Live Webinar: Learning about Neurodiversity and NASA's Neurodiversity Network
NASA's Neurodiversity Network (N3) provides pathways to NASA participation and STEM employment for neurodiverse learners, with a focus on those on the autism spectrum. Join us to learn more about autism, neurodiversity, and best practices to support autistic learners and team members in your community. Attendees will also learn about the N3 program, including their high school internship program and formal and informal curriculum development initiatives for neurodiverse high schoolers and museum goers.
Professor Lynn Cominsky (she/her/ella) Sonoma State University, Department of Physics & Astronomy, and Director of EdEon STEM Learning.
Professor Cominsky grew up in the snows of Buffalo, New York, and attended college at Brandeis University, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. After graduating from college, she worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, analyzing data from the first X-ray astronomy satellite, Uhuru. When she found out that she could get paid for studying black holes, she went to graduate school in physics at MIT, and after getting her PhD there in 1981, she moved to California. She has been on the faculty at Sonoma State University for over 35 years, and chaired the Department of Physics and Astronomy for 15 years before stepping down in 2019. She is also the director and founder of SSU's EdEon STEM Learning Center, formerly known as the Education and Public Outreach group. EdEon is involved in programs that build rocket payloads and CubeSats, as well as developing and testing STEM curricula and other education products for NASA, NSF and the US Department of Education. EdEon also runs a robotic telescope north of campus that can be used over the internet by high school and college students nation-wide. Cominsky’s most recent project is NASA’s Neurodiversity Network (N3): Creating Inclusive Informal Learning Opportunities Across the Spectrum. N3’s goal is to provide a pathway to NASA participation and STEM employment for neurodiverse learners, with a focus on those on the autism spectrum. On a personal note, she lives at the Little H-bar Ranch in Petaluma, California, where she is a servant to three horses, two miniature horses, two cats, six chickens, a three-legged goat, and one dog.
Dr. Ariana Riccio (she/her), Senior Research Associate at Education Development Center.
Dr. Ariana Riccio is a Senior Research Associate at Education Development Center. Her work focuses on curriculum development, maker education, and transitions to employment and higher education for autistic adolescents and young adults. Her research aims to improve resources and programming for autistic youth using neurodiversity-affirming principles. Dr. Riccio has a BS in Biology and Community Health from Tufts University and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Sam Tumolo (she/they), Senior Maker Space Coordinator, New York Hall of Science
Sam Tumolo is the Senior Maker Space Coordinator at the New York Hall of Science. Sam develops inclusive STEM programs for learners of all ages, with a focus on increasing visitor agency through universal design for learning. As a neurodivergent individual, Sam is especially passionate about developing programs that engage and empower all types of learners, with a focus on those with disabilities. Sam graduated from Temple University with a degree in Environmental Studies, and has been working in the museum industry since 2014.