Tuesday, October 8th – Jurassic Lark: Why Birds Are Dinosaurs


Jurassic Lark: Why Birds are Dinosaurs

Tuesday, October 8, 2019; 6:30 pm at Watermark Books; 4701 E Douglas Ave, Wichita

Rachel Roth, Naturalist – Great Plains Nature Center

From brooding behaviors to pneumatic bones, the similarities between modern birds and dinosaurs go well beyond feathers. In the last two years huge leaps in research and hundreds of new fossils continue to paint a picture of ancient birds that blurs the line between “avian” and “non-avian.” Rachel will explain why dinosaurs still exist; they simply took to the sky.

Rachel Roth is the Great Plains Nature Center’s resident bird nerd who got hooked on all things feathered while studying Wildlife Management & Ecology at K-State. An award-winning science interpreter and GPNC Naturalist for 4 years, Rachel also worked as a wildlife field technician studying birds in the tallgrass prairie and arctic tundra before returning to her Wichita hometown.

Tuesday, September 10 – Innovations in Breast Imaging



Topic: Innovations in Breast Imaging

Speaker: Dr. Melanie Pearce Smith

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, September 10; 6:30pm; Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas Ave)

Are the days of the boob squeeze behind us yet? Are there alternatives that are as effective as the mammogram? What is on the horizon? Let’s discuss the current imaging modalities, their benefits and limitations, and then delve into supplemental screening tools and future prospects in the detection of breast cancer.

Dr. Melanie Pearce is a Oklahoma transplant who was born and raised in Concordia, Kansas. She received her B.S. in Microbiology at Kansas State University in 2000. She completed her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in 2005, and after an intern year at the Medical Center of Independence in Missouri, she was accepted to the University of Oklahoma Diagnostic Radiology program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. After the 4-year residency program, she pursued her Fellowship in Breast Imaging from the OU Breast Institute in Oklahoma City. After Fellowship training, Melanie began work at Integris Southwest Breast Center in Oklahoma City as the Director of Breast Imaging. After 4 years in that role, she accepted a position at Mercy Breast Center in Oklahoma City where she is now the Director of Breast Imaging for the main campus as well as three satellite imaging facilities in central Oklahoma. Melanie is a member of the Society of Breast Imaging and also sits on the Imaging Specialty council, the Cancer Committee at Mercy, and the Mercy Ministry Breast Council. She is a regular speaker at the Project 31 breast cancer support group and also participates in a weekly “Prospective breast cancer conference” with a team of Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Breast Surgeons, Pathologists, Nurse Navigators, Genetic counselors, Research facilitators, and Social Workers.

Tuesday, May 14: Soundtrack to Our Summer Nights – Insect Communication

Dr. Gideon Ney

Soundtrack to Our Summer Nights – Insect Communication

Tuesday May 14; 6:30pm at Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas)


As the warm weather arrives back to Kansas a chorus of singers is waking up to fill our nights with the ubiquitous soundtrack to our summer nights outside with family and friends. But who are our melodious neighbors and what are they saying? We will discuss the mechanisms and importance of acoustic communication in insects. As well as considering biological diversity and the role acoustic communication has in reinforcing species boundaries. Exploring in more depth behavioral and genetic isolation between cryptic species in the genus Neoconocephalus, the North American coneheaded katydids.


Dr. Gideon Ney is a Wichita native and former science instructor at Northwest High School. Gideon earned his PhD in Biology from The University of Missouri in 2017. His dissertation work focused on investigating a group of small insects to better understand large, complex evolutionary mechanisms related to genetic differentiation and behavioral isolation. His research on katydid population genetics took him form troubleshooting genetic assays at the lab bench to escaping alligators and quaking bogs at field sites across the country. His research has been published in multiple scientific journals, including Conservation Genetics and the Journal of Orthopteran Research. Gideon currently works as a professor of science at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Tuesday April 9: Fallacies of Astronomy

What is real, and what isn’t?   Can the moon really be blue or green?  The truth about your “birth sign”…. and much, much more!     Let’s learn the truth.
 I FIRMLY debunk astrology…

Jackie Beucher, Overland Park, KS.
Watermark Books & Cafe
4701 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS
Tuesday, 9 April, 2019
6:30 pm
Vice President, Astronomical Society of Kansas City
Treasurer, Kansas Citizens For Science
Manager, Jo Co Science Cafe
Sec.-Treasurer , Mid-States Region of the Astronomical League
Vice President, Mo Chapter of International Dark Sky Association
Jackie has been an astronomy enthusiast her whole life due to her father, a TWA pilot, showing the young Jackie the night sky from their driveway in rural Overland Park.   She joined the Astronomical Society of Kansas City in 1984.  She bought her first telescope to observe Halley’s Comet in 1986, and saw her first total eclipse of the sun in Hawaii in 1991.    The Astronomical Society of KC owns Powell Observatory, built in 1985 in Louisburg, Kansas – a place where the skies are dark.   Jackie has been a team leader there for more than 25 years, having developed many of the programs for the public.    She has given countless presentations there, and all over the area to schools, libraries, civic groups, etc.   
In the late 90’s, she began leading tours all over the world to see total eclipses in locations like Greece, Aruba, Australia, Tahiti, China, and Siberia.    She has now seen 8 total eclipses, and 2 annular eclipses, and is heading for La Serena, Chile, in South America for the next one on July 2, 2019.

Tuesday March 12 – Storm Chasing in Kansas

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 pm Watermark Books (basement), 4701 E Douglas Ave

Speaker: Mikey Gribble


Starting with footage of some of the reports of storm activity that have appeared on KWCH Mr. Gribble will cover some of the basic facts about supercells, tornadoes and how the most violent storms on the planet occur in the plains each spring. He will relate how he became interested in storm chasing and the training it took to be successful. He will cover the three basic types of supercells and the strategy and tactics he uses to ‘chase’ them. Then he will go into a brief case study of the El Reno tornado which was the most dangerous storm ever for chasers. Three professionals were killed along with several other observers who lacked training.
Mr. Gribble works as a storm chaser for KWCH and his work has been broadcast on several national TV channels including National Geographic’s Inside the Mega Twister, Virgin 1, the Discovery Channel Danger Hunters, BBC The World’s Deadliest Weather and did an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
Mikey Gribble
Born and raised in Wichita, Mikey grew up around severe weather and has been interested in it since he was a kid. His storm chasing career started in 2001 with a tornado warned storm by Kingman, Kansas. Mikey knew immediately after that first chase that it was something he wanted to do and he was dedicated to learning how to forecast and chase tornadoes. After taking the only meteorology courses that were available at Wichita State University where Mikey was attending college at the time, he began buying meteorology course books from the University of Oklahoma and learning meteorology and forecasting in his spare time, with a focus on mesoscale meteorology and forecasting tornadoes. After three years of hard work learning how to forecast and narrowly missing tornadoes in the field chasing, his persistence finally paid off when he had a break out year in 2004, seeing 21 tornadoes that spring. Mikey also joined the KWCH weather team in 2004 as a storm chaser, making his on-air debut on May 12, 2004 while covering eight tornadoes across south central Kansas. 
Since his start with KWCH as a storm chaser, Mikey has gone on to document more than 160 tornadoes across 9 different states and his storm chasing has been featured in several national and international television shows. Mikey said his most notable accomplishments are getting to witness both the #1 and #2 largest tornadoes ever recorded and getting to work with National Geographic, but he takes the most pride in getting to be a part of Storm Team 12 and help cover dangerous weather for his home state of Kansas. 
“I love storm chasing. It is my passion in life and there are few times I am happier than when I am out in the field chasing. You get to feel the entire spectrum of emotions when you’re out there and you get to see incredible things few people will ever witness. I love every aspect of it and it’s something I’ll do for the rest of my life” 

Tuesday, Feb 12: Trauma and its relation to chronic medical illnesses and resilience as a means to overcome trauma


Topic: Trauma and its relation to chronic medical illnesses and resilience as a means to overcome trauma

Tuesday, February 12; 6:30 pm; Watermark Books (4701 E. Douglas)


As more research goes into how trauma, and specifically adverse childhood events, can affect a person’s physical and mental health, there is also research being done to see how resiliency plays into this.  Many people are affected by trauma, some are totally overwhelmed by it, and others rise up.  Why does this difference exist, and how do we help increase a person’s odds of overcoming previous trauma?

Presenters: Erika Burke, MD and Jessica Paxson, MD

Medical Degree from University of Iowa 2010
Residency at St. Joseph Family Medicine Residency in Denver, CO
 in 2013
Has practiced in private practice, locally at GraceMed
Current Assistant Professor in Family and Community Medicine at KU-Wichita/Wesley Family Medicine

Medical Degree from KU in 2016
Current 3rd year resident at Wesley Family Medicine

Tuesday, January 15: Hidden Monsters in the Distant Universe

Hidden Monsters in the Distant Universe with Dr. Allison Kirkpatrick

Tuesday January 15 at 6:30pm; Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas)


All galaxies host a supermassive black hole at their centers, more than a million times the mass of our Sun! These monsters are often lurking unseen behind thick blankets of dust. She uses space telescopes to uncover the secrets at the centers of galaxies in the distant universe, 7-10 billion years in the past. This is an epoch in which galaxies have ample fuel for forming new stars and feeding their black holes. She will discuss how these monsters grow and what impact they have on their host galaxies. She will also discuss what new information will be revealed with the launch of NASA’s next flagship mission, the James Webb Space Telescope, in 2021.


Dr. Allison Kirkpatrick is a new assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas. She is a former Florida Gator and received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Florida in 2007. While a sophomore at UF, she took an introductory astronomy course to fulfil a physics general education requirement and wound up changing her career path. She picked up a minor in Astronomy and completed three years of research on star clusters in the Milky Way. After graduation, Allison worked for a year at Astrocamp in Idyllwild, CA, where she taught physics and astronomy concepts in a hands-on setting to visiting elementary and middle school students. From there, she moved coasts again and received her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts. Her Ph.D. work consisted of characterizing the emission of dust in galaxies 10-12 billion years ago. Her research is widely used to find hidden supermassive black holes in the very distant universe. She completed her Ph.D. in 2016 and won a prize postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics where she worked until moving to Lawrence this fall. So far, she and her family are enjoying Kansas immensely.

Tuesday, December 11: “Swaziland Elephants”. A story of the Sedgwick County Zoo elephants

Watermark Books
Starlight Room
Tuesday December 11
6:30 pm

“Swaziland Elephants”.
A story of the Sedgwick County Zoo elephants.


Micaela Atkinson- Micaela graduated from Friends University with a Zoo Science degree. She has been professionally working with elephants for nearly five years. Born and raised in Wichita, she started volunteering at the Sedgwick County Zoo with elephants at the age of fourteen. In her free time, Micaela loves to rock climb.

Jenn Woolard- Jenn graduated from Aquinas College (where she received a scholarship to play softball) located in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Biology degree. Jenn has been working here with elephants for just under two years. Previously, she interned at the Indianapolis Zoo where she worked with marine mammals, carnivores, and great apes. Jenn loves anything and everything Disney.

Time and Location Change for Science Cafe Wichita

Please note the time and location change starting October 8.

6:30 pm

Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas)

Monday, October 8 – Measuring Deep Time by Clark Sturdevant

Date/Time/Location: October 8, 6:30pm; Watermark Books (4701 E Douglas Ave)

Speaker: Clark Sturdevant

Topic: Measuring Deep Time