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WIB-Atlanta: Young Women In Bio - Sarah Smith Elementary Family Science Night, January 14, 2020

Posted By Claire Jarvis, Wednesday, January 22, 2020

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, YWIB-Atlanta was excited to return to the annual Sarah Smith Elementary Family Science Night. As one of the largest Atlanta Public Schools, Sarah Smith Elementary has a large and very dedicated community of parents and educators. The Family Science Night consists of various stations where students participate in some exciting science-related activities. As one of over 20 science exhibits, YWIB-Atlanta volunteers enjoyed talking with over 400 students and parents about DNA and scientist Rosalind Franklin.

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Tags:  2020  Atlanta 

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WIB-Southern California: San Diego Miramar College Biotechnology Program Mock Interview Night, December 9, 2019

Posted By Kristina M Herbert, Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Young Women In Bio attended San Diego Miramar College Biotechnology Program Mock Interview Night. YWIB volunteers Debra Hammill, who works as a Senior Quality Assurance Associate at Tanvex Biopharma, Kristina Herbert, a Research Assistant Professor and grant writer at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and Jocelyn Ramirez, an Associate Scientist at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, as well as other local biotech professionals each conducted mock interviews with four students from the Miramar College Biotechnology Program. Each student was evaluated on their interviewing skills and given feedback on their resume and answers to interview questions. The night ended with general feedback from all interviewing volunteers. Students were encouraged to make the most out of their resumes, highlighting any and all accomplishments. They were told to emphasize their transferable skills as many of them did not have a ton of work experience. Students were encouraged to be prepared with questions about the company when going into an interview and to recognize that they were also interviewing the company to determine if it was a good match for them.

Tags:  2019  Southern California 

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WIB-RTP: Young Women In Bio RTP Communications Workshop, January 8, 2020

Posted By Kaitlyn Bacon, Monday, January 20, 2020

On January 8, Young Women In Bio RTP hosted a communications workshop titled "Communicating Your Best Self" at the North Carolina School of Science and Math for 11th and 12th graders. 20 students attended the workshop in which three Young Women In Bio volunteers, who are active graduate students or industry professionals in biosciences, presented on best practice methods for effective communication in different settings. A large part of the presentation was sharing personal experiences in the field of science and specific challenges and ways to overcome them. The presentation broke down the verbal and non-verbal forms of communication – emphasizing how much of effective communication relies on the non-verbal components. The presentation included demonstrations on non-verbal communication methods such as handshakes and body language. This included a session for the students to practice introducing themselves and shaking each other's hands. Videos were also shown in the presentation that exemplified the influence of tone, inflection, and uptalk in communication.

For additional photos, click here.

In general, the students seemed surprised at how much of communication relies on the non-verbal portion – including dressing appropriately for professional settings – and how it can have such a strong impact on a communication message. Specific questions were asked on how to communicate effectively at networking events and scientific conferences and the best ways to prepare for those situations. The volunteers discussed these questions and suggested ways for students to find the best communication practice methods for each of them.

The volunteers enjoyed having an engaged and enthusiastic conversation with the students on communication and were happy to share their own personal experiences in this workshop. YWIB hopes to be able to participate in a communication workshop event again and thanks Dr. Kimberly Monahan for her help in organizing and coordinating the event for her students.

Tags:  2020 

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WIB-Southern California: Mission Bay High School Career Week, December 10, 2019

Posted By Kristina M. Herbert, Monday, January 13, 2020

Young Women In Bio attended Mission Bay High Schools Career Week to highlight the booming STEM job market within the San Diego area. Debra Hammill, who works as a Senior Quality Assurance Associate at Tanvex Biopharma and Kristina Herbert, a Research Assistant Professor and grant writer at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, both hosted a YWIB table, where they engaged students and encouraged them to pursue their interest in STEM-focused career paths within high school and beyond. Debra and Kristina later went into classrooms to speak with students about their individual career paths in the sciences. They answered questions about what they enjoyed about their jobs, what they would do differently if they could, and what skills they foresee being required in the future for STEM professionals.

Tags:  2019  Southern California 

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WIB-Greater Montreal: Planting the Seeds of Science Workshop for Girls in Grade 9, Thursday, November 21, 2019

Posted By Pascale Bouchard, Monday, January 6, 2020
YWIB and the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Center (GCRC) at McGill University partnered to host the Planting the Seeds of Science Workshop for girls aged 14 to 15. The GCRC volunteers introduced the students to biology through quizzes, workshops, informational presentations, and lab demonstrations.
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The event began with introductions from the YWIB Chair, Carmela De Luca, and the GCRC volunteers, as well as with a trivia game about women in science. The girls were, thereafter, given a tour of the Cancer Center, which included a presentation of the history of cancer research, an overview of major milestones within this field and a forecast of what to expect for the future. Tunde Golenar, a fifth-year Ph.D. at the Cancer Centre, proceeded to share her personal experiences pursuing a career in science.

After a short break, the students learned about biology and research techniques through several lab demonstrations. The first, Confocal Fluorescent Microscopy of Breast Cancer and Skin Cancer Cells, invited the girls into the confocal microscopy room to learn about basic principles of fluorescence as a tool for research. They viewed live-cell microscopy of melanoma cells and fixed cell microscopy of a breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

For the second lab demonstration, the girls were taught, using strawberries, how to extract DNA from the nucleus of cells. This station taught the girls simple cell biology and emphasized how researchers can use different solutions to sequentially break down cellular membranes and solubilize DNA.
The third educated the girls on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Gel Electrophoresis through the use of PCR in different types of research. They were taught how to pipette DNA into an agarose gel and were shown how electricity can separate DNA by size.
Lastly, using the enzyme bromelain from pineapple juice (which can degrade a polymerized matrix, such as Jell-o), the girls were taught how enzymes can catalyze reactions. Additionally, they were shown how high temperatures can decrease enzymatic activity due to denaturation of polypeptide sequences.

After the lab demonstrations and before concluding with a pizza lunch and question answer session, the girls were quizzed on what they learned and educated on some of possible STEM career paths.  

Tags:  2019  Montreal 

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WIB-RTP: LaunchLabs AgTech Young Women In Bio Event, November 6, 2019

Posted By Kaitlyn Bacon, Thursday, December 19, 2019

YWIB-RTP participants attended an event at Alexandria LaunchLabs AgTech in Durham, NC on November 6, 2019. AgTech consists of 7,140 employees in 302 companies which includes Boragen and Vindara.  

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The young women, 6th to 12th graders, at this event were treated to a tour through the LaunchLabs site. One of the highlights was the amazing hydroponic grow room in the laboratory space where they were shown a plethora of basil plants that are not otherwise grown in nature due to the seeds being more ancient than those growing today. Additionally, there were two presentations given by AgTech’s Megan Lyman, M.S., J.D. and Jade Stinson, Ph.D. Ms. Lyman discussed her indirect route to becoming an intellectual property officer with Boragen and the importance of Boragen’s research and benefit to agriculture. Dr. Stinson also discussed her exciting route to becoming a co-founder of the start-up, Vindara and explained the novelty of Vindara’s research and its broader impacts on the future of feeding the world as resources become fewer and the population continues to grow. 

After the presentations, the participants had the opportunity to engage in an engineering activity allowing everyone to work in teams and to be creative with their brainstorming and execution of the task to move plastic cups into a tower using only string, a rubber band, and straws. This was followed by a pizza dinner which allowed the women to interact with other female AgTech employees to ask further questions about careers and schooling paths. 

This event was well received and was successful because of the amount of effort put in by the staff at LaunchLabs including Heather Furcillo, Jennifer Gilson, and Ellie Brandon. Special thanks to our speakers Megan Lyman and Jade Stinson as well as the employees from the AgTech companies who came to the pizza party and helped during the lab tour. Also, we greatly appreciate the help of the WIB volunteers including Kaitlyn Bacon, Doreen Grech, Smitha Rag, Jennifer Freeman, Stephanie Ham, and Erin Jezuit. 

Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-RTP: Young Women in Bio RTP Visits JC Raulston Arboretum, October 12, 2019

Posted By Ashley McDonald, Monday, December 2, 2019

Young Women In Bio-RTP participants visited the JC Raulston Arboretum on the afternoon of October 12, 2019. The arboretum is a teaching and research facility with more than 9,000 specimens across more than 6,000 species, located on over 10 ½ acres on the North Carolina State University campus. They are nationally acclaimed for their gardens being one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants adapted for landscape use in the Southeast.

At the Arboretum, the girls had the opportunity to tour the gardens, see how plants grow within different ecosystems and how they have to rely on other organisms to survive. They were able to observe the plants being affected with lack of water, different amounts of sunlight and through way of nutrition. The girls participated in 2 hands on activity during their time onsite. They created their own personal diary to be able to capture the different species and horticulture by using their major senses and then drawing it to have further discussions later. Also, they received geranium seeds to take home from the Arboretum to experience their own chances of growing within their own ecosystem and seeing the effects on the plants.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Overcash and Joy Burns for allowing us the opportunity to learn about NC State's hidden Gem, JC Raulston Arboretum. Also, we would like to thank all the volunteers who assist with this event: Kaitlyn Bacon, Smitha Rag, Stephanie Hamm, Ashley McDonald, and Shruthi Mohan.

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Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-RTP: Young Women In Bio RTP: Speed Mentoring at Girl Scout TechnoQuest, November 9, 2019

Posted By Kaitlyn Bacon, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

On November 9, 2019, Young Women In Bio-RTP participated in speed mentoring during the TechnoQuest event hosted by the Girls Scouts. 118 middle school-aged girls attended the day-long event at Meredith College. It  included speed mentoring with STEM professionals, a workshop on E-Wearables designing, a robotics project, a lab session to create designs to address engineering challenges, water filtration and spectrometry demonstrations, and a chemistry workshop with GSK. Six YWIB volunteers attended to serve as speed mentors for the girls to ask and learn about STEM field opportunities. The girls were prepared before the speed mentoring session to help them feel comfortable and think of questions to ask the mentors.

During the speed mentoring workshop, girls asked mentors what their careers were, what their day-to-day looked like, how they ended up in the role they are are in and much more! It was a casual atmosphere that made the girls feel comfortable but was also fast-paced (about five minutes with each mentor). The girls ended up talking to 10 different female mentors in various fields. Participants were very eager to chat with the mentors and enthusiastic about learning more about STEM fields. Some were very excited to share their plans and goals - they already have for entering a STEM field! The mentoring session was one of the first parts of the day and  the girls were also able to do hands-on activities through other sessions, getting a real feel for working in STEM fields.

YWIB enjoyed participating in this event with the Girls Scouts. We hope to participate again and potentially host an activity for the girls to participate in, in the future. Special thanks to Sarah Buddendeck (Program Director at Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines) for her help in coordinating with YWIB and allowing us to be a part of such a fun event! Also, thank you to the rest of the GSNCCP staff for their help in facilitating and coordinating the event.

Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-Southern California: Young Women In Bio - Selfies are Out. Self-Made is In, October 27, 2019

Posted By Kristina M Herbert, Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Selfies are Out. Self-made is In! symposium for teens took place at AMN Healthcare to encourage high school girls to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers and to become tomorrow’s leaders. Southern California Young Women In Bio, sponsored by and partnering with Girl Scouts of San Diego, co-organized this event with Winward Academy. The event featured a panel of impressive female leaders sharing their paths, giving advice, and inspiring local youth.

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Speakers included:

Maile Young Karris, M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego, and Associate Director of the SD Center for AIDS Clinical Research
MJ Meloy, Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor at UC San Diego, MRI Technologist for the Adolescent Brain Development Project
Nicole Nasby Lucas, M.S., Research Biologist at the Marine Conservation Science Institute
Sadia Naseem, Electronic Components Packaging Engineer at Qualcomm Inc.
Renee Edgren, Hybrid Sales Manager for LinkedIn
Paloma Cortez, Clinical Research Study Coordinator at UC San Diego
Liz Bui, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President & IP Counsel at ViaCyte, Inc.
Debbie Chen, Ph.D., the Founder, and CEO of Hydrostasis
Wendy Benson, M.B.A., Vice President, Strategic Initiatives for Rady Children’s Institute for Genomics
Sabrina Johnson, the President, and CEO of DARÉ Bioscience and Board Member of Athena
Karen Overklift, Education & Industry Outreach Manager at Biocom Institute
Claire Maunsell, STEM Program Specialist for Girl Scouts of San Diego

Over 70 teens and their parents from more than 25 local schools listened to two-panel discussions that addressed how these women became leaders and what they see coming next. Speakers encouraged teens to shape and change the world through STEM, describing the tools and resources available to them to build successful careers. Dr. Linda Strause - a board member of Women in Bio and panel moderator - stated, “We exist to ignite the curiosity and fuel the passion in girls, encouraging them to pursue STEM studies and supporting them as they advance.”

The panelists were all highly driven and successful women, ranging in careers from medical doctors to marine biologists to company founders to educators to clinical research coordinators to STEM program specialists to biotechnology executives. They all stressed the importance of finding mentors and offered participants the opportunity to reach out to them.

Panelists were aligned in encouraging teens to pursue what they love, to find mentors for guidance, to say “yes” when opportunities arise, and above all work hard. Liz Bui, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President & IP Counsel, ViaCyte, Inc. shared advice she gives her daughter regularly with the audience, “Hard work trumps talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Several panelists described their journey to success as one in which they persevered in consistently showing people that they could become what others said they couldn’t. Dr. Maile Young Karris explained how she was consistently encouraged to pursue nursing rather than becoming an M.D. Claire Maunsell a STEM Program Specialist for Girl Scouts of San Diego described how already in kindergarten she stood her ground when she was told by a male classmate that she could not color on blue paper.

When panelists were asked by students about selecting majors that would allow them to pursue STEM careers, they were candid, telling students that majors were likely to change and that it was important to pursue something they enjoyed. Panelists also spoke to the importance of learning by doing and taking risks to do things for which you might not feel completely qualified. Debbie Chen, Ph.D., and Founder of Hydrostasis emphasized that degrees and grades were not essential, but rather finding your niche, where you will work hard for something that means something to you.  

Dr. Jennifer Winward, an instructor at the University of California, San Diego and the founder and CEO of Winward Academy, helped YWIB organize the event and moderated a panel. Dr. Winward is committed to providing educational resources to teens entering STEM programs. Dr. Winward affirms, “I am honored to share my experiences working with youth, and I’m thrilled to partner with YWIB and AMN Healthcare to support the YWIB mission. Winward Academy promotes a holistic view of teen paths to success. While we love to support youth with their ‘numbers’ like GPA and test scores, we care that they also pursue valuable life experiences and understand the importance of internships, mentorship, and relationships with teachers.” 


Tags:  2019  Southern California 

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WIB-Seattle: Dive into Marine Biology with YWIB-Seattle at the Seattle Aquarium, November 13, 2019

Posted By Brittany Ruhland, Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Young Women In Bio-Seattle headed to the Seattle Aquarium on November 13, 2019. Twenty-two high school students rolled up their sleeves to perform squid dissections and plankton tows, followed by a great career panel with experts in marine biology.

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Students were first able to observe first-hand how the chromatophores of a market squid can change color with applied pressure. After carefully noting how the external features of a squid contribute to its function, students enthusiastically began their dissection under the guidance of a Seattle Aquarium expert. 

After delving into the anatomy of a squid, students turned their attention to the bountiful microorganisms living in Elliot Bay underneath the Seattle Aquarium. Groups of two to three students performed plankton tows off the side of the pier as the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains. Students then searched for zooplankton and phytoplankton using microscopes and identification guides; the occasional excited raised voice let us know when a fast-moving plankton species was spotted! 

Three wonderful panelists from the Seattle Aquarium concluded the evening with a lively discussion of careers in marine biology. Kathryn Kegel (Senior Aquarist), Julie Carpenter (Associate Curator of Birds & Mammals), and Caitlin Hadfield (Senior Veterinarian) spoke about their own educational and professional paths, as well as answering specific questions from students on how to set themselves up for success in marine biology during college. The many and varied student questions ranged from topics of current research going on at the Seattle Aquarium to the best strategies for getting involved in marine conservation. Because marine biology and conservation go hand in hand, the panelists also shared their thoughts on how best to promote inclusion in the field of conservation, and how conservation ties into their own work.

Our YWIB-Seattle team would like to thank the wonderful Seattle Aquarium Connections Program for helping to make this event happen, our fantastic panelists for sharing their advice, and of course, all the students who brought their infectious enthusiasm!

Tags:  2019  Seattle 

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