Keynote Speaker: Dr. K. Renee Horton
NASA Space Launch Engineer
Thursday, June 29
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Author, disability advocate and space launch engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), K. Renee Horton, Ph.D., will be the keynote speaker for the HLAA 2023 Convention on June 29.
Dr. Horton describes herself as a “hearing impaired, Black, physicist, mother of three.” She currently serves as Airworthiness Deputy for NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstrator (EPFD) Project.
In December 2022, Dr. Horton realized her lifelong dream of being an astronaut when she participated in a groundbreaking weightless research flight that included an international crew of AstroAccess Ambassadors with a range of disabilities. Astro Access promotes disability inclusion in space exploration by launching scientists, veterans, students, athletes, and artists with disabilities on parabolic flights through the Zero Gravity Corporation. This experience is featured in the cover article of our spring 2023 issue of Hearing Life, HLAA’s quarterly magazine.
Her background has inspired Dr. Horton to advocate for people with disabilities and their inclusion in physics, as well as in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. She founded Unapologetically Being, Inc., a nonprofit for advocacy and STEM mentoring, and also serves on the boards of Families Helping Families and Lighthouse Louisiana, which empowers people with disabilities through services, employment and advocacy. Not only is she is a compelling global speaker, but also the author of a popular children’s book series, Dr. H Explores the Universe; the third book, Dr. H Explores the Universe—A Visit to the Moon, was released in 2021.
Dr. Horton graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in Material Science with a concentration in Physics from the University of Alabama.
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