2014 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award
The Connecticut Science Center was pleased to receive 20 incredible nominations for the 2014 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award. We were exceedingly impressed with the accomplishments of all of the nominees, and narrowing the field to just a few finalists was very difficult.
Ultimately, we selected a group of seven finalists with exceptionally strong credentials:
- Dr. Sarah Demers and Dr. Bonnie Fleming, Yale University (shared nomination)
- Diane Larivee, ESPN
- Dr. Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University
- Meryl Mallery, Ensign-Bickford
- Monica Teresa Mohtasham, Pratt & Whitney
- Dr. Geraldine Taber, Pfizer
The honoree will be announced soon and the award presented at The Green Gala on
We wish to congratulate all of the 2014 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award nominees:
- Sabrina Anderson, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
- Keshia Ashe, UCONN Health Center
- Alexandria Brucks, Pfizer
- Amy Callanan, Pfizer
- Jonna Gerken, Pratt & Whitney
- Christie Hazen, Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)
- Dr. Dorothy Keller, University of Saint Joseph
- Dr. Allison MacKay, University of Connecticut
- MaryEllen Mateleska, Mystic Aquarium
- Kristin Morico, General Electric Company
- Dr. Rachel O’Neill, University of Connecticut
- Dr. Irene Reed, University of Saint Joseph
- Dr. Beth Taylor, Hartford Hospital
August 9: Keshia Ashe of Many Mentors with Regenerative Engineering: Bone and Beyond!
October 12: Archaeologist Cece Saunders of Historical Perspectives with Archaeology is a Puzzle: It’s just outside the box and a bit dirty.
November 8: Physiologist Beth Taylor with Get Moving! How exercise impacts the heart, lungs, muscles and brain.
About Women In Science
Gender equality has come a long way in the last few decades, but women are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and a cultural bias exists that discourages girls from exploring their interests in STEM subjects. The Connecticut Science Center’s Celebrating Women in Science initiative draws attention to the accomplishments of women in STEM and provides original programming to inspire girls and young women to pursue STEM fields of study and career paths.
The Science Center’s initiative reaches out, not only to girls, but to all of our visitors, teachers, staff, and members of our community to challenge the pervading stereotypes and connect young women to mentors, role models, and a community support system that will be critical to creating gender equality in STEM.
Welcome to the Women in Science Staff Corner
Many of the Connecticut Science Center’s Staff Scientists are women, and we would like to share some of our favorite things about science with you. Check this page for bi-monthly updates, including interviews, experiments, challenges, and more!
Stephanie Airoldi, PhD in Genetics
What drew you to the field of genetics?
I have always been intrigued by biology and living things. The complexity of life, both macro-scale and on a cellular level, is fascinating. I went into the study of genetics because DNA is the key to unlocking the mysteries of all of that complexity. Genetics reveals so much about structure, function, evolution, and cellular biology, and greatly influences our use of medicine and our treatment of diseases. It helps us to understand so much about ourselves—who we are, how we got here, and how our bodies carry on an amazing array of processes every day.
What kind of research did you do?
In graduate school I used fruit flies as a model system to study the process of cell division. Understanding how processes function normally can help us to understand what happens when something goes wrong – when cells divide unchecked and become cancerous, for example.
That sounds cool. Can I try?
Anyone can get involved in genetics! If you enjoy solving puzzles, you can help scientists discover how proteins fold by going to https://fold.it/portal/. After learning a few simple rules about how proteins work, you can play around and discover new forms. Discoveries made by Fold It players have contributed to our knowledge of proteins and have even been included in research articles!
Ask a Woman in Science
Do you have a question for one of our Staff Scientists? Here’s your chance to ask it! Submit your question using the form below and we’ll post your answer on this page. Note: Questions will be moderated, we will try to answer all appropriate questions.
There are no pending questions at this time.
- Girls RISEnet: Girls RISEnet, a partnership between the Miami Science Museum, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and SECME, Inc., is strengthening the professional capacity of informal science educators to engage and motivate minority girls in grades 6-12 to explore and pursue science and engineering careers.
- Ebony Horsewomen: The mission of the Ebony Horsewomen is to empower youth toward successful lives through the use of horses. Our goal is to provide Comprehensive Equine Education with profound benefits of Equine and Animal Assisted Growth and Learning, Equine Assisted Therapy, Horsemanship Training, and academic programming to build leaders, deter destructive behavior, and increase academic achievement.
- Girl Scouts of Connecticut: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
- ManyMentors: Through the power of peer mentoring, ManyMentors will inspire, encourage, and support underrepresented middle and high school students’ interest in, pursuit, and attainment of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees at universities across the country.
- The National Girls Collaborative Project: The National Girls Collaborative Project™ (NGCP) brings together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.
- American Association of University Women (AAUW): The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since our founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day—educational, social, economic, and political.
- National Engineers Week Foundation: Engineers Week celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to kids and adults alike. Engineers Week is part of many corporate and government cultures and is celebrated on every U.S. engineering college campus.
- SciGirls on PBS: SciGirls is a new show for kids ages 8–12 that showcases bright, curious, real tween girls who put science and engineering to work in their everyday lives. Each half-hour episode follows a different group of middle school girls, whose eagerness to find answers to their questions will inspire your children to explore the world around them and discover that science and technology are everywhere!
- EngineerGirl: The EngineerGirl website is designed to bring national attention to the exciting opportunities that engineering represents for girls and women.
- uheart.wordpress.com/: Updates on health-related research by Dr. Beth Taylor, Director for the Center for Health, Care and Well-Being at the University of Hartford and Director of Exercise Physiology Research at Hartford Hospital.