Women in STEM

WiSE Post-Doctoral Researcher Receives Young Scientist Award

Dr. Iwona Klonowska, a Research Associate in the Thermochronology and Tectonics group in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University was recently recognized as the recipient of the 2019 Jan Bergström Young Scientist Award. The Geological Society of Sweden annually presents this award to recognize young geoscientists who are making noteworthy research contributions.

“I am genuinely honored to have been awarded the Jan Bergström Young Scientist Award for 2019,” Dr. Klonowska said. “Being recognized by the geological community for the scientific input just two years after my dissertation makes me feel empowered. Such awards show that all the energy we put into our research does matter for science and society.”

Dr. Klonowska is a post-doctoral member of Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE). She attributes her opportunities and success to her mentors and network and hopes that others can also benefit from opportunities in science fields.

“I was fortunate to have amazing mentors and create a diverse network early in my career; it has opened an exciting scientific path for me and enabled to be a post-doc here at Syracuse University,” she said. “I wish we can attract more young people to make scientific careers and give them an opportunity to work at any research institution around the world.”

De-stress for Success with Danielle Jones

WiSE Women of Color in STEM hosted guest speaker Danielle Jones, staff therapist for the Counseling Center and member of SU’s Sexual & Relationship Violence Response Team for their November meeting. Jones joined the counseling staff in August 2018 as part of the Invest Syracuse initiative to expand mental health services at Syracuse University. WiSE invited Jones to share strategies for stress management and acquaint students with the resources the counseling center offers for students of color, including group therapy sessions for both undergraduate and graduate students. Jones’ areas of therapeutic concern are identity development, race and gender-based violence, anxiety and depression, trauma recovery, and the transmission of intergenerational trauma.

Photo of WiSE Women of Color group meeting at a round table
Women of Color in STEM Meeting

Jones started off by creating a safe space for attendees to de-stress and re-focus on their academic success. Some of the topics covered during the discussion included study habits, creating positive hobbies, and friendships. The safe-space environment that Jones facilitated allowed students to connect and address the challenges they face as women of color in the STEM disciplines.

Students left with a small packet of self-care tips and contact information for the Counseling Center. In evaluations, many participants called the event useful and expressed the need for more safe spaces of this type. This session bolstered a sense of belonging among the gathered women of color and provided resources to encourage their persistence in their academic programs.

WiSE Women of Color in STEM meets monthly in the Noble Room of Hendricks Chapel. Dinner is provided. Please contact suwise@syr.edu for more information and upcoming meeting dates. The WiSE website provides an overview of the program and its goals http://suwise.syr.edu/.

WiSE Co-Sponsorship Funds Support Dr. Lisa Morgan as Keynote for CNY Earth Science Student Symposium

During the 2017-2018 academic year, Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) began offering Women Scholars Co-Sponsorship grants to help facilitate the ability of SU STEM departments to bring women speakers to campus for department seminars, colloquium, conferences, etc. The purpose of the co-sponsorship funds is to encourage departments to invite more women and people of color to campus to serve as role models for students in the STEM disciplines, demonstrating that diversity drives innovation and that SU is an institution that values inclusive excellence. WiSE requested that 15-25% of these funds be used to meaningfully connect underrepresented students and post docs, especially women, with the speaker.

The Earth Sciences department submitted and received co-sponsorship funds in support of Dr. Lisa Morgan’s visit to campus for the Central New York Earth Science Student Symposium held on April 14, 2018. Dr. Morgan is a geologist emeritus with the United States Geological Survey and spent almost her entire career with the USGS, studying rhyolitic volcanism associated with the Yellowstone hotspot magmatic system.

During her visit, Dr. Morgan met with women graduate students at lunch and dinner meetings, held discussions with current graduate students about their research, and offered feedback to students presenting at two poster and two oral presentation sessions. Additionally, Dr. Morgan gave a keynote speech on recent geologic discoveries in the floor of Yellowstone Lake within Yellowstone National Park and an up-close experience of a Syracuse Lava Project experiment investigating how basaltic lava flows interact with topography. Funding acquired from the Women Scholars Co-Sponsorship was used to pay for round trip airfare and lodging as well as food during meetings with students. Participants in these opportunities were particularly inspired by hearing about Dr. Morgan’s professional journey and the perseverance she exhibited as the first female career scientist with the USGS.

Miracle Rogers Receives Forever Orange Award

Miracle Rogers received the inaugural Chancellor’s Forever Orange Award on April 20th at the second annual One University Awards Ceremony at Hendricks Chapel, which recognizes excellence at SU. Miracle, who graduated in 2017 with her BS in Exercise Science, is a founding member of WiSE Women of Color in STEM (2014). While completing an MS in Biomedical and Chemical Engineering during the 2017-2018 academic year, she served as a graduate mentor for WWoCS. Miracle was nominated for this award by LSAMP Project Director Tamara Hamilton.

The Chancellor’s Forever Orange Award distinguishes “individual students, faculty or staff who—by virtue of extraordinary hard work, good values and commitment to excellence—have come to embody the best of Syracuse University.” In both her undergraduate and graduate careers Miracle has embodied the best of SU through academic achievement, mentoring on campus and in the broader Syracuse community, and sharing her gift for dance in ways that uplift campus spirit (such as her participation in SU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration).

WiSE offers its congratulations to Miracle and our best wishes as she prepares for a career in sports medicine. You can read more about the One University Awards on news.syr.edu. You can read more about Miracle’s achievements and accomplishments in the 2017 edition of Education Exchange (pgs. 30-31) (PDF)*.

* If you need an accessible version of Education Exchange please contact the school of education.

2017 Norma Slepecky Lecture and Awards Ceremony

A black and white portrait of Norma Slepecky.
A black and white portrait of Norma Slepecky.

The Norma Slepecky Lecture and Awards Ceremony were held on April 14, 2017. Dr. Slepecky was an auditory neuranatomist and member of the Institute for Sensory Research at SU. After her death in 2001, family, friends, and colleagues endowed this lectureship and prize. Dr. Slepecky was a passionate researcher and advocate for student research.

Slepecky Committee Chair, Linda Ivany, presented awards to three undergraduates who most impressed the faculty reviewers. Anniya Gu (Senior, Biology), nominated by Eleanor Maine, received a second place award for her research entitled, “Ubr-5, a conserved hect-type e3 ubiquitin ligase, negatively regulates notch-type signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans.”

Genevieve Starke (Senior, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), nominated by Jacques Lewalle, submitted “Directionality and pulsing of acoustic propagation to the far-field of a supersonic jet flow,” which also received a second place award.

Albanie Hendrickson-Stives (Senior, Chemistry), nominated by Tara Kahan, received first prize for her paper, “Direct and indirect photolysis of aromatic pollutants in aqueous solution.”

Brigid Hogan, George Barth Geller Professor and Chair of Cell Biology at Duke University Medical Center, lectured on, “How Embryos Build Organs to Last A Lifetime.” Dr. Hogan recently identified different epithelial stem cells in adult lungs which contribute to tissue maintenance and repair. This work has opened up new ways of thinking about serious respiratory disorders. Dr. Hogan also met with graduate students and faculty.

WiSE would like to thank Biology for its co-sponsorship and WiSE Faculty Advisor Kate Lewis for hosting Dr. Hogan.

Picture Details:

2017 Norma Slepecky Award Winners & their Advisors: L-R Jacques Lewalle, Genevieve Stark, Tara Kahan, Albanie Hendrickson-Stives, Anniya Gu, Elinor Maine, and Award Committee Chair, Linda Ivany.

Ariel Ash-Shakoor Receives Orange Circle Award

Ariel Ash-Shakoor Portrait
Ariel Ash-Shakoor Portrait

Ariel Ash-Shakoor, (Ph.D. Candidate, Bioengineering), a WiSE-FPP Associate and WiSE Women of Color Graduate Mentor, received Syracuse University’s Orange Circle Award on March 23rd as part of Syracuse University’s 2017 Philanthropy Week emphasis.

The Orange Circle award honors individuals and groups affiliated with Syracuse University who represent “the best qualities of Orange spirit – the willingness to work hard, a concern for others, and a desire to change the lives of others for the better.”

WiSE nominated Ms. Ash-Shakoor for this award in recognition of her role as both a founding graduate mentor of the WiSE Women of Color in STEM program and as founder of the Northeast Community Center (SNCC) STEM Tutoring Program, which grew out of Ariel’s volunteer outreach in area schools and an invitation from the director of SNCC to offer similar STEM-based activities to students after school. Congratulations Ariel on this well-deserved award.

Panel Discusses the Film Hidden Figures

Panel Discusses the Film Hidden Figures

Deans, students, and community members gathered March 28th on the Syracuse University campus for a screening and panel discussion of the Oscar nominated film, Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe as pivotal contributors to NASA’s early space program. The event was free and open to the public. Event sponsors included WiSE, SU ADVANCE, Office of Faculty Affairs, Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

The panel consisted of Syracuse University Deans from four STEM related colleges: Teresa Dahlberg from the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Liz Liddy from the iSchool; Joanna O. Masingila from the College of Education; and Karin Ruhlandt from the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as Dr. Sharon Brangman, M.D. from Upstate Medical Center. Graduate student Tonya Wilson (Ph.D. candidate, Math Ed) and undergraduates Treasure Bellamy (Bioengineering, ‘17) and Miracle Rogers (Bioengineering and Exercise Science, ‘17) rounded out the panel. LaVonda Reed, the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs moderated the event and noted her personal connection to the evening’s events. Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, which inspired the film, was her college roommate at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Brangman emphasized the importance of the film as a depiction not only of women’s history or black history, but of American history. She observed that the film reveals the historic tensions between “the way things are (or have been) and the way things should be.” She wondered what would happen if all the energy that women and people of color put forth to break barriers could be redirected towards scientific research and invention. She remarked, “The energy society puts towards limiting people limits us all — as well as society as a whole.”

Miracle Rogers remarked upon the kind of role model of that Dorothy Vaughn (played in the film by Octavia Spencer) represents for her. Vaughn served as the unofficial supervisor to a group of African-American women mathematicians identified at the time as “colored computers.” Vaughn recognized that the arrival of an IBM computer (a machine so big that it required its own room!) at NASA meant that the human computing group would soon be outpaced. Vaughn researched this new technology and shared her knowledge with her division. Vaughn used the specialized skill set she developed to advance in her own career and to empower her colleagues to advance in theirs. This division of mathematicians transitioned into some of the earliest computer programmers. As a result, Vaughn’s role was finally recognized. She became the first African-American to hold a supervisory position at NASA.

Hosting events such as this movie screening and panel discussion are important components in WiSE’s strategy to support women of color in STEM. Recent studies indicate that a student’s sense of belonging is one of the most important factors in determining whether members of underrepresented groups will persist in their degree programs. Demonstrating the historic and on-going presence of women and women of color working in STEM-related fields is a vital means of letting students know that their goals are achievable, that they are not alone, and that SU wants them to succeed.




WiSE Women of Color 2016-2017 News

The fall semester of 2016-2017 marked the third year of the WiSE Women of Color in STEM (WWoCS) program for undergraduate students.

The goals of the WWoCS program include fostering an increased sense of belonging, providing a supportive community that presents opportunities to give back to the community, building network connections with faculty, graduate students, and professional mentors, increasing career planning knowledge and skills, and overcoming the resulting challenges generated by implicit bias.

Meeting monthly, we achieved these goals through  discussions on approaching faculty and staff, moving out of one’s comfort zone to achieve goals, pursuing research opportunities, practicing self-care, building a support network, responding to implicit bias and incivility, and navigating professional conferences. The final session consisted of reflections from the seniors on the strategies and resources that enabled them to persist to graduation.

Faculty Advisors, Michelle Blum (MAE) and Dawn Johnson (SOE) attended sessions each semester and engaged students about dealing with bias in the classroom, seeking research experience, and achieving work-life balance.

Graduate mentors Ariel Ash-Shakoor (BME) and Jessica Desalu (Psy) went above and beyond this year involving students in volunteer work, representing WiSE at public events, serving as panelists, and making themselves available to students. The graduate mentors play a vital role and serve as, in the words of one student, “a visual representation of what happens when you work hard. They are impressive.”

The impact of this program on its participants is summed up by a student,“I love how this program brings us all together to get a chance to build a community of support. It’s hard to find women of color in STEM so to have a space where all of us can be in the same space at the same time is great! ”

Thank you to Dean Ruhlandt of Arts and Sciences, and Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, Interim Senior AVP of Student Experience, for supporting WWoCS program this year.


WISE Women of Color Minority Welcome Meeting 2016
WISE Women of Color Minority Welcome Meeting 2016



SU Women in STEM Faculty News

Shobha Bhatia Portrait
Shobha Bhatia Portrait

Bhatia Receives WEPAN University Change Award

“Meredith Professor Shobha K. Bhatia was honored at the 2015 WEPAN Change Leader Forum as a University Change Agent on June 11th. WEPAN, which stands for Women in Engineering ProActive Network, confers its University Change Agent Award in honor of an individual who has a positive impact on their institution with regard to the climate for women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, with an emphasis on engineering.”

Article from SU ECS June 17, 2015 (offsite)



Mary Lisa Manning Portrait
Mary Lisa Manning Portrait

Lisa Manning Receives Grant to Study Physical Cell Biology

“M. Lisa Manning, associate professor of physics, is one of a trio of researchers who have received $168,750 from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Research Corp. for Science Advancement to explore untested ideas in physical cell biology.”

Article by Rob Enslin for SU News, June 16, 2015 (offsite).
Manning Wins Cottrell Scholar Award, Article by Rob Enslin for SU News, March 6, 2015. (offsite).



Melissa Pepling Portrait
Melissa Pepling Portrait



Biology’s Melissa Pepling Awarded Major NIH Grant to Study Ovarian Cancer

“Melissa Pepling is the recipient of a three-year, $440,000 award from the NIH’s Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Program. Also known as an AREA R15 award, it is designed to support meritorious research, expose students to laboratory research and strengthen the research environment of the University.”



Cristina Marchetti Portrait
Cristina Marchetti Portrait

Physics Professor Cristina Marchetti is awarded Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems Targeted Grant

“M. Cristina Marchetti, the William R. Kenan Professor of Physics, is the recipient of a targeted grant from the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems program. She will use her three-year award, valued at $473,000, to study models of collective cell migration and sorting.”

Article by Rob Enslin for SU News, May 21, 2015 (offsite).



Teresa Dahlberg Portrait
Teresa Dahlberg Portrait

Teresa A. Dahlberg Named Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science

“Dahlberg comes to Syracuse from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, a highly selective, all-honors private university where she serves as chief academic officer for the university and dean of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering.



Laura Lautz Portrait
Laura Lautz Portrait

SU Receives $3 Million NSF Grant for EMPOWER, Led by Laura Lautz

“Nowhere is it more apparent than among a group of faculty members who recently received a $3 million grant award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award supports a new graduate-level training program called the “Education Model Program on Water-Energy Research” (EMPOWER). Led by principal investigator Laura Lautz G’05, associate professor of earth sciences, EMPOWER involves other faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences (offsite), as well as from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (offsite) and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (offsite).”

Article by Sarah Scalese for SU News, April 14, 2015, (offsite).



Joanna Masingila Portrait
Joanna Masingila Interim Dean of Education SOE Informal Portraits

Joanna Masingila Named Dean of School of Education

“Syracuse University Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy today announced that Joanna Masingila has been selected to serve as dean of the School of Education (offsite). Masingila joined the Syracuse faculty in 1992 and has served as interim dean of the school since February 2014.”

Article by Cyndi Moritz for SU News, March 17, 2015, (offsite)



Shikha Nangia Portrait
Shikha Nangia Portrait

Nangia Awarded CAREER Grant to Break Barriers in Treating Alzheimer’s

Professor Shikha Nangia in the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering was recently awarded $500,000 from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program for her proposal, ‘Enabling transport across the blood-brain barrier by engineering thermodynamically favorable pathways.'”

Article by Matt Wheeler for SU News, February 10, 2015, (offsite).



Cathryn Newton Portrait
Cathryn Newton Portrait

Newton Appointed a Provost’s Faculty Fellow

“Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy today announced that she has appointed Cathryn Newton, dean emerita and professor of earth sciences and of interdisciplinary sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, to serve as a Provost’s Faculty Fellow.”

Article by Carol Boll for SU News, February 10, 2015 (offsite)

Deep Findings Wednesday,Article by Rob Enslin, April 9, 2014, for SU News, (offsite) .



Karin Ruhlandt Portrait
Karin Ruhlandt Portrait

WiSE Co-Director, Karin Ruhlandt, Selected as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

“Syracuse University Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy today selected Karin Ruhlandt dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Ruhlandt, who first joined the Syracuse faculty in 1993, has served as interim dean of the college since July 2014.”

Article by Erin Martin Kane for SU News, January 30, 2015 (offsite).



Svetoslava Todorova Portrait
Svetoslava Todorova Portrait

Todorova Serves as Science Observer in UN Mercury Negotiations

“In November, Assistant Professor Svetoslava Todorova of the College of Engineering and Computer Science participated in the sixth session of the United Nations mandated Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee (INC) on Mercury in Thailand.”

Article by Matt Wheeler for SU News, January 9, 2015, (offsite).




Barbara Stripling Portrait
Barbara Stripling Portrait

iSchool Names Stripling as Senior Associate Dean

School of Information Studies (iSchool) Interim Dean Jeff Stanton has named Assistant Professor of Practice Barbara Stripling as senior associate dean, effective Jan. 1.”

Article by J.D. Ross for SU News, January 6, 2015, (offsite)


WiSE FPP Associates in the News

“I’m excited about the growth and what is to come in the future. I can only imagine how it will be five years from now.” -Jasmine Johnson