Physics Librarian at the UW-Madison in 1988.

Kerry enjoys working with physics-related information and unifying her interest in physics with her love of books.  Highly appreciated in the department in particular for her great prowess in tracking down reference material, she loves the “thrill of the hunt,” and has been known to locate books for physicists without being given the title, author, ISBN, or publisher — just the general subject area and the color of the book’s cover.


Prof. Rachael Lancor, Edgewood College 

Rachael Lancor (pictured here, center, with two of her students) has a MS in Physics from the University of Rochester and a PhD in Science Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has extensive experience in scientific outreach and teaching, and has served as a Preceptor (teaching postdoctoral scholar) in the Department of Physics at Harvard University.  Rachael is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics at Edgewood College in Madison, where she teaches courses in physics and science education.


Prof. Kimberly Palladino, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Kimberly Palladino is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She worked on Cosmic Microwave Background experiments as an undergraduate at Princeton University before taking a gap year in Anchorage, AK working for the American Red Cross through AmeriCorps. She attended graduate school at the Ohio State University where her PhD thesis experiment was in the field of ultra-high energy astrophysical neutrinos; the ANITA detector is a balloon flown from McMurdo base in Antarctica. She then switched fields to work in direct dark matter detection, currently working on the LUX and LZ detectors located at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, and has in the past worked on the MiniCLEAN experiment at SNOLab in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada with past employment at MIT, SNOLab and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Her focus is on detector hardware, although in the field of direct dark matter detection there is broad experience for most researchers including in Monte Carlo simulations, calibrations and analysis. This fall she became a mom to Adam, who has already been able to attend his first Department of Energy Review!


Minh-Dan Tran, The Chicago High School of the Arts 

Minh-Dan Tran is a physics teacher who has taught in public high schools since 2009. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Physics with a concentration in Astronomy in 2006 and obtained a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Pennsylvania State University in 2009. At Wilson Area High School in Easton, PA, she taught Applied Physics 1 and 2, College Preparatory Physics, Honors Physics, AP Physics C: Mechanics, and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism as an independent study; she revised the district curriculum to incorporate the state science assessment standards for Pennsylvania; and, she advised the Gay-Straight Alliance and coached the Debate Team. She next taught 10th grade Physics and 9th grade Geometry at Phoenix Collegiate Academy High School, a public charter school in a high-poverty neighborhood of Phoenix, AZ; she also co-advised the Allies for All Club. She currently teaches at The Chicago High School for the Arts, a contract school in the Chicago Public Schools. She leads the science department and teaches College Preparatory Physics, Honors Physics, and AP Physics 1; she co-advises the Gay-Straight Alliance at ChiArts.