March 8th is International Women's Day

Today we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. The World Economic Forum predicts that based on current rates of change, it will take until 2133 to achieve global gender parity. How can we speed this process? Find out at; learn about events near you, explore the Women. Fast Forward platform, and make a Pledge for Parity. You can also help women achieve their goals by supporting GWIS! Consider a donation to support our work supporting women in science.

USA Science & Engineering Festival April 15-17 in Washington, D.C.

Iota Nu Chapter has sent a small grant to Beta Chapter to help support the GWIS booth program and participation in the 2016 USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. and encourages its dual members and other chapters to consider a contribution as well.  

 Volunteers for the booth are still welcome. This festival is one of the largest and most exciting in the world! If you are interested in science outreach, this is a great opportunity to share science with a large audience while volunteering with your fellow GWIS members! At the GWIS exhibitor booth, we will be demonstrating how red cabbage extract can be used as a pH indicator. We also need donations towards supplies for this booth.  Click the button to sign up for a shift.

For questions or more information, please email Allison Didychuk at
Contributions for the festival can be made at the GWIS website. Please designate "USA Science & Engineering Festival" in the Donor Comments section.

Registration Now Open for the GWIS 2016 National Conference

Rho Tau is proud to host the 2016 GWIS National Conference on June 23-25, 2016. During the National meeting, scientists from all career stages will have the opportunity to network, share their science and gain first-hand science outreach experience at a local science museum. The key note speaker will be Dr. Holly Menninger, Director of Public Outreach for the College of Sciences at NC State University. Also featured will be panel discussions on science literacy and the role of STEM professionals in science outreach as well as poster presentations and talks from GWIS scientists.

Opportunities will be available for attendees to engage in science outreach at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Preregistered conference participants will be given the opportunity to either speak about their research to the public or attend tables with topic materials on hand. The day will end with a banquet, silent auction and a comedy set from "The Science Comedian", Brian Malow.

Sign up by May 15th for an opportunity to do science outreach at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Honorary Members Nominated
Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus and Dr. Rita Valentino to join long line of GWIS elite

Dr. Mildred Desselhaus received her BA degree in 1951 from Hunter College, followed by a Fulbright Fellowship at Cambridge University in 1952. She went on to receive her MA in 1953 at Radcliffe College and PhD at the University of Chicago in 1958. She completed a fellowship (1956-1957) at the Bell Telephone Laboratory during her years in graduate school. Dr. Dresselhaus has held many positions, including international appointments, during her tenure starting in 1958 as a NSF postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University and ending with Chair of the American Institute of Physics Governing Board from 2003-2008. She is currently a Professor Emerita in the Physics and Electrical Engineering departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has held many honors and has received nearly 100 awards including the Enrico Fermi Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was the first woman to receive the IEEE Medal of Honor. She has served as American Physical Society and AAAS presidents and as a governing officer within the National Academy of Sciences. She holds seven patents and has authored or contributed to 1,559 publications. Referred to as the "Queen of Carbon", her work includes research on carbon nanotubes, bismuth, nanowires, and low dimensional thermoelectricity. GWIS members can access her full interview published in the 2015 Fall Bulletin.


Dr. Rita Valentino received a BS from the University of Rhode Island in 1975 and her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1980. She completed two postdocs, one from 1980-1981 at the University of North Carolina and the second from 1981-1983 at The Salk Institute and is currently a Research Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She has been editing for six separate journals, including her current position of Editor-in-Chief of Neurobiology of Stress. She has 146 research publications as well as 10 review publications and 16 additional publications which include editorials and book chapters. Her major field of study is how certain stressors can lead to psychiatric or medical disorders, focusing on neurohormonal and neurochemical substrates. She has been a pioneer in the study of sex differences in the brain and has advocated for including females in research studies. GWIS members can access her full interview this year in an upcoming issue of the Bulletin.

For a list of previous GWIS Honorary Members, visit the GWIS website.

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Newest Chapter Zeta Establishes a Foundation in Richmond
Contributed by Deblina Biswas, Zeta Chapter Liaison

The Zeta chapter was started in October 2014 at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Current PharmD/Ph.D. candidate Tien Truong founded the chapter with the help of charter members Dr. Susanna Wu-Pong, Dr. Mary Peace McRae, Dr. Patricia Slattum, Dr.Mary Jane Kennedy, Anuja Raut, Sneha Dhapare, Susan Boc, and Zaneera Hassan. The inauguration event was held at the Science Museum of Virginia. Appetizers and wine were served while guests were able to explore the Boost! Body, Mind and Happiness exhibit, a silent auction, and a food science demonstration. VCU School of Dentistry alumni, Dr. Baxter Perkinson and VCU School of Pharmacy Dean, Dr. Victor Yanchick, showed their support by each generously donating an original painting to the silent auction. The Zeta chapter thus began its wonderful journey with a total of 12 members.

Members have since organized fireside chats, riverside chats, and wine nights with leading senior research faculty members such as Dr. Joanne Peart, Dr. Mary Peace McRae, and Dr. Victor Yanchick. These informal chats were both entertaining, informative and extremely inspiring for our curious and fun-loving Zetas. Our chapter members have also taken it upon themselves to volunteer with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Stop Hunger Now, and the Science Museum of Virginia. The Zetas are continually organizing activities to promote team bonding while having fun, such as visiting the Escape Room where all the participants need to work in unison to discover clues to unlock the room. These and other such team building activities have fostered a feeling of fellowship and made the chapter evermore interesting to onlookers. This is what has lead our chapter to grow from 12 to 23 members within a year and a half.

We here at Zeta believe in service for the community. Like any new organization, we have had our fair share of trials to recruit new members, but this has only bonded our members further. We strive to ensure that our present members have the opportunity of attending and interacting with senior leaders in science by keeping everyone informed with regards to attending national events and local chapter meetings through a listserv. We are also continuously looking for new chapter members and we hope the next year will be as much of a success as this one. The current Zetas view the chapter’s biggest strength as being a part of the National SDE-GWIS community. Professionally, this allows for a rare opportunity to network and speak to senior women leaders in science throughout the nation. It affords us the experience of bonding with our fellow women in science colleagues and friends from diverse and stimulating backgrounds, which we will cherish throughout our lives!

Start a new chapter near you!

Starting a chapter is easy and only requires seven founding members. Find out how on our website.

On-Line Book Club to Meet Next in June

The first installment of the GWIS Book Club was a great success! We had a lively discussion about The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys' Club by Eileen Pollack, touching on a number of interesting topics such as gender roles, stereotypes, and discrimination in STEM fields. Additionally, we spent a lot of time sharing stories about our personal experiences in science and reflected on how these life experiences have shaped us into the women scientists we are today.

Please join us for our next GWIS Book Club which will be held in conjunction with the GWIS National Meeting (June 24-25; Time & Location TBD). We will be discussing Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. For more information please email

Alpha Lambda Omega Chapter Hosts Visit by Dr. Rita Calwell

Former NSF Director and Honorary GWIS Member Dr. Rita Colwell visited the University of Hawaii at Manoa in order to deliver the inaugural lecture of the Pavel Distinguished Lecture Series. During her time in Hawaii, which was hosted by the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE), members of our GWIS chapter spent time with Dr. Colwell for an informal “talk story” event. At this event, Dr. Colwell inspired graduate students, post docs and professors with the enthralling story of her journey as a woman in science, during a time when she was truly breaking down barriers. Her overarching message was not to allow your role, as a woman in science, to be defined by others, to find your own path, and as she so delightfully put it “don’t let the turkeys get you down!” Her truly inspiring story gave us all fodder for thought and conversation, about how far women in science have come, and also what was left to be done.

Additionally, C-MORE sponsored a luncheon for the officers of GWIS and Dr. Colwell. During this event, Dr. Colwell stressed the importance of leadership by women in STEM fields, something that she has excelled at. The GWIS ALO cHApter is grateful to both Dr. Colwell and C-MORE for allowing us to be a part of these wonderful events. Mahalo Nui Loa!

Mu Sigma Chapter's Julie Fleischman Mounts Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Michigan State University anthropology PhD candidate and former Mu Sigma president Julie Fleischman successfully leveraged the crowdsourcing site to raise $4500 to supplement her research for analysis and preservation of the human skeletal remains of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Funds are to be used to support the living expenses of the research team, renovation of the memorial stupa, and local publication of a Khmer book about the project.

New NSF Initiative to Improve Diversity in STEM

NSF launched a new initiative this week called NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science). Proposals are requested for projects aiming to increase the participation of women, members of racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and persons of low socio-economic status in STEM. The goal of the program is to transform STEM over the next 10 years so that it is “fully and widely inclusive". Ultimately, the project aims to influence the workforce such that these minority groups are represented in percentages that reflect the U.S. population. The first stage of the program will fund up to 40 projects at $300,000 each for two-year pilots. Successful pilot programs can then compete for five larger “Alliance” awards of $2.5 million per year for five years.

Male Biology Students Underestimate Female Peers

New research from the University of Washington published last month in the journal PLOS ONE,  found that males enrolled in undergraduate biology classes consistently ranked their male classmates as more knowledgeable about course content, even over better-performing female students. Female students, on the other hand, showed no significant bias in whom they chose as knowledgeable. Study co-lead author Sarah Eddy says support is essential in retaining women in STEM fields. "To stay in STEM you have to believe you can do it, and one of the things that can convince you of that is your peers saying you can do it," she said. "Helping students find peers who believe in them is really important, especially for women, because they're not likely to get that from males in their class."


HHMI Gets First Female Leader

Erin O'Shea will be the first woman to lead Howard Hughes Medical Institutute. HHMI is the largest private funder of academic biomedical research in the United States. O'Shea, 50,  is a long-time HHMI investigator who studies gene regulation and signal transduction. She took the position because she found it “a tremendous opportunity to have a lasting, positive impact on science.” She plans to expand HHMI’s partnerships with other philanthropies, including one she helped create, the Faculty Scholars Program, that supports early career investigators.

Leadership Insights

Building Confidence
How can women overcome a lack of confidence to be more successful in their careers? Look to positive role models, a strong professional network, and leadership training.

Seek Advice on Strengths and Weaknesses
Mentors and sponsors can provide insights on your strengths and on areas that you may not realize you should be addressing. Seek to develop a relationship with someone whose leadership you respect.

Celebrating International Women in Science Day, women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory pose for a photo in mission control (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)


Changes Coming to GWIS!

Our members have spoken, and we listened! In response to last summer’s survey, we will soon be announcing some enormously exciting changes to GWIS! Look for the full details in next month’s Broadcaster when we officially launch….well, you’ll have to wait and see!

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

- Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Get Involved with SDE-GWIS!

Support and be part of a growing network of women scientists.


Founded in 1921, Sigma Delta Epsilon-Graduate Women in Science is an inter-disciplinary society of scientists who collectively seek to advance the participation and recognition of women in science and to foster research through grants, awards and fellowships. We comprise 20 active chapters of over 800 women who are "United in Friendship through Science" to support and inspire member professional goals and mutual appreciation of science. Learn more at

Contact SDE-GWIS

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President: Laura Havens
SDE Broadcaster Editor: Jane Sharer Maier Membership Secretary: Laura Arneson

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