A Look Back at Previous Events

IWD 2020

Saturday, March 7, 2020

9:00 AM through 2:00 PM

Tabler Center for Arts, Culture, and Humanity

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

Girl Power in STEM: “Each for Equal!” is a symposium to celebrate the accomplishments of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Lecturers and panelists will discuss the impact of women in STEM careers, on the work environment, and on the economy; how we as a society can improve women participation in STEM fields. Bringing together women from academia, government, and private sectors, this event will also help up-and-coming young professionals learn about women’s experiences in STEM fields. This year we join the International Women’s Day, IWD 2020, community in creating a gender equal world.  Through the symposium discussions will continue to challenge stereotypes, broaden perceptions and be agents of change in our local community to continue to promote and sustain women in STEM fields.

The Brookhaven Women in Science Symposium is being held in celebration of the International Women’s Day, proclaimed as United Nations Day for women’s rights on March 8.

Be conscientious. Please only register if you will participate; you may be taking someone else’s place. Space is limited.


The theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is:

Equal world is an enabled world.

#EachforEqual #IWD2020


09:00 AM   Registration Begins

09:30 AM   Welcome Address

09:40 AM   Guest Speaker: Karen Chen-Wiegart

“Let there be light – a career journey of materials science research with synchrotron light”

10:20 AM   Panel Discussion: Women in STEM Each for Equal

                     Kayla Hernandez, Pat Malone, Anna Mercaldi,  Vanessa

                     Sanders,  moderator: Lily Cushenbery

11:20 AM   Break

11:30 AM   Speed Networking, Speak to a Professional, Posters, and Science


12:30 PM   Lunch

12:40 PM   Guest speaker:  Maria Hernandez

“STEM women in Finances”

01:20 PM   Guest speaker:  Silvia Centeno

“Conserving, Preserving, and Understanding the Materials and Techniques of Works of Art”

02:00 PM   Closing Remarks

Sponsored By:


Organizing Committee:

  • Vivian Stojanoff – Brookhaven Women in Science
  • Shruti Sharma – Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center; Clean Energy Business Incubator Program
  • Kristine Horvat – University of New Haven
  • Jinelle Wint – Stony Brook University




Silvia Centeno

Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), 

“Conserving, Preserving, and Understanding the Materials and Techniques of Works of Art”

Silvia Centeno will discuss the importance of interdisciplinary teams of scientists, conservators, and art historians in understanding complex processes involved in the deterioration of art work and their role in the determination of correct procedures for the conservation and preservation of these works. She will talk about her personal experience as a woman in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. She received a PhD in Chemistry from Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, and started at The Met as an L. Frohlich Fellow to study unusual gilding techniques in Pre-Columbian metalwork. Since 2012, she has been a principal investigator in a team of scientists that employs solid-state NMR and other methods to understand aging and degradation processes in oil paintings, funded by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation. 


Maria Hernandez

Elliot Management Corporation

“STEM women in finances”

Maria Hernandez graduated from Long Island University in Science, Math and Physics, she continued her education pursuing graduate School obtaining a degree in Computer Science. She will discuss her experience as a business and High Tech communications applications analyst in the health and business industry, and now as finance manager.


Karen Chen-Wiegart

Stony Brook University, Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering

“Let there be light – a career journey of materials science research with synchrotron light”

When Karen first came to the U.S. as a Ph.D. student, she could hardly imagine that one day she will be leading her own research group at Stony Brook University. She also could have not predicted it, when she was learning how to conduct synchrotron X-ray analysis as part of her thesis work in materials science and engineering, one day she will be working side-by-side with her students to study a much broader range of topics with synchrotron light. Ever since, Karen has been enjoying the research, education and outreach aspects of scientific career, where she found joy in sharing the ‘light’ with many more people, from research laboratories, school’s career days, church summer camp, to the public open-house event at Brookhaven Lab. The talk intended to share the career journey of Prof. Karen Chen-Wiegart, to shed a light on both the professional and personal aspects of being an early-career scientist and an educator.

Karen Chen-Wiegart received her B.S. from National Taiwan University and Ph.D from Northwestern University, both in Materials Science and Engineering. Her group emphasizes on applying state-of-the-art x-ray imaging and spectroscopic techniques to study novel functional materials.  She is a recipient of National Science Foundation CAREER award and currently participates in two Energy Frontier Research Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.


Lily Cushenbery

Lily Cushenbery (moderator)

Stony Brook University

Lily Cushenbery is an Associate Professor of Management at Stony Brook University and the director of the Leadership & Creativity Research Lab. Her work in leadership, innovation, and conflict applies science-based approaches to practical organizational problems. Her research focuses on 1) the process by which leaders overcome failures and 2) the dynamics of innovative teams. Her primary research examines the consequences of leader mistakes and mistake recovery on leader-follower relationships. Her innovation research includes constructs such as team member influence and team climate. Her work has been published in a variety of outlets, including the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Leadership Quarterly, and Human Resource Management Review. Dr. Cushenbery’s consulting clients include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Del Monte Foods, Big Heart Pet Brands, PNC Bank, and The Long Island Library Resource Council, and Gold Coast Bank. Her research has been featured in a number of press outlets, including CNN, Fortune Magazine, Inc.com, Fastcompany, Yahoo, and MSN.

She received a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Penn State University and Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Terrorism, where she studied the process of terrorist deradicalization for a grant from the Office of Naval Research. For more information, please visit http://www.theLCLab.com.

Kayla Hernandez

Kayla Hernandez

Brookhaven National Laboratory

As the only female RF tech in the Collider Accelerator Department at BNL,  Kayla is passionate about her small part in smashing atoms and gender stereotypes. When she is not troubleshooting hardware, she is building an inclusive community through her role as co-chair of  the Early Career Resource Group and FY20 president-elect of Brookhaven Women and Science.

190919_Malone Patricia_018

Pat Malone

Stony Brook University

Pat Malone was named the Associate Vice President for Professional Education and Assistant Vice President for Engaged Learning in the School of Professional Development in 2019.  In addition, Pat is the Executive Director of the Center for Corporate Education, serving over 1000 professionals annually. Presenting nationally and internationally on the universities role in workforce, economic development and clean energy jobs, Pat has facilitated numerous forums with labor, education and industry including three Federal Department of Labor National Transformational Forums for the WIRED Grants and NYSERDA focus groups.

In 2008 Pat created the global award winning “Wall Street and Beyond” certificate program in collaboration with the project Management Institute and the USGBC-LI to assist over 2000 dislocated professionals. She has conducted clean energy, manufacturing and aerospace labor market intelligence and development projects for the New York State Department of Labor, NYSERDA and the Governors’ Regional Economic Development Councils Opportunity Agenda.  Pat is the Long Island director for workforce for the new Manufacturing Extension Partnership. She is a member of the Suffolk County Workforce Development Board, the REDC Workforce and Education Committee, founding chair of the Outreach, Engagement and Economic Development Network for the University Professional Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and served on the inaugural editorial board for their digital publication, UNBOUND.

She holds a BA from the University of Dayton, a Master’s Degree from Stony Brook University and co-edited the Jossey Bass publication “Enhancing Creativity in Adult and Continuing Education” and is the recipient of City and State’s “Corporate Social Responsibility Award”.


Anna Mercaldi

Pratt & Whitney

Anna Mercaldi is a Quality Associate Engineer at Pratt & Whitney. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of New Haven with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. While in school, her research work focused on nitric oxide multi-functional materials such as biomaterial NO delivery and multi-modal surface focused anti-coagulation. As a professional, her passions evolved and include: continuous improvement, strategic future planning, and diversifying the workforce. Anna will be starting her Master’s in June 2020.


Vanessa Sanders

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Dr. Vanessa A. Sanders is an Assistant Scientist in the Medical Isotope Research and Production (MIRP) group at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). She received her Ph.D. in Radiochemistry  from the University of Nevada Las Vegas under the direction of Dr. Ken Czerwinski and Dr. Lynn Francesconi. Upon completing her dissertation she became the first African American Woman to receive a Ph. D. in Radiochemistry. Her graduate work focused on the synthesis, characterization, and biological evaluation of Technetium-99m and Rhenium-188 peptides for theragnostic applications. She completed her post-doctoral training in the MIRP program under the direction of Dr. Cathy S. Cutler, where she primarily focused on developing novel methods for Arsenic-72 labeling to monoclonal antibodies. Her current research interests include the production, and separation of relevant and potentially novel radioisotopes. She is also interested in the synthesis and characterization of radiometal complexes for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. When she is not in the laboratory Sanders spends her time mentoring the next generation of scientists.


Speed Networking

ProfessionalGraduate SubjectAffiliation
Rakhi AgarwalBiochemist Nassau Community College
Christine AliForensic ToxicologyBrookhaven National Laboratory
Zeynep AltinbasElectrical EngineerBrookhaven National Laboratory
Joe AmbrosioMechanical EngineeringUnique Electric Solutions
Rachael AptowitzMechanical EngineeringSecondMuse
Diane CabelliChemistBrookhaven National Laboratory
Fernando CaminoPhysicistBrookhaven National Laboratory
Kathleen Flint EhmAstronomy and AstrophysicsStony Brook University
Suman GrewalMedical and Pharmaceutical ChemistryStony Brook University
Natasha HarbinScience, Childhood educationWilliam A Buttler School – PS 133
Ivy Hidalgo-OlberdingGeologistBrookhaven National Laboratory
Wen HuPhysicistBrookhaven National Laboratory
Renee MarcusArchitecture, Business Administration and ManagementInc. Village of Floral Park
Suji ParkMaterial Science and EngineeringBrookhaven National Laboratory
Jose RodriguezChemistryBrookhaven National Laboratory
Fabrizio SpagnoloEcology and Evolutionary BiologyColumbia University
Doreen SwiftElectrical Engineeringintelligentproduct.solutions
John TranquadaPhysicistBrookhaven National Laboratory
Jennifer WeiserChemical EngineeringCooper Union
Jinelle WintMolecular Cellular BiologyStony Brook Univeristy

Meet a Professional

ProfessionalGraduate SubjectAffiliation
Alfreda JamesAmerican HistoryStony Brook University
Donna TumminelloFinance, Electrical EngineeringStony Brook University
Heidi AndersonElectrical EngineeringStony Brook University
Kyle MarianScience Communication, Public EngagementFreelance
Kristine HorvatMaterials EngineeringUniversity of New Haven
Silvia Verdu-AndresParticle Physics Brookhaven National Laboratory