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Another NASA Scientist to Speak at Women’s Leadership Conference

Leadership Conference
With the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s successful entry into orbit around Mars on March 10, it is only appropriate that almost a month later, four women scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena – Deborah Bass, Ashley Stroupe, Jaime Waydo and Ruth Fragoso–be the luncheon keynote speakers for the College of the Canyons Women’s Leadership Conference on April 11. The conference’s mission is to help women gain practical knowledge and draw inspiration from women leaders and pioneers. Former Los Angeles Laker Jamaal Wilkes will also speak. Bass is the deputy project scientist for the Phoenix Mars Scout Mission, scheduled to launch in 2007. Bass conducts independent research on the Martian water cycle, focusing on surface-atmosphere interactions in the North Polar Region. Bass was also the science operations system engineer for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project and as the MER deputy science team chief. Bass received her bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in planetary geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. A self-proclaimed dog lover, Bass became interested in geology in high school. “The neat thing about geology is that you look at the big picture,” she said.  “You combine a little physics, a little biology, a little chemistry and a little history.  You look at how things interact with one another.” In college, her interests expanded to planetary geology. “It was like taking the big picture of geology and making it even bigger– look at a whole planet, rather than one system.” Stroupe is a robotics engineer and works as a rover driver with the Mars Exploration Rover project, building sequences of commands to drive the rover and deploy scientific instruments. Stroupe received her Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from George Mason University and another in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. She received her Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. Waydo is a mechanical systems engineer at JPL. In her NASA career, Waydo has led a series of entry, descent and landing tests for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, which landed twin rovers successfully on Mars in January 2004. Her current assignment is leading the mobility team for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, a rover scheduled to launch in 2009. Waydo received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Montana State University and her master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Fragoso is responsible for the training and readiness of mission operations flight teams, conducting mission operation simulation exercises of various scenarios, facilitating the execution of training modules and ensuring flight team certification. Fragoso received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of California,  Los Angeles. Former Laker Wilkes will also be a keynote speaker at the conference. Wilkes has enjoyed success in the real estate and mortgage industries and is currently the founder and president of Jamaal Wilkes Financial Advisors, offering comprehensive investment planning and management services to foundations, business owners/entrepreneurs, affluent professionals and non-profit organizations. The Women’s Leadership Conference will be held on April 11 at College of the Canyons.
For more information to register, contact Agnes Eguaras at (661) 362-5034 or