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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: "Women in Leadership: Seizing Opportunities," March 17, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On March 17th 2016, WIB-San Francisco Bay Area, jointly with UCSF Women in Life Sciences, celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a panel discussion at Nektar Therapeutics in San Francisco on “Women in Leadership: Seizing Opportunities.” Food, wine, and networking was followed by lively, fun-filled, and inspiring discussion on challenges to women in leadership, risk taking, seizing opportunities, work life balance, and many interesting and relevant topics. Special thanks to Nektar for hosting a great experience!

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: YWIB Visits the Joint BioEnergy Institute, March 8, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On March 8 2016, the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) hosted 15 middle school girls from across the Bay Area for an event organized by WIB member Dr. Erin Hill. At this event, the girls learned how to make biofuels from plant biomass.

Immediately following check-in, pizza was served. Dr. Hill then began the event with a presentation that provided the girls with motivation and background information to help them better enjoy their time at JBEI, and learn from their experience there. During her presentation Dr. Hill highlighted the work of inspirational female scientists throughout modern history, explained the importance of biofuels to our society, and gave an age-appropriate science introduction to the process by which biofuels are produced from plants.

Dr. Hill then introduced the girls to volunteer JBEI staff members, some of whom gave presentations on the science of biofuel production. Next, the girls were divided into groups and the JBEI volunteers led them through the JBEI laboratories, describing to the girls the purpose of each laboratory and what scientists do on a daily basis in these environments. During these tours the girls saw where the plants grow, where the cellular and biochemical reactions take place, and where state-of-the-art robots put things into production.

The tours concluded with the girls being brought back together to participate in a question and answer session with the JBEI volunteers and hands-on activities that demonstrated the principals of biofuel production.

During the question and answer session, the volunteers were asked how and why they became scientists. The girls were particularly interested in learning what educational goals they needed to achieve to become scientists. This was a reflection of their enthusiasm about what they had learned.

The hands-on activities following the Q&A session were especially important, as they had been carefully designed to help the girls incorporate what they learned during the presentations and tours.

One activity involved comparing plant to animal cells under a microscope by using the skin of an onion for the plant cells and the girls’ own cheek cells as the animal cells.

Another activity involved the girls making bracelets representing several basic sugars, with different colored beads representing different elements.

Possibly the most exciting activity involved mixing sugar, yeast, and water together in a plastic bag. This demonstrated how mixing these natural products produces gas which caused the bags to expand and even explode in some cases.

At the very least, the girls learned something about biofuels and had fun doing it. They also learned that they could become some of the most inspirational female scientists of the future, through the presentations and examples that Dr. Hill and the JBEI staff volunteers set for them during this event.

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Speed Networking at Invitae! February 17, 2016

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WIB-San Francisco Bay Area's first event of 2016 was an exciting speed networking event held in San Francisco. On February 17, 2016, twenty-five professionals gathered for an evening of wine, appetizers, and discussion at Invitae's beautiful offices in SOMA. The event started off with a half-hour of greeting and mingling, followed by an introduction to WIB and its upcoming events, and then moved into high gear with a series of five minute-long one-on-one interactions. Participants from academia and industry discussed their current positions, long-term career goals, and the biotech landscape in the Bay Area, among many other topics. The attendees enjoyed getting to meet many other fantastic women and forging new connections. As one participant commented, "This was a great event and I was glad to meet so many different people!”

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