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Local Organizing Committee


The Local Organizing Committee at WVU is invested in creating a meaningful, impactful experience for all participants, panelists, and volunteers. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns!


Maura McLaughlin 2023

Maura McLaughlin, WVU Eberly Family Distinguished Professor and Chair, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Director of the WVU Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology

Dr. McLaughlin studies exotic neutron stars, formed in the supernova explosions of massive stars. One of her primary goals is to use high-precision timing of neutron stars called pulsars with large radio telescopes to detect and characterize invisible ripples in space-time called gravitational waves. She also studies transient radio signals such as elusive Fast Radio Bursts. She is committed to outreach and education and has involved thousands of high-school students in pulsar searches with the Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia.


Paul Cassak

Paul Cassak, WVU Professor, Associate Director of the WVU Center for KINETIC Plasma Physics, former chair of undergraduate advising, and former chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Holly Legleiter

Holly Legleiter, Public Relations Coordinator for the WVU Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology. She manages conference organization, digital and traditional media development, social media management and press coordination. Holly is also a member of the NANOGrav Collaboration.

Micky Holcomb

Micky Holcomb, WVU Associate Professor in experimental condensed matter physics. She is leading a WVU-based team collaborating with NASA on improving their next generation single photon detectors. She also discovered a new magnetic phenomenon and studies the cause and applications of this effect.

Gay Stewart

Gay Stewart, WVU Professor, Director of the WVU Center for Excellence in STEM Education, CodeWV, and WVUteach.

Jason Ybarra

Jason Ybarra, WVU Teaching Associate Professor, WVU Planetarium Director

Victoria Blackmon

Victoria Blackmon, WVU Graduate Student

Alex Volkova

Alex Volkova, WVU Graduate Student

Fenton Clawson

Fenton Clawson, WVU Graduate Student

Danielle Maldonado

Danielle Maldonado, WVU Graduate Student. Danielle (she/her) is a third-year graduate research assistant. She participates in physics education research (PER) by studying self-regulated learning practices, self-efficacy, and the mathematics graduate admissions process. She is also a member of the APS Forum on Education Executive Committee.

Ashley Martsen

Ashley Martsen, WVU Graduate Student. Ashley is a graduate student who studies Astrophysics, specifically pulsars working with the collaboration NANOGrav. When not nerding out about pulsars, you may find her hiking or watching Doctor Who. 

Joan Vogtman

Joan Vogtman, Potomac State Faculty. Prof. Vogtman is a STEM Professor at West Virginia University – Potomac State College.  She teaches both algebra and calculus based introductory physics courses, as well as mechanical and aerospace engineering courses.  She resides in Western Maryland with her husband and three children. 

Marie Hamilton

Maria Hamilton, Marshall University Faculty. Prof. Maria C. Babiuc Hamilton found inspiration in Marie Curie's legacy and embarked on a physics career. Initially focused on experimental solar cells, she later delved into theoretical astrophysics and general relativity. A conference opportunity led her to a postdoctoral position at the University of Pittsburgh, PA, where she learned how to use supercomputers to simulate compact object collisions and gravitational waves. As a professor at Marshall University, WV, she takes great joy in teaching physics and actively involving students in research, while dedicating herself to inspiring young women to pursue their dreams.

Ellie White

Ellie White, Research and Grants Advisor for West Virginia Alliance for STEM and Arts where she is also a member on Board of Directors. She received a B.S. in Physics from Marshall University and has worked on radio astronomy research, instrumentation, and outreach projects with the Green Bank Observatory, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Central Development Laboratory, the UC Berkeley SETI Research Center, and SETI Institute. She is passionate about sharing the joy of science with others; in her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, watching movies, playing games, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with her family and pets.

Renaud Stauber, Davis & Elkins College Faculty

Sue Ann Heatherly, Green Bank Observatory

Sophie de Saint Georges, West Virginia Science Public Outreach Team (WV SPOT)

Sytil Murphy, Shepherd University Faculty

Victoria Blanton, WVU Undergraduate Student

Jacob Freeze, WVU Undergraduate Student

Tracy DeLaney, Wesleyan College Faculty

John Pace, WVU Graduate Student

Elizabeth Snyder, WVU Undergraduate Student

Josh Revels and Todd Ensign, @ Education Outreach Center, NASA

Victoria (Tori) Blanton, WVU Undergraduate Student