Conference Host:

Keynote Speakers

Deanna Burgart

Thursday May 10, 2018

Self-proclaimed ‘Indigeneer’, Deanna Burgart dedicates her career to combining Engineering principles and commitments with an Indigenous respect for Mother Earth, to find solutions to today's challenges.  She focuses on the power of integrating Indigenous worldviews, to assist both industry wants and the public needs.  Deanna is a highly sought after expert in uniting diverse communities, through understanding each other and identifying common goals.

Walking in many worlds, Deanna has developed a passion for closing gaps between different viewpoints and empowering others to achieve their goals and career aspirations. An adoptee from the Fond du Lac First Nation in Northern Saskatchewan, born in Alberta, she spent her formative years in Singapore. Over the years, Deanna has dedicated much of her free time mentoring and teaching others along the way. As a First Nations engineer, or “Indigeneer”, Deanna is passionate about diversity, sustainability, and introducing science

Self-proclaimed ‘Indigeneer’

and technology as a potential career path to young women and Indigenous youth. She hopes to help industries create more inclusive environments for an evolving workforce.Deanna, is one of less than 100 self-declared First Nations, Metis, and Inuit engineers and geoscientists in Alberta, out of over 60 000 members.  She is committed to helping to raise the representation of Aboriginal people in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

A Professional Engineer and Certified Engineering Technologist, Deanna is responsible for managing compliance and risk in the Pipeline Industry.  Deanna has over 15 years’ experience in the Oil and Gas Industry, and more than 10 years teaching in both Canada and Kazakhstan.

Deanna works full time in risk management in the pipeline industry and is also a contract instructor with Burgart Consulting and Development Ltd, where she helped develop a Canadian Pipeline Fundamentals course to help increase industry and public knowledge around pipelines.

Deanna gives a great deal of her time mentoring, and has volunteered with AWSN (Alberta Women Science Network), ASET, YPAC (Young Pipeliners Association of Canada),  Cybermentor, Indspire, BESTT (Bridge to Engineering, Science and Technology Talent), and APEGA’s Aboriginal Mentoring program.  She shares her passion for science with youth and encourages them to pursue careers in the STEM fields. She has spoken at industry, youth, and career conferences on Aboriginal engagement, mentoring, and increasing diversity in the engineering field. Deanna is committed to the future of her profession and to helping Aboriginal youth and young women succeed.


From single teen mom without a high school diploma to advisor to some of Canada’s most influential post-secondary institutions in the realm of Indigenous Inclusion in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), Deanna Burgart, Indigeneer, has travelled a journey through adversity, trauma and struggles with identity and belonging. A First Nations adoptee, she has also been on a journey to find her roots, and it inspired a passion to reach Indigenous youth and bring Indigenousvoices into the sustainability conversation.

This talk outlines her journey from the classroom as a single mother, to the boardroom in oil and gas to highly sought after International Indigenous speaker and mentor. She will share her challenges with mental health, and the impacts of intergenerational trauma as a descendent of Residential School survivors and will outline the key lessons she has learned along the way. Powerful lessons in mentoring, inclusion and the beauty of combining arts in STEM to empower today’s youth, especially Indigenous youth. Canada’s fastest growing demographic.

In her authentically vulnerable and exuberant style, Deanna shares her own stories and examples of other incredible initiatives, including the amazing work that has been done right here at Exploration Place in partnership with the Lheidli T’enneh and their Elders. Transformative examples of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples that have built bridges and developed paths to walk forward together. She will share her work around reconciliation in the engineering profession and STEM outreach. Her message around building relationships with Indigenous people, communities and working together in partnership will transform the way the participants see reconciliation and will invite them to start their reconciliation journey today by starting with themselves.

Todd Boyette

Friday May 11, 2018

A lifelong educator, Todd Boyette serves as the director of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, only the fifth director in MPSC’s long history. During his time at Morehead, Boyette has expanded outreach programming, spearheaded the transition from analog to digital fulldome planetarium technology and launched the statewide North Carolina Science Festival. 

He is the past president of the Association of Science Museum Directors and is an adjunct professor with the UNC School of Education. Prior to becoming Morehead’s director in 2006, he was president of the North Carolina Grassroots Science Museums Collaborative, president and CEO of The Health Adventure in Asheville and director of Wilson’s Imagination Station. Boyette holds a doctoral degree in science education from North Carolina State University. He also holds a master's degree in science education and bachelor's degrees in science education and in chemistry. He is a former high school chemistry teacher.

Director, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center


Todd and his team have been communicating science at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Centre in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in a climate where an “anti-science” mentality took hold long before Trump showed up in the political picture.  Come listen to Todd’s “view from the south” and how he and his team have become expert science communicators because they’ve learned how to successfully communicate with people who feel strongly about things (regardless of what the data says!).