More to come!

Keynote Speakers

gallery/nnedi okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is an international, award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. She's the author of the Black Panther comics from Marvel Comics, with a movie adaptation that became a world-wide sensation!  She's authored a spinoff graphic novel, Wakanda Forever, with a movie to follow. Her other comics include Antar: the Black Knight (IDW/Mirage Films), and LaGuardia. Author George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) and HBO are turning Nnedi's adult novel, Who Fears Death, into a TV series.  The Book of Phoenix (prequel to Who Fears Death) was heralded by the NY Times as a "triumph".

Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture and folklore into creative, evocative settings with memorable characters. She's considered by many to be the successor to Ursula LeGuin for her literary quality fantasy and sci-fi creations. She's a multi NYTimes bestselling author, and her many literary awards include a Nebula and Hugo Award. She has a passionate YA following for her Binti series, and the Akata Witch books. Her children's book Chicken in the Kitchen won an Africana Book Award. Akata Witch 2: Akata Warrior, and Binti 2: Home, are now out in paperback.  She holds a PhD in English.

Other Presenters & Workshops


  • Dr. Deanne Wesley - "CAE2Y"
  • Dr. Ed Morris  - "Self-Imposed Limitations:      Stereotype Threat & Learned Helplessness"
  • Traci Tackett - "Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Program for Girls"
  • Cindy Tucker - "Shaping Curricular Guidelines for Associate-Degree Cyber Security Programs"
  • Nicole Nacey -"How Computing has Changed  . . . well, Everything!"
  • Monica Jones & Dawn Yankeelov - "TechGirlz - Inspring Girls to Explore the Possibilities of Technology"


  • Cheryl Purdy - "A New Frontier in Digital Forensics"
  • Cheryl Purdy - "Open Source Digital Forensic Tools"
  • Vince Dinoto - "Use of Unmanned Arial Vehicles"
  • Amanda Saam - "IT and Manufacturing"

Panel Discussions:

  • "Leveraging Grant Funds to Recruit and Retain                           Underrepresented Groups in STEM Fields"      - members of several OCTC Grant teams

Smita Bakshi, CEO of Zyante, is a high-tech professional with over fifteen years of experience spanning product management, business development, engineering and education across several software industries.  Her specialties include Education Technology and Enterprise Software.


Smita holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a PhD in Information & Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.


  • Dr. Court Lewis - "Women in Space and Time: New Frontiers in Doctor Who"
  • OCTC's NASA Rover Team
  • John Jurkiewicz - "Getting the Career You Want When You Don't Have All the Experience You Need"
  • Nikie Walker - "How to Negotiate a Better Salary"
  • Pam Wilson - "Professionalism In and Out of the Work Place"
  • Dr. Meredith Skaggs - "Media Trends in Education"