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CSTA Annual Meeting and Opening Session

Friday, October 2 • 9:15 am – 10:45 am

Join us for the CSTA Annual Meeting of members presided over by the 2015-2017 president Lisa Hegdahl. Learn about how CSTA has taken a leadership role in all aspects of the implementation of NGSS at the state level. Celebrate excellence as CSTA presents the following awards:

  • Bertrand Advocacy Award – Trish Williams
  • Legislator of the Year Award – Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla
  • Distinguished Contributions – S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
  • Honorary Membership – Ilene Straus and Trish Williams

Keynote Presentation: Why We Need Science Superheroes

Friday, October 2, 2015, 9:45 am - 10:45 am

Ainissa Ramirez

The 21st century needs a new kind of learner—one that can think expansively and solve problems resourcefully. Yet, many students do not get an opportunity to exercise these muscles in this age of assessment. This situation underscores the importance of making science fun and engaging, and makes the role of science teachers more critical than ever. Ainissa Ramirez makes a call to action to all science educators to infuse passion into the learning experiences they create to ignite curiosity in their students. This talk invites audience members to get in touch with their inner superhero to help save our science.

Sponsored by: Chevron

Closing Session and Keynote Address

Sunday, October 4, 2015, 8:00 am - 9:15 am

“Launch” the last day of the conference with José Hernández!

In 2004 José M. Hernández became the first migrant farmworker to become a NASA astronaut. An impressive achievement in itself, José’s accomplishment is even more amazing when you realize the journey he took to get there. Born into a migrant farm working family from Mexico, José—who didn’t learn English until he was 12 years old—spent much of his childhood on what he calls the “California circuit,” travelling with his family from Mexico to California’s southern San Joaquin Valley each March, then working their way northward to the Stockton area by summer, harvesting produce along the way. The neighborhoods he lived in were often dangerous, filled with drugs and violence. There was also the
issue of growing up in a bicultural environment as a Mexican-American and the prejudices that came along with this label: too Mexican to be American, too American to be Mexican. Through all of this, José’s parents stayed strong and focused on their children’s education which allowed José to dream of one day reaching the stars.

Determined to fulfill his dream, José obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Electrical Engineering. After a successful career as an engineer and scientist, José was selected as part of the 19th class of U.S. Astronauts in 2004. On August 28, 2009 José, assigned to the Space Shuttle Discovery mission as the flight engineer, realized his dream of reaching for the stars and blasted off into space on a 14 day mission to the International Space Station. Be inspired by José’s journey of perseverance and hard work as a true fulfillment of the American Dream. Take this inspiration home with you as you prepare to return to your classroom filled with new knowledge, ideas, and plans to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Mr. Hernández will present on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 8:00 am, and there are workshops scheduled through 12:30 pm, so please plan your travel carefully so you don't miss out on this incredible presentation.


Dr. Ramirez, formerly a research scientist at Bell Laboratories – Lucent Technologies and an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University and director at Yale of the award-winning science lecture series for children, Science Saturdays, is a science evangelist who has a passion for making science fun, exciting and accessible to the general public. Her current focus is getting the message out about the importance of STEM education and shattering the stereotyping of scientists by promoting STEM in underrepresented groups. To quote Dr. Ramirez, “The 21st century requires a new kind of learner – not someone who can simply churn out answers by rote, as has been done in the past, but a student who can think expansively and solve problems resourcefully. The traditional academic skills of reading, ‘riting, and ’rithmetic must be replaced with creativity, curiosity, critical thinking and problem solving, and collaborative and communication skills in order to solve the complex problems of tomorrow.” Dr. Ramirez is co-author of Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game with journalist Allen St. John, and author of Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists.

Video Series hosted by Dr. Ramirez: Science Xplained and Material Marvels.


José Hernández is a former NASA astronaut who served as a mission specialist on the STS-128 Discovery mission in 2009, managing the transfer of more than 18,000 pounds of supplies and equipment between the shuttle and the International Space Station, assisting with robotics operation, and serving as flight engineer for launch and landing. The son of migrant farm workers in California, he moved with his family annually from Mexico to central California while growing up. After graduating high school in Stockton, Mr. Herández pursued baccalaureate and graduate degrees in electrical and computer engineering, was selected as an astronaut candidate in 2004, and in 2006 received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Pacific. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hernández worked on signal and image processing applications in radar imaging, computed tomography, and acoustic imaging at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Mr. Hernández is also the co-developer of the first full-field digital mammography imaging system. He co-authored Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut with Monica Rojas Rubin. In 2005, he founded the Reaching for the Stars Foundation based on his belief that all children, despite challenges, should have the opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Through the Foundation’s science conferences, events, summer academy and scholarships, he hopes to inspire young people to learn more about math and science, and help prepare and support them in pursuing careers in STEM.