Out of This World Speakers for 2022

Over fifty years ago on July 20, 1969, man walked on the moon. This historic event marked an exciting new world to explore: SPACE. An unchartered territory that allowed the world to explore new planets, gather findings of our origins, and potentially, find extraterrestrial beings.

Since the fateful Apollo 11 mission, many astronauts and scientists have worked tirelessly to break new ground in the field. From repairing telescopes to finding black holes that exists, these out-of-this-world keynote speakers for 2022 are enthralling in their pursuit to educate not only themselves but audiences (both virtual and in-person) around the world in the possibilities that lie beyond our own stratosphere.

  • Hakeem Oluseyi, Astrophysicist, Former Space Science Education Lead for NASA, and Inspirational Speaker
  • Chris Cassidy, NASA Astronaut, Navy SEAL, CEO and President of the National Medal of Honor Museum
  • Joan Higginbotham, Retired NASA Astronaut, Electrical Engineer, & Third African American Woman in Space
  • Leroy Chiao, Astronaut, Performance Specialist, and Innovation/Technology Futurist
  • John Grotzinger, Chief Scientist and Head of Strategic Planning for the Mars Rover Mission
  • Shayla Rivera, Former NASA Rocket Scientist, Professor, and Comedian
  • Erika Hamden, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Arizona
  • Michio Kaku, World-Renowned Theoretical Physicist & Futurist
  • Michael Massimino, Former NASA Astronaut, Columbia University Engineering Professor
  • Tim Peake, First British Astronaut to the International Space Station

Keep reading for details about these speaker who are out of this world...


Astrophysicist, Space Science Education Lead for NASA

Hakeem Oluseyi grew up constantly moving around the country changing schools 10 times in seven years. He found solace and consistency by reading and watching PBS nature shows. Despite his relocations as a child, Oluseyi persisted, graduated undergraduate studies and achieved a Masters and Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford University. Today, Oluseyi’s work is based on “hacking the stars” to create innovative technologies and better understand our universe. His work has resulted in 12 patents and appeared in over 80 publications on the subjects of astrophysic, cosmology, and ion propulsion.  


NASA Astronaut, Navy SEAL, CEO and President of the National Medal of Honor Museum

A veteran of land and stars, Captain Chris Cassidy’s various military deployments and spaceflight missions provided the catalysts for an action-packed career where he made the most of every opportunity presented to him, even in challenging and high-stakes environments. Drawing on lessons-learned on the battlefield and in space, CAPT Cassidy inspires groups to embrace the “never-quit” mindset and shows how it’s in each and every one of us to recognize opportunities, shape them and take action to thrive in clutch moments and achieve more than we thought was possible as we leave our marks in this world, while bringing others up along the way.


Retired NASA Astronaut, Electrical Engineer, & Third African American Woman in Space

A former NASA astronaut, Joan Higginbotham is a trailblazing electrical engineer who, in December 2006, flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-116 to become the third African American woman to travel into space. Over the nearly 13-day mission, she joined the seven-member crew to continue construction of the International Space Station (ISS), embarking on four space walks and operating the station’s robotic arm.


Astronaut, Performance Specialist, and Technology Futurist

Born to immigrant parents, Chiao is the living embodiment of the American Dream. In his 15-year tenure with NASA, he registered more than 229 days in space, served on 4 space missions, and was honored in becoming a commander of the International Space Station. Before NASA, Chiao earned three degrees in chemical engineering from University of California Berkeley and Santa Monica. Chiao charms audiences with his daring stories of space exploration but mainly focuses on advancing the education of people around the world. 


Chief Scientist and Head of Strategic Planning for the Mars Rover Mission

Dr. John Grotzinger is the chief scientist and head of strategic science planning for NASA’s $2.5 billon Curiosity rover mission to Mars, which riveted the country with its dare-devil landing and remains the most complex spacecraft to ever land and operate on the surface of another planet. A veteran geologist of more than 30 years of exploration of Earth and Mars, Grotzinger has led expeditions to the far corners of the globe and heads the most visible mission in the history of robotic space exploration in its search for evidence of past life. With the latest Mars Rover landing on February 18, 2021, Grotzinger draws comparisons to the ideals of ambition and risk that led to this American success. 


Former NASA Rocket Scientist, Professor, and Comedian

Shayla Rivera is an aerospace engineer and former NASA rocket scientist turned salesperson, corporate trainer, and now international keynote speaker, TEDx speaker, radio host, emcee/host, comedian, actor, writer, producer, seminar facilitator, panel moderator and, as of 2017, director of the ENGR[x] program and Professor of Practice with the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. However, none of these labels tells you much about her. She best describes herself as a spiritually irreverent mystic and awareness expert. What many would call a Renaissance Woman.


Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Arizona

Erika Hamden is currently leading a team that is designing a UV space telescope that captures oxygen from across the universe for analysis. But she didn’t always know what she wanted to do. After feeling out of place in her first semester of college, Hamden dropped out. But this feeling of failure fueled Hamden to find where she fit in most. After graduating from Harvard University, she went on to achieve her Ph.D. from Columbia University. After many postdoctoral fellowships, she now builds telescopes for NASA and is constantly problem solving to help her team achieve goals.


World-Renowned Theoretical Physicist and Futurist

As the co-founder of string theory, saying that Kaku is smart would be an understatement. His intelligence is truly unbelievable. He is currently working to derive Einstein’s dream of a “theory for everything” into a single equation to summarize all the physical laws of the universe. Simple! Kaku is an expert on the future and can easily explain what is going to happen down the road. A New York Times best-selling author, Kaku is a force to be reckoned with in the science field.


Former NASA Astronaut, Columbia University Engineering Professor

Michael Massimino’s dream of becoming an astronaut began when he witnessed Neil Armstrong walk on the moon in 1969. Since that moment of inspiration, nothing could stop Mike from his dream, not even three rejections from NASA. Mike’s perseverance paid off when he participated in two missions on the Space Shuttle as well as four spacewalks on the Hubble Space Telescope. Not only did Mike fulfill his dream of following Neil Armstrong’s footsteps, he also is historically significant for sending the first tweet from outer space.


First British Astronaut to the International Space Station

When he was little, Peake didn’t dream of becoming an astronaut. He wanted to fly. At age 18, he was awarded a coveted position in the British Army Air Corps. Never stopping, Peake worked his way to the Special Forces unit and was deployed to Afghanistan. After his time in the Army, Tim was selected as a ESA astronaut and was sent to the International Space Station in 2013. In his second deployment to space, Peake took part in over 250 scientific experiments, participated in a spacewalk, and ran the London Marathon on a ISS treadmill. Tim was always meant to fly even if that means with little-to-no gravity.

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