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Jessica is Excited to Speak About Neurodiversity at Your Event!

Jessica is passionate about empowering the voices of all neurodiverse individuals, no matter their support needs. She also seeks to encourage the strength-based paradigm of autism; not denying the support needs of neurodiverse people, but instead seeking to inspire the strength in everyone to achieve their goals. She can speak with expertise on any of the following topics: 

  • Neurodiversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). 

  • Neurodiversity in Astrophysics. 

  • Neurodiversity Self-Advocacy. 

  • Late Diagnosis and Finding Your Identity. 

  • Neurodiversity in Higher Education.

  • Accommodations and Management in the Workplace and Education.

Jessica is also an experienced moderator and is available to moderate panels and discussions in a variety of topics. 

Conference Crowd

Where Jess Will Speak Next

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September 2023

InclYOUsion Summit


Jessica will be speaking at the first international summit of Neurodiversity at Work about "Discovering Identity: Late Diagnosis and Self-Advocacy". Tickets are available through the Summit Website.

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September 2023

World Autism Summit


Jessica will be speaking at the World Autism Summit about being a Neurodiversity Inspired Science and Engineering Fellow and her experiences at her position as program manager for the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation. Tickets are available through the Summit Website.

November 2023

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Long Beach, CA

Jessica will be speaker at the Sigma Xi iFore conference in Long Beach California on Neurodiversity in STEM: How Great Supports Lead to Great Endeavors. Tickets are available at the Conference Website


Where has jess spoken before?

Jessica serves as moderator for the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation's monthly webinars. 

Jessica has been interviewed on podcasts

Starts with A Bang
Episode #61
Astronomical Instruments and Injustices

Square Pegs Podcast: Revealing the Cosmos Within: Jessica Stasik's Path to Embracing Neurodiversity in Astrophysics.

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When most of us think of astronomy, we think about two types of scientists: the observers who point their telescopes at the sky and collect data, and the theorists who put together the physical rules of the Universe to both make critical predictions for what those observational results ought to yield and to interpret the data that comes in. But in reality, there are other important types of astronomers that we don't talk about frequently: analysts who focus on dealing with these literally astronomical data sets and the people who work on (and with) the instrumentation itself. This includes telescope and instrument builders, telescope operators and system specialists, and many other vital roles.

Additionally, the science of astronomy isn't just about the science itself, but also questions important for the interplay of science and society. Whose land are these telescopes on? What does responsible stewardship look like? Who has access to these facilities, and who has equal (and unequal) access to the career paths of becoming a scientist?

I'm so pleased to have astronomer Jess Schonhut-Stasik on the show, for a wide-ranging discussion about astronomy, from instruments to injustices and how the big questions about science and society are creating not only incredible dilemmas for astronomy, but an incredible opportunity to get things right. Have a listen today, and check out the fabulous Mauna Kea Scholars program that she's involved with here:

[Image credit: UKIRT / University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy]

On this episode of Square Pegs, we are joined by Jessica Schonhut-Stasik, a PhD student at Vanderbilt University and the Program Coordinator of the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation. Jessica brings a unique and compelling perspective to our conversation around neurodiversity. She recounts her struggles to be “normal” prior to her autism diagnosis in adulthood, and the complicated dynamic of masking that most neurodiverse people develop. Jessica details how, in pivoting to astrophysics, returning to university and moving to Hawaii, she learned to de-mask and see herself as neurodiverse. 

This path eventually led her to join the pioneering Frist Center at Vanderbilt University where she is a fellow studying under renowned astronomer Keivan Stassun. Along the way, Jessica imparts valuable advice from how to navigate the overwhelming environment of major academic conferences to deploying the strengths-based approach to neurodiversity to help students grow into innovative scholars.


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