Beth Leavitt

High School Physics and Astronomy Teacher
Wade Hampton High School

Beth Leavitt is a high school physics and astronomy teacher from Greenville, SC at Wade Hampton High School. She holds a BS degree from Clemson University in biological sciences, spent twelve years as a professional environmental chemist, a MED from Converse College, and has taught K- college for ten years. In addition she presents planetarium programs to the general public. Ms. Leavitt has numerous additional coursework in gifted/talented education, AP physics, curriculum writing, earth and space science, and international education following a Fulbright Memorial scholarship to Japan in 2004. National Board certification was added as well as workshops in X-ray astronomy, SETI's Voyages.

Through Time, and several sponsored by NASA. Ms. Leavitt applied for Educator Astronaut in 2002 and though not chosen her semi-finalist status has included her in an elite group called NASA Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers, NEAT. She has attended Space Camp, two shuttle launches, and has flown weightless. Ms. Leavitt presents workshops regularly locally and nationally. Several awards have been bestowed upon her including Science Teacher of the Year, District Top Ten TOY, and Space Symposium Teacher Liaison.

Mojdeh Bahar, J.D., M.A., CLP

Mojdeh Bahar is the Chief of the Cancer Branch at the Office of Technology Transfer, NIH where she leads a group of Licensing and Patenting Managers responsible for patenting and licensing NIH and FDA inventions in the areas of cancer, gene therapy, and biological response modifiers. She joined the Office in January 2004. Prior to joining the Office, Mojdeh was an Examiner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where she examined applications related to pharmaceutical compositions and their employment in methods of treating diseases and conditions, and assisted in classifying and assigning cases for examination.

In 2007-2008 Mojdeh was elected and served as Member-at-Large of the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC). Since October 2008, she has served as Regional Coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the FLC. In that capacity, she has build alliances with other organizations to advance Federal Technology Transfer. She was re-elected for a second term in May 2010.

Mojdeh is a patent attorney registered to practice before the USPTO, the State of Maryland, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and the United States Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit. She is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP). Mojdeh is a 2000 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, where she was co-founder and editor of Margins: Maryland's Law Journal on Race, Religion, Gender, and Class. She completed the Health law Program, was a member of the Moot Court Board and the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honors Fraternity, and the recipient of the William P. Cunningham Award for exceptional achievement and service. She received a Master of Arts degree from New York University and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Chemistry and French from Dickinson College. She has spoken on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from restriction practice, double patenting, and claim drafting to technology commercialization, business development, and licensing. Mojdeh is the recipient of an NIH Director's Award, a Mentorship Award, and two Merit Awards.

Randii R Wessen


Dr. Wessen has been an employee of the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for twenty-eight years.  He is currently a Senior Technical Staff Member to JPL’s Innovation Foundry.  Prior to this Dr. Wessen was the Navigator Program System Engineer.  This program’s goal is the detection of Earth-like planets around other stars, if they exist.  He also was the Telecommunications & Mission Systems Manager for the Mars Program, the Supervisor for the Science System Engineering Group, Manager of the Cassini Science Planning & Operations Element, the Galileo Deputy Sequence Team Chief, and the Voyager Science Sequence Coordinator for the Uranus & Neptune encounters.

Dr. Wessen received his Bachelors of Science in both Physics & Astronomy from Stony Brook University, a Masters of Science in Astronautics from the University of Southern California, and a Doctorate in Operations Research from the University of Glamorgan, Wales, United Kingdom.  He co-authored the books “Neptune: the Planet, Rings and Satellites” & “Planetary Ring Systems.”  He was the recipient of NASA's Exceptional Service Medal for his contributions to the Voyager 2 Neptune Encounter and has eleven NASA Group Achievement Awards.  Dr. Wessen is also a fellow of both the Royal Astronomical Society and the British Interplanetary Society and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics. Asteroid 31664 (Randiiwessen) is named in his honor.

Zach Adam


Zach Adam is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and co-founder of the space science research and education nonprofit Blue Marble Space. He currently spends his time looking for fossils that are about 1.4 billion years old in Montana near his town; these fossils are from a time when eukaryotes (the group of organisms that later became REALLY complex, evolving into things like trees, dinosaurs, mushrooms, flowers, and people) had just started to diversify. Zach would like to use these fossils to better understand how, when, and why these organisms became so complex, and then to use this information to speculate about how likely it might be to find complex life on the thousands of other planets we have found outside of our solar system. In addition to his research, Zach also likes to talk about the crucial role that space systems such as satellites can play in emergency preparedness and response efforts.

Zach's dream is to see practical space education catalyze teachers and students into becoming agents of peace, progress, and stability within their communities.