Yuma loves hiking and surfing. With the Holman Prize, he would build an online community to make astronomy more accessible to blind people, with the hopes of a blind person discovering an exoplanet.
Dr. Mona Minkara is a computational chemist working in the Siepmann Group at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She completed her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College, earning a dual degree in Chemistry and Middle Eastern Studies, and completed her Ph.D in chemistry at the University of Florida in 2015. For her dissertation, she performed an atomic-level molecular dynamics simulation study of the protein Helicobacter pylori urease. Her work contributed toward the goal of designing a novel drug to treat H. pylori, a gastrointestinal bacteria that infects two-thirds of the world’s population with no existing cure. Dr. Minkara focuses her studies on surface tension and surfactants which have numerous applications related to drug delivery, fragrances, coal mining, and the removal of toxins from water sources. Dr. Minkara has furthermore worked extensively with the non-profit Empowerment Through Integration, providing a robust science-based education for blind and low-vision students in Lebanon and Nicaragua.
Dr. Joshua Miele is an alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his BA in Physics and his Ph.D. in Psychoacoustics. He is currently a Research Scientist at The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center in San Francisco, where he has made major contributions to tactile map technology, auditory/haptic display research, audio/tactile graphics techniques and Braille technologies. In addition to his current position on the LightHouse Board of Directors, he has also been a member of the City of Berkeley’s Commission on Disability and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Elderly and Disabled Advisory Committee. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and two young children.