SHIELD Webinars

Upcoming Webinar

May 19th at 2pm ET, Webinar Registration

Speaker: Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Principal Investigator of NASA’s Psyche mission

Past Webinars

“Surfing Atmospheric Waves: How A Little Girl Who Was Good At Math Discovered A Career In Space Physics.”

Prof. Maura Hagan

Watch recorded video.

MAURA HAGAN is Professor Emerita of Physics at Utah State University (USU) and Senior Scientist Emerita at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Her research expertise is focused on the effects of space weather, meteorological disturbances, and global change on Earth’s upper atmosphere, including chemical/dynamical coupling, electrodynamic coupling between ionospheric plasma and the neutral thermosphere. Hagan earned her doctoral degree in physics at Boston College. She previously served in several NCAR leadership roles and as the USU Dean of the College of Science. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.


The Road Taken: My Journey in Space Physics from IGY (1957) to the Present

Speaker: Peggy Shea

Friday, Jan. 20th, 2023 at 2pm ET, watch it here

Join us as Dr. Shea shares her journey from childhood to now. An avid fan of science, she was one of just three women to sign up for the College of Technology in 1954 at the University of New Hampshire. Overcoming many systematic barriers, she became the first woman to earn an advanced degree in physics from UNH.

Hired as an undergraduate to help with research monitoring cosmic rays on Mt. Washington and in Durham, she gained a wealth of knowledge, material for a thesis, and an entree into a field where she forged a 50-year career researching the interplay between cosmic rays and the Earth’s magnetic field. She has published more than 300 scientific papers, edited the journal Advances in Space Research, and won numerous awards.

January 2023 webinar
The Voyager Mission: 45 Years of Discovery

The Voyager Mission: 45 Years of Discovery

Aug. 19th at 2pm ET

Watch the Video


  • Dr. Nicola Fox – Heliophysics Division Director, SMD/NASA
  • Dr. Linda Spilker – Voyager Deputy Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Prof. Merav Opher – Director of the NASA SHIELD DRIVE Science Centers; Professor of Astronomy, Boston University

Join us for this panel discussion to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the launch of Voyager as well as 20 years of exploration outside of the Heliopause. This panel will reflect on how the past discoveries of Voyager have shaped humanity’s understandings of the outer regions of the Solar System as well as the current and future observations in the Interstellar Medium influenced by the Heliosphere. Panelists will also highlight connections with current missions, such as IBEX and New Horizons, and future missions such as IMAP.  The panelists will reflect on the outstanding scientific puzzles that scientists are looking to solve through the future of exploration, and then conclude with a Q and A session.

Panelists Biographies

Dr. Nicola Fox is the Heliophysics Division Director in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Heliophysics is not only vital to understanding Earth’s most important and life-sustaining star, but the study of key space phenomena and processes supports situational awareness to better protect astronauts, satellites, and robotic missions exploring the solar system and beyond. Prior to her current role, Dr. Fox was the chief scientist for Heliophysics and the project scientist for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe – humanity’s first mission to a star.

Nicola Fox, Director of Heliophysics Division, SMD/NASA
Nicola Fox, Director of Heliophysics Division, SMD/NASA
Dr. Linda Spilker, Voyager Deputy Project Scientist, JPL
Dr. Linda Spilker, Voyager Deputy Project Scientist, JPL

Dr. Linda Spilker is a senior research scientist and Fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who has participated in NASA and international planetary missions at JPL for 45 years, including both the Voyager and Cassini missions, and studies of future mission concepts. Spilker’s mission roles include mission leadership as well as design, planning, operation and scientific data analysis. She is currently the Voyager Deputy Project Scientist, after serving for a decade as Cassini Project Scientist through the end of the mission. She worked in a science role on the Cassini project for 30 years and was a Co-I with the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer team for almost 30 years. She also conducts independent research on the origin and evolution of planetary ring systems. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA.

Prof. Merav Opher is a Professor in the Astronomy Department at Boston University. Recently she was awarded the Radcliffe Fellowship 2021-2022 from Harvard Radcliffe Institute. She was recently awarded, as a Principal Investigator, one of the largest NASA DRIVE Science Centers called SHIELD. SHIELD is a multi-institutional effort with more than 40 leading scientists across a dozen institutions whose goal is to develop a new predictive global model for the heliosphere. She is actively involved in several space physics society leadership activities, such as being currently the Editor of Geophysical Research Letters.

Prof. of Astronomy, Boston University Director, NASA SHIELD DRIVE Center
Prof. of Astronomy, Boston University Director, NASA SHIELD DRIVE Center

Date: Friday, Nov. 12th, 2021 – 2:00 pm EST

Title: A Perspective on the James Webb Space Telescope

Speaker: Greg Robinson

Greg Robinson has over 30 years of experience with engineering, program and project management, and senior executive leadership at NASA. As Program Director of the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb), his focus is development efficiency, management processes, contractor performance, and mission success. Greg will share his perspective on the development of this latest NASA achievement and the potential scientific discoveries that it will reveal

Watch here

Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson

Date: Friday, Oct. 8th, 2021 – 2:00 pm EST

Title: Enabling Scientific Discovery

Speaker: Andrea I. Razzaghi

Andrea will share her journey from African American girl growing up in Washington, DC to senior NASA leader immersed in science, technology, and engineering. She will talk about the interplay between science and engineering in making the unknown known. Andrea will share exhilarating highlights from past missions where she played a significant role in enabling scientific discovery and will provide of preview of some exciting missions to come.

Andrea I. Razzaghi
Andrea I. Razzaghi

Date: Friday, Sept. 10th, 2021 – 2:00 pm EST

Title: Sonar, Esforzarse y Lograr: Reach, Strive, Achieve –From Costa Rica to Mars

Speaker: Sandra Cauffman, Director of the Earth Science Division, SMD, NASA

Mrs. Cauffman serves as the Deputy Director of the Earth Science Division, in the Science Mission Directorate at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters since May 2016. From February 2019 to June 2020 she served as the Acting Director of the Earth Science Division. She provides executive leadership, strategic direction, and overall management for the entire agency’s multi-billion 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 as a civil servant (CS) and 3 years as a contractor prior to becoming a CS. 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).

Since then she has served in a number of roles: GOES I/M and N/P Instrument Manager, Project Formulation Office (PFO) Office Chief, Instrument Systems Manager for GOES-R, Deputy Project Manager for GOES-R, Assistant Director for the Flight Projects Directorate (code 400), Project Manager (PM) for the Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (SMEX) (GEMS), Deputy Project Manager for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Mission, and Deputy Systems Program Director for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R Series before moving to HQ.

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, and numerous GSFC and HQ awards. She is a Senior Fellow on the Council for Excellence in Government. She is an Honorary Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Costa Rica. She is also an Honorary Member of the Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y de Arquitectos in Costa Rica. 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. Her profile has been highlighted by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for being a positive example for women, especially, youth and children. Due to her extensive work in outreach and STEM in Costa Rica and Latin America, the Government of Costa Rica issued a stamp in her honor in 2017.

Watch it here

Sandra Cauffman, Director of the Earth Science Division, SMD, NASA
Sandra Cauffman, Director of the Earth Science Division, SMD, NASA

Date: July 9, 2021 – 2:00pm EST

Title: From Puerto Rico to Outer Space

Speaker: Mayra Natalia Hernandez Montrose

Ms. Mayra Montrose is Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs in the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) of NASA since December 2018. She served as Acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs from December 2019 to August 2020.
From 2015 to 2018 she was Program Executive for Earth Science Flight Missions in SMD, where she managed five spaceflight projects: monitoring solar irradiance (TSIS-1 on ISS), methane and carbon (GeoCarb), polar radiant energy (PREFIRE), surface mineralogy, and dust sources (EMIT) and plant health (ECOSTRESS).
She worked at the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 2006 to 2015, where she served as Manager of the Presidential National Medal of Science and the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award. She was also the Executive Secretary of the Committee on Science of the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) that coordinates science policy for the U.S. Federal Government, and of the Committee on STEM Education of the NSTC.
Ms. Montrose began her professional career at NASA, where she managed programs, such as the Energy and Water National Applications in the Applied Sciences Program in SMD, the Education Program in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, and the Life Sciences Small Payloads program in the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications. Ms. Montrose worked for five years as Executive Officer to the NASA Chief Scientist. Ms. Montrose’s first job with NASA was at the Kennedy Space Center, where she worked as an experiment engineer. She has received numerous achievement awards acknowledging her significant contributions, including two from the European Space Agency and the German Space Agency, and the NASA Cooperative External Achievement Award for her efforts in serving as an interface with new prospective commercial partners of NASA.
She earned Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Ms. Montrose was born and raised in Puerto Rico.

Mayra Natalia Hernandez Montrose
Mayra Natalia Hernandez Montrose

Speaker: Laura Delgado López

Laura Delgado López is a Policy Analyst at the Policy Branch of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD). She is part of a team focused on providing policy support to SMD’s 90+ missions that span Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science, as well as reimbursable projects for other agencies.
From July 2016 to November 2018, she was at Harris Corporation’s Space and Intelligence Systems Segment. As an advocacy lead she supported the business activities of the international, and environmental solutions teams. In addition to guiding the development of relationships with key customers, partners, and influencers, she provided the leadership team with analysis and advice of the relevant budgetary, policy, and regulatory developments that could impact current and future business activities.
Before joining Harris, Ms. Delgado López spent five years in the non-profit sector. She was a Project Manager at the Secure World Foundation (SWF), where she led the SWF Human and Environmental Security initiative as well as engagement with the Latin American space community. Of note are her recent positions as Earth Observations Associate at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, and as a correspondent for Ms. Delgado López is a former Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Space Policy journal, the premier peer-reviewed publication for the interdisciplinary study of space policy. In this role, she managed the timely coordination of the review and editing process of submitted manuscripts and worked with the publisher to guide the direction of the journal, identifying relevant policy issues for research and debate. She currently serves on the SWF Advisory Committee, providing input to the President and Executive Director concerning SWF’s mission and strategy and providing subject matter expertise to SWF leadership and staff.
Ms. Delgado López’s research has focused on issues related to Earth observations, space politics and policy, international cooperation, and public opinion. Her work has been featured in publications such as Space Policy, Astropolitics, Space News, among others, and has led to media appearances in major Spanish-speaking media outlets, including CNN en Español.
She holds a Master of Arts in international science and technology with a focus on space policy from the George Washington University. She was a 2009 Truman Scholar and a 2009-2010 Northrop Grumman Fellow at GWU’s Space Policy Institute. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Puerto Rico.

Watch it here

Laura Delgado López
Laura Delgado López

June 11, 2021 – 2:00pm EST

Title: Young Voices: Effects of distribution structure on predictions of plasma behavior in marginally unstable plasms.

Speaker: Dr. Emily Lichko

Dr. Lichko’s research focuses on kinetic plasma physics processes in space and astrophysical plasmas, in particular as they relate to questions of particle heating and nonlinear processes that affect the evolution of collisionless, anisotropic plasmas. She received her B.S. in Physics and Applied Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 2013 and her Ph.D. in 2020 from the University of Wisconsin –Madison, working under the supervision of Professor Jan Egedal. Dr. Lichko is currently an NSF AGS Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Arizona, working with Prof. Kristopher Klein on the effects of linear and nonlinearities physics on the onset and evolution of microinstabilities in space–relevant plasmas

Watch it here.

Dr. Emily Lichko
Dr. Emily Lichko

May 14, 2021 – 2:00pm EST

Title: A Path Towards Creating Effective Scientific Presentations

Speaker: Heather Elliott

This webinar is designed to set you on a path towards creating effective presentations. Presentations are a key way of advertising your work and an integral part of establishing collaborations. We go over general advice for making scientific presentations at conferences, and more formal presentations to clients and government agencies (e.g. NASA Preliminary
Design Reviews and Critical Design Reviews). The advice includes how to prepare presentations, and how to give presentations. We provide some advice for dealing with common problems encountered during presentations.
Additional links and references are provided to guide your journey towards being an effective presenter.

Dr. Elliott’s research focuses on the plasma properties of large‐scale solar wind structures, and Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections. Her work with ACE, Ulysses, New Horizons, OMNI, and Polar data has spanned a wide range of topics: solar wind, interstellar pickup ions, Jupiter’s magnetotail, ion outflow in Earth’s magnetosphere, comet tails, forecasting the Kp Index, and solar wind interaction with Pluto. Currently, she is the Deputy PI for the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument on the New Horizons spacecraft. She is a Co‐I on the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission, the Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) mission, and the SHIELD DRIVE Data Center. As an undergraduate, she was a summer student at Arecibo Observatory assisting with
ionospheric research, and her master’s work compared simulation results to thermospheric observations. Her Ph.D. dissertation examined how the solar wind affects the cold ion outflow that escapes from the ionosphere into the high altitude polar magnetosphere.

Watch it here

Heather Elliott
Heather Elliott