Soapbox Science 2018 Chicago

On Saturday July 21st, the very first Soapbox Science event in the United States will happen in Chicago, Illinois on the banks of Lake Michigan at Navy Pier. We are excited to bring 12 of the top early career women in STEMM from Chicago-area institutions to one of our city’s most iconic landmarks. Our speakers will engage visitors with a broad range of topics – astrophysics, planetary science, particle physics, ecology, neuroscience, cancer research, mathematics, and material science. Participants of this year’s event come from the University of Chicago, Fermilab, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Join us for an afternoon of science, hands-on demonstrations, debate and discussion, and celebrating the contributions of women in STEMM. This event is free.

Soapbox Science Chicago’s organizer Dr Maria Weber is a Soapbox Science 2017 alumna. She participated in Exeter’s event last year, and is thrilled to bring such a wonderful program to the United States. Follow our Chicago Soapbox Science adventure on Twitter @SoapboxSciChi.

Details of the location and timing of the event

Date:  Saturday July 21st 2018

Address: Navy Pier

Time: 12pm – 3pm


Support for our event comes primarily from a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship grant to Dr. Weber (AST-1701265). Supplemental financial support has been received from a University of Chicago Campus-Wide Inclusive Climate grant facilitated through the Office of the Provost for Academic Leadership, Advancement and Diversity. We are grateful to Navy Pier for providing us with an ideal location to hold our event, and thank Ms. Sarah Sheehan in the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement for helping us with our event planning.


Selected from a competitive pool of researchers, our 12 speakers will be sharing their work in technology, science, medicine and engineering. The speakers and their discussion topics are:

Dr. Yuanyuan Zhang (@AstroYnzhang), Fermilab “Clusters of Galaxies: The Largest Structure in the Universe”

Maya Fishbach (@kourtneyfish), University of Chicago “Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves: The first discoveries of black hole and neutron star collisions”

Gwen Gallagher, University of Chicago “Invisible microbes and how they shape our world”

K. Supriya (@supriyaknair), University of Chicago “Ants vs. Birds: Competition for food and nesting space, who wins?”

Dr. Nadejda Marounina, University of Chicago “Are there habitable worlds beyond our Solar system?”

Dr. Mia Liu, Fermilab “What is the Higgs boson and how did we do it?”

Dr. Sylvia Ortega Martinez, University of Chicago “Neurogenesis: How the creation of new brain cells is key to a healthy life”

Elahe Moazzen, Illinois Institute of Technology “How the tiniest particles can help us build better batteries ”

Dr. Sadia Khalil, University of Kansas “Smashing particles: Building detectors and perspective of discovering new physics at the High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider”

Dr. Rosemary Guzman, University of Chicago “Table-side mathematics: Geometry with Play-Doh, primes with dots, and games on surfaces”

Joy Peplinski, University of Illinois at Chicago “The Rodent Stories: Squirrels at college and a Porcupine’s cuisine”

Laura Taylor Gray, University of Chicago “Training the Immune System to Fight Cancer”