Meet the Speakers

K E Y N O T E • S P E A K E R S

Margaret Dominguez 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

“From a pig farm to the stars, my journey to NASA”

Dr. Margaret Dominguez has worked at NASA for over 12 years and during her stay there she has worked on the construction and measurements of different space telescopes, such as James Webb and Hubble. She is currently working on the Roman Space Telescope, which will seek to study galaxies and dark energy. On board the Roman telescope there is a slitless spectrometer, which plays an important role in this study. Dr. Dominguez has lead the testing efforts of the optical characteristics of different prototypes of the grism to demonstrate that the construction of the final flight grism is possible. She is currently building the flight version of the grism which will be launched into space in a few years. During this talk, Dr. Dominguez will talk about your journey to get to NASA and her role in the construction of the grism as part of the Roman Telescope.

Dr. Margaret Dominguez was born and raised in Mexico. She holds a B.S. in Physics from the Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. She also holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona. Since 2009 she has been working as an Optical Engineer at NASA Goddard Space flight Center; where she is currently the test lead for the Grism component of the Roman Space Telescope, which will be launched in the mid-20s.

Jin Kim Montclare

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Department of Chemistry, NYU, New York, NY 10003

Department of Biomaterials, NYU College of Dentistry, New York, NY 10010

Department of Radiology, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY 10010

STEM Pathway Towards Protein Biomaterials and Innovation—and the Lessons Learned

Inspired by nature’s biopolymers, my lab engineer artificial protein materials with entirely new properties and function.  We employ synthetic and chemical biology to construct our materials and endow them with stimuli-responsiveness. In particular, we have fabricated protein-derived nanomaterials: coiled-coil fibers, helix-elastin block polymers, and supercharged coiled-coil•lipid complexes (or lipoproteoplexes).  We investigate the fundamental self-assembly and molecular recognition capabilities of these systems.  More importantly, we are able to harness these structure as well as others to interface with small molecule therapeutics, genes, and cells. Along the way I will share with you my research path and lesson learned.

Jin Montclare is a Professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) Department at NYU Tandon School of Engineering (NYU SoE) with appointments in Chemistry at NYU, Biomaterials at NYU College of Dentistry and Radiology at NYU School of Medicine.  She is performing groundbreaking research in engineering proteins to mimic nature and, in some cases, work better than nature. She exploits nature’s biosynthetic machinery and evolutionary mechanisms to design new artificial proteins.  Her lab focuses on two research areas: (1) developing protein biomaterials capable of self-assembling into supramolecular structures and (2) engineering functional proteins/enzymes for particular substrates with the aim of targeting human disorders, drug delivery and tissue regeneration. Dr. leads the multidisciplinary Convergence of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Institute. 

W O R K S H O P • L E A D E R

Lily Blocker

Stony Brook University

“Lead the Change”

Creating sustainable, novel, and useful change is important in every industry. However, change can create stress and uncertainty, that can inhibit your efforts. Leaders can be the force that transforms this natural trajectory by implementing the strategic guidance and motivation that are necessary for new initiatives to succeed. By developing a strong vision and creating buy-in from the team, you can successfully manage the change processes that are critical to your success. This interactive zoom workshop also includes a role-play experience and discussions that enhance perspective-taking and improve understanding of key obstacles to change.

Dr. Lily Blocker is a tenured Associate Professor of Management at Stony Brook University and the director of the Leadership & Creativity Research Lab. She also serves as the Co-Director of the MBA Program in the College of Business.

Her research in leadership, innovation, and conflict applies science-based approaches to practical organizational problems. Her work focuses on 1) the process by which leaders overcome failures and 2) the dynamics of innovative teams. Her primary research examines the consequences of leader mistakes and mistake recovery on leader-follower relationships. Her innovation research includes constructs such as team member influence, team climate, and malevolence. Dr. Blocker’s research has been published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, The Leadership Quarterly, Advances in Developing Human Resources, Human Resource Management Review, and The Journal of Creative Behavior. Her work has also been featured in Fortune, Fast Company, Business Insider, Inc, and Pacific Standard Magazine.

Dr. Blocker is an award-winning teacher in the Stony Brook University MBA program and teaches the core course Leadership, Teams, and Communications. She has taught hundreds of professionals in corporate, non-profit, and university environments.  

In addition to her academic work, Dr. Blocker leads workshops, consulting engagements, and has leadership positions on non-profit boards. Her consulting clients include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Del Monte Foods, Brookhaven National Labs, PNC Bank, Gold Coast Bank, Stony Brook Medicine. Dr. Blocker is on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, part of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Dr. Blocker also serves on the Board of Directors of METRO, the New York Metropolitan Association of Applied Psychology.

Prior to joining Stony Brook, Dr. Blocker was a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Terrorism researching the process of terrorist deradicalization for a grant from the Office of Naval Research working with domestic and international government defense agencies. Dr. Blocker received her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Penn State University and a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Fresno. For more information, please visit