Keynote Speakers

Dr. David J. Hess

David J. Hess is a professor in the Sociology Department at Vanderbilt University, Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment, Director of Environmental and Sustainability Studies, and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Sociology Department. His research and teaching is on the sociology and anthropology of science, technology, health, and the environment. He is the recipient of the Robert K. Merton Prize, the Diana Forsythe Prize, the Star-Nelkin Prize (shared with coauthors), the William H. Wiley Distinguished Faculty Award, and the General Anthropology Division Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship. He has been a Fulbright scholar and the PI and Co-PI on grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and FIPSE

Most of his research falls under the broad category of the sociology and anthropology of science, technology, health, and the environment. he is especially interested in the public understanding of science and technology and the role of “mobilized publics,” which can include scientists, advocacy organizations, reformist businesses, and social movements.

The other main area of research is on the politics of transition to a more sustainable economy and society and the factors that lead to the stasis or change in transition policies.  In this area of work he is interested in how industries accept or resist green transition policies and the political coalitions that have mobilized in support of and in opposition to the transitions.


Mark S. Loepker
Information Assurance Directorate Representative to the NSA Legislative Affairs Office

Mark S. Loepker is the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) Representative to National Security Agency (NSA) Legislative Affairs Office (LAO).  He and the members of LAO are responsible for managing the Agency’s interactions with the members and staff of the U.S. Senate and House of Representative, and for ensuring that those interactions meet the highest standards of integrity, transparency, compliance and accountability.

In past NSA assignments, Mark was the Director, National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) established between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and NSA to evaluate IT product conformance to international standards. The program is a partnership between the public and private sectors to help consumers’ select secure commercial off-the-shelf information technology (IT) products and to help manufacturers gain acceptance in the global marketplace.  In 2012, Mark served as Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (CCRA) Executive Subcommittee Chairman leading 26 Nations in the first major revision of the Arrangement document since May 2000.

Mark was the Director, Defense-wide Information Assurance Program (DIAP), Department of Defense Chief Information Officer.  The DIAP’s role is to ensure the DoD’s vital information resources are secured and protected by unifying/integrating IA activities to achieve secure Net-Centric Global Information Grid (GiG) operations.  He also served as the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS), Secretariat Manager.  The CNSS provides a forum for the discussion of policy issues, and is responsible for setting National Security Systems (NSS) national-level Information Assurance policies, directives, and instructions for U.S. Government (USG) departments and agencies.  Mark was NSA’s Senior IA Representative for the Pacific Theater.  He led focused Pacific Command support in Information System Security Engineering, network vulnerability evaluations, and operational force protection communications support.  Mark was the Technical Director, NATO & CNSS, IAD Operations Group, Foreign Affairs Directorate (FAD) responsible for all foreign affairs technical matters affecting IA support to NATO and the CNSS.   Mark led the genesis of SECRET and Below Interoperability (SABI) project; the Global Command and Control System (GCCS) Risk Assessment called TrueGRiTT; and the CNSS Certification & Accreditation Working Group publishing the first Federal level C&A process.  Mark served for six years as the NATO INFOSEC Subcommittee National Co-Chairman and three years as the CNSS Subcommittee Co-Chairman.

Mark attended Purdue University receiving his commission through AFROTC in 1977.  Lt Col (Ret.) Loepker began his military career at Whiteman AFB, MO serving as a Minuteman Missile Combat Crew Officer. He last served with the Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems Directorate (ECJ6), United States European Command (USEUCOM), Stuttgart, Germany, responsible for all European theater policy and policy enforcement concerning information warfare and communications and computer security.  Lt Col (Ret) Loepker forward deployed in support of Operation Provide Comfort (Northern Iraq no fly zone) as the Director of Communications (C6).  Prior to his USEUCOM assignment, Lt Col (Ret.) Loepker was the Assistant Director for Technical Services & Program Manager, Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) MultiLevel Security (MLS) Systems Development.  He managed the development, installation and accreditation of the SDIO National Test Bed Network (NTBN).  He served as a Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) Program Manager responsible for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Nuclear Weapons Requirement Study, Allied Command Europe nuclear prelaunch survivability analytical methods and emerging nuclear detection technology in support of Special Operations Commander Europe.

Mark is Purdue’s NSA Security Education Academic Liaison (SEAL).  Working with Purdue’s Dr. Melissa Dark over the past four years, they have substantially increased NSA’s presence on campus. Melissa and Mark pioneered the first NSA sponsored class where graduate students used provided NSA technical challenges for their class work.  NSA Technical Directors provided mentorship, guidance and review of work accomplished.  This first instantiation led to Dr. Dark obtaining a National Science Foundation Gant for a multi-university effort currently underway.  The current engagement includes eight Centers of Academic Excellence for Research (CAE-R), over 59 graduate students and four government sponsors.


Dr. Alma Wickenden
U.S. Army Research Laboratory Open Campus Technical Advisory Committee Chair

Dr. Alma Wickenden is the Associate for Research at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). She is responsible for cultivating and overseeing collaborative intramural and extramural programs to foster multidisciplinary science and engineering research within ARL. She assists in technical oversight of the quality and direction of ARL’s fundamental research programs in the strategic areas of human sciences, information sciences, sciences for lethality and protection, sciences for maneuver, materials research, computational sciences, and assessment and analysis. She also chairs ARL’s Open Campus Technical Advisory Committee, Invention Evaluation Committee, and the ARL Director’s Research Initiative/Director’s Strategic Initiative program. In her role as technical advisor to ARL’s Open Campus initiative, she actively seeks to develop relevant collaboration opportunities between ARL’s researchers and the global S&T community.

Dr. Wickenden received her PhD in Materials Science & Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and has devoted much of her career to the investigation of electronic materials and devices. She has worked in industry and in both the Army and Naval Research Laboratories, and has authored over 150 highly cited refereed journal articles, patents, and conference presentations primarily in the areas of wide bandgap semiconductor thin film growth and nanoelectronics. She is the recipient of multiple Department of the Army Special Act Awards, a Federal Woman of the Year Award, and the Department of the Navy Alan Berman Research Publication Award.