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WIB-SF: WIB-San Francisco Bay Area Holiday Party at Devil’s Canyon, December 6th, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On December 6th, 2016, WIB SF Bay Area raised a pint to give a warm welcome to new WIB members and a heartfelt “Thank You!” to all the WIB volunteers that have been critical for every great panel, seminar, webinar, youth, and networking event in 2016. That Tuesday evening, Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company in San Carlos, California hosted almost 50 WIB members! While mingling over frosty libations and reminiscing over the past year, members snacked on delicious Mexican food served piping hot from local food truck Tacos El Gondo. Maya Benbarak, our 2016 WIB SF Bay Area chair, reviewed the year’s accomplishments and gave away our fantastic door prize for one month of free classes from Balanced Tread in San Carlos.

Here’s what one happy WIB member had to say about the end of the year festivities: “Thank you for organizing a great event! Loved the food, beer, and company!”

Thank you to all our wonderful members, sponsors, and volunteers for making 2016 a memorable year!

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Chocolate, Wine, and Networking! October 24, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

One of the tastiest social events of the year occurred on October 24, 2016, as this networking event centered on a chocolate pairing experience. Foley & Lardner LLP hosted around 30 WIB members and friends for a casual networking event in South Palo Alto.

The event began as attendees chatted with each other and prepared their palates for an assortment of delicious savory refreshments. Kathleen Molnar, one of the event organizers and a WIB member, gave a brief introduction to WIB and the event. She then handed it over to the talented folks of the Chocolate Garage to get the chocolate tasting and pairing underway.

They took us on a journey from cacao bean to chocolate bar. The first round of tasting focused on a variety of delicious dark chocolates, while the second round highlighted the tastes and flavors of several milk chocolate pieces. Throughout the tastings, participants experimented pairing each chocolate with a variety of different drinks including wine, whisky, different teas, and juices.

Attendees left with a satisfied sweet tooth, and each took home the chocolate bar of her choosing. Each attendee also left with an even better gift of shared conversations, rekindled acquaintances and friendships, and some new connections within the Bay Area WIB group. Here’s what one happy WIB member had to say about the event: “The chocolate was excellent and the presentation (was) very enlightening. It was a great opportunity to network in a casual environment. Well done!”

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: YWIB Attends Biotechnology Career Leadership Event at Amgen, September 29, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On September 29, 2016, Amgen hosted 19 middle school girls from the Bay Area. Women In Bio members Karla Lindquist and Leah Makley, along with members of the Amgen Women’s Interactive Network, organized the event. The girls learned through first-hand accounts from Amgen volunteers that making medicines to fight disease can be rewarding and fun, and that it requires collaboration between scientists with diverse skills and backgrounds.

The event started with a brief introduction by an Amgen volunteer. She explained that Biotechnology is about “learning how cells and other living organisms work so they can be used to improve the human condition.” She also explained the importance of Amgen’s mission: to make medicines that fight disease. This was a very motivational and interactive introduction where the girls were encouraged to ask and answer questions. The main take-home messages for the girls were to be curious, study hard, be persistent, and exchange ideas freely.

After the opening introduction, other Amgen volunteers introduced themselves, briefly describing what they do and what their favorite subject was in middle school. After their introductions, three volunteers sat on a panel for an in-depth Q&A session. During this session, the girls asked many questions that reflected their interest in learning more about what the Amgen scientists do on a day-to-day basis.

Following the Q&A session, Amgen provided a pizza dinner during which the girls mingled with each other and the volunteers.

Following the dinner and a short break, the girls’ Amgen visit concluded with an activity session during which the girls broke into teams to create “spaghetti towers” - a hands-on activity emphasizing team problem solving: Each team of three or four girls received 18 dry spaghetti strands, one cloth string, some masking tape, and one marshmallow.

The teams were then challenged to use these materials to make the tallest freestanding structure possible, with the marshmallow on top. This exercise encouraged creative and strategic thinking, advance planning, and teamwork.

The girls loved this activity, and it served to reinforce what they learned earlier from Amgen scientists during the introduction and Q&A sessions.

The girls’ Amgen visit ended with a wrap-up session during which each team explained what worked and did not work for their spaghetti tower project. Overall, this event was instructional and engaging for all!

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Leveraging Diversity in Your Workplace, September 15, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On September 15, 2016, WIB-San Francisco Bay Area hosted a panel discussion at Real Staffing in San Francisco, featuring three panelists and a moderator who are diversity and inclusion leaders with both industry and academia perspectives.

Julius Pryor III, Head of Innovation, Diversity & Inclusion at Genentech/Roche, Asha Collins, Vice President of Clinical Trial Sourcing at McKesson, and Bonita Banducci, Instructor of Gender and Engineering at Santa Clara University and Women’s Startup Lab, discussed difficulties faced by companies in achieving true diversity in the workforce. The panel was moderated by Alec Drew, Senior Learning Consultant of SThree and Real Staffing Group, who provided her thoughts on the issues faced by hiring managers and team leaders.

The panelists discussed how the hiring process is only the first step in creating a diverse workforce. They explained how a company also needs to create a culture where all team members feel included. They provided research results showing that including people of different ages, cultures, personal and professional backgrounds, and genders in a group setting can lead to greater innovation and provide more growth opportunities for all members of the workforce.

The panelists’ insights resulted in a thought-provoking discussion by the attendees afterwards. Thank you to all participants and to Sophia Plessier and Real Staffing for hosting the event!

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Breakthrough Discoveries in Aging Research, August 10, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On August 10th, 2016, WIB-San Francisco Bay Area hosted a panel discussion at Calico in South San Francisco, featuring three panelists and a moderator from academia and industry - all leaders in the field of aging and age-related diseases research.

Cynthia Kenyon (VP of Aging Research, Calico), Kimberly Scearce-Levie (Director of Preclinical Translational Biology, Denali Therapeutics), Irina Conboy (Professor, UC Berkeley), and Judith Campisi (Professor, Buck Institute) talked about their own research, discussed the importance of studying aging as the largest risk factor for developing a host of diseases, the complexity of networks affected in aging and age-related defects, the importance of adapted methods and models to measure these defects, and data showing that aging can be slowed down in different research models using for example genetics, drugs, or parabiosis.

The panel provided an exciting discussion about the hope and need for more aging research to uncover, maybe one day, cocktails to slow down aging and prevent age-related diseases like cancer and neurodegeneration. Thank you to all participants, and a special thanks to Danielle Chiaro and Calico for hosting the event!

 

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Hot Trends in Biology: CRISPR, Big Data, and the Microbiome, July 28, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On July 28, 2016, WIB-San Francisco Bay Area hosted a panel discussion at Siemens Healthcare in Berkeley that featured three panelists and a moderator from companies representing current “Hot Trends” in industry, including CRISPR technology, microbiome research, and next generation sequencing.

Rachel Haurwitz (CEO, Caribou Biosciences), Colleen Cutcliffe (Co-founder and CEO, Whole Biome), and Amy Swanson (Associate Director of Medical Education and Communications, Illumina) provided an exciting discussion of current trends in biotechnology, the benefits and challenges of working in new technologies, as well as their personal experiences and career trajectories.

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Speed Networking at Molecular Devices, May 11, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WIB-San Francisco Bay Area hosted its second Speed Networking event of 2016 at Molecular Devices in Sunnyvale in the South Bay. On May 11, 2016, twenty women from academia and biotech gathered to network in an informal setting. The evening began with mingling over light refreshments and transitioned into speed networking, consisting of a series of four-minute one-on-one interactions between the participants. This event was an opportunity to both begin new professional relationships and refresh existing ones. At the conclusion of the event, several participants continued their conversations at the patio outside of the Molecular Devices building. Special thanks to Molecular Devices for hosting!

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: YWIB Visits 23andMe, May 10, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On May 10, 2016, 23andMe hosted an event for 31 girls at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The girls were 5th to 12th graders from neighboring schools in Silicon Valley.

Following a brief YWIB introduction, the event started with a “get to know your table” exercise which provided for lively discussion between the girls who were seated in groups of about six. At this point, the Academic Program Coordinator at 23andMe gave a brief overview of DNA and shared the mission of 23andMe.

The girls then listened intently to a panel of nine 23andMe women who passionately spoke about their individual role in the company, their career path, and finally career advice. The panel consisted of women in a wide range of positions, including CEO, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, Chief Medical Officer, VP Commercial Marketing, Director of Research, and Software Engineer, among others. During the panel, the girls learned that while each career path differed widely, following your passion with an eager-to-learn attitude will lead you to a job that you will enjoy.

Before heading on a tour of 23andMe, the girls enjoyed pizza, fresh fruit and salads, and cupcakes. For the tour, groups of about six girls were led by an employee through the new office space. The girls had the opportunity to see other employees at work in different departments and even enjoy the rooftop deck. During the tour, the girls also had the chance to ask even more questions about what it is like to work at 23andMe. They even learned that everyone, including the CEO, has the same work space in which to work.

The event concluded with a strawberry DNA extraction exercise. Using dish soap, salt, coffee filters, and rubbing alcohol the girls embarked on the messy task of extracting DNA from strawberries. They individually followed a step-by-step lab protocol with employees standing by to assist and answer questions. The girls also received 23andMe notebooks and other goodies to bring home

Overall, the girls were highly engaged and seemed excited about science. When one girl was asked if the event was as good as she imagined it would be, she responded, “It was so much better!” Parents raved about the unique experience their daughters were able to enjoy.

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Making the Transition from Academia to Industry, April 27, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On April 27, 2016, WIB-San Francisco Bay Area hosted a panel discussion at Stanford University that featured four panelists and a moderator representing a range of "non-traditional" life science fields including scientific communications, regulatory affairs, project management, business development, and clinical pharmacology. The panelists provided insight into their personal academic experiences, career trajectories, and key decision points as examples of the types of transitions that individuals can make between academic and industry positions. The attendees complimented the “good range of panelists” who gave “pertinent advice,” and called the event “informative and insightful," making for an enlightening evening for all involved. Thanks to everyone who participated!

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: YWIB Tours Stanford Biodesign, April 6, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On April 6, 2016, fifteen middle and high school girls from the Bay Area, including girls from the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club, attended WIB-San Francisco Bay Area’s Young Women In Bio event at Stanford Biodesign in Palo Alto, California.

The Stanford Biodesign Fellowship Program charges its fellows to form connections between innovation and healthcare with the goal of developing practical, cost effective solutions to address today’s medical needs. The girls were greeted by fellows at their Biodesign offices, followed by an introduction to the Biodesign program by Elisabeth Wynne and brief descriptions from fellows of their ongoing projects: William Kethman described in depth the principles and development of a device intended for early detection of asthma in children. This device is being clinically tested, and Dr. Kethman showed the girls its prototype. The students expressed their interest and curiosity by asking many questions: What percentage of ideas become products? How long does it take to make a product? Do the physicians and engineers come from prestigious schools? Why can’t this device work in adults?

Following pizza dinner, the girls participated in hands-on activities at the hospital and surgical training lab. The girls were split into groups - one group learned and practiced tying surgical knots, while the other group gained hands-on experience with laparoscopic surgical tools as well as the Da Vinci surgical robot. By using this equipment, the girls experienced training doctors undergo to become better surgeons. Additionally, the girls got to interact informally with surgeon trainees who passed by.

At the event’s close we walked back through the lovely Stanford campus to the Biodesign offices where pictures were taken and parents were waiting. The students and the parents expressed their gratitude for such exciting learning opportunity.

Thanks to Elisabeth Wynne and William Kethman for being excellent hosts and helping to organize a dynamic and engaging event for the girls.

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