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Phoenix Fan Fusion May 2019

Changing the world

Hailing Frequencies Open

The Nichelle Nichols Foundation is excited to announce, we will be hosting a science panel at Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. June16th – 18th.  We will update once we have the date, time and location. 

This is an amazing event that also hosts a Science Fair and a Book Fair.

Keep those Comm Channels Open for updates!

Hailing Frequencies Open

Speaker Series

“Hailing Frequencies Open!”
Our next live event will be Saturday, March 25th at 10 am PST. We will be discussing representation on TV/movies and how Star Trek and Nichelle opened up the doors for so many. Star Trek was way ahead of its time and always had strong women and diversity as part of their franchise.
Our host will be Mary Chieffo who played the Klingon L’Rell in Discovery, and she will be joined by Star Trek’s Science Advisor Dr. Erin Macdonald. Rounding out our panel: Sydney Hamilton, Aerospace Engineer, LaShana Lewis, Business Leader and Nichelle’s niece, Jasmin Brown, Physician. Each one of these amazing women have been influenced by Nichelle and Star Trek. “If they can see it, they can be it.”
They will discuss their love of Star Trek and will share their career journey and how you can reach for the stars. Please subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss this amazing event.

Mary Chieffo


Mary Chieffo (she/her) is a queer actor/producer known internationally as the Klingon Commander turned Chancellor L’Rell on the Paramount+ series Star Trek: Discovery, returning as her iconic character for the highly popular Star Trek Online. Chieffo received her BFA from Juilliard in 2015, along with the prestigious Elizabeth Smith Voice and Speech Prize and the Saint-Denis Prize for “Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Drama.” When she wasn’t covered in prosthetics and speaking Klingon, Mary produced, wrote, and starred as Iago in Operation Othello – a feminist, gender, and color-conscious VR adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello alongside Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions in the spring of 2018 (Official Cannes XR and Raindance XR Selection). She has since developed her female interpretation of the notorious villain for Iago: The Green-Eyed Monster, a Musical AR Experience co-created with Josh Nelson Youssef in collaboration with JuVee and Verizon, premiering at Tribeca Film Festival in June 2022 (Tribeca X Finalist). Recent acting credits include guest star roles on NCISGirls5eva, and Bespoke Plays’ staged readings of Madi Goff’s Lady Face and Systems in Los Angeles. Mary stars opposite Madi in the short film Every Morning, a queer sci-fi love story, also written by Goff. Chieffo served as executive producer on the film in partnership with Dr Erin Macdonald’s LGTBQ+ owned Spacetime Productions.

Dr. Erin Macdonald


Erin Macdonald (PhD, Astrophysics) is a tattooed one-woman career panel for an astrophysics degree and currently lives in Los Angeles working as a writer as well as the technical consultant for the Star Trek franchise. She received her PhD from the University of Glasgow in Scotland doing research with the LIGO Collaboration on general relativity and gravitational waves. After research she moved into public education at museums and colleges before consulting for the federal government (Department of Defense and, what is now the US Space Force). Erin then followed her passion into writing and entertainment consulting where she could tell the types of stories that can inspire future generations and joined the Star Trek franchise in 2019. In addition to TV writing she is a recurring writer for the popular YouTube channel Extra Credits, and wrote and narrated the Audible Original The Science of Sci-Fi while continuing to give talks and panels on the science of science fiction at a number of popular culture conventions across the country.

Sydney Hamilton


Space and Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) – 2021 Promise Award Winner, Sydney Hamilton, has been featured on CBS’ Mission Unstoppable, in Marie Claire Magazine, on NPR’s Wow in the World, and across The Boeing Company for her innovative contributions to the aerospace industry. Sydney is one of the first African American’s to receive the SSPI Promise Award. Sydney is an IF/THEN Ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to inspire youth to pursue STEM fields. IF/THEN’s mission is to inspire young girls, especially of color, to be exposed to all of the amazing opportunities in STEM. If she can see it, then she can be it. Sydney is an Aerospace Structures Stress Manager at Boeing in Long Beach, CA. She provides leadership for a team of incredible structural analysis engineers who support multiple programs in satellites, commercial aircrafts, airplane repairs, and aircraft modifications. Prior to that, she was Mechanical Design Engineer leading a cross-functional team developing Satellite Reflectors that redirect radio frequencies (like your GPS!) to desired areas. Throughout Sydney’s career, she has had the opportunity to design 3D-printed satellite parts, deliver structural repairs to Boeing’s fleet of 767 and 777 airplanes, as well as analyze for the 777X Folding Wing-Tip – the first commercial airplane with mechanical folding wings! Her career journey has prepared her well for her leadership role. As a passionate advocate for recognizing the power within diversity, Sydney founded Boeing Generations 2 Generations SoCal employee resource group dedicated to improving workplace culture across the company’s rich, multi-generational talent pool. Sydney brings out her passion for STEM education through her partnership with the non-profit organization, Dramatic Results. Serving as President on the Board of Directors, Sydney has championed the success of extracurricular programs designed to bring STEM through Art (STEAM) into the hands of underserved youth. Sydney received dual degrees in Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering from Spelman College and the University of Michigan, respectively. She also studied Nuclear Engineering while abroad in Xiamen, Fujian, China. Outside of work, Sydney can be found scuba diving, puzzling or cooking (and especially eating) new cuisines with friends.

LaShana M. Lewis


LaShana Lewis is Founder & CEO of L. M. Lewis Consulting, a DEI, technology and nonprofit management consulting firm. She started watching Star Trek from a young age and has been a dedicated Trekker since her childhood in East St. Louis, influencing her to pursue a passion in computer engineering. When she’s not working or watching Star Trek, you can find her on the board of nonprofits dedicated to providing access to women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, immigrants, and people of color.

Dr. Jasmin Brown

Dr. Jasmin Brown is a California lifer. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelors of Science in Biology in 2012. She received her degree as a Doctor of Medicine from the University of California, Davis and went on to complete a residency in Pediatrics at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital in 2019. She is now a Board Certified Pediatrician and serves the children of farmworkers and immigrant families in the Coachella Valley.  
Growing up in the presence of Nichelle, whom she refers to as Auntie Shelly Mom, she knew very early on that black women were strong, influential, and meant for incredible things. She knew she was meant to do incredible things. Spending time with Nichelle, listening intently as she told her stories of struggle and resilience, she was inspired by the endless possibilities of what any amount of courage can do. To the world, she was Lt. Uhura, but to Jasmin, she was Auntie Shelly Mom, and her Aunty Shelly Mom changed the world as we know it today. She did that, and she felt she must be able to as well. So, she believed in herself and followed her passion to improve the health of children.
She married her college sweetheart, Eric, who is a dentist and her favorite one at that. They have a beautiful 2.5 year old daughter, Zoey, who is already showing signs of greatness – a surprise to no one, it’s in her blood after all. 

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