Great minds inspire greatness in others, which is why the Pioneers in Science program gives high school students from around the globe rare access to some of the world’s most renowned scientists. This year, students will engage with NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld, veteran of five space shuttle flights and multiple spacewalks. Grunsfeld helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope and until recently managed the science program for the James Webb Space Telescope. During this intimate gathering, he’ll share his personal stories, life challenges, and career highlights, all toward inspiring the next generation of scientists and explorers.
Catherine Crier earned her B.A. in political science and international affairs from the University of Texas and her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law. In 1984, she was elected to the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, Texas as a State District Judge. During her tenure on the bench, Crier also served as Administrative Judge for the Civil District Courts. Shortly after her reelection on the bench, a chance meeting with a television news executive led to a dramatic career change. In 1989, Crier was hired to co-anchor the premiere evening newscast on CNN. Additionally, she co-anchored Inside Politics and hosted Crier & Company. Crier joined ABC News in 1993, where she served as a correspondent and as a regular substitute anchor for Peter Jennings on ABC’s World News Tonight, as well as a substitute host for Ted Koppel’s Nightline. She also worked as a correspondent on 20/20. Crier was awarded a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her work on the segment “The Predators”. In 1996, Crier became one of the founding anchors for the Fox News Channel, The Crier Report. In 1999, Catherine joined Court TV’s distinguished team of anchors. She served as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials, in addition to hosting Catherine Crier Live. She received the prestigious DuPont-Columbia Award for her investigative reporting on the US juvenile justice system. In 2007, she left the network to become a founding partner of Cajole Entertainment. Crier has released several NYTimes bestseller’s, including The Case Against Lawyers: How Lawyers, Politicians, and Bureaucrats Have Turned the Law into an Instrument of Tyranny and What We as Citizens Have to Do About It, as well as A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation.
John M. Grunsfeld was named Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in January 2012. He previously served as the Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, managing the science program for the Hubble Space Telescope and the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Grunsfeld’s background includes research in high energy astrophysics, cosmic ray physics and in the emerging field of exoplanet studies with specific interest in future astronomical instrumentation.
Grunsfeld graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in physics. He subsequently earned a master’s degree and, in 1988, a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago using a cosmic ray experiment on the space shuttle Challenger for his doctoral thesis. From Chicago, he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology as a Senior Research Fellow in Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy.