Past Events

Past Events

Coding Camp for Girls

April 28-29, 2018

Finance and Investing Workshop

December 11, 2017

It’s so important that women receive the education they need to comfortably handle their finances – too often it’s seen as a “man’s job.”  At our Finance and Investing Workshop we learned from financial experts Avani Ramnani, CFP® CDFA® and Natalie Colley, CFP® about topics including investing, saving, budgeting, paying off student loans, and establishing and maintaining credit.

2017 WiSE Mentorship Awards

November 20, 2017

The inaugural WiSE Mentorship Awards were announced at this year’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory In-house symposium – Congratulation to the big winners were Dr. Linda Van Aelst and Dr. Sarah Diermier! They will be profiled in upcoming WiSE Wednesday pieces. We also would like to congratulate our honorable mentions, who are listed below alongside  some of their nominator’s kind words.

Sydney Gary

Sydney has been instrumental in helping me start my research program. Sydney arranged for child care assistance so that faculty with children can attend the faculty retreat. Also, she has supported the ability of women to acquire the space they need at the lab for their research.

Jason Sheltzer

“[Jason] would stay in lab until late hours to teach me new protocols and how to analyze data. Under his guidance, I have grown from an undergrad with basic knowledge of biological mechanisms to a published scientist.”

Anne Churchland

“Anne helped me learn how to be collaborative, how to be nice while remaining assertive, and how to prioritize and manage my time. Our lab is a safe space where diversity of background and thought is celebrated, and Anne makes it so.”

Chris Vakoc

“Chris allowed me to mentor a rotation student, helped me network with pharmaceutical companies, and taught me about the hiring processes in academia. He cares about educating students in possible career paths.”

Alyson Kass-Eisler

“She’s amazing. Every time I speak with her, I feel like she solves a million problems for me no matter how busy she is. She is involved in so many aspects of the Watson School and more. Each time we have a problem, the first reaction from everyone seems to be – Ask Alyson.”

Camila dos Santos

“From the day I met her, [Camila’s] passion for science was both admirable and inspiring. She has taught me to love science at its most basic level and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to learn from her.”

Amanda McBrien

“[Amanda] is a marvelous leader with a keen eye for helping others reach their potential. She supported me in developing critical skills that I thought were out of my reach. She always has a listening ear when any problems arise (work related or not). She has great advice for every situation.”

About the awards:

Scientists are often judged by their number of papers, citations, or scientific awards but many of our greatest minds have also served the field as influential mentors to junior colleagues. For women, obtaining a strong mentor is a crucial part of advancing their careers in a male-dominated field. There is no strict formula or instructions for mentorship, and scientific mentors can serve a variety of roles. A mentor may be someone who helps you prepare for a presentation or provides guidance in achieving work-life balance. Mentors may provide advice on a range of personal to professional concerns or obstacles.

To highlight the invaluable colleagues who support and inspire us, we created the WiSE Mentorship Awards. These two awards – one for Faculty/Administrator level mentors and one for Graduate Student/Post-Doc level mentors –  serve to honor individuals, both male and female, who have served as personal or professional mentors to women here at CSHL. Awards are given every two years.

Photos by Jue Xiang

WiSE Fun with DNA Summer Camp

August 28 – September 1, 2017

This past summer, WiSE partnered with the Dolan DNA Learning Center to host a WiSE Fun with DNA summer camp. Created by WiSE Vice President Alexandra Ambrico, the program offered an chance for girls to learn about science from female scientists. After a day of the DNALC’s traditional activities, the girls spent the afternoon being taught by female scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Each scientist chose a topic related to the camp program and found new and exciting ways to supplement what the girls had learned earlier in the day. This not only created a fantastic environment for education, but also provided them with female mentors who they were able to talk to and ask questions. Through fun activities such as a DNA replication Bollywood dance and an acid-base “vaccination game,” the girls learned about topics ranging from CRISPR to NASA. The camp was a great success and we hope to make it a yearly event. You can read more about this inaugural session in a blog piece by Alexandra:

Speaker’s List Update

September 21, 2017

“Representation Matters” – this message was the driving force behind CSHL’s Women in Biology Speakers’ List, an updated beta version of which was unveiled at a presentation Thursday September 21. A collaboration between CSHL WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) and Meetings and Courses, the Speakers’ List will be a freely accessible and easily searchable list of female biologists who are available to give talks and serve on panels.

Although women have been making great strides in many areas of science, especially at the level of PhD and post-doctoral students, they remain grossly underrepresented in positions of influence, including at scientific conferences, where male speakers tend to dominate – a problem so prevalent it has its own hashtag, #YAMMM (Yet Another Mostly Male Meeting), thanks to Dr. Jonathon Eisen at UC Davis. Lack of female representation often arises because conference organizers tend to be men who tend to invite other men (often peers they’ve known for years) to speak. Interestingly, studies have found that women are also more likely to invite other men to speak. End result: a self-perpetuating cycle of a narrow group of mostly men being asked to give talks at conferences around the world.

It is vital to the future of science to hear fresh voices and ideas from scientists of all genders and with diverse backgrounds. Therefore, on the inspiration of WiSE President Emeritus Jackie Giovanello, WiSE teamed up with Dr. Charla Lambert, Manager of Outreach, Training & Evaluation for Meetings and Courses, to integrate data on CSHL’s past speakers (many of whom are students and early career scientists) into a searchable interface.

There are currently a number of speakers’ lists available, helping combat the YAMMM problem, but they tend to be discipline specific; these include Anne’s List, a list of female neuroscientists hosted by CSHL’s Dr. Anne Churchland and a list of Women in Cell Biology (WICB) compiled by the ASCB (Association for Cell Biology). We aim to integrate data on women speakers from lists such as these into an easily searchable database that covers a broad spectrum of biological disciplines.

Last summer, WiSE intern and Stony Brook University (SBU) undergrad Victoria Liu helped get the project off the ground, constructing the framework for the database and collecting and formatting information on the women who have spoken at CSHL. This summer, our second intern, SBU Master’s student Fahimeh Mirhaj built a pipeline to integrate this database with speakers’ lists from other organizations; the current database includes over 2,000 speakers from CSHL and the ASCB, with plans for soon integrating speaker data from EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) and EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)

Dr. Lambert will unveil the joint CSHL/ASCB Speaker’s List at this year’s joint ACSB/EMBO meeting. Beta testing will continue through early next year, with hopes of taking the site live by the end of 2018. Once the site is open to the public, Lambert plans to take it “on the road,” helping to integrate the Speakers’ List and other diversity measures into standard conference planning practice. We hope that this list will help put an end to the “We didn’t know any women to invite” excuse and help conference planners reach beyond their sphere of close colleagues to increase the diversity of speakers.

2nd Annual Greater NYC WiSE Summer Beach Party

Saturday August 12

Above: a few of the hundreds of amazing photos taken by Constance Brukin. You can see them all here:

Women have made significant gains in representation in science at the graduate and postdoctoral levels, but there are still many more men than women at the highest positions of academia and industry. The underrepresentation of minority women is even more dire. CSHL Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) is working to address the many factors, such as access to networking opportunities, that contribute to this “leaky pipeline” to higher positions.

On Saturday August 12, CSHL Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) and the Postdoctoral Liaison Committee (PDLC) co-hosted the 2nd annual Greater NYC WiSE Summer Beach Party. Over 75 scientists and their family members from the tristate area attended for an afternoon of networking, barbecue, and lawn games.

Networking is very important for the career development of scientists, but women often miss out on networking opportunities for reasons such as childcare duties and concerns about personal safety. For these reasons, WiSE and the PDLC organized Saturday’s event as a family-friendly opportunity for women and men from around the tristate area to meet one another, share contact information, discuss science, and just have fun!

In a keynote speech on “Embracing Your Power,” Ivy Algazy, founder of the women’s empowerment organization The Ivy Foundation, stressed the importance of women advocating for themselves and for each other. In our society, she says, girls are socialized to be submissive and assertive women are often negatively stereotyped. This can be a key factor holding women back from reaching their potential. If we want women to achieve equality, Ivy says, women need to stop apologizing and start being assertive without facing backlash. It can be especially risky for minority women to be assertive, making it even more important for networks of women to advocate for the advancement of all.

We are grateful to the PDLC for co-hosting this year’s event as part of their mission to engage and connect postdoctoral fellows of all backgrounds with the Lab leadership, external professional networks, and one another. The event was a great success and we are already looking forward to next year’s party!

Diversity in STEM – Special Seminar and Panel Discussion

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Underrepresented minorities face unique challenges and often have difficultly getting their voice heard. As part of our efforts to bring attention to issues of diversity in science and initiate discussions of how CSHL can best support diversity, WiSE partnered with Meetings & Courses, and the PDLC to host a Special Lecture by Lydia Villa-Komaroff followed by an In-House Panel discussion about diversity in STEM.

Lydia Villa-Komaroff  received a PhD in molecular biology from MIT in 1975, making her the third Mexican American woman to receive a scientific PhD in the US. She has dedicated much of her life to making sure that she is far from the last, co-founding The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), which helps increase the representation of minorities in science. In her words, “Science, and our society, are stronger when the people doing science reflect our society as a whole.” Villa-Komaroff has had a very successful, and diverse career, researching growth factors and development, teaching at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and Harvard, directing research for multiple research institutions and serving on the board of biotechnology companies.

Lydia spoke about the importance of recognizing the existence of implicit biases and explicitly acknowledging them. Following her lecture we held a panel discussion where CSHL scientists who identify as underrepresented minorities in science discussed their personal experiences and opinions on the topic and answered questions from the audience. We all benefit from diversity and we are hopeful that, if we all work hard, the future of STEM will reflect this diversity that makes us strong.

Photo credit: Jue Xiang

Get WiSE about Neuroscience & Cancer

May 13, 2017

 WiSE's Alex Ambrico and Ally Nowlan teach kids how to listen to a cockroach's neurons. WiSE’s Alex Ambrico and Ally Nowlan teach kids how to listen to a cockroach’s neurons.

On May 13, WiSE hosted local parents and students for a two-part event called “Get WiSE about Neuroscience & Cancer” at the Dolan DNA Learning Center (DNALC) in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. This was the first event of it’s kind at the DNALC. The students performed experiments using Backyard Brains equipment, similar to the experiments done at “Brain Day,” and learned how to be neuroscientists for the day. They worked with one another, as well as, cockroaches to understand how neurons work.

Simultaneously, parents were invited to a lecture from Dr. Camila Dos Santos and a panel discussion. Dr. Camila Dos Santos is a cancer researcher and was invited to present her work and inform the public of the research she is working on. Her lab focuses on the epigenetic regulation of normal and malignant mammary gland development, especially the alterations brought by pregnancy. Camila’s team works to improve the “notion of the mammary epigenome during normal development and use this information to gain insight into new preventive and curative strategies to target breast cancer.” Dr. Camila dos Santos also attended the panel discussion alongside post-docs, students, and research technicians. During the panel, parents were able to ask questions, such as about how research gets funded and about future opportunities for their children to be involved in science. We hope to plan more events like this in the future to include parents and give them more insight on research and science.

You can read more about the event here:

And you can learn more about Dr. Dos Santos’ work here:

 Dr. Camilla Dos Santos talks about her cancer research and answers parent's questions as part of a scientific panel. Dr. Camilla Dos Santos talks about her cancer research and answers parent’s questions as part of a scientific panel.

Brain Day with Girl Scouts

April 29, 2017

On Saturday April 29, WiSE hosted a Brain Day event for Girl Scouts, an opportunity to spend a morning learning about neuroscience through interactive experiments led by CSHL faculty members Steve Shea and Jessica Tollkhun. The 24 girls who attended, ranging in age from 11 to 14, had diverse reasons for coming; while some already expressed a strong interest in science (one told us she wants to be a neuroscientist or an engineer), others were motivated by a love of making things (including messes). Many of the girls were currently taking Earth Science in school, so Brain Day was an exciting way to fit a biology lesson into their studies.

After an introductory neuroscience lesson in which Steve Shea explained how neurons communicate, the girls split into groups to see this signaling in action using Backyards Brains kits (affordable, Arduino-controlled electrophysiology kits). At one of the stations, after a brief primer on cockroach leg anatomy, the girls measured changes in the frequency of neuronal spikes in cockroach legs in response to various stimuli – this taught them about how neurons use rate coding to transmit information. At another station, they used electric signals from music to cause cockroach legs to dance.

While the girls definitely enjoyed the insect lab, the human experiments were the highlights of the day for many. At one station, the girls converted electromyography (EMG) signals coming from their own muscles into sound and lights. They then used EMG signals to control a robotic claw and Jessica Tollkhun explained how similar technology is being used to allow amputees and people with paralysis to control prosthetic limbs. At another station, they transmitted electrical information from the muscles of one girl to the nerve of another, allowing them to control that girl’s finger movements.

In between experiments, the girls got the chance to talk with and ask questions of WiSE group. Conversations overheard included research technician Alex Ambrico discussing career pathways with Katrina, who’s interested in becoming a nurse, and Steve Shea discussing neuroanatomy with Bronwen, whose experiences with friends battling brain cancer have motivated her to become a neurologist.

With twelve troops from Nassau County and one from Queens represented, the event was not only an opportunity to learn, but also a chance to make new friends. And smiles could be found all around – especially at the station where girls were using their facial movements to control machines!

Breakfast with Dr. Joanna Wysocka

March 30, 2017

 Photo Credit: Jue Xiang Photo Credit: Jue Xiang

We’re so grateful to have had the privilege of a visit from Stanford’s Dr. Joanna Wysocka. Our always great WiSE breakfasts were made extra special with special guests assistant professor Jessica Tollkuhn and Mila Pollock Executive Director of CSHL’s Library & Archive. After breakfast, Joanna gave a fascinating talk on “Gene regulatory mechanisms in human development and evolution.” You can learn more about her work here:

Breakfast with Dr. Eva Nogales

March 23, 2017

 Breakfast with WiSE members Breakfast with WiSE members

We had a great breakfast and inspiring conversation with UC Berkeley biophysicist and HHMI investigator Dr. Eva Nogales this morning! Her advice: stand up for yourself and speak up if things don’t seem equitable. Later in the day, Dr. Nogales gave a seminar about her work using cryo-EM to visualize the machinery of DNA transcription. You can learn more about her work here:

 Dr. Nogales with CSHL's Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor. Photo Credit: Jue Xiang Dr. Nogales with CSHL’s Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor. Photo Credit: Jue Xiang

McClintock Lecture from Dr. Carol Greider

March 15-16, 2017

 Dr. Greider giving her lecture, Dr. Greider giving her lecture, “Telomeres and telomerase: Settin  Dinner with Carol Greider, WiSE board members, and invited women of science from CSHL. Dinner with Carol Greider, WiSE board members, and invited women of science from CSHL.

We were thrilled to have Dr. Carol Greider visit us 3/16 as our third McClintock Lecturer! Each year, WiSE hosts 2 prominent women scientists who have contributed significantly to their field, as well as to the advancement of women in science. During her visit, the lecturer has breakfast with WiSE members, gives a scientific seminar to the CSHL community, and meets with students, post-docs and faculty. Dr. Greider’s lab is focused on understanding telomerase and cellular and organismal consequences of telomere dysfunction. To examine telomere function, her lab uses biochemistry assays, yeast, and mice. She is most famous for her discovery of the enzyme telomerase in 1984, for which she was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine, along with Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak. To learn more about her research:

Breakfast with Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz

February 27, 2017

 WiSE members with Dr. Jennifer  Lippincott-Schwartz WiSE members with Dr. Jennifer  Lippincott-Schwartz

Thank you Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz for coming to visit us! After a breakfast with WiSE members, Jennifer gave a fascinating seminar about her work as an HHMI investigator at the Janelia Research Campus using novel fluorescent imaging techniques to visualize cellular organelles.
Photo credit: Jue Xiang

2nd McClintock Lecture – Dr. Lesslie B. Vosshall

January 26, 2017

 WiSE group Executive Board with Dr. Leslie Vosshall Dr. Barbara McClintock's picture hangs proudly on the wall (centered, above us)  WiSE group Executive Board with Dr. Leslie Vosshall Dr. Barbara McClintock’s picture hangs proudly on the wall (centered, above us)

We were honored to host Dr. Leslie Vosshall, Professor and HHMI investigator from Rockefeller University.  Dr. Vosshall’s schedule was busy during her visit at CSHL. During Breakfast and dinner, WiSE members had the opportunity to have an informal discussion with Leslie and get her advice on how to increase diversity in science. At noon, the whole scientific community attended the McClintock seminar, where we learned about the latest research done in her lab about mating preferences in mosquitoes. For lunch she met with with students and postdocs to discuss even more science. Last but not least, she gave a workshop  on how to prepare for, and deliver, an effective chalk talk during the academic interview process.  Dr. Vosshall is a brilliant and inspiring scientist – in both her scientific work and her commitment to leveling the playing field for women scientists. We couldn’t be happier to have hosted her.

 Dinner with WiSE members, including faculty members Dr. Anne Churchland and Dr. Jessica Tolkhun Dinner with WiSE members, including faculty members Dr. Anne Churchland and Dr. Jessica Tolkhun  Dr. Leslie Vosshall Dr. Leslie Vosshall


August 19, 2016

Thanks to everyone who came out for our CSHL/NYC/LI Meet & Greet BBQ. It was such a blast hanging out with other rad  who share our passion for empowering women scientists and hearing about the powerful change you’re making at other institutions.

Inaugural McClintock Lecture

 Friday, February 2, 2016 • 12:00 PM

Dr. Ann Graybiel

Institute Professor at the McGovern Institute of Brain Research at MIT

 Dr. Ann Graybiel Dr. Ann Graybiel  WiSE founders with Dr. Ann Graybiel. From left to right: Jackie, Lital, Dr. Graybiel and Alex WiSE founders with Dr. Ann Graybiel. From left to right: Jackie, Lital, Dr. Graybiel and Alex

Special workshop by executive coach Liz Bentley

Friday, January 15, 2016 • 9:00 AM

Liz Bentley, Executive Coach

“Issues women face in the workplace and strategies to navigate them”

 Liz Bemtley Liz Bemtley  From left to right: Jackie, Lital, Liz, Alex and Katie Raftery (VP Human Resources) From left to right: Jackie, Lital, Liz, Alex and Katie Raftery (VP Human Resources)

WiSE brunch at Maria and Charles Ryan’s house

CSHL female scientists brunch at Maria and Charles Ryan’s house

December 19th, 2015

Women In Science Q & A: Leemor Joshua-Tor

Friday, November 20, 2015 • 3:30 PM

Leemor Joshua-Tor, PhD, Professor & HHMI Investigator

WiSE’s First Event

Women in Science In-House Seminar

Friday, October 30, 2015 • 1:30 PM

Jason Sheltzer, PhD, CSHL Fellow – “Leaky Pipelines for Women in Science”

Followed by panel discussion :

Molly Hammell, PhD – Assistant Professor, CSHL

Maria Ryan, PhD – Professor, SBU

Jessica Tollkuhn, PhD – Assistant Professor, CSHL

Carrie Cowan, PhD – Associate Dean, WSBS-CSHL

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