Guests of Honor

We are thrilled to announce our guests of honor for Norwescon 47!

Tracy Drain, a Black woman with short hair, wearing a black blazer over a purple top and a large silver pendant necklace, smiling in front of a grey backdrop.

Science Guest of Honor – Tracy Drain

Tracy Drain is a Systems Engineer with a career steeped in deep space exploration.

She received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky in 1998 and a Master’s Degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2000, both in Mechanical Engineering. As an undergrad at UofK, she interned at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 2000, she officially joined the NASA family as a full-time employee at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.

In her 20+ years at the JPL, Tracy been involved in the development, testing and/or operation of five missions: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (a science and relay orbiter at Mars), Kepler (a space-based Exoplanet hunter), Juno (Jupiter orbiter), Psyche (currently on its way to study an asteroid) and now Europa Clipper (a mission to one of the icy moons of Jupiter, slated to launch in October 2024).

Her roles on these missions have included: Transition Phase Lead and Lead Systems Engineer in operations for MRO, the Mission Readiness Lead for Kepler, Deputy Chief Engineer in operations for Juno, Deputy Project Systems Engineer for Psyche and until recently the Lead Flight Systems Engineer for Europa Clipper. She has now taken on the role of “Launch to Mars” Mission Manager for Clipper – in that capacity, she will lead the operations team in preparing for and executing the first 4 months of checkouts and the Mars flyby gravity assist (a key milestone in the spacecraft’s 5.5 year journey to the Jovian system).

Drain has received NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals for her work on Kepler and MRO. She has also been honored with the JPL Bruce Murray Award for exceptional support for the education of minority and female STEM students through community programs, distance learning and public events.

A life-long learner, Tracy loves encouraging people to nurture their curiosity and explore the wonders that surround us. She serves on the planning committee for the National Academy of Science’s Science and Entertainment Exchange and on the advisory board of Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative. In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring, reading (sci-fi, psychology, sociology and history), watching shows/movies (sci-fi, documentaries and K-dramas), and studying languages (Spanish and Korean).

Paizo logo of a stylized purple figure with a glowing star floating between its hands.

Spotlight Publisher – Paizo

Washington based Paizo Inc. is the publisher of the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Tales novels, Starfinder science-fantasy roleplaying game, as well as numerous board games and accessories. In the 15+ years since its founding, Paizo has received more than 100 major awards and has grown to become one of the most influential companies in the hobby games industry.

Isis Asare, a Black person with long black braids, glasses, wearing pink dangling earrings and a black 'Sista From Another Planet' t-shirt.

Special Guest of Honor – Isis Asare

Isis Asare is a queer Afrofuturist and lover of all things Black culture. A citizen of the world, Isis was born to Ghanaian immigrants in Harlem and concurrently resides in Seattle, WA and Oakland, CA.

Isis is an alum of Stanford University, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Columbia Business School where they earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s in Public Policy, and MBA, respectively. Isis is the CEO/Founder of Sistah SciFi, the first Black owned bookstore focused on science fiction and fantasy in the United States as validated by the American Booksellers Association.

More Guest of Honor Announcements Coming Soon!

We will announce the rest of this coming year’s Guests of Honor as soon as we have them confirmed. If you have suggestions for guests you would like to see in the future, you can always send your ideas to our Guest of Honor Selection Committee. For more information on how we choose our Guests of Honor, see our FAQ entry “How are the Guests of Honor chosen?

Thank you for your patience!

Do you have suggestions for people you’d like to see as future Norwescon Guests of Honor? We’d love to hear from you about who you’d like us to invite. You can check out the guidelines we use on our FAQ page, and at any time during the year, you can contact our Guest of Honor Committee to send in your suggestions!

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