The head of NASA’s Mars Rover program will headline the STEM Carib Conference next month.

NASA's David Lavery will give the keynote address on the opening night.
NASA’s David Lavery will give the keynote address on the opening night.

The conference on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, set for Oct. 11-14 at the University College of the Cayman Islands, aims to attract teachers, students and scientists from across the Caribbean. The conference will feature sessions from across disciplines, covering topics from the latest research into dinosaurs to cutting edge virtual reality.

Winners from this year’s Rotary Science Fair will also present on the final day of the conference.

The keynote speaker at the free opening night of the conference will be David Lavery, the NASA program executive for solar system exploration. Mr. Lavery has led NASA’s telerobotics technology development program for more than a decade, responsible for developments like the Mars Rover. He also created the NASA Robotics Alliance Project to engage and inspire students in robotics.

In a presentation to IdeaCity, with the video available on the conference website, Mr. Lavery said, “Science and technology is an amazing, wonderful subject. It’s full of enlightening opportunities to create, to form new ideas, to build a society, to advance our culture, to affect the world. The simple reality is that behind all of it, there are people.”

A number of other scientists from a variety of disciplines will join Mr. Lavery. Catherine Knutson, who oversees the forensic science services division for the Minnesota State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will present on the latest in using DNA in forensics.

Caymanian-American Jeffrey Hausaman, an engineer at a nuclear power plant in Georgia that is currently being built, will present on the potential for nuclear energy in Cayman. Mr. Hausaman was born and raised on Grand Cayman, according to his biography, before going to university in Texas and beginning his career as a nuclear engineer.

Francois Therrien, curator of dinosaur paleoecology at a museum in Alberta, Canada, will present on new research emerging about dinosaurs and his work with the discovery of the first feathered dinosaurs in North America.

The conference will also have a number of local presenters, including Dr. Marc Lockhart, who will present on the evolving state of mental healthcare in Cayman, and Jim Schubert will discuss the progress with Cayman’s new integrated solid waste management program.

The first evening, Oct. 11, will have a free reception and the keynote address from Mr. Lavery. The final day, Oct. 14, will have a “family fun afternoon” with demonstrations and exhibits.

More information about the conference is available at

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