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Blackstreet x Visionary Voices: Exploring Frontiers with Dr. Bernard Harris Jr.

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Category: Aerospace, Blackstreet, Community Bubbles, Community Event, Human Performance, MedTech/HealthTech, Networking




February 26, 2024
9:30 am - 11:30 am CST


4201 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002


Celebrate Black History Month with a special installment of Ion’s “Visionary Voices” speaker series featuring Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., a NASA astronaut and first African American to walk in space, founder, CEO, philanthropist, and venture capitalist. Together, we’ll dive into Dr. Harris’ remarkable life and experiences with a riveting fireside chat hosted by Rice University President Reginald DesRoches.

Prepare to be captivated as we delve into the depths of Dr. Harris’ groundbreaking achievements, from historic spacewalks to transformative contributions in healthcare innovation and STEM education.

Registration is free and open while space permits. We hope you’ll join us for this ‘once in a blue moon’ opportunity that promises to ignite your imagination and inspire you to break your own frontiers.


9:30 a.m. – Check-in

9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Networking breakfast

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Fireside chat on the Ion Forum Stairs, moderated by Rice University President Reginald DesRoches

Dr. Bernard Harris Jr. 

Dr. Harris was at NASA for ten years, where he conducted research in musculoskeletal physiology and clinical investigations of space adaptation and developed in-flight medical devices to extend Astronaut stays in space.  A veteran astronaut for over twenty years, he has logged more than 438 hours and traveled over 7.2 million miles in space, and became the first African American to walk in space through the join Russian-American Space Program in 1995.

Dr. Harris is currently Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Vesalius Ventures, Inc., a venture capital firm, that invests in early-to mid-stage healthcare technologies and companies. He is also the Founder of the Harris Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports math/science education and crime prevention programs for America’s youth.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Houston, a Master of Medical Science from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Houston and a Doctorate of Medicine from Texas Tech University School of Medicine.  He completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, a National Research Council Fellowship in Endocrinology at the NASA Ames Research Center and trained as a Flight Surgeon at the Aerospace School of Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base. He is also a licensed private pilot and certified scuba diver.

Dr. Harris is the author of “Dream Walker: A Journey of Achievement and Inspiration.” His goals in life have been achieved through self-empowerment and self-determination.  He believes that education and effort will allow anyone to meet any challenge in life, inspiring others to reaches for the stars.



Ion District Parking Garage

Enter 4111 Fannin Street into your GPS for directions directly to this parking garage, located a block from the Ion. Parking in the Ion District Garage is free for the first two hours.

Red Parking Lot

Enter 4203 Fannin Street into your GPS for directions directly to the red parking lot, located across the street from the Ion. This lot is for overflow guest parking and tenant parking and is free for the first three hours.

For information and access to pay online for parking in the red lot, click here