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WIB-Seattle: Young Women In Bio at Cascadia Elementary Science & Engineering Night, April 25, 2019

Posted By Lauren Metoyer, Friday, May 17, 2019
For the third consecutive year, Young Women In Bio–Seattle hosted a table at Cascadia Elementary Science & Engineering Night on April 25th, 2019. Cascadia Elementary Science & Engineering Night gives students the opportunity to present their science projects and allows students and their families to participate in hands-on science activities.
YWIB-Seattle used oobleck (a mixture of cornstarch and water) to demonstrate Non-Newtonian fluids. By making their own mixtures, students experienced first-hand that oobleck mimics a liquid when a weak force is applied, and it mimics a solid when a strong force is applied. Overall, this outreach event was a blast for all involved!

Tags:  2019  Seattle 

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WIB-Montreal: Young Women In Bio ​Spring into STEM Festival / Fête du Printemps en STEM, April 26, 2019

Posted By Ozlem Arat, Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Montreal Young Women In Bio successfully hosted “Spring into STEM Festival/ Fête du Printemps en STEM” on April 26 at Charles River Laboratories (CRL). CRL provided extensive opportunities to forty Grade 9 students.They learned about STEM careers and met very successful scientists who shared their experiences and knowledge.

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The event began with a lecture on toxicology followed by a short film made by Charles River Laboratories, which described how their orphan drug (Strinseq) transformed a young girl's quality of life as a result of curing her condition (juvenile-onset hypophosphatasia). 

The students were split into three groups and a volunteer led each group between three separate "stations". One station involved presentations by researchers who used props and visuals to explain to students the various studies currently taking place at CRL. Students learned what equipment and animal models were used for infusion, parenteral and neurotoxicology studies, and for auditory studies (such as to study hearing loss as a potential side effect of oncologic drugs). The other two stations involved descriptive tours of laboratory spaces within the facility, an informative histopathology presentation with posters and tissue stain samples, and hands-on activity utilizing various types of pipettes. 

Special thanks to the women scientists who inspired the Grade 9 students:

Carmela Parente, B.Sc. (Director, Toxicology)

Kristina Martinu Aurousseau, P.h.D (Client Project Manager)

Julien Jouniaux, B.Sc. (Scientist, Musculoskeletal Research)

At the end of the event, pizza was served for lunch. While the students were eating, they were quizzed on how well they remembered certain details from the short film and activities. There was a lot of participation from students during this discussion and correct answers were rewarded with prizes. 


Tags:  2019  Montreal 

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WIB-RTP: Young Women In Bio Visits the Hub Farm, May 6, 2019

Posted By Katie Stember , Monday, May 13, 2019

YWIB-RTP participants visited the Durham County Public School System’s Hub Farm on the afternoon of May 6, 2019. The Hub Farm is a 30-acre farm, forest, and aquatic educational center that is used as an outdoor educational center. The farm relies on volunteers and students from the school system to help maintain all the different areas on the farm. During the event, the girls explored different areas of the farm with their first stop at the farm’s gardens.

At the gardens, the girls learned about sustainable agriculture as well as what makes produce organic. The garden contained a wide variety of plants ranging from kale to cabbage. The girls even had the opportunity to pick and eat strawberries and snap peas fresh from the garden. The food grown in the garden is either given back to the Durham community or sold at a produce stand at a nearby library. New baby chickens were just born at the farm, so the girls had fun getting to hold the chicks after visiting the garden.

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The next stop on the tour was the farm’s beehives. The Hub Farm had four different beehives, and the girls were able to look up close at one set of bees. The girls learned about the different types of bees in a hive, the queen, workers, and drone bees. The girls also learned about what makes a healthy beehive. The girls had lots of questions ranging from how long bees live and if there is such a thing as organic honey. The girls were even able to see a new bee hatching and see larvae.

The last stop on the tour was at the chicken and duck coop. During the day, the chickens and ducks live outside but at night they go inside in protected coop to be sheltered from potential predators. The girls were able to see the difference in eggs that are laid by different types of chickens. They were also given the opportunity to feed the chickens. Lastly, the highlight of the day was being able to corral the chickens and ducks into their nighttime homes by forming a circle around the animals and walking in towards the coops.

Special thanks to Ashley Meredith, Hannah Ball-Dambergy, and Frances Starn for sharing the farm with us!

Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-RTP: YWIB Spring Into STEM 2019, April 27, 2019

Posted By Katie Stember, Wednesday, May 1, 2019

WIB-RTP Young Women In Bio, in coordination with Graduate Women in Science RTP, hosted its third annual Spring into STEM event on April 27, 2019. Approximately 50 girls in 4th-8th grade joined us for a morning of hands on science activities and learning. The event was held at North Carolina Central University’s Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE). The girls rotated through four diverse activities during the morning, each focusing on a different area of science and engineering. 

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In the activity, “Clearing a Path to the Heart”, the girls became biomedical engineers working in teams to design a device to clear a blocked artery. In the activity, a tube filled with playdough was used to mimic a clogged artery. The girls began by comparing the flow of liquid through a clean artery (empty pipe) and a clogged artery. After using materials such as pipe clears, straws, paper clips, and balloons, the girls brainstormed & designed devices to clear the blocked artery. The girls then attempted to clear the arteries with their engineered devices. After, they tested the flow of liquid through their “cleared” arteries and compared the flow to the clean and clogged arteries. The girls’ creativity shined throughout this activity with the girls designing devices that ranged from using scraping to unclog the artery to devices similar to commonly used balloon catheters without any previous knowledge. The girls also thought about how their designs in the context of if they were to be used in real human patients and how some designs may be better than others for actual patient use. 

In the activity, “DNA Detectives”, the girls learned how DNA can be extracted and how DNA can be analyzed by scientists to solve crimes. First, the girls collected samples of their own saliva. The cells in saliva were broken up by adding soap. DNA is insoluble in ethanol, therefore when the girls added salt and ethanol the DNA came out a solution and the girls were able to visualize their own DNA. Their DNA appeared as strings in the solution. After, the girls worked together in groups to analyze a crime scene. Each team was given provide with a suspect’s DNA that was visualized on an agarose gel. Each suspect’s DNA ran differently on the gel. The girls compared the DNA from each suspect with the DNA found at the crime scene to determine who committed the crime. The girls had a blast in this activity, especially with the hands-on components. 

In the activity, “Slime Time”, the girls learned about polymers and their unique properties while making slime. The activity leaders explained how the glue and borax they added together was undergoing a chemical reaction, called polymerization. The girls explored how the properties of the slime could be changed by manipulating the amounts of glue/water/borax added to the slime as well as adding other materials to the slime, such as lotion. The girls had a blast carrying out their own reactions and comparing how their slimed differed from their friends. The girls were very excited to take their slime home to play with! 

In the activity, “Entomology: Pinning Insects”, the girls learned how entomologists preserve insects they find in nature for later examination under the microscope. The girls had the opportunity to learn how to pin insects for display in a jewelry box that they were able to take home. The activity leaders taught the girls how to spread apart the ladybug’s left and right to expose their wings. The girls also learned how to distinguish the native ladybug from the invasive Asian lady beetle. Some girls left this activity with the want to start their own insect collections! 

Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-Metro New York: YWIB Spring Into STEM in Connecticut, April 6, 2019

Posted By Marsha Morgenstern, Friday, April 26, 2019

On Saturday, April 6, the Metro NY Chapter of Young Women In Bio hosted its inaugural Young Women In Bio "Spring into STEM in Connecticut" at Southern Connecticut State University which was a huge success! The event was held at Southern’s Academic Science & Laboratory building which provided an inspiring backdrop for the event with their onsite aquarium, astronomy center, CT geology exhibit and Google map of lower New England.

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Middle School and High School girls were invited to participate in an inaugural YWIB event in CT at Southern Connecticut State University where they learned about what types of STEM careers await them and how to get there through a variety of interactive exhibits, hands-on learning, and presentations from Connecticut’s leaders from technology, pharma, biotech, university and more! 

After a brief introduction about Young Women In Bio by National Communications Director Maggie Tobin followed by the benefit and importance of young women pursuing a STEM career by Southern’s Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Outreach Colleen Bielitz, PhD, the more than 50 students and parents that attended the event moved between three conference rooms throughout the day to hear from and participate in a variety of interactive STEM activities.  

Students learned about a variety of career pathways in STEM fields and participated in hands-on learning activities, including suturing, medical device development, looking at bacteria and fungus through microscopes and practicing sterile techniques used in surgery! The attendees learned about what it’s like to pursue fields, including marine biology, rare diseases, medical devices, information technology, psychiatry, artificial intelligence, embryology, oncology clinical trials, marketing, sales and more!

Speaker Biographies: 

There were a total of 16 inspiring female presenters with diverse backgrounds who live in Connecticut and work in academic, government and industry organizations that focus on science, technology, engineering and math areas, including:

  • Arvinas - Kimberly Wehger (Vice President of Information Technology)
  • Cardurion Pharmaceuticals – Rebecca Velez Frey (Chief Operating Officer)
  • Zachry Group - Katharine Goldberg (Mechanical Engineer)
  • Cognitive Recruiting Solutions - Kendra Paolitto (President & Owner)
  • Sentinel Node Oncology Foundation - Diane Tillman (Co-Founder & Board Director)
  • Celldex Therapeutics – Jennifer Newman (Global Project Leader, Regulatory Affairs/Clinical Operations), Margo Heath-Chiozzi (Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs), Komal Patel (Senior Associate Scientist)
  • Medtronic - Kayla Cloutier (Senior Research & Development Engineer), Olesea Diaz-Chiosa (R&D Engineer), Rebecca Cutler (Associate R&D Engineer)
  • National Organization for Rare Disorders – Mary Dunkle (Senior Advisor)
  • UCONN – Evelyn Neuber (Embryologist)
  • UCONN/CIRCA – Katie Lund (Marine Policy Project Coordinator)
  • UCONN - Alexandra Goetjen, MS, (MD/PhD Psychiatry Candidate)
  • Novogene – Maggie Tobin (Senior Sales Manager)

Tags:  2019  New York 

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WIB-RTP: YWIB STEM Career Exploration with Chapel Hill High School’s FemSTEM Club, April 16, 2019

Posted By Katie Stember, Friday, April 26, 2019

Young Women In Bio-RTP partnered with Chapel Hill High School’s FemSTEM club to introduce female students to STEM-related careers in a monthly series based on the students’ interests. Each month invited speakers shared their own experiences in different STEM fields with a focus on how girls can learn more about these fields as they pursue higher education. 

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In January, three scientists (Danielle Moffett, Ph.D.; Kate Camacho, PharmD; and Lauren Lohmer, Ph.D.) from Nuventra Pharma Sciences presented a pharmacology activity.  In the activity, the girls worked together in small groups with one of the scientists to learn how to interpret the information typically presented on a drug label. They discussed the types of studies typically done during drug development, looked at two different sets of data to understand how dosing recommendations were made, and talked use of placebo controls. The session ended with a Q&A about general drug development, Ph.D. vs PharmD, career-specific questions, and questions about the speakers’ activities in undergrad.

In February, Katie Williams, Ph.D., Associate Director of Business Development at Applied Biomath, presented a probability based problem to learn about data science. The girls learned about the famous Monty Hall problem loosely based on the television series Let’s Make a Deal. In the problem, you are given the choice of three doors, where one door has a prize behind it and the other doors do not have prizes. Imagine you choose door number one. The host who knows what’s behind the doors opens door three that does not contain a prize. He then asks if you want to change your choice to door number two. In a hands-on activity, the girls explored if it was to their advantage to switch their choice to increase their odds of winning the prize by working in pairs to carry out this scenario. One girl acted as the host who knew where the prize was and the other girl guessed where the prize was. The girls recorded how many times they successfully found the prize and how many times they failed. After, Katie walked the girls through how to look at this scenario using probability to understand if it is advantageous to switch doors to increase the chance of winning the prize. 

In March, two graduate students from UNC shared their experiences in environmental science research. Madelyn Percy discussed her work in geological sciences studying the interactions between soil and groundwater. The girls were very intrigued by the time she spent in the Galapagos islands completing field work for her research. Madelyn shared her journey, focusing on how she spent time as a high school teacher and why she chose to pursue graduate school after teaching. Kayleigh O’Keefe shared her ecology work focused on understanding how factors within host-microbial interactions affect disease. The girls enjoyed learning about her fieldwork at the Duke Forest monitoring the growth of a grass species that is commonly infected with multiple fungal pathogens. The girls asked lots of questions, inquiring about Kayleigh’s unique schedule balancing both fieldwork and laboratory experiments.
In April, four first-year medical students at Duke and UNC discussed their journey applying to medical school, their daily life is as medical school students, and their future aspirations. The presenters included Anna Dodson (UNC), Mary Gwin (UNC), Emily Goins (Duke), and Reilly Dever (Duke). They shared tips for how the girls can explore their interests in medicine in undergrad and provided study tips for the MCAT. They also discussed unique paths one can take within medicine, such as incorporating medicine knowledge for business applications with an MBA or pursuing service work. The med school students also talked about what they do each year in medical school as well as the different residency and fellowships one can explore after medical school. The FemStem participants asked many engaging questions such as how research can be incorporated into medical school or what activities the medical school students enjoyed the most in undergrad. 

In May, the FemSTEM series will focus on careers in genetics with presentations. The speakers include Cassandra Heighington, Ph.D., who works as a sales specialist for Applied StemCell and who whose graduate work was in the genetics field. The other speaker will be Shruthi Mohan, Ph.D., who works at UNC as biocurator for the ClinGen Resource where she performs gene curation as part of the Autism and Intellectual Disability and the Hemostasis/Thrombosis Expert Panel. 

Tags:  RTP  YWIB 

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WIB-RTP: Career Coaching with Chapel Hill High School’s FemSTEM club, March 16, 2019

Posted By Katie Stember, Friday, April 26, 2019

Young Women In Bio-RTP partnered with Chapel Hill High School’s FemSTEM club to introduce female students to STEM-related careers in a monthly series based on the students’ interests. The monthly speakers shared their own experiences in different STEM fields with a focus on how girls can learn more about these fields as they pursue higher education. In addition to the monthly speakers, we hosted a career coaching workshop led by Kirsten Wille, Ph.D., entitled Craft Your Portrait on a Saturday morning. 

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Kirsten Wille is a scientist by education and training, having previously worked in both academia and biotech. Having always found joy in empowering others to achieve, she has worked to create workshops that bring valuable tools and perspectives from the professional world and make them relevant to young adults in ways that empower them to find their own strengths within and direct their own path forward.  

Kirsten led the girls through identifying their values, how to identify careers and jobs that will allow them to use their strengths, and how to gather information about potential future career trajectories via informational interviews. 

This workshop also led the girls through a Myers-Briggs assessment that included hands-on, small group demonstrations of the different traits. For example, the introvert group and extrovert group were asked to plan a party and the differences between the two parties were discussed. 

Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-RTP: YWIB “Lean in, Women in Science” Panel & Networking Event at the NC School of Science and Math, April 12, 2019

Posted By Katie Stember, Friday, April 26, 2019
YWIB RTP networked with participants at the North Carolina School of Science & Math’s “Lean in, Women In Science” event. This event began with a panel of accomplished female scientists who talked about the challenges and success they have experienced in their careers. After the panel, the participants had the opportunity to network with a variety of science outreach groups in the RTP area, including YWIB RTP. To break the ice, YWIB volunteers shared some of their favorite female scientists with the girls and asked the girls to share what they were learning in their own science classes. The girls asked many questions about how to pursue STEM interests in undergrad, and they showed great interest in learning about internship opportunities in college. The YWIB volunteers shared their own stories from their time as interns in a variety of STEM positions. The YWIB volunteers also talked about different STEM career paths that go beyond just being a bench scientist. This event was open to high school aged girls. 

Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-RTP: YWIB “Communicating Your Best Self” Workshop at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, March 18, 2019

Posted By Katie Stember, Friday, April 26, 2019

On March 18, 2019, YWIB RTP was invited to the North Carolina School of Science and Math to present a workshop “Communicating Your Best Self.” There were approximately 45 11th and 12th-grade students in attendance. 

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The workshop used videos, role-playing, images, and stories do guide discussion on both verbal and nonverbal communication. We talked about context-specific content and how you introduce yourself to your new roommate will likely have different content than the introduction you use for an internship interview. 

Demonstrations of the difference tone, inflection, uptalk, and speed can change the meaning of the same sentence helped students become more aware of how they say something. Handshake, attire, facial expression, gestures, and posture were addressed as nonverbal forms of communication.  

We discussed the content and delivery of an “elevator pitch.” After having a few minutes to think about theirs, students were able to practice giving their elevator pitch. The session also included breaking into small groups to give each other feedback on their handshakes. 


Tags:  2019  RTP 

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WIB-Capital Region: YWIB Capital Region Spring into STEM 2019: Biotechnology and Careers in Life Sciences, March 28, 2019

Posted By Gelareh Abulwerdi, Tuesday, April 23, 2019

On March 28th, Emergent BioSolutions welcomed about 45 students representing four high schools in the DC metro area to their headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. Emergent BioSolutions is a global organization that develops, manufactures, and delivers a portfolio of medical countermeasures for biological and chemical threats, existing and emerging infectious diseases, as well as a treatment for opioid overdose. The students participated in an engaging and interactive, 2½-hour educational experience that consisted of a career panel, lab tour, discussion on DNA, and lunch networking opportunity.

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With the goal of connecting with the next generation of scientific talent, Lisa Richardson, Senior Director of Corporate Development, facilitated a discussion with panelists from different functional areas. The panel consisting entirely of female executives included the following individuals: Hansilla Alaigh, Director External Development, Jyoti Koushik, Senior Human Resources Business Partner, Laura Saward, Senior Vice President and Head of the Antibody Therapeutics Business Unit, Michelle Saylor, Director of Antibiotics Research and Development, Trudy Tucker, Principal Scientist Fermentation, and Kelly Warfield, Vice President of Vaccines and Anti-Infectives. Ellen Lawrence, Glenda Soriano, Heidi Swaim, Carleton Barbour, and John O’Lear, also served as presenters and lab tour guides. During the lab tour, the students looked visibly excited as they donned their personal protective equipment before entering the lab. The panelists, presenters, and tour guides all shared their background, how their interest in STEM helped them navigate their careers, their roles within the company, and how they contribute to the overall mission of Emergent. Their inspiring stories generated a lot of questions from the highly-engaged students and the work Emergent does sparked curiosity about public health and other issues.

“Throughout my 10 years of organizing student visits and lab tours, this is by far the most socially aware and most interested group of students I have seen,” said Ellen Lawrence, Principal Scientist and Emergent’s Corporate Social Responsibility Team Lead for Montgomery County/DC. “Their school buses were outside waiting to leave, but the questions just kept coming – how do you lower the cost of medicines, what makes a good hire, have you applied CRISPR in the work that you do, how did your company start – just a variety of interesting questions.”

“I cannot thank you all enough, the field trip was a fantastic experience!” said José Pomarino, Science National Honor Society President.

“The trip was amazing because it made me really hopeful and I loved the pen so much,” said Ainsley Pollock, Wakefield High School student.

At the conclusion of the event, each participant received a swag bag filled with giveaways. To say the least, it was a productive and meaningful day. From the organizers’ perspectives, it was not about the pizza or the giveaways or the day off from school that truly made this day fun – it was all about the conversations and learning! Throughout the day, participants were able to learn more about what a career in the life sciences really entails. YWIB Capital Region would like to thank our volunteers who supported this event. We would especially like to thank Miko Neri, Senior Director Corporate Communications, for her efforts in coordinating this event and Emergent BioSolutions for providing such an awesome opportunity for a diverse group of high school students.

Tags:  2019  Capital Region 

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