A Look Back at Previous Events

IWD 2021


 Saturday, March 6, 20219:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. Due to COVID-19, this year’s International Women’s Day event will be held via Zoom, a link will be sent to you after you sign up.  

Girl Power in STEM: “Choose to Challenge!” 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 2021, 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.


The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is:

Choose to Challenge

#Choosetochallenge #IWD2021

09:30 A.M.   Welcome

09:45 A.M.   Keynote lecture- Assunta Vigliante (CEO Sirius X-ray Solutions GmbH)- From Academia to Industry

10:30 A.M.   Panel discussion

                      Moderator- Aleida Perez (Brookhaven National Laboratory) 

                      Priscilla Antunez (Brookhaven National Laboratory)

                      Kimberly Horvat (Riverhead High School)

                      Nancy Savage (University of New Haven)

                      Giovanna Scapin (NanoImaging Services)

                      Janna Shaftan (Google)

12:00 P.M.   Bring your own lunch (BYOL) 

12:15 P.M.   Keynote lecture- Pamela McCauley (North Carolina State University)- She Wins-We Win: The Organizational, Economic and Societal Benefit of Supporting Women in STEM and Innovation:  A Global Imperative

01:00 P.M.   Closing remarks and post-event networking

02:00 P.M.   Program end

To learn more about our Invited Speakers, please click on the Speakers and Panelists tab.


Pamela McCauley

North Carolina State University

She Wins – We Win:  

The Organizational, Economic and Societal Benefit of Supporting Women in STEM and Innovation:  A Global Imperative 

The considerable financial and talent-related costs of losing an average of 52% of women in science,  technology, and engineering mid-career has been well-documented (Hewlett et al., 2008); in the United States alone, approximately 3,000 PhD-trained women leaving science, technology, engineering, and  mathematics (STEM) result in an economic loss of US $1.5 billion per year (Rosser & Taylor, 2008).  

The impact of improving the STEM education and career opportunities for women is an issue of national  importance and is impacting America’s innovation potential, national security and global position as a  leader in innovation. Dr. Pamela McCauley, professor, innovator, entrepreneur and former National  Science Foundation Program Director provides an impactful keynote grounded in the theoretical literature  and practical solutions to address one of the nation’s most critical human capital crises: Women Leaving  STEM Careers.  

Dr. McCauley delivers a solution driven approach in this workshop to address this persistent organizational  risk and offers well researched approaches, best practices and practical solutions that organizations can  readily adapt for integrate into a corporate culture to stop the hemorrhaging loss of essential female STEM  talent. The solutions and guidelines are presented in a manner that allows adaptation among the  individual STEM employees, leadership and within organizational culture. Dr. McCauley will also share  scholarly literature and strategies from her book, Transforming Your STEM Career Through Leadership and  Innovation: Inspiration and Strategies for Women published in 2013 by Elsevier as well as examples of  organizational changes, formal personal development opportunities as well as professional development  support have been pivotal in recruiting, retaining and advancement for women in STEM careers. Finally,  the inspirational tone of this keynote address will encourage, enlighten and empower women to persist  and soar in their chosen careers and continue to positively and powerfully impact the world through 

Dr. Pamela McCauley is an internationally recognized Industrial Engineering researcher in the  development of mathematical models, ergonomics, biomechanics, and leadership in STEM. She serves as  the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Wilson College of Textiles  at North Carolina State University. She is an energetic and impactful keynote speaker as well as an award winning educator on a mission to empower othersto succeed in STEM educational, career, and innovation goals. Author of over 100 technical publications, an internationally-used ergonomics textbook, and  several inspiring books on STEM leadership, Dr. McCauley previously served as the Director of the  Ergonomics Laboratory in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Central Florid as  well as previously holding the position of Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Associate Professor of Aeronautics  and Astronautics at MIT. In addition to her academic leadership, Dr. McCauley is a seasoned entrepreneur,  innovator and expert witness. In From January 2018 to June 2020, Dr. McCauley served as Program  Director for the National Science Foundation, Computer Information Science and Engineering  Directorate’s I-Corps Program. Dr. McCauley is a fellow of both the Institute of Industrial and Systems  Engineers (IISE) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Assunta Vigliante

Sirius X-ray Solutions

From Academia to Industry

Dr. Assunta Vigliante is the CEO of Sirius X-ray Solution GmbH in Germany. Assunta received the PhD in Physics from the University of Houston, TX in 1994 and after that had academic positions starting with a post-doc at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Visiting Professor at SUNY at Stony Brook and Team Leader at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart. She has received a DOE Research Fellowship award at BNL, an NSF Visiting Professorship award at SUNY at Stony Brook and an EU Marie Curie Research Award at the Max Plank in Stuttgart. In 2001 she joined Bruker AXS in Karlsruhe, Germany where she had several positions in R&D, product development and last as Vice President for the Semiconductor Industry. In 2015 she founded Sirius X-ray solutions GmbH, which provides X-ray solutions for synchrotron users, semiconductor industry and material science research. She has been active in STEM programs at BNL, SUNY and at the ICTP (Institute for Theoretical Physics in Italy). In the talk, I will discuss my work and family challenges/ achievements as a woman in science, the skills needed in an industrial environments, future opportunities and the international aspects related to a career in physics.

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.


Priscilla Antunez

Brookhaven National Laboratory

As the Assistant Director for Strategic Partnerships at CFN, Priscilla Antunez guides researchers and businesses in the exploration of potential collaborations and funding opportunities. She also manages communications and engagement at CFN and is a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity. At Argonne National Lab she worked as a Business Development Executive and used her postdoctoral experience from IBM to help researchers protect their IP and publish their work. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center, where she published 9 papers, obtained 6 patents, and received Invention Plateau Awards in 2016 and 2017 for her work on solar cell devices. Priscilla received a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Southern California, where she researched materials for solar cells. She also received a BS in chemistry from Cal Poly Pomona (2009) and majored in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering (2001) at the University of Sonora.

Kimberly Horvat

Riverhead High School

Kim Horvat is a senior at Riverhead High School. She is interested in pursuing a career in astrophysics to study other galaxies and exoplanets and hopefully one day working at NASA. Her favorite subjects in school include mathematics, physics, and astronomy. She also has volunteered for tutoring other students in mathematics. 

Throughout her high school years, Kim has taken part in many STEM extracurricular activities, including an Electrical Engineering workshop at Stony Brook University, the High School Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) club organized through Stony Brook University, Scientific Computer Coding held by Brookhaven National Laboratory, her school’s mathematics and robotics club, and most recently she  participated in the 2020 High School Research Program sponsored by Brookhaven National Laboratory. During this research project, she worked with accelerator physicists on the National Synchrotron Light Source-II.

Nancy Savage

University of New Haven

Dr. Savage is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of New Haven and serves as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. She received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and earned her doctorate in Chemistry from The Ohio State University, investigating materials as high-temperature, harsh-condition gas sensors. Dr. Savage was the recipient of a National Research Council (NRC) postdoctoral fellowship, which supported her work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. Previously, she served as the director of the Summer Institute for Young Women and the Chair of the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference, both held at the University   Prior to serving as a Department Chair, Dr. Savage was Associate Dean in the Tagliatela College of Engineering. She lives in West Hartford, CT with her family and, like many chemists, is an excellent cook. 

Giovanna Scapin

NanoImaging Services

Giovanna Scapin graduated Magna cum Laude in 1985 from Padova University (Italy) with a degree in Organic Chemistry. In 1989 she received her PhD in Organic Chemistry from the same university with a thesis in Structural Biology. In February 1990 Giovanna joined the laboratory of Dr. James C. Sacchettini at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx (NY), as postdoctoral fellow, and subsequently as Instructor. Her interest was initially for a class of small fatty acid binding proteins that had been related to obesity and diabetes. Subsequently most of her work was involved in bacterial enzymes that could be used as target for the design of novel antibiotics. During the 6 years Giovanna spent there, she mentored several graduated students and post-doctoral fellows.

In 1997 Giovanna joined Merck and Co., Inc, where she was involved in several drug discovery projects, providing structural biology support for diabetes, inflammation and oncology targets. Her more recent work focused on the diabetes target DPP-4, on novel antimicrobial targets, and on the structure-function of antibodies. After spending 18 month as embedded scientist at the New York Structural Biology Center – Simons Electron Microscopy Center to learn hands-on single particle CryoEM, in 2018 Giovanna went back full time at Merck, where she established a new cryoEM facility.

In March 2020 Giovanna joined NanoImaging Services as Chief Scientist of the newly established NIS-East Client Center in Woburn, MA.

Janna Shaftan


Janna Shaftan is currently a Technical Program Manager at Google, working on next generation operating systems. Before this, she spent four years at Apple, working in the kernel and driver spaces as an Engineering Project Manager. She has her dual B.Sc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University, and has interned at MIT, Brookhaven National Lab, RocketSpace and Dell EMC.

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

IWD 2021 Recordings

Click on the following to watch the recordings of this year’s Girl Power in STEM- Choose to Challenge!

Opening Remarks and Dr. Assunta Vigliante’s presentation- “From Academia to Industry”

Panel Discussion

Dr. Pamela McCauley’s presentation- “She Wins-We Win” and Closing Remarks