ASP2018 Plenary Speaker
An accomplished leader of high profile STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) media and education initiatives, Rita serves as the Executive Producer of PBS SciGirls and the Senior Managing Director of the STEM Media & Education Department for Twin Cities PBS.
The Emmy award-winning SciGirls program is funded by the National Science Foundation and draws on cutting-edge research about what engages girls in STEM learning and career paths.
The SciGirls television series, website and national outreach initiative reach millions of youth and thousands of educators nationwide. In 2016, SciGirls Stories: Real Women, Real Jobs, a series of short films of young women in non-traditional STEM jobs, won a Regional Emmy for best teen show.
Rita previously served as the Director of Education at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in Washington, D.C. leading STEM education programs for an international network of science centers. Rita led an award-winning USAID team that trained 2,000 Egyptian K-12 educators and administrators in technology-enhanced student-centered instruction, affecting over 25,000 students. Early in her career at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Rita designed and led the NASA award-winning Texas Aerospace Scholars program, now in its eighteenth year, encouraging students to consider engineering careers at NASA.