ChemEd 2025

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Stephen K. Robinson, Ph.D.

Before joining the faculty at the University of California, Davis in 2012, Stephen Robinson spent 37 years at NASA, where he worked as a machinist, lab technician, engineer, research scientist, branch chief, safety representative, and astronaut. Robinson is now a tenured professor in the UC Davis Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. He has recently been appointed Director of the UC Davis Center for Spaceflight Research.

Dr Stephen Robinson with airplane

Dr. Robinson also directs the UC Davis Human/Robotic/Vehicle Integration and Performance Lab, where graduate and undergraduate students pursue research in human spaceflight, spacecraft design for human health and safety, aviation safety, human/automation/robotic integration, human performance, automation and control, and CubeSat and UAV design.

During his 17 years as a NASA Astronaut, Dr. Robinson flew on four space shuttle missions, including three spacewalks, visited the ISS twice, trained in Star City, Russia, and has extensive expertise in spacecraft systems, human/systems integration, operational safety, space robotics, aerodynamics, and fluid physics.

Dr. Robinson has received numerous awards, including NASA’s highest honor – the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and UC Davis’ highest honor – the UC Davis Medal. Robinson is a UC Davis alumnus in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering (double B.S., 1978) and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in turbulence physics from Stanford University in Mechanical and Aero/Astro Engineering (1986, 1990). Dr. Robinson is an active pilot, an artist, and a multi-instrument musician – he currently plays with the mostly-astronaut folk-music band Bandella, and the all-astronaut rock band Max Q.

Dr Stephen Robinson NASA astronaut
Ramon Lugo III

Melodie Yashar

Melodie Yashar is a design architect, technologist, and researcher. She is the Director of Building Design & Performance at ICON, a construction technologies company focused on large scale additive manufacturing for Earth and in space. Her department supports design and construction of dignified and resilient terrestrial housing solutions, in addition to supporting the development of ICON’s off-world construction systems. Melodie teaches undergraduate and graduate design studios at Art Center College of Design. In previous roles Melodie was a Senior Research Associate with the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames via San Jose State University Research Foundation (SJSURF), as well as a co-founder of Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch+), a research group developing human supporting designs for space exploration. Her background is in industrial design, architecture, and human-computer interaction with an emphasis in robotics.

The title of the talk will be  Space Architecture & Spatial Design: The Future of Construction Beyond Earth


Ramon Lugo III

Gerald (Jerry) Buckwalter

Jerry Buckwalter is the Chief Innovation Officer of ASCE. In that role, he helps to shape the strategic direction of the association and the civil engineering profession. Jerry has been a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council from 2006 to the present. He also directs a forward-leaning strategic project called Future World Vision where ASCE is creating a virtual and interactive computer model to assess potential built environments 50 years into the future.

With over 35 years of experience, Jerry came to ASCE from Northrop Grumman, where he most recently served as Director of Corporate Strategy. He was a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council for four years reporting to the White House from 2008 to 2012. Jerry earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Monmouth University and completed advanced coursework at George Washington University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he has been teaching strategy at the University of Chicago for eight years.