NAME: Amani Ebrahim EDUCATION: Chemical and Molecular Engineering, Department of Chemical and Molecular Engineering RESEARCH INTERESTS: Materials Science, Energy Conversion and Storage, Toxic Chemical Decontamination CURRENT RESEARCH: I study the processes involved in the filtration and decomposition of chemical warfare agents on uniquely engineered nanoporous materials at the atomistic scale. These new materials could be the state-of-the-art technologies to rid the world from the hazards of chemical warfare agents. FUTURE GOALS: I have many future goals, but they all encompass my love of science and that fact that I want to enrich students and encourage them to pursue studies in the STEM fields.
NAME: Shreyoshi Chakraborti EDUCATION: I have graduated with a Bachelors and Masters in Chemistry and Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics and Physics from University of Calcutta, India, In 2018. The same year I came to Stony Brook in a PhD program in Biochemistry and Structural Biology. Currently I am a third year PhD student in Prof Nicole S Sampson’s lab in Department of Chemistry. RESEARCH INTERESTS: Finding out novel drug targets CURRENT RESEARCH: I am working as a PhD student in Dr. Nicole S Sampson’s lab. My project comprises of the Biochemical aspects of cholesterol catabolism by Tb bacteria and finding out novel targets to inhibit virulence and infection of Mtb. FUTURE GOALS: I want to be an author and scientist. I want to take up writing as a major part of my career.
NAME: Cynthia Converso EDUCATION: I received a B.S. in Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics from SUNY Geneseo in 2016. I started at Stony Brook as a Masters student in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and promptly switched to the Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD program in 2018. I have since chosen the Biochemistry and Cell Biology track. RESEARCH INTERESTS: I am interested in understanding how DNA sequence plays a role in relaying which genes should be actively read or silenced. CURRENT RESEARCH: I work with Budding yeast cells in order to decipher the role of DNA sequence in the site-specific deposition of a histone variant, H2A.Z, by the enzyme SWR. This plays an important role in telling the cell when and where to start transcribing genes. Miscommunication in this pathway can lead to multiple disorders, including cancer. FUTURE GOALS: I plan to branch out in my research to include new organisms to study. After graduation, I plan to join a Postdoctoral program and eventually, become a professor!
NAME: Taylor Medwig-Kinney EDUCATION: I received my B.S. in Biology (Developmental Genetics) and Health Science (Public Health and Community Health Education) from Stony Brook University in 2016. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Genetics at Stony Brook University as well. RESEARCH INTERESTS: I am interested in the process of cell differentiation, or as I like to describe it, how cells decide what they are going to be when they “grow up.” I am particularly interested in how regulation of gene expression can give rise to many diverse cell types, despite these cells having identical genetic material. CURRENT RESEARCH: I study how cells become invasive during development of the nematode C. elegans in the Matus Laboratory. This work can provide insights into how cancer cells metastasize and spread to other parts of the body. FUTURE GOALS: My ultimate goal is to pursue a career in academia as a professor with my own research group, where I can teach and mentor future generations of scientists.
NAME: Greeshma Balabhadra EDUCATION: PhD Second year, Applied Mathematics and Statistics. Bachelors in Technology, Mathematics and Computing, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. RESEARCH INTERESTS: Quantitative Finance, Deep learning CURRENT RESEARCH: My current work focuses on High frequency Trading data identifying volatility patterns and their predictive performance using deep learning methods. My work also includes exploring different approaches of Information Geometry to learn the geometrical structure of families of probability distributions and its applications in Geometric deep learning. FUTURE GOALS: I want to pursue my research interests on Sustainable Finance which focuses on financial services integration and investment in environmental, social and governance (ESG) into the business or investment decisions for the lasting benefit of both clients and society at large.
NAME: Tori Peña EDUCATION: I earned a B.S. in Biological Anthropology and Psychology from SUNY Binghamton University in 2018. Currently, I am a third-year Cognitive Science doctoral student at SUNY Stony Brook University under the advisement of Dr. Suparna Rajaram. RESEARCH: My primary research interest is social memory, specifically how collaborating with others to remember information shapes memory at the individual and collective level. FUTURE GOALS: My ultimate goal is to become a professor at an R1 university so I can mentor undergraduate students and conduct research. Hopefully I can work for a CUNY or SUNY university so I can mentor undergraduate students from a wide range of backgrounds.
NAME: Alexia Smith EDUCATION: B.S. in Chemistry at University of Oregon RESEARCH INTERESTS: Inorganic medicinal chemistry CURRENT RESEARCH: I currently study the chemistry behind molecular imaging with lanthanides and radiometals, with the application toward novel cancer imaging and treatment strategies. FUTURE GOALS: I hope to work in academia one day; I love to teach and mentor, but I also love exploring a problem inside and out, which has drawn me toward chemistry research.
NAME: Payal Mehta EDUCATION: Current: Masters in Computer Science at Stony Brook University; Prior: Bachelors in Computer Engineering at KJ Somaiya College Of Engineering, India CURRENT RESEARCH: I study computer science. I am working as a software engineer intern at Amazon this summer. I am building a tool that will allow other developers of my team to have a near real time view of the application, without which there is a limited if any visibility into what actually happens inside the application. FUTURE GOALS: I want to open up my own company someday. I know this might sound crazy as I am 25 and nowhere close to even doing it but I like managing people and I think am pretty good at it, I am basically a people person and even though I am in a field where people don’t do much talking (except with their code) and are not that into “soft” skills, I have always been the one to bring this aspect into the team and I like carving a path and driving it.
GWISE in collaboration with WISE is proud to announce the WISE mentorship program for the academic year 2020-21. This program will connect undergraduate women in science and engineering with experienced women mentors in similar areas who can share their unique student perspective. The goal of the program is to help both mentors and mentees with their professional and personal development, and to provide both academic and social support to WISE students.
NAME: Jiayang Yan EDUCATION: B.S., University of Science of Technology of China (USTC); MA & PhD (ongoing) in Physics, Stony Brook University RESEARCH INTERESTS: Accelerator Physics (Plasma Wakefield Acceleration) CURRENT RESEARCH: In 2012, physicists were exciting when the Higgs boson particle was discovered at CERN on Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider lying in a 27-kilometer tunnel in circumference. Future high energy research requests a much more powerful machine than LHC, however the construction of which is constrained by its giant size (hundreds of kilometers in circumference). I’m working on beam driven plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA), a novel technique to accelerate charged particles to extremely high energy (GeV) level within meter-scale, which promises to make future colliders more compact and affordable. My project focuses on getting a collider-quality accelerated electron beam using a method called beam-induced ionization injection (BIII), in which the accelerated beam is ionized by the space charge field of the drive beam then trapped and accelerated at the back of the plasma bubble. FUTURE GOALS:I want to keep working on research at labs.
NAME: Veena Krish EDUCATION BSE/MSE in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, currently enrolled in a PhD program in Computer Science at SBU RESEARCH INTERESTS: Security and Machine Learning CURRENT RESEARCH I’m interested in the security of machine learning systems, especially those applied to emerging medical technologies. FUTURE GOALS: I hope that my work will help our society have more trust in critical systems (such as those used for healthcare) that are based on complex algorithms.
Born on February 21st, 1954, Cynthia Kenyon is an American molecular biologist and bio gerontologist known for her 1993 pioneering discovery that a single-gene mutation could double the lifespan of healthy, fertile C. elegans roundworms. This sparked an intensive study of the molecular biology of aging. She is presently a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Her findings denied the idea that aging happens in individuals in a random way and established the genetic basis for it. She identified the downstream genes that are involved for the cause of aging and provided an idea that is serving several biotechnology firms now, “how to reverse the aging process.”
Kenyon’s findings have led to the realization that a universal hormone-signaling pathway influences the rate of aging in most species, including humans. She has identified many genes involved in lifespan, and her lab was the first to discover that neurons can control the lifespan of the whole animal.
Kenyon graduated valedictorian in chemistry from the University of Georgia in 1976. She received her Ph.D. from MIT in 1981 where in Graham Walker’s lab she looked for genes on the basis of activity profiles thereby discovering DNA damaging agents that activate a cluster of DNA repair genes in E.coli. She was a postdoctoral fellow with Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner in the MRC laboratory in Cambridge, England studying the development of C.elegans .
In 1986 she joined the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, where she became the Herb Boyer Distinguished Professor and an American Cancer Society Professor. She cofounded the Elixir laboratory in 1999, with Leonard Guarente, with a hope of discovering and developing drugs that would reverse or slow the process of aging. In April 2014, she joined Calico, a new company focused on health, wellbeing and longer life span. Kenyon is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and she is a former president of the Genetics Society of America. She has received many scientific honors and awards.
Born in the Bronx, New York City in 1954, Wanda M Austin served as a former president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation and a leading architect for the nation’s national security space programs. She was both the first woman and the first African American to hold this position. She retired from the position on October 1, 2016. Today she serves as a consultant and a member of the Board of Directors of the company. Austin also served as an interim president for the University of Southern California. She continues to serve as the board of directors of the Space Foundation and Chevron Corporation and a member of the board of trustees for the University of Southern California and the National Geographic Society.
Austin graduated from Bronx High School, following her B.S in mathematics from Franklin and Marshall College. She obtained her Master’s in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh. After completing her degree, she worked at Rockwell International before joining Aerospace Corporation in 1979. Her work in applied mathematics during master’s involved modeling traffic systems.
In Aerospace Corporation she worked in several projects involving satellite communications and defense. In 1988, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California working on Natural Language in Application of Systems Dynamics Modelling. She served as a senior vice president before becoming the CEO of the Aerospace Corporation. In 2015 she was elected by President Barack Obama to serve as the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In 2009, she was elected as a member of NASA Advisory Council and U.S Human Space Flight Plans Committee.
In 2010 Austin was appointed to the Defense Science Board. She also became a member of the California Council of Science and Technology, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, Austin published a book called Making Space: Strategic Leadership for a Complex World.
She is the recipient of the National Intelligence Medallion for Meritorious service; the Air Force scroll of Achievement. In 2010, she received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Braun Award of Excellence in Space Program Management. In 2012 she was awarded Horatio Alger Award, NDIA Peter B Teets Industry Award. She also received the USC Presidential Medal in 2018.
GWiSE is in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement. #BLM
First, we want to acknowledge all our Black peers: we love you and your lives matter. You belong here and have the right to have your voices heard. We are devastated that the Black members of our community are murdered and mistreated either directly at the hands of those who claim to serve and protect or due to the systematic racism that makes up the infrastructure in our society. We acknowledge that systematic racism fails Black people at every single step from access to education to proper healthcare to daily stigmatizing interactions.
We acknowledge that every Black student, Black graduate student, Black faculty member in academia has never had the freedom to exist without facing extreme racial duress. As a community, we will continue to fight for the day when that is no longer true. We acknowledge that racial oppression is intersectional, and that Black students may be multiply marginalized by their gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, etc.
We acknowledge that we cannot champion diversity and equity in academia without confronting inequalities more broadly in our society.
To our non-Black peers: Speak up. When you see an injustice say something. Now is not the time to be quiet. Now is the time to be loud. That may mean confronting your colleagues, friends, and family members. Have hard conversations.
Please be mindful to not talk over those who are Black and instead think of using your privilege and your platform to LISTEN and AMPLIFY their voices and their experiences. Please use your research skills to educate yourself on our history of racial inequality, rather than asking your Black peers to explain it to you. Check on your Black friends, labmates, professors and listen.
Lastly, Stony Brook University we are watching you and we are disappointed. Like many institutions of higher education, you make grand claims of promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity but where is the real action? A pledge is not enough. We need to do better.
Stony Brook has set up a Coronavirus Information website with press releases and lots of information on the virus and how the school is handling it. Perhaps the best section for getting your questions answered is the FAQs, which are frequently updated with new information: https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/coronavirus/faq/index.php
Here are 10 Questions and Answers we found the most relevant for graduate students at SBU.
Say hello to Krithika, a graduate student and mother who is pursing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stony Brook University! Keep reading to learn more about her work on computer and electronic safety as well as the advice she has for new moms!
EDUCATION: M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stony Brook University
CURRENT RESEARCH: Fun fact: There are literally 250 million battery disposals a day! What do I do? : Harvesting ambient energy to power electronic devices is gaining a lot of momentum over battery powered devices.My team has designed an encryption circuit using a novel energy harvesting technique and my research work in specific focuses on making this hardware trusted and secure from getting hacked. FUTURE GOALS: Be a major contributor to make technology safe and secure for people to use by joining organizations such as the NSA. Just aiming 🙂
Following up on our last post, here are potential funding opportunities for graduate students with disabilities. Note: These resources were collected and summarized with Stony Brook University graduate students in mind. Your results may vary.
Note: These resources have been organized for graduate students at Stony Brook University. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a student with a disability, please contact SASC or the GSO.
BY: Donna L. Buehler, Stony Brook University Ombuds
What is Managing UP?
“Is about learning how to work within the confines of an organization to get what you need, while helping your boss and the organization meet their objectives. It’s about using influence and acting with integrity and purpose.”
From Suddenly in Charge by Roberta Chinsky Matuson
“Is simply a conscious approach to working with your supervisor toward goals you both care about.”
“The aim is to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship.”
From Managing Up, 20 Minute Manager Series, Harvard Review Press
If you are needing a little mid-week inspiration, get to know these 10 incredible women who made – or are making – great strides that may not always land them in the history books.
Here’s to great women. May we know them, may we be them.
ONE – Marie Curie – Chemist
Born in Warsaw in 1867, Marie Curie started her journey in science with her father as her teacher. She went on to study physics and mathematics in Paris, where she met her husband, Pierre Curie. She was the first woman to be the Professor of General Physics.
Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, National Academy of Sciences member, MacArthur Fellow
Born in August 17th, 1954, Ingrid Daubechis, a Belgian physicist and mathematician, revolutionized signal processing with her work on orthogonal bases of compact support, which has impacted audio, image, video devices and communication systems. Her ‘Daubechis wavelets’, are used for signal coding and data compression, are now an crucial tool for signal processors.
Every graduate student who has ever applied for a fellowship, like the NSF GRFP or GAANN, has heard those sweet, sweet words. Tax. Free. Year after year, students spend hours crafting their personal statements and research proposals, and every year they hear that winning this fellowship comes with 0 taxes as a cherry on top. As a recent recipient of the NSF GRFP, I am here to dispel the myth that fellowships are magical, non-taxable free money.
We had a great time showing kids and adults how to make slime this past weekend at Stony Brook University’s CommUniversity Day! We chose to do slime because… who doesn’t love slime?! It’s appropriate for essentially all ages and we thought teaching our community about polymers really unites the science of all our members – chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and (a bit of a stretch but) psychology too. Well, psychology in the sense that slime doubles really well as a stress ball, the clean up maybe not so much…
With a new year ahead of us, it’s important that graduate students (and everyone else) know about the resources at Stony Brook University for handling issues and conflict. With that in mind, we interviewed the University ombuds, Donna Buehler, to find out more about what she does, and how she can help improve both students and faculty experiences at SBU.
Thanks to Donna Buehler for talking to us today about the role of a University Ombudsman. For more information about how an Ombuds can help you with academic, interpersonal, and professional concerns (and much more!) please visit their website Stay tuned for our next brownbag!
Say hello to Katherine! A foodie, fencer, and fellowship winner for this year’s National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship! Keep reading to learn more about her work on cell and organ regeneration!
EDUCATION: B.S. in Biology with a developmental genetics specialization from Stony Brook University. This Fall I will be starting a Ph.D. at Northwestern University in the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences program. RESEARCH: I am interested in studying stem cell biology, specifically their roles in animal development and in organ regeneration.
Say hello to Gabrielle! One of the many winners of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship, Gabrielle works to better human’s understanding of lymphomas by developing a gene-editing system that could prevent their development.
EDUCATION: B.S in Biochemistry at Stony Brook; starting a Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in the Fall. RESEARCH INTERESTS: Viral evolution and innate immunity against viruses. FUTURE GOALS:My immediate goal is to get my Ph.D. and after that I plan to continue doing research. I’d love to do a post-doc at a place like the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Are you pregnant? Are you thinking about getting pregnant? If you just discovered you are pregnant, or if you are planning to get pregnant while in graduate school, you’ll already have a thousand questions in your head. Things will happen real quick and you will want to set up a system that will help you in your quest to be a badass grad-mom. We know some of you are worriers, guess what, we are too! This article was put together after talking to fellow moms on campus, and we want to share our list of resources that we found useful both before, during, and after pregnancy. If you are a mom or mom-to-be at Stony Brook University, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you get acquainted with the Grad Mom’s group at SBU!
Mother’s Week is still going strong with this post about Sindhuja, an engineer with a passion for images. Say hello to the woman who is helping us start a Grad Moms (not just STEM!) Group at Stony Brook.
In honor of the women who fed and housed us before we were even born, we are turning Mother’s Day into Mother’s Week! For the rest of the week we will be posting about the amazing women at SBU who research all day and raise children all night. Our first STEM Mom is Taylor Medwig-Kinney, whose research on cell fate determination and development can help humans better understand evolution and how disease affects development.
This Saturday, May 11th, SBU’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) will be hosting its First Annual Northeast Regional Symposium for Advocates of Women in Science and Medicine! To help kick off the event, we decided to interview the woman behind it all, Margaret Shevik, who wants to inspire other women in her field to pursue careers in science and medicine.
EDUCATION: B.S. in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences; B.A. in Art History, University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, MD/Ph.D. candidate in Pharmacology, student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Stony Brook University
First and foremost, we would like to thank everyone who joined us earlier this month to celebrate and support the the amazing research being done by the amazing scientists here at Stony Brook University. It is through events like these that we can further our cause of promoting women scientists in science and engineering. We had a great turnout this year and we hope to see everyone at future events!
Our final panelist for the Women’s Research in STEM Showcase is Dr. Jillian Nissen of SUNY College at Old Westbury. Dr. Nissen works to understand the differences between women and men’s immune systems in response to glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer.
EDUCATION: Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology from Stony Brook University CURRENT POSITION: Assistant Professor at SUNY College at Old Westbury CURRENT RESEARCH: My current research focuses on the phenomenon that men are not only more likely to be diagnosed with glioblastoma than women, but are also more likely to succumb to this disease following diagnosis.
Our third panelist for tomorrows Women’s Research in STEM Showcase is Dr. Marci Lobel of Stony Brook University. Dr. Lobel directs the Stress And Reproduction (STAR) lab, which seeks to understand the psychosocial affects of reproductive health.
EDUCATION: Ph.D. in Social Psychology (with minors in Health Psychology and Measurement) from the University of California, Los Angeles CURRENT POSITION: Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University RESEARCH INTERESTS: Stress, coping, and their impact on health, especially women’s reproductive health.
With the Showcase only days away, we’re continuing our interviews of the professors who will take part in our panel on being a women in STEM. Say hello to our second panelist, Dr. Harini Krishnan of Stony Brook University.
CURRENT POSITION: Postdoctoral Fellow, Miller Lab, Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Stony Brook University, NY, (This is my second postdoc).