WiSE Programs

WiSE Postdoctoral 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 postdoctoral 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.

Dr. Iwona Klonowska

“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 postdoc 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.”

Congratulations, Dr. Klonowska!

WiSE Women of Color in STEM on October 23

Event: WiSE Women of Color in STEM (WWoCS) – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Date/Time: Wednesday, October 23, 5:15-7:15 PM

Location: Noble Room, Hendricks Chapel

Registration: Click here for the registration form!

Join our expert panel on Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). You won’t want to miss this informative session! These research experiences are exciting opportunities and so beneficial!

Dinner included!

2019 WiSE-FPP Fall Welcome & Orientation

Women participate in WiSE-FPP welcome and orientation

On October 1, WiSE hosted its 2019 WiSE Future Professionals Program (WiSE-FPP) Fall Welcome & Orientation.

WiSE-FPP is a two-year professional development and support program for women pursuing masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  The program facilitates career development and planning, through multiple workshops and events on topics such as career resiliency, productivity, and work-life balance.

The next WiSE-FPP event, on October 29, will discuss sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

To learn more about WiSE-FPP, please visit our WiSE-FPP page.

2019 WiSE Women of Color in STEM Fall Welcome

WiSE Women of Color in STEM group photo

WiSE kicked off its 2019-2020 WiSE Women of Color in STEM (WWoCS) program with a Fall Welcome event held on September 26. The event brought together Syracuse University students, graduate mentors, and faculty members for networking, discussions about the program, and community-building.

WWoCS offers a supportive and encouraging community that connects students with people and resources they need to succeed. The program hosts monthly sessions promoting personal and professional development, with the ultimate goal of empowering women of color in STEM fields.

The next WWoCS session, scheduled for October, 23, will introduce Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and campus research. This session will foster understanding of the benefits of research experiences, and provide REU resources and application best practices.

Learn more about WWoCS and future events by visiting our WWoCS page.


WiSE Summer Research Program Promotes Professional Development

Photo of 2019 WiSE summer research participantsWiSE provides various programs for women in STEM to boost professional development. One of these is WiSE’s Undergraduate Summer Research program, which annually invites female undergraduate students to apply for and conduct funded research in Syracuse University faculty labs during the summer.

In 2019, there were 17 WiSE summer scholars who engaged in a number of activities, including working directly with a faculty mentor to develop and implement their research project, participating in several professional development activities organized by WiSE, and presenting their research findings during undergraduate research symposiums at the end of the program in August.

The scholars’ research represented a diverse range of topics, including: correlation of longevity and fecundity in drosophila, linguistic analysis of geotechnical faculty perspectives on effective collaboration and networking, the role of insulin signaling in primordial follicle formation and development in the mouse ovary, and remediation of acid rain with calcium treatment.

Two WiSE summer research scholars stand next to their posters       WiSE summer research scholar stands next to her poster        WiSE summer scholar presents her summer research poster

Kenzie Swanson, a WiSE summer scholar, took 2nd place for her research at the 2019 engineering symposium’s poster presentation in the General Sciences category. Her research project dealt with reducing the side effects of nausea and hypophagia in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

“This program has contributed to my professional development by helping me gain experience in a professional laboratory setting, which is incredibly useful as I am an aspiring physician scientist,” said Kenzie. “From this summer research experience, I learned much about synthesizing different compounds, different techniques in the lab, and how to use certain instruments.”

In addition to the hands-on learning experience of working in labs, program participants also found value in learning and applying research techniques, data analysis, poster development, and presentation and networking skills.

“My favorite part of the program was engaging with my peers through WiSE and sharing our similar experiences of being women in STEM or sharing progress on our individual projects,” said Simran Vinod Mirchandani, another 2019 WiSE summer scholar. “It was inspiring to hear my peers speak passionately about a wide array of research projects all taking place on campus.”

WiSE was founded in 1999 to support the recruitment, persistence, and advancement of women in STEM. For more information about WiSE programs and opportunities, please visit our Home page.

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 https://suwise.syr.edu/.

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