Halloween Science Trivia was Spooktacular!

GWIS Research Triangle celebrated yet another successful Halloween with science trivia at Raleigh Brewing Co. GWIS members and friends showed up in costume and with their trivia hats on! A big thank you goes out to the members of our leadership board for all their hard work planning this event.

Congratulations to the Best Costume Winner and thank you for all the wonderful costumes!
Congratulations to the Winning Team – Pog Mahon

GWIS Membership Secretary Emily Woolard was a captivating emcee

Welcome to our 2018-2019 GWIS – Research Triangle Chapter Officers

President:  Kony Chatterjee

I’m a PhD student at the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University. My research focuses on developing smart electronic textiles (fabrics of the future!). Last year, I served as the Membership Secretary at GWIS – Research Triangle, because of which I made some invaluable connections, and realized the strong support that women in STEM can extend to each other. I want to continue serving GWIS-RT and help expand STEM outreach work to communities that are sometimes excluded from science. Other than science and outreach, I’m very passionate about animal welfare, yoga, and hiking.

Vice-President:  Tamara Lehman

I am a 5th year PhD candidate in the ECE department at Duke. I am passionate about computer architecture and my research interests lie on the intersection of computer architecture and security.

Secretary: Jordan Tabor

I am a second year PhD student at North Carolina State University. My background is in Textile Engineering and I am currently studying Fiber Polymer Science. I grew up in this area and would really like to better connect to other female scientists in RTP. I enjoy so many different aspects of STEM and would love to be in an organization where I can share my love of STEM! I have participated in a few events by GWIS recently and have really enjoyed being apart of GWIS so far. I would like to be further involved by being an officer!

Treasurer:  Jessica LeRoy

I was the treasurer for GWIS RTP this past year and really enjoyed taking a more active role in the organization. I have a M.S. in environmental biology and currently due invasive species research at NCSU. In my spare time I love baking and taking my dog for hikes in the local parks.

Membership Secretary:  Emily Woolard

I am a post-baccalaureate student at the US Environmental Protection Agency, where I started in a neurotoxicology lab and now work on in vitro assay development. I am applying to bioinformatics PhD programs this fall because I love the intersection between data analytics and human health. I greatly enjoy service projects that involve bringing science to children in the community and have experience implementing several successful projects in the Raleigh-Durham area. Through GWIS, I hope to get girls and women of all ages excited about science, engineering, and math.

Liaison of Mentoring Program: Aminah Wali, Ph. D.

I have a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from UNC and I am currently an assay development scientist at Q2 Solutions, a clinical genomics company in RTP. I served as the secretary of GWIS-RT for 2017-2018 and worked closely with undergraduate students as part of the GWIS-Meredith College mentoring pilot program. I greatly enjoy working with undergraduates and have experience in academic advising, teaching, and career development.

Spring Into STEM™: Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Scientists was a fun day of science for all!

Spring Into STEM™: Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Scientists, a science outreach event for middle school girls, took place on April 28, 2018. The event was hosted by Young Women In Bio RTP (YWIB), Graduate Women In Science RT (GWIS), North Carolina State University’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), and students from Meredith College. This was the second Spring Into STEM™ event hosted by YWIB RTP, and it was part of YWIB’s national festival around Spring into STEM™.

When the students arrived, they received lab notebooks as well as BTEC’s lab coats, gloves, hair nets, and optional beard covers. Then they were treated to an afternoon of scientific activities, facilitated by volunteers from YWIB, GWIS, and Meredith College.

The students attended “Slime Time”, where they made slime and learned about the properties of polymers that make up the slime. In “Infection Detection”, they exchanged fluids between test tubes to learn how infectious diseases can spread between people. During “Yeast Machine”, they observed how quickly carbon dioxide produce from a mixture of yeast and sugar blew up a balloon. During “Blue’s Clues: What’s In Your Drink?”, the students used chromatography to separate the red and blue dyes out of grape soda. Finally, during “Whatever Floats Your Boat”, the students built foil boats and used density calculations to determine how much cargo the boats could hold.

All that science was a lot of work! So the students took a break to attend a networking session. At the session, they had the chance to ask each other and volunteers questions about science and life, including “When did you decide you wanted to work in science?” and “If you could design a robot to do anything, what would you have the robot do?”.

The event ended with a keynote speech by Dr. Janice Coffey Swab, Professor of Biology Emerita at Meredith College. Dr. Swab talked about her adventures studying plants around the world. She encouraged the students to never give up on their dreams and reminded them of their potential as tomorrow’s scientists.

With that the students left, many still in their lab coats with cups of slime and balloons full of CO2 in hand, and potentially, with the promise of an exciting future in science on their minds.

A big thank you goes out to BTEC for hosting the event, YWIB RTP, GWIS RTP, and Meredith College volunteers for donating their time, and Harris Teeter, Nuventra Pharma Sciences, and IQVIA for their help in putting on the 2018 Spring into STEM™!

GWIS – Meredith College mentoring kickoff was a hit!

GWIS has teamed up with Meredith College to start a mentoring program, where GWIS members serve as mentors to Meredith College students. At the kickoff event, everyone networked and discussed mentoring with Dr. Jennifer Ingram, a GWIS-RT advisor and assistant professor at Duke University.

Upcoming events related to the mentoring program (more details to follow):

  • Imposter syndrome workshop (February 28)
  • CV/Cover letter workshop (March)
  • Volunteer at a STEM outreach event, co-hosted with Young Women In Bio (April 28)

Check out the Meredith College article about the mentoring program!

2018-2019 GWIS Fellowships!

Apply for the 2018-2019 GWIS Fellowships! The GWIS National Fellowships Program is proud to offer fellowships in 2018 to help increase knowledge in the natural sciences and to encourage research careers in the sciences by women. Please check our website (www.gwis.org) for guidelines and application instructions, and make sure to read the FAQ section for further information. The deadline for all GWIS Fellowships will be 11:59 pm, Eastern Standard Time, January 12, 2018.


4th Annual Charity Casino Night was a big win!

GWIS members and friends celebrated the holidays at the 4th Annual Charity Casino Night at Research Square in Durham! Participants brought a gift to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle and in exchange received chips to play poker games!

A special thank you goes to Research Square for hosting the event. A big thank you also goes to our sponsors: Honeygirl Meadery, Durham Bulls, Open Doors Yoga, WODBody, Nirvelli Day Spa, and Ponysaurus. The event would not have been possible without our phenomenal GWIS leadership and members who helped organize: Sam Snow, Aminah Wali, Jessica LeRoy, Kony Chatterjee, and Emily Woolard. Thanks everyone!

Gifts for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle!


Grand Chapter Voting for Bylaw Amendments

At the recent National Meeting, National Council firmed up amendments to our bylaws. GWIS – Research Triangle Chapter has two votes to cast with Grand Chapter regarding these amendments. We would like our members to weigh in on the amendments.

Please review the proposed amendments below with their explanations. Then cast your votes HERE. You have until August, 15, 2017 to vote. The outcome of your votes will determine how GWIS – Research Triangle Chapter casts its two votes with Grand Chapter.

1. Changes to the Voting Period (LINK to amendment)

In the bylaws, voting takes place over 60 days, In the digital age we live in today, National has been discussing shortening the voting period to 30 days. This change will speed up business and allow the organization to be more nimble in decision processes. National is sensitive to the academic calendar and the timeline of our chapters, therefore we have also added that Chapters can request a 30 day extension on all voting measures.

2. Dissolution of the Membership Secretary (LINK to amendment) and Changes to the Membership Committee (LINK to amendment)

National is also restructuring one of the more active committees, the Membership Committee. The Membership Secretary position will be dissolved and the Chair of the Membership Committee will take its place. This way, Membership maintains a vote on National Council. The Membership Committee will be structured the same as the Nominating Committee, with three positions that will be filled via voting by Grand Chapter.

GWIS attended Science Cafe: When Mice are Men

GWIS members attended Science Cafe: When Mice are Men

GWIS members learned about the need for sex equity in biomedical research at Science Cafe: When Mice are Men at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Men and women respond to medical treatments differently. However, from cells to lab animals to human clinical trials, most biomedical research is done only in males. This can have major implications for drug development and women’s health care.

Dr. Melina Kibbe, MD, is the Zack D. Owens Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the UNC School of Medicine. In her talk, Dr. Kibbe discussed the need for sex equity in biomedical research and discussed how we could be advocates.

Dr. Kibbe’s recommendations included:

  • talking to our physicians about sex specific drug dosages (often dosage recommendations do not differ based on sex)
  • contacting our representatives to advocate for legislation that promotes sex equity in biomedical research (e.g. this bill).
  • for individuals involved in biomedical research, making sure that research is done in both sexes and that the sexes are reported in journal articles.

If you missed it, you can watch the Science Cafe: When Mice are Men HERE.



GWIS Research Triangle Officer Elections

Make a difference! Vote NOW for our next generation of GWIS Research Triangle Officers! The polls will be open until 5 p.m. Monday June 19.

President: Susan Lyons, Ph.D.

Susan received B.S. degrees in biological sciences and journalism from Ohio University. She then received a Ph.D. in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. There, she investigated behavioral and neuroplasticity in songbirds. Susan currently works as a science curriculum designer at IXL Learning, a K-12 EdTech company. She is also the current GWIS Research Triangle treasurer. Susan is passionate about education, public outreach, and science communication. She loves that GWIS Research Triangle provides Triangle-wide networking and public outreach opportunities, and she wants to continue to help facilitate those opportunities.


Vice President: Emily Alice Woolard

I recently graduated from Meredith College where I earned a BS in Biology and Public Health and a BA in Psychology. When I started college, I was heavily involved in social psychology research, but soon began pursuing biology following an internship in a Danish MRI research hospital. I have since been doing research at the US Environmental Protection Agency for about a year and a half, starting in an animal behavior lab and now working as a post-bac on in vitro assay development. I am looking to apply for umbrella biology PhD programs this fall. I greatly enjoy service projects that involve bringing science to children in the community and have experience implementing several successful projects in the Raleigh area.

Photo courtesy of Meredith College


Secretary: Aminah Wali

I received my B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and I am currently finishing up my Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I study cancer drug discovery approaches and small molecule compounds that alter the chromatin structure and growth of cancer cells. In addition to lab work, I’m also involved in the UNC Science Writing and Communication club (SWAC), and I write for their blog The Pipettepen. I like working with others and talking about science, and I am passionate about translating research findings into more effective disease treatments. In my spare time, I enjoy DIY projects, animated movies, and spicy food.


Treasurer: Jessica LeRoy

I currently work at the Center for Integrated Pest Management on the Global Pest and Disease Database. I provide background information on pests of concern to help the USDA PERAL lab complete pest risk assessments. I am also a contributing member on the USDA PERAL weed risk assessment team. I have been volunteering with GWIS for over a year and would like to continue helping out the organization (either in a position or as a volunteer). I am also a member of the North Carolina Association of Environmental Professionals. I have experience working in various scientific fields and with dealing with different levels of government. For fun I like to go mountain biking with my husband and take our dog hiking. I also love to bake and decorate sugar cookies.


Liaison: Anita Rana, Ph.D.

Currently as postdoctoral fellow in Bio-informatic and Genomics Department with four years experience.





Membership Secretary: Kony Chatterjee

I’m pursuing my PhD in Fiber and Polymer Engineering at North Carolina State University in picturesque Raleigh. I am also about to receive my Master’s degree in Textile Engineering from the same institute. My undergraduate​ degre in Textile Engineering was from Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, India. As a young undergrad I loved being involved in extracurricular and co-curricular activities involving student bodies and therein lies my passion for engaging with women and men in various scientific backgrounds. GWIS inspires me everyday to work hard for my success and hopefully I can contribute to the growth of GWIS . In my free time I enjoy going on hikes with my dog – and the triangle does have some amazing hiking trails, engaging in yoga and weight training.