Meet the Panelists


Aleida Perez

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Aleida Perez is the supervisor of Student Research and Community Science for Brookhaven National Laboratory’s (BNL) Office of Educational Programs (OEP).  Before coming to BNL, Dr. Perez was scientist in the biopharmaceutical industry and educator in higher education.  Dr. Perez has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan.  She has a strong background in virology and molecular biology research.  As a researcher, Dr. Perez worked in the field of oncolytic viruses and gene therapy.  Dr. Perez oversees the High School Research Program, the STEM Prep Summer Institute and the community science programs which includes SPARK and Open Space Programs. Through these programs, Dr. Perez is actively involved in the development and implementation of authentic educational research programs for students and teachers to access BNL user facilities and scientific staff.  She also collaborates with Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center in the Barcode Long Island Project.  She is also committed to inclusion and diversity at BNL’s educational programs. Dr. Perez was a WDTS program participant herself, as an undergraduate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.


Amy Erickson

Clean Energy Business Incubator Program

Amy is an engineering and technical operations professional with decades of experience in product development and design within the space, communications and healthcare industries. She has led research and cross-functional teams, and has significant success in manufacturing and process engineering, operations and executive management.

Ms. Erickson spearheaded the Long Island Schools to Career program, collaborating with the N.Y.S. Department of Education to create technology-based curriculum for high schools. She is a key contributor to the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC).

Ms. Erickson received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Chemistry and Economics from Stony Brook University. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in Business Administration with an innovation focus from Stony Brook University as she translates her skills and experience to spur economic development via technology commercialization.

Danielle Gambardella


Danielle Gambardella graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Haven in 2010, with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. She joined the workforce at Sikorsky Aircraft and eventually found her way to avionics software requirements, which is her specialty today. In 2012, she started attending classes part-time at Rensselaer in Hartford, eventually earning her M. Eng. in Electrical Engineering in 2015.

In 2016, Danielle sought work from two other employers over a span of four years; gained experience in systems engineering and test; and then returned to Sikorsky as a well-rounded, more experienced professional. While she is still writing software requirements, she has also taken on a scrum master role, where she is dedicated to empowering her team and guiding them in a way that helps them grow, work well together, and complete their work with as few outside interruptions as possible.

Eta A. Isiorho

New York University

Dr. Eta Isiorho grew up in Indiana, with a keen interest in pursuing both chemistry and biology. She earned her BS at Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in biochemistry. During her time at IU, she performed research in the lab of Dr. David Williams in organic chemistry. She then joined the biochemistry department at the University of Texas at Austin, studying for a PhD in the labs of Drs. Adrian Keatinge-Clay and Hung-wen Liu. It was at UT that Eta was introduced to the field of macromolecular X-ray crystallography, writing her dissertation on the structures of enzymes from soil bacteria that make some unusual chemical transformations — the natural products are useful for producing antibiotics, insecticides and antitumor drugs, etc. Dr. Isiorho moved to Auburn University in Alabama and was an instructor/lab coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. While she enjoyed her time teaching, she missed doing biochemistry & crystallography. Rejoining the academic track once more, Dr. Isiorho became a departmental postdoctoral fellow at Auburn, collaborating across labs, and employing her structural biology training and expertise with X-ray crystallography. At the end of her postdoc, Eta joined the Advanced Science Research Center at the City University of New York (CUNY ASRC) as a Research Assistant Professor in the Structural Biology Initiative, and Director of the Macromolecular Crystallization Facility. At CUNY ASRC, she trains, aids, teaches and does research in partnership with various labs that want to utilize macromolecular crystallography in their research. When not working, Eta enjoys spending her time practicing yoga and taking ballet classes.

Dr Darshana Joshi

VigyanShaala International

A passionate Physicist, mentor and social entrepreneur, Dr Joshi is committed to recalibrating the gender balance in STEM disciplines. She is presently building India’s largest digital ecosystem for affordable mentoring and coaching at scale for every Aspiring – Committed – Talented (ACT-ing) #GirlInSTEM at program Kalpana. Dr Joshi is keenly interested in designing low cost pedagogical tools to promote interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving among youth from the most marginalised communities.

Dr Joshi hold a BSc in Physics from Miranda House and Master’s in Materials Science from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. Later, she obtained a PhD in Physics from Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. For her doctoral work she was awarded the prestigious Schlumberger Foundation’s Faculty for the Future Fellowship for women from developing countries. Towards the end of her PhD she became the first Indian women to be elected the President of Graduate Union, the primary representative body of postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge.

Michiko G. Minty

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Michiko Minty, Ph.D., is Associate Chair for Accelerators and Applications and Head of the Accelerator Division in the Collider-Accelerator Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  Prior to joining BNL in 2008, Dr. Minty held appointments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (1991-1999), working on the Stanford Linear Accelerator, the Stanford B-Factory and the Next Linear Collider, and at DESY in Germany (1999-2005), working on the world’s only electron-ion collider to date (HERA) and on R&D for the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL).

Dr. Minty served as chair of the American Physics Society’s Division of the Physics of Beams in 2019. She has taught at particle accelerator schools in the US, Europe and Russia and is co-author of the textbook “Measurement and Control of Charged Particle Beams”.