Chesapeake Forum

Pam Conrad’s talk will center on why and how we explore in the 21st century.

EASTON — Chesapeake Forum, Academy for Lifelong Learning, is pleased to announce the Forum’s 2022 Distinguished Visiting Scholar will be Pamela “Pan” Conrad, Ph.D. The “virtual event” will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20. Conrad is an astrobiologist, planetary scientist, as well as an Episcopal priest. The title for her talk is “Exploration, adventure and science: what’s the difference, and why does it matter?”

As an astrobiologist and planetary scientist, Conrad specializes in understanding how planets do or do not evolve into habitable environments, and she is presently involved in the exploration of Mars with the Perseverance Rover and its companion, the Ingenuity helicopter.

“Exploration is a fundamental property of all living things,” said Conrad. Her program for Chesapeake Forum will discuss why and how we explore in the 21st century.

“Humans are on the verge of becoming interplanetary creatures, and how it happens is a choice we can make before the course becomes firmly charted. The path we choose could determine the fate of life in the universe, and alternatively the universe sets its own constraints on the journey,” she said.

Conrad will engage her audience in a wide-ranging conversation that ties together geographic exploration on Earth, space exploration and tourism, empire and colonialism, science fiction and moral discernment.

Conrad is a research scientist at The Earth and Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, D.C., her primary job is as an Episcopal priest and pastor of St. Alban’s Parish in Glen Burnie. She serves as the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, a group charged with working on dismantling systemic racism where it exists within the church, and she also serves as the Warden for the North American Province of The Society of Ordained Scientists.

As both an Episcopal priest and a scientist, one of her priorities is to help people feel confident to engage both their critical thinking and their faith in all aspects of life, using what one can learn from observing nature as an approach to understanding the systems nature of all that is. Conrad’s education exemplifies what it means to be a lifelong learner — forever curious, always learning, always exploring. She received her B.A. with Distinction in Applied Music (vocal performance) from George Washington University and went on to earn additional degrees in Music and Composition, as well as Philosophy and Geology, and a Ph.D. in Geochemistry and Mineralogy. She later received her M.A. in Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Register through the website: Cost is $25. Registration discounts will be made available for students and can be obtained ahead of time by providing name and email to

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