The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM, Herscher Hall, Guerin C

“Hollywood & Space: Honoring the Greatest in Creativity”

Hollywood, Space Science and Entertainment ThinkTank: Writers, Directors, Producers

Ben West, Creative Director, Framestore

Z. Nagin Cox, Tactical Mission Lead : Curiosity Rover Flight Team, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Nagin Cox has been exploring since she decided as a teenager that she wanted to work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was born in Bangalore, India, and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her experiences as a child in a Muslim household showed her how easily we separate ourselves based on gender, race or nationality, and it inspired her to do something that brings people together instead of dividing them. The Space Program helps the world "look up" and remember that we are one world. Thus, she has known from the time she was 14 years old that she wanted to work on missions of robotic space exploration. Cox realized her childhood dream and has been a spacecraft operations engineer at NASA/JPL for over 20 years. She has held leadership and system engineering positions on interplanetary robotic missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rovers,

the Kepler exoplanet hunter, InSight and the Mars Curiosity Rover. In 2015, Cox was honored as the namesake for Asteroid 14061 by its discovers. She has also received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals. She is a U.S. Department of State STEM Speaker and has spoken to audiences around the world on the stories of the people behind the missions. She has also served on Cornell University’s President's Council for Cornell Women. Before her time at JPL, Cox served for 6 years in the US Air Force including duty as a Space Operations Officer at NORAD/US Space Command. She holds engineering degrees from Cornell University and the Air Force Institute of Technology as well as a psychology degree from Cornell. (Sometimes she is not sure which one she uses more: the engineering degree or the psychology degree.) Cox is currently a Tactical Mission Lead on the Curiosity Rover, and every day at NASA/JPL exploring space is as rewarding as the first.


Ben West is an award winning filmmaker and creative director. He holds a Masters in directing, over 15 years experience in film, visual effects and design, and has worked on hundreds of commercials, television, features and virtual reality projects. Ben started his career as an Architect, studying at University of Technology Australia. As a designer with Cox Architects Ben developed advanced techniques for filmmaking and architectural design on many international projects including the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2015, Ben was featured by UNCUBE, CHAOS and the BBC as an expert in architecture and filmmaking. He is also a studio advisor at University of California, Los Angeles, for the Suprastudio Architecural Masters programme. His most recent work, a collaboration with architect Greg Lynn, is featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. Ben is currently Creative Director at Framestore in Los Angeles.