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WIB-RTP: YWIB Visits the Bayer CropScience Greenhouses, May 4, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, June 17, 2019

On May 4, 2016, Bayer CropScience hosted a packed house of 6th – 8th graders from around the Triangle. 

The event started with a Q&A session with female Bayer CropScience employees representing multiple departments. This gave the girls the opportunity to learn, not only about different types of jobs, but about different interests, degrees, and backgrounds that led all of these women to a career at Bayer CropScience. The girls asked all kinds of questions such as planting in different types of soil, to properly caring for honey bees, to the employees’ favorite type of bug!

After the Q&A session, Robin Dale, who works with plant cultivation and trait characterization, led the girls on a tour of Greenhouses 1 and 5. In Greenhouse 1 the girls learned about the growing conditions for soybeans, looked into growth chambers, and got to see an entomology lab. In Greenhouse 5 the girls saw where Bayer grows their cotton and learned about fertilizer tanks.

Kurt Boudonck, the leader of the trait testing group, went over trait testing with the girls, explaining how and why they genetically modify plants. The girls all went home with wildflower seeds to plant at home for honey bees as well as packets of local honey to snack on!

Thank you so much to all of the women at Bayer that took the time to talk to the girls about their jobs and to DoubleTree for donating cookies for the event!

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WIB-RTP: YWIB Visit NCCU's BRITE Program, April 19, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, June 17, 2019

Unleashing the Power of Biotech at NCCU

As part of a WIB-RTP Young Women In Bio program, a group of high school girls from around the Triangle had the pleasure of visiting North Carolina Central University’s BRITE program on April 19, 2016. Ms. Betty Brown led the girls through an experiment, and then the girls toured the pharmaceutical science research labs where they met with researchers and learned about their work.

The tour of the lab included information on cell culture for cancer research, the use of tobacco plants in pharmaceuticals, and a brief introduction to biochemistry. At each stop, the facility’s scientists shared their passion and enthusiasm for their chosen field with the girls, and conveyed to them the impact they hope to make.

During their hands-on time at the bench, the girls donned protective gear to perform the “Mystery of the Crooked Cell” experiment. The goal of this experiment was to determine which of three sample patients carried the marker for Sickle Cell Anemia. Through the experiment, the girls learned proper pipette techniques, the mechanics of gel electrophoresis, and how to read the bands in the gel.

Sickle cell anemia is caused by an amino acid mutation of a glutamic acid to a valine, and Ms. Brown explained how a single mutation can change the characteristics of a protein. These characteristics help researchers detect mutations through gel electrophoresis because an electrical field is applied to the gel and the samples will run according to their charge/mass ratio. The electric field consists of a negative charge at one end which pushes the molecules through the gel, and a positive charge at the other end that pulls the molecules through the gel. Species that are negatively charged (anions) will migrate towards the positively charged anode. Thus, the normal samples will migrate faster because they have a negative charge, while the Sickle cell will migrate slower on the gel because they have the valine mutation, enabling the detection of which patients have the mutation.

By the end of the day you could see the girls’ confidence rise as they used their own problem solving skills to identify the patient’s diagnosis.

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WIB-RTP: YWIB "Communicating Your Best Self" Event, February 1, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, June 17, 2019

Due to the success of last year’s “Communicating Your Best Self” event, the WIB-RTP Young Women In Bio group was asked to come back and present the “Communicating Your Best Self” workshop again to 11th and 12th graders at the North Carolina School of Science and Math on February 1, 2016. The event hit maximum capacity for a second year in a row and was extremely well received by students!
 
The students enjoyed pizza while Women In Bio members presented stories, videos, and demonstrations illustrating the importance of communication in all professional interactions. The workshop focused on how to communicate effectively through verbal and nonverbal cues, and the students learned that while the content of what you say is important, nonverbal cues make up a large portion of any dialogue.
 
During the workshop students were asked to describe how the delivery of a speech affects one’s perception of the speaker, to practice handshakes, and to craft their own elevator pitch as homework. They also asked a lot of great questions about interviewing and networking, staying well past the scheduled end-time of the event. Women In Bio has already been asked to come back next year and continue what has proved to be a beneficial partnership for the students!

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WIB-RTP: Lu McLeod on Entrepreneurship within an Organization, April 6th, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, June 17, 2019

On April 6th, 2016 the members and guests of WIB-RTP had the pleasure of hearing Lu McLeod speak about Entrepreneur Inside at an evening meeting from 5:30-8:00 PM. Lu McLeod began her career as a pharmaceutical sales representative and became the first female at the company to become a District Manager and Regional Sales Director. Throughout her career, Lu has held positions of increasing responsibility including VP of Sales, VP of Marketing, and VP of Advertising and Promotion. She is the recipient of numerous awards for performance, leadership, and innovation. Lu recently earned her ICF Coaching Certification and is passionate about coaching and mentoring women to enhance in their careers and lives.

Entrepreneur Inside (EI) is a person within a company who sees opportunities and new ideas and is responsible for executing the innovation. This is a relatively new phenomenon, coming around 7 years ago. An EI is typically of the younger workforce demographic who is eager to make an impact within their career or of the older generation looking to leave a legacy. Typical traits of an EI include a desire motivated by the excitement of challenge, being fearless, navigating uncertainty and the unknown, and being able to act.

Lu gave a couple of personal examples as experiences that the audience was able to relate to. In all cases, success relied on a positive and influential relationship between the EI and his/her sponsor. The group enjoyed a lively and eye-opening discussion after Lu gave her presentation. In fact, WIB members continued their conversations long after the event had ended.

Lu leaves us with this quote, "There will be no clarity before its time" - Lu McLeod

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WIB-RTP: YWIB "Spring Into STEM" Event, March 12, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, June 17, 2019

WIB-RTP Young Women In Bio holds Inaugural “Spring Into STEM” Event

On March 12, 2016, WIB-RTP’s Young Women In Bio group held its inaugural “Spring into STEM” event! This year’s theme was The Spirit of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. In our first event of this size, over 150 girls, representing the 8th through 12th grades enjoyed a visit to The Frontier, the headquarters of the RTP Foundation.

Volunteer speakers engaged the girls in a variety of current topics, all based on the ideas of innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and leadership. The girls were divided into groups of Middle and High School students, and each group had the opportunity to listen to and ask questions of a fantastic panel of speakers. The speakers and their presentations included:

 - Dr. Juliana Blum, VP and Co-founder of Humacyte: “Embrace Crazy- Careers in Science and Innovation”

- Dr. Natalia Mitin, President of HealthSpan DX: “Finding Yourself in the Ever-Changing World”

- Dr. Catherine Feuillet, Head of Trait Research, Bayer Crop Science: “Exploring, Solving and Connecting: a Career in Ag Research”

- Kiyomi Carter, PMP, Director of Strategic Planning and Project Management for Medicago: “How I Became a Professional Cat Herder”

- Dr. Rashmi Mehta, Director of Clinical Pharmacology Modeling and Simulation at GlaxoSmithKline: “STEM to Medicine Development”

- Dr. Laura White, Director of Dengue Vaccine Research at Global Vaccines Inc.: "Innovations in the Fight Against Tropical Viruses"

- Alison London Brown, CEO for Aegis Women’s Health Technologies: Networking Moderator

Following these speaker sessions, the girls engaged in a variety of hands-on activities designed to stimulate and challenge them:

Strawberry DNA Extraction: The girls extracted DNA from strawberries using household items. To do this, sliced strawberries were mashed to release the DNA. Liquid dish soap, table salt, and water were then added to the mashed strawberry to further extract the DNA. Next, the material was filtered using a coffee filter placed inside a small plastic cup. Lastly, rubbing alcohol was added to precipitate out the DNA, which looked like cloudy white material.

An Indirect ELISA to Determine the Presence of the Zika Virus: The girls performed an indirect ELISA to determine the presence of the Zika virus: The girls were given a scenario where they had all recently visited Mexico together; and within weeks of returning, some of them experienced flu-like symptoms. To test whether they had been infected by the Zika virus, a mock enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was carried out. The plates were precoated with "Zika antibody" and each girl chose a "serum" sample that they pretended was theirs. They then carried out the ELISA, learning proper pipetting technique in the process. In the end, a color change indicated which serum samples contained Zika virus, corresponding to the girls that had been "infected" while in Mexico. This activity gave the girls the opportunity to carry out a very common biological assay and a potential real-life application.

Creation of a Homemade Lava Lamp: A group of girls also created homemade lava lamps with household items. Unlike the lava lamp that you buy at the store, this lamp does not require heat! Using plastic bottles, water, oil, and an antacid tablet the girls were able to make their own lava lamp. Oil, water, and food coloring were added to the bottles. Lastly, an antacid was added and the bubbling created a lava lamp-like effect. Because oil and water do not mix, and because water is denser than oil, it sinks to the bottom of the bottle along with the food coloring. The antacid created carbon monoxide bubbles and the colored water would then rise to the top.

Communication Exercises Using the Principles of Engineering Design: Communication exercises were practiced using the principles of Engineering Design. The girls were divided into teams that came up with an Engineering design using straws. Each group then had to explain the structure to their teams by using only verbal or written directions (no pictures!). This exercise stressed the importance of proper and thorough communication, enabling the girls to enhance their verbal & nonverbal communication and cooperation skills. An Interviewing Skills workshop was held in which the girls role-played various Do’s & Don’ts of interviewing: We heard from many girls that this presentation will be invaluable as they navigate through the process of college interviews in the years to come. The girls were able to ask insightful questions about what to expect in an interview and how best to prepare themselves for an interview in the future.

A product “pitch” exercise in which in the girls learned the basics behind the process of designing, manufacturing, and pitching a product to a group of investors: The group was divided into three equal groups and given a product description. The girls were asked to give a product pitch on their given description. Led by Natalia Mitin, Alison London Brown, and Sabra Stipe, the girls were given the opportunity to work together to come up with a pitch and then to present their pitch to the group.

After these hands-on activities, the girls were treated to a massive pizza lunch from Randy’s pizza. A big thanks to DoubleTree by Hilton for donating the delicious cookies for dessert!

During and after lunch, volunteers and our moderator, Alison Brown, encouraged the girls to network with one another by using both prescribed and spontaneous questions. Some of the questions included “Name your proudest accomplishment” and “If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?” This activity helped dispel some of the myths surrounding networking, and enabled the girls to interact with one another in a safe and supportive environment.

At the end of the event, WIB-RTP’s Young Women In Bio also offered for the first time their custom YWIB t-shirts! If you’re interested in ordering one of these shirts you can learn more by emailing rtpywib@womeninbio.org.

This event was sponsored in part by Biogen, DoubleTree by Hilton, Kimberly Clark, and WIB. We are also incredibly grateful to Brett Brenton and The Frontier for the generous use of their space for our event.

Look for an upcoming report on our April 19, 2016, YWIB event "Unleashing the Power of Biotech at NCCU!"

 

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WIB-RTP: "Influence Matters" Workshop, March 2, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, June 17, 2019

Influence in the Workplace

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, Carol Perriccio, founder of Influence Forward and a Cialdini Method Certified Trainer (CMCT), facilitated a WIB-RTP workshop entitled, “Influence Matters.”

Perriccio identified six principles of persuasion:

1. Reciprocation: Reciprocation recognizes that people feel indebted to those who do something for them or give them a gift.
2. Liking: People prefer to say “yes” to those they know and like.
3. Consensus: People tend to look to those around them to guide their actions and decisions.
4. Authority: People respect authority and rely on those with superior knowledge for guidance.
5. Consistency: People strive for consistency in their commitments.
6. Scarcity: Scarcity relates to supply and demand. The more rare and uncommon something is, the more people desire it.

This event enabled attendees to learn the six principles of persuasion and how they influence professional, community and personal sectors of life. These skills are critical to building relationships with customers, employees and co-workers. More importantly, everyone can and should practice these proven principles in their daily lives.

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WIB-RTP: Networking Tips & Dress for Success Donation Event, January 26th, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, June 17, 2019

WIB-RTP Chapter Learns Networking Tips and Donates to Local Organization

On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, life science professionals attended a WIB-RTP networking event at the Frontier in Research Triangle Park. The event began with a group-based model of speed networking, giving attendees the opportunity to meet the maximum number of participants. Personal introductions and ice-breakers were initiated by answering questions or completing statements such as: “What is your strongest networking skill?” and “Describe a career achievement that you are most proud of.” Following the structured portion of the event, attendees were encouraged to learn about the RTP Chapter’s committees and volunteer opportunities over refreshments.

This event not only offered a formal gathering to extend an individual’s personal network, gain actionable insight and knowledge, it also offered an opportunity to empower socially and economically disadvantaged woman in the RTP area. During the event, career wardrobe items such as gently worn suits, shoes, and handbags were collected and later donated to Dress for Success Triangle NC. The mission of Dress for Success Triangle NC is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

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