Dinner Tickets

Apparently word has not gotten around that we have a wait list for the keynote banquet so we wanted to boost the signal ūüôā

Please email the chairs (Tara at leadenalchemist@gmail.com and Tabby at tabbcat@yahoo.com) if you would like a refund of your dinner ticket so that we can accommodate the folks on the wait list.

Or, please let us know if you’d like to be on the wait list.

We have already given the dinner totals and special meal orders to the hotel and we can’t change that at this point, so we need to be able to regulate this.


Antarctic Meteorite Program

Dr. Cari Corrigan is a geologist and the Curator of Antarctic Meteorites at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. She studies meteorites from the Moon, Mars and asteroids in order to understand how the Solar System, particularly the rocky planets, formed and to learn how the impact cratering process affects these planetary materials. Cari is also involved in the Mars Exploration Rover project, processing images that come down from the Opportunity Rover.

Dr. Corrigan has been to Antarctica twice to collect meteorites with the Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET) and will be speaking about this program and her experiences ūüôā


To Be Young, Gifted and Black…and Work in STEM

Social determinants of health describes how where we work, live, and play impact our health status and in particular makes certain groups sicker and die prematurely compared to more advantaged groups. These same determinants of health impact access into to STEM fields and the degree to which members of these groups can exert their agency in advancing work in their fields. The purpose of this presentation is to explore these topics interweaving personal experience, public health data, and a historical look at firsts in STEM fields.

Dr. Fleming is a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Public Health Service and serves as the dental epidemiology officer for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

She has conducted research on HIV/AIDS and STD related disparities, applying social determinants of health theories and models to better understand health inequities. She also conducted domestic and international epidemiological investigations related to syphilis prevention and control. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at national and international conferences, and used to inform local public health policies.


The Norii are coming! The Norii are coming!

Two of our favorite Mensans are making the trek down to Pandemic! and we’re super excited!

Lori Norris (a member of Rhode Island Mensa and current AMC First Vice Chair) will be running a session with Jason Seiler (our Regional Vice Chair for Region 2) called Meet the AMC. ¬†Have a question about the AMC, Mensa or fun events; just ask‚Ķ if she doesn‚Äôt have the answer they‚Äôll try to find out later for you. Lori¬†has two hobbies ‚Äď Mensa and her husband Ron, a fellow M she met at an RG.

And speaking of….

Ron Norris has honed his bar tending skills by serving hundreds of mango margaritas at Cape Cod Mini RG, Albany‚Äôs RechaRGe, Connecticut‚Äôs MensAutumn and Boston‚Äôs Wicked Good RG, and we were lucky enough to have him serve all of MWM’s women (and a few of the men!) at Pandemic last year. He also tempts his wife and others with Strawberry Pi√Īa Coladas and various other imbibments. ¬†Let‚Äôs see what he tempts us with in August!¬†ūüôā¬†¬†We hear tell there might be a margarita bar.



Scotch Tasting Signup

Update (7/30): We’re considering opening another 20 slots if we can build up a wait list. ¬†Let us know if you’re interested!


Jason Seiler is hosting the scotch tasting on Friday night… we have up to 20 slots available for $15/ea. ¬†This is a fee-based event, as Jason is providing scotch from his personal collection.

If you’d like to secure a spot ahead of time, please reach out to Tabby Vos or reply to this post, and we will add your name. ¬†After confirmation that you have a spot, we’ll ask that you send payment. ¬†We will update this list with payment status as well.


List (as of 8/18/2017):

  1. Kit Hope (paid)
  2. Darius Stangu (paid)
  3. Nancy Farrar (paid)
  4. Perry Farrar (paid)
  5. Matt Grob (paid)
  6. Tammy Metz (paid)
  7. Tiffany Carter (paid)
  8. Peter DuDeck  (paid)
  9. Tom Schnorrenberg (paid)
  10. Bill Zigo (paid)
  11. Phil Baun (paid)
  12. Joel Huddleston (paid)
  13. Maggie Lada (paid)
  14. Ryan Barrett (paid)
  15. Dave Aronson (paid)
  16. Esther Nasjleti (paid)
  17. Laura Smith (paid)
  18. Bethany Danyluk (paid)
  19. Timmy King (paid)
  20. Rod Cowan (notified)


Wait List (as of 8/18/2017):

  1. Laura Garver Ingram
  2. Heather E


Session Details:

Have you ever wanted to try Scotch whisky, but you don‚Äôt know enough to order it in a bar? What is the difference between a Highland, a Lowland, and an Islay?¬†Wait, isn‚Äôt whisky spelled with an ‚Äúe‚ÄĚ?

Known whisky enthusiast Jason Seiler will help with these and more as he presents on the origin, etymology, and process of making Scotch whisky. During the presentation, participants will be treated to six servings of whisky, each a single malt aged 10 years or better, and one each from the six whisky-producing regions of Scotland.

Particles and Experiments: Muon Monitoring

A presentation on physics and space?  Heck yeah!

The current Standard Model of Fundamental Particles has been able to describe in a single mathematical pattern all visible matter (4 percent of the mass of the universe). It thus states that this matter consists of six electron-like leptons and six quarks making known nuclei and atoms and many unstable particles created in high-energy particle collisions. The remaining 96 percent of the Universe is made from a still mysterious set of ‚Äúdark matter‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúdark energy.‚ÄĚ The muon, an unstable lepton particle, is effectively a massy version of the electron. Muons are present in the secondary cosmic ray showers in the atmosphere, and are one of the few particles to reach in large numbers a sea level environment. They decay into three other leptons: an electron and two neutrinos, which in our experiment escape undetected. The speaker will explain her experiment, which registers the arrival and stopping of a muon as a voltage pulse, and how it could be used in applications for modern-day society.

Cioli Barazandeh received her associate’s and bachelor’s of science in space studies from American Military University at the ages of 12 and 13, consecutively. She began graduate coursework at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) before completion of her bachelor’s. She is currently an FIT graduate student focusing on space systems. She is also concurrently a master’s student at Purdue University engaged in the study of aeronautical and astronautical engineering funded by a full scholarship through the School of Engineering. She hopes to achieve her MS from Purdue in December 2018 and finish her MS at FIT (by May 2018), while possibly working on the research component of a doctorate. As the President of the Society of Physics Students, Annandale chapter, at Northern Virginia Community College, she currently studies with Professor Walerian Majewski and physics students, focusing on projects revolving around magnetism and particle physics.


Less than a month to go! ;D

We are closing in on the RG!  Some housekeeping items:

Keynote Dinner:  Just an FYI that we have 30 tickets remaining for the keynote banquet.  Attending the dinner is the only way to see our keynote speaker (Krishanti Vignarajah), who promises to be amazing!  We will not be able to simulcast the keynote address into a nearby room this year due to having a different banquet space.  You can register for tickets here!

Hotel: ¬†Our hotel block closes next Friday (7/28) and it is unlikely we’ll be able to extend the block any further per the hotel. ¬†Please reserve your room here! ¬†We have about 20 rooms remaining.

Volunteer: ¬†As always, an RG is an all-volunteer effort. ¬†We appreciate any and all help, and hope you’ll sign up for a shift or two. ¬†It’s the best way to meet people and ensure that we can keep throwing awesome parties ūüėČ ¬†We’ll be raffling off two paid registrations for next year’s Pandemic. ¬†You can sign up here!

Program:  We have a high-level program up on the website and will include the printed program in the next week or so.  The At-A-Glance program is available here!

What the Brain Conceals, the Body Reveals

Detecting deception is a matter of strong public interest. It is the subject of numerous television programs, books and articles. Unfortunately these mediums contain many misconceptions and distortions about the art and science of lie detection. This presentation explains how to effectively and efficiently detect lies and the exercise gives you the opportunity to practice your ability to recognize Non-Verbal Deception.

Initially assigned to the Albany Resident Agency of the FBI’s Atlanta Division, Atlanta, Georgia, for five years, Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Don Sheehan handled a full range of investigative responsibilities to include: fugitives, civil rights, applicants, drugs, public corruption, crimes on a government reservation, and bank fraud. He was cited for successfully investigating and ending a series of high profile bank robberies. During the next five years he worked in the Newark Division, Newark, New Jersey, primarily on public corruption matters. His additional duties included: ¬†Undercover Coordinator, Crisis Negotiator, Police Instructor and Criminal Investigative Analyst (Profiler).

SSA Sheehan taught and performed research in Stress Management and Critical Incident Response in the Behavioral Science Unit, Training Division, FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia for five years. He provided consultation to the Undercover Safeguard Unit on the psychological assessment of Undercover Agents. He ended his career in the FBI teaching Interviewing, Detection of Deception and Interrogation to New Agent Trainees and managing the FBI National Academy’s Interviewing & Interrogation Program. He wrote the Interview and Interrogation lessons used to train new Iraqi police officers.

SSA Sheehan has edited two books: Domestic Violence By Police Officers and Suicide And Law Enforcement. He sits on the Editorial Boards of two professional journals: The International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Aggression and Violent Behavior, A Review Journal. SSA Sheehan had adjunct faculty status at the University of Virginia for ten years and is the recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Award for his research on law enforcement stress. He belonged to the external Advisory Board for the Domestic Violence Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York. He has appeared on CNN and has been quoted in USA Today and the New York Times regarding police stress.

Prior to joining the FBI, SSA Sheehan served on active duty as a Second Lieutenant – Major, in the United States Marine Corps. Initially, he worked as an Infantry Officer and later assumed additional duties as a Counterintelligence Officer. In these capacities, he traveled extensively including Central America, Europe and the Far East. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.) with a total of 26 years of active and Reserve service. Lt. Col. Sheehan received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for exceptional service.

Born and raised in Loretto, Pennsylvania, SSA Sheehan attended Saint Francis College, Loretto, Pennsylvania, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. SSA Sheehan has a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology from Catholic University, Washington, D.C. He also received a Post-Masters Advanced Professional Certificate from Catholic University and became certified as a School Psychologist. SSA Sheehan became a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress. He received a second Post-Masters Advanced Professional Certificate from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia in Adult Education and Development.

SSA Sheehan served the Prince William County, VA Police Department on a volunteer basis for three years. He was an advisor to the Cold Case Squad. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University, Plantation, FL.


Why are doctors so hard to understand?

This talk will explore the reasons why doctors and patients often struggle to communicate with each other, even when the stakes are so high. Doctors are trained to think and talk about bodies, diseases, and treatments one way, and those of us seeking help have little to no training and often are not at our best when trying to get help. Health literacy is an idea that suggests we as a society can do better when communicating about health. Both the healthcare system and the doctors and patients who struggle to make it work can take steps to improve communication and get better health results.

Dr. Cynthia Baur, PhD is the Director of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy. Dr. Baur has worked for thirteen years in significant communication roles with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia and has helped to define best practices for health literate communications. Most recently, she served as the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy and Plain Language in the Office of the Associate Director for Communication. In this role, she created the CDC’s health literacy website, which provides tools to improve health literacy and public health. Her approach is based in communication science and is focused on providing diverse audiences with information in ways they can understand and use.

She focuses on providing clear messages using the appropriate channels for a specific audience to achieve maximum reach. ¬†Her strategy builds in what she calls ‚Äúdynamic feedback loops‚ÄĚ so that the communication process is iterative and self-correcting. She was also a co-creator of the¬†CDC Clear Communication Index, a tool that can be used to help organizations develop and assess the effectiveness of public communication materials. She also developed training programs to educate health professionals about their role in providing health information and services and promoting public health literacy and was lead author and editor of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Baur earned her PhD in Communication from the University of California, San Diego and her BA in Rhetoric from the University of California, Davis.


CSA wins; Nixon defeats Kennedy; Leonov first man on Moon: Rewriting the World with Alternate History

Alternate history is a genre of fiction in which one or more historical events occur differently, causing the world as we knew it to evolve differently. It can be a rigorous exploration of how the world came to be. Ian Randal Strock wrote the short story ‚ÄúShall Not Perish From the Earth‚ÄĚ for the alternate history anthology ‚ÄúAltered States of the Union.‚ÄĚ For the story, he made a seemingly minor change to the Constitution at the founding of the United States of America and then explored what would happen during Abraham Lincoln‚Äôs administration, three-quarters of a century later. In this talk, he‚Äôll delve further into the facts and changes of the story, as well as place it within the wider realm of alternate history.

Ian is the super handsome and ultra charming author of “The Presidential Book of Lists” (Random House, 2008), “Ranking the First Ladies” and “Ranking the Vice Presidents” (Carrel Books, 2016). Award-winning author of short fiction and non-fiction, published in Nature and Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Publisher and editor-in-chief of Gray Rabbit Publications / Fantastic Books (www.FantasticBooks.biz).