2025 Physics and Astronomy Congress
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Spotlight
2025 Plenary Speaker

K. Renee Horton

APR 30, 2024
K. Renee Horton

K. Renee Horton

Alexander Le’Jo

Dr. K. Renee Horton is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and lifelong lover of science and NASA . A graduate of Louisiana State University with a B.S. of Electrical Engineering with a minor in Math in 2002 and a Ph.D. in Material Science with a concentration in Physics, becoming the first African American to graduate from the University of Alabama in 2011 in this area.

Horton served as the Space Launch System (SLS) Quality Engineer in the NASA Residential Management Office at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans for 11 years. In her current work as Air Worthiness Deputy for NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstrator (EPFD) project, she leverages her expertise in both engineering and physics to develop hybrid electric airplanes meant to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel.

Horton is a champion for greater diversity and inclusion in STEM and is the founder of Unapologetically Being, Inc., a STEM advocacy and mentoring nonprofit. She is a member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Women in Physics Working Group and serves on several advisory boards of organizations dedicated to diversity in physics. In 2016, she was elected as President of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) — the second woman to hold the position — and in 2017, she was elevated to NSBP Fellow.

Horton is an inspirational speaker who also runs workshops on “how to go from surviving to thriving” for college students and has authored several children’s books, including “Dr. H Explores the Universe,” “Dr. H and her Friends,” and “Dr. H Explores the ABCs.”