IDEA Diversity & Inclusion Fireside Chat

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
12:00-1:30 PM Eastern Time
Keely Roth,Shawn Kefauver, GRSS IDEA committee co-chairs

Dr. Athina Petropulu, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, IEEE Signal Processing Society, USA
Nisha Ramakrishnan, CEO and Co-Founder, Upclusion, Inc.
Christine Walker, ADM Corporate Management & CFO at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Sponsored by GRSS


IDEA Diversity & Inclusion Fireside Chat

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As part of the IGARSS 2020 Virtual TIE Events, we are pleased to invite you to this session organized by the GRSS IDEA (Inspire, Develop, Empower, and Advance) committee. In lieu of our annual WinGRSS luncheon, we will be hosting this informal gathering to 1) provide an update on IDEA committee activities throughout the year and 2) to hold a “fireside chat” focused on building our committee’s initiatives to develop and advance diversity and inclusion within our society. This fireside chat will serve as an opportunity to discuss different types of existing diversity and inclusion programs, with an emphasis on how success for such programs is defined and measured.

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Dr. Keely Roth is a Lead Data Scientist with The Climate Corporation. She is based in San Francisco, CA, and has 10+ years experience in remote sensing research and geospatial analysis. In her current role at The Climate Corporation, she leads a team of Data Scientists, Analysts, and Engineers to develop and deploy algorithms to improve data quality. Previously she designed and led research projects aimed at improving our ability to measure and map crop health during the growing season using field data and remotely sensed imagery from UAVs, planes, and satellites. In her work, she is especially focused on and committed to applying the best remote sensing scientific principles to developing models and generating valuable data layers for her scientific colleagues as well as for farmers within the Climate FieldView platform. She is passionate about helping farmers use their data to make faster, easier, and more informed decisions, and she is optimistic that the data revolution in agriculture, especially the continued improvement and integration of remote sensing data, will have positive impacts for both farmers and the environment.


Dr. Shawn Kefauver received his PhD in Ecology from UC Davis in 2012.
His dissertation work focused on the use of imaging spectroscopy and GIS for the assessment of air pollution and climate change impacts on forest health in the Mediterranean montane ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada of California and the Pyrenees of Catalonia, Spain. His dissertation work was split between Dr. Susan Ustin at the CSTARS lab at UC Davis and Dr. Josep Peñuelas at the Center For Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) in Spain. His current research and teaching interests are plant eco-physiology, climate change, and plant stress, including earth observation science applications for multi-scale scientific research on these topics, with particular emphasis in crop phenotyping in support of breeding for crop resilience. He is also co-chair of the IEEE GRSS Inspire, Develop, Empower, and Advance (IDEA) Committee.


Dr. Athina P. Petropulu is Distinguished Professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at Rutgers, having served as chair of the department during 2010-2016. Prior to joining Rutgers she was a Professor of ECE at Drexel University (1992-2010). She held Visiting Scholar appointments at SUPELEC, Université Paris Sud, Princeton University and University of Southern California. Dr. Petropulu’s research interests span the area of statistical signal processing, wireless communications, signal processing in networking, physical layer security, and radar signal processing. Her research has been funded by various government industry sponsors including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval research, the US Army, the National Institute of Health, the Whitaker Foundation, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

Dr. Petropulu is Fellow of IEEE and AAAS and recipient of the 1995 Presidential Faculty Fellow Award given by NSF and the White House. She is President-Elect for the IEEE Signal Processing Society for 2020-2021, and in the past, has served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing (2009-2011) and IEEE Signal Processing Society Vice President-Conferences (2006-2008). She was the General Chair of the 2005 International Conference on Acoustics Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP-05), Philadelphia PA, and is General Co-Chair of the 2018 IEEE International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications (SPAWC). She is recipient of the 2005 IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Best Paper Award, and the 2012 IEEE Signal Processing Society Meritorious Service Award. She was Distinguished Lecturer for the Signal Processing Society for 2017-2018, and is currently Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Aerospace & Electronics Systems Society.


Nisha Ramakrishnan is a DEI strategist and founder who brings over 17 years of experience in the technology industry. In addition to leading management and technical operations for teams across several industries, she has also served on the DEI strategy boards of startups and established enterprises, and strongly believes that empathetic leadership, unfiltered advocacy, and data and AI-driven technologies that help measure meaningful progress are the crossroads of inclusive work environments. Nisha holds DEI software patents and is a spokesperson for underrepresented groups across several grassroots organizations on the West Coast.


Christine Walker has been Assistant Deputy Minister for the Corporate Management Branch and the Chief Financial Officer at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) since 2018. She also serves as co-champion of Diversity and Inclusion at AAFC. Her previous public service experience includes tenures at Canada Border Services Agency, Treasury Board Secretariat, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. Prior to joining government, she worked in the private sector in Canada and France.She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and a Chartered Professional Accountant.