Women in STEM – The Sciences

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There are an abundance of paths that can be pursued with a degree in the sciences.  As part of our Women in STEM project, the careers of six women were explored.  The sheer number of jobs related to science lend themselves to a list of women in distinct areas of the discipline.  The Women in STEM Science category comprises educators, researchers, a chemist, an astrophysicist, an anthropologist, and a sociologist.  This variety showcases just a small portion of the ever-growing domain of the sciences.  The outstanding work done by Drs. Light, Hua, Wagaw, Weaver, Chatterji, and Cooper demonstrate the capabilities of women in science, and Women in STEM.  To learn more about our six Women in Science, check out their individual summaries below, follow us at @WSKGScience on Instagram or on Twitter @NancyCoddington @JulD22 for more inspiring #WomenInSTEM. 

Dr. Caitlin Light
Dr. Caitlin Light is a Research Assistant Professor of the First-Year Research Immersion (FRI) Program at Binghamton University.  Over a three-semester period, Dr. Light educates students in microbiology with a focus on biofilms.  Biofilms are bacterial colonies encased in a matrix that adheres to a surface.  These bacteria have significance in human health because the matrix supplies the colonies with extreme resistance to treatment, allowing biofilm infections to persist in hosts.  Work from the Light Lab is rooted in the establishment of a higher understanding of biofilm biology to better target biofilm-based problems. 

Dr. Jessica Hua
Dr. Jessica Hua is an Associate Professor at Binghamton University.  She was also recently given the position of Director at the university’s Center for Integrated Watershed Studies.  Aside from these roles, Dr. Hua is an ecological researcher.  Studies done by the Hua Lab have found that some frogs have tolerance to a parasite constantly, whereas other frogs are only tolerant when they must be.  This difference can be attributed to the benefits of biodiversity.  Upcoming work for this lab focuses on how contaminants impact the way organisms feed.  Frogs are being studied in this work to observe the effects of microplastics on tadpole populations in relation to parasite interactions.

Dr. Seble Wagaw
Dr. Seble Wagaw is an organic chemist.  While earning her Ph. D she worked with varying palladium-containing molecules, called palladium complexes, to create carbon-nitrogen bonds on aryl rings.  Her background in chemistry allowed her to obtain a position at the biopharmaceutical company AbbVie.  Upon graduation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Wagaw secured the position of Director in the Pharmaceutical Development department of the company.  She was later promoted to Senior Director  for Process Research and R&D which she continues to serve as currently.  In addition to these accomplishments, Dr. Wagaw is also on the advisory board for Asymchem which is a company that provides R&D and production services to pharmaceutical companies.   

Dr. Kim Weaver
Dr. Kim Weaver is an astrophysicist for NASA.  She works in the X-Ray astrophysics lab at the Goddard Space Flight Center.  She was also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.  Past work of hers includes research conducted with the Chandra X-Ray Telescope.  Work with this massive telescope enabled Dr. Weaver to identify and observe black holes, leading to increased understanding of the ability of these astronomical objects to trap objects in orbits around them.  Today, Dr. Weaver continues to work for NASA as a member of the X-ray astrophysics lab.  

 

Dr. Angana Chatterji
Dr. Angana Chatterji is a Research Anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Also at the university, Dr. Chatterji founded and serves as Co-Chair of the Political Conflict, Gender, and People’s Rights Initiative. Her decades-long work has enabled her to serve on several human rights commissions. Examples of these opportunities include testimonies given at the United Nations and the United States Congress. Within her work as a Cultural Anthropologist, Dr. Chatterji has also published several books and research reports. She is currently working on a new title: Land and Justice: The Struggle for Cultural Survival.

 

Dr. Anna J. Cooper
Dr. Anna J. Cooper was a sociologist who took on many different roles throughout her life.  She co-founded the Colored Women’s League in 1892 which worked to bolster the unity and social interests of African Americans.  Dr. Cooper also worked as a teacher and principal at M Street High School.  During her time at the school, she wrote and published a book titled A Voice from the South: By A Black Woman of the South.  The book acknowledges several issues, such as women’s rights and the education of black women.  The piece is also distinctive in that it confronts various representations of African Americans in literature for their many inaccuracies.  

Produced by Julia Diana, Science Intern
Nancy Coddington, Director of Science  Content