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A New Season of Science Pubs Features Researchers from Across ODU

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Old Dominion University maritime engineering professor Jennifer Michaeli will be the first speaker of the 2016-17 Science Pubs series. She will speak Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Coelacanth Brewing Co., at 760 West 22nd St. in Norfolk.

Michaeli came to the University as assistant professor of engineering technology in 2012 after 15 years working as a civilian for the U.S. Navy and private industry. Her speech will be free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged at the Science Pubs page. The first 20 people to arrive will receive a free beverage ticket.

Science Pubs ODU offers an opportunity for the community to engage with University researchers in an informal setting. A curious mind is all that is needed to take part in the lively discussions. The locations and topics change with each event.

Last year's Science Pubs series dealt with the issue of sea level rise and recurrent flooding. This year, the range has been broadened, with discussions about physics, politics and the humanities, along with a series of rapid-fire talks by some of Old Dominion's accomplished graduate student researchers.

"We have a great lineup of speakers planned," said Michelle Covi, assistant professor of practice with the Office of Research, which is co-sponsoring Science Pubs with the University's Office of Community Engagement.

"Our expert faculty are excited to share their stories and experiences to help people understand and appreciate the great research that is happening here at ODU."

October will provide a chance to learn about the "Secret Life of Electrons" with Balša Terzic, assistant professor in the Department of Physics. The event will be held on Oct. 19 from 6 to 7 p.m. at St. George Brewing Co., 204 Challenger Way, in Hampton.

Just after the Nov. 8 presidential election, Jesse Richman, associate professor of political science and geography, will host a talk titled "Science and Democracy in American Elections." The event will be held on Nov. 15 from 6 to 7 p.m. at Commonwealth Brewing Company, 2444 Pleasure House Rd., in Virginia Beach.

Speakers planned for the spring include Derek Loftis of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, in an event about sea level rise co-hosted by VIMS; Avi Santo, associate professor of communication and director of ODU's Institute for the Humanities, and a multidisciplinary group of graduate students, who will give "lightning talks" of six minutes or less on their research.

Michaeli's vision is to create at Old Dominion a robust center of excellence for naval and marine engineering and to nurture the next generation of maritime engineers.

Michaeli's great-grandfather came to Hampton Roads from England to build ships. Her grandfather, father and many uncles and cousins had long careers working for Newport News Shipbuilding. At the root of their vocation was a love of the water and of the craft of building a boat.

Since arriving at Old Dominion, she has created the Naval Engineering and Marine Systems Institute in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

Michaeli oversees the marine engineering curriculum, teaches courses in ship design and construction and is active in funded Navy research, as well as other STEM initiatives to encourage students to pursue careers in naval engineering.

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