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Dr. Bonnie Bertolaet, Executive Director (she/her) 

Bonnie Bertolaet, Ph.D., has been the Executive Director with Science Club for Girls (SCFG) since 2019, after previously serving as the Board Chair in 2018. She has ushered in a new era of growth at SCFG, while maintaining a steadfast commitment to increasing the accessibility of quality STEM programming and mentorship to girls and gender-expansive youth from underrepresented communities. Under Dr. Bertolaet’s leadership, SCFG has experienced continuous expansion, increasing youth participation from communities underrepresented in STEM and increasing representation from these same communities in SCFG’s mentor corps, staff and Board of Directors. Dr. Bertolaet has also overseen the successful addition of virtual programming in response to the pandemic, including the addition of spring and summer vacation programming and creation of a weekly online TV show, all while expanding engagement from corporate and community partners. SCFG’s current K-12 strategy, building on its storied 29-year history, places it in a unique position to address systemic inequities in STEM around gender, race and socioeconomic factors to transform the face of STEM and build the pipeline for the future, diverse, skilled STEM workforce.

 

Prior to SCFG, Dr. Bertolaet has worked as a drug discovery scientist in biotech and with educational organizations in public and private schools in a variety of roles, including working in STEM education and supporting an equity-based educational program focused on raising awareness of physical and intellectual disabilities for children in K-6th grade. Dr. Bertolaet received her B.A. from Amherst College and her Ph.D. from Harvard University and trained as an NIH post-doctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego and The Scripps Research Institute. She also currently serves on The Graduate School Alumni Association Council for Harvard University.

"I'm inspired by the work and career path of Dr. Aomawa Shields, an astrobiologist at UC Irvine who is exploring the climate and habitability of small exoplanets and also has an MFA in acting"

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Natasha Baptiste, Volunteer Manager (she/her) 

Natasha’s interest in STEM began when, as an applied behavioral therapist, she met a young girl who proudly declared, “I want to be a scientist when I grow up.” This began a years-long journey wherein the two met after school to create robotic limbs, build scientific models, and conduct experiments. Natasha later became a special education teacher with an interest in developing high-quality science inclusion supports for students with IEPs. After teaching, she worked as an employment specialist for a non-profit organization in Boston. She coordinated their first STEM expo, an event which connected local youth to internships, co-ops, and jobs in STEM fields. Natasha is passionate about human development and enjoys cultivating joy in learning. She received a B.A. in English from UMass Boston and a M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism from Cambridge College. 

 

"I am inspired by Aisha Bowe, a NASA rocket scientist turned entrepreneur. Her journey began in a community college's pre-algebra course and led to an illustrious career in aerospace engineering and business."

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Kelley Borer-Miller, Director of Development (she/her)

Kelley (she/her) found her calling as a fundraiser while participating in a multi-day fundraising walk in high school with her mom. Over the last twenty years, she's gained meaningful experience as a fundraiser, relationship-builder, strategic leader, and communicator. In 2020, Kelley became a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), which required demonstrated success in fundraising, as well as passing a rigorous exam. Prior to joining Science Club for Girls, Kelley spent nearly eight years as the Director of Development of Crossroads Continuum. She led the founding of Crossroads Continuum's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to operationalize anti-racism and equity. Prior to Crossroads Continuum, she served as the Senior Director of Field Development at Autism Speaks. Her consistent leadership resulted in many successes, including more than $5.5 million in revenue. She has enjoyed being a Girl Scout Troop Leader since 2018 and spent nearly ten years as a Big Sister.

"I was inspired by Hedy Lamarr's story after reading The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict. While her inventions were initially rejected because she was a woman, they were groundbreaking and revolutionized modern communication and led to the technologies we all use daily with our cell phones!"

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Nadine Budbill, Grants & Foundations Manager (she/her)

Nadine has worked in girl-serving organizations for over 20 years, from The Girls Project in New York City, to Girls Inc. in Oakland, CA, to Vermont Works for Women, home to Rosie’s Girls (named after Rosie the Riveter), a STEM and trades program for middle schoolers. In 2001, Nadine co-founded a girls’ outdoor education program called Dirt Divas, which empowered thousands of girls through mountain biking (one of her favorite activities) over 18 years. Nadine has a B.A. in Race and Gender Studies from Hampshire College and a M.A. in Education from Prescott College, with a concentration in Girls’ Studies. With two decades of experience in the fields of gender equity, experiential education, youth development, fundraising, grant writing, and copywriting, she loves any opportunity that allows her to merge her passion for writing, community-building, and social and economic justice.

"I am inspired by Temple Grandin, an Autistic author, speaker, and animal behavior scientist who has made world-changing contributions to the understanding of both neurodiversity and the humane treatment of livestock."

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Adina Chasan-Taber, Partnerships & Events Coordinator (she/her)

Adina’s love for science began as a child when she would stargaze with her dad in their driveway. She went on to study Science in Society with a concentration in Astronomy and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a minor in Planetary Science at Wesleyan University. Through her studies and experiences facing injustice in STEM classrooms, Adina has become passionate about extending STEM opportunities to those who have historically been excluded from the field. After graduation Adina spent the summer as an Environmental Educator at Mass Audubon Day Camps where she got to experience hands-on joyful STEM education. Following this she served as Event Coordinator for the Cambridge Science Festival where she managed 250 citywide events and engaged the Cambridge community with accessible science. Adina is motivated by the mission of SCFG and is excited to be a part of a team that is as dedicated to inspiring young girls and gender expansive youth as she is.

 

"My favorite woman in STEM is Henrietta Swan Leavitt who is responsible for discovering the relationship between period and luminosity in Cepheid variables (pulsating stars that have varying brightness). This finding led to our modern day ability to measure our distance from galaxies and stars!"

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Ashley Cooper, Curriculum and Evaluation Manager (she/her)

Ashley served as Co-Director of the Harvard Chapter of Science Club for Girls from 2018 to 2020, where she helped re-establish the Mentor Chapter at Harvard. She has been a Mentor with Science Club for Girls for six years now. In 2021, Ashley graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Social Anthropology, a Secondary Field in History of Science, and Language Citation in French. After graduation, she completed an MPhil with Distinction in Health, Medicine, and Society at the University of Cambridge, as the Lionel De Jersey Harvard Scholar. She also holds a Master of Science from Harvard Medical School. Passionate about equity and accessibility, Ashley has loved witnessing students become emboldened as young scientists through Science Club for Girls. SCFG has, in turn, deeply empowered Ashley as a scientist. She is ecstatic to be a part of this incredible organization which has been transformational for herself and countless others.

"I am deeply inspired by Dr. Jeanne Spurlock, who became a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist after her own experiences grappling with medical racism. As Deputy Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association and a leading member of the Black Psychiatrists of America, Dr. Spurlock championed mental health equity for the Black community throughout the twentieth century."

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Katie LaBarge, Senior Program Manager (she/her)

Before joining SCFG, Katie worked for five years as a high school environmental science teacher in Chelsea, MA, where she developed an inquiry-based curriculum rooted in topics and issues relevant to students’ lived experiences. She is passionate about providing engaging, hands-on STEM programming that allows students to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy (as Miss Frizzle would say), and about fostering confidence and enthusiasm for STEM in the next generation of leaders. Katie received a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Wellesley College.

 

Fun fact: “I was a contestant on Jeopardy!, in the 2020 Teachers Tournament!”

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Anicia Miller, Development Associate (she/her)

Anicia is Science Club for Girls' Communications Intern. She is currently a first-year at Harvard University pursuing a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a Language Citation in American Sign Language. Anicia is passionate about combating inequalities in education. Her ultimate philanthropic goal is to provide widespread access to science and technology for underrepresented populations. When she isn’t researching ways to innovate prosthetic devices or mentoring students, she is most likely tapping into her creative side. Anicia loves writing poetry that details her perspective on society as a young Black woman. She is in the process of writing and publishing a poetry memoir, which she hopes will inspire young women to be bold, outspoken, and ambitious.

 

“My favorite woman in STEM is Dr. Korie A. Grayson an engineer, researcher, and advocate for increasing diversity in STEM.”

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Michelle Mini, Finance Manager (she/her)

Michelle joined SCFG in 2020 and brings nearly 30 years of experience in finance and
accounting to her role as Finance Manager. In addition to her work for SCFG she founded MM Nonprofit Finance LLC with a goal of providi
ng nonprofit leaders with the data and information needed to focus on their missions. Prior to joining SCFG, she was Senior Financial Analyst for Greater Boston Urology and has worked as a bookkeeper for multiple small companies and start-ups. Michelle has a BA in Economics and Finance from Simmons University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. When she isn’t crunching data, she enjoys hiking, gardening, cooking and spending time with her family.


Fun Fact: Michelle is also a certified yoga instructor.

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Lydia Morrison, SCFGLive! Production Manager (she/her)

Lydia loves to communicate science. With a Masters of Science from Nobel Laureate Aziz Sançar's laboratory at UNC Chapel Hill and over 10 years of communications experience, she aims to translate complex science into terms everyone can understand, using relatable real world examples.


"Annie Easley is one of the most inspiring women in the history of science. She joined NASA in 1955 where she worked for 34 years, enduring racism and discrimination. She was so committed to learning that she paid for her own classes for a Mathematics degree, after NASA refused to pay for her classes despite a policy of providing funds to employees for classes and training. Easley wrote code that was used as the basis for code used for military, weather and communication satellites. Easley was tenacious, passionate and confident... and so inspiring!"

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Ahlam Said, Communications & Marketing Manager (she/her)

Ahlam Said is a seasoned digital strategist with over 15 years of expertise in community organizing, communications, marketing, social entrepreneurship, and producing. She has collaborated with social movements and nonprofit organizations, infusing energy into their advocacy, mobilization, and fundraising efforts. Ahlam's professional journey spans a diverse range of experiences, including spearheading digital campaigns for national and local grassroots movements, organizing cultural events to raise funds for livelihood projects abroad, and employing strategic communications to address the most urgent challenges confronting marginalized communities of color. At the core of her work lies a belief in the transformative power of authentic storytelling to move people to take action for a more just and equitable society. Her current commitment is to foster deeper engagement and kindle collective passion for the Science Club for Girls' mission.

 

"I draw inspiration from Harbia Al Himiary, an engineer in my home country of Yemen who plays a key role in the restoration of historical buildings dating back over 2,500 years, contributing to the preservation of Yemen's rich urban heritage for future generations."

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Andressa Silva, Program Manager Fellow (she/her)

Andressa  was born and raised in the greater Boston area. She graduated from Amherst College with a major in mathematics and a focus on pre-med courses. She is a proud first-generation graduate and plans on joining the medical field in the future. Her goal is  to push for more equal treatment for both people entering into STEM as a profession and for patients.

"My favorite WiSTEM is Vera Rubin who found evidence of dark matter while studying the discrepancy between predicted and actual galaxy rotation rates"

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Telia Stevens, SCFGLive! Producer (she/her)

Telia has been involved with SCFG since she was a seventh grader. Since being

involved in SCFG, she had learned her passion for creativity and its relationship with science.

Growing up in programs such as the Girl Scouts and Girls Who Code, she was made very

aware of the need to help young women feel empowered. In 2023 she became involved in

organizations such as Girls on the Run in order to continue her commitment to building strong

girls, and by becoming the SCFGLive! producer, she believes this will help her connect with

young women and push them to be the best that they can! She has served as a mentor for

many young girls since 2018 through academic and creative settings.

"I am inspired by Dr. Patricia Bath, a laser scientist, ophthalmologist, and pioneer. She is the creator of the laser eye surgery, an important medical procedure that has given many people access to better vision and fuller lives!"

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Nimisha Thakkar, Program Manager (she/her)

Nimisha has a B.S. in Information Technology from UMass Boston. Nimisha’s passion for STEM has been a constant ever since she represented women in STEM by being the only girl in many of her STEM classes. Thus, her goal has always been to encourage and inspire other young girls to believe in and pursue their passions, despite what anyone tells them. During college, Nimisha served as a Program Intern at SCFG where she appeared on SCFGLive!, mentored students in virtual Science Clubs, and helped develop SCFG's April Vacation Week Coding Club. After graduation, Nimisha’s professional and personal goals and values led her back to SCFG. She could not be more thrilled to be a part of such a mission-driven team with equal dedication to expanding the face of STEM! As a Program Manager, she promises to provide participants with a safe and exciting space to explore their interests and peak their curiosities through SCFG’s various programs! 

 

"My favorite woman in STEM is Dr. Rana El Kaliouby--an AI thought leader, machine learning scientist, and co-founder and CEO of Affectiva. I'm inspired by her dedication and creativity towards building Affectiva!"

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Cristina Ullmann, Sr. Program Director (she/her)

Cristina has worked for both environmental non profits and science education organizations and is passionate about getting young girls and gender-expansive youth interested in STEM.  As the Program Director, Cristina is responsible for coordinating SCFG's programs and managing the 120+ volunteers who teach our curriculum to participants. Cristina has an M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

"I am inspired by Dian Fossey, a trailblazer in conservation and primate research."

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Sarah Weiner, Senior Program Manager (she/her)

Sarah has been a science ambassador all around the Boston area for nearly a decade. She grew up stargazing and storytelling in the Rocky Mountains before moving to New England to pursue dual BAs in Astronomy and Physics at Boston University. After graduating in 2014, Sarah ran after-school STEM programming for pre-K through sixth-grade students at the Advent School for two years, and she spent six years as a presenter and educator at the Museum of Science, where she got to engage in topics ranging from lightning to breaking headlines to live animals. Sarah is forever curious about the real human stories behind everything we achieve, especially those of POC and LGBTQ+ scientists whose accomplishments are often overlooked. She looks forward to making STEM topics fun, relevant, and accessible to every member of our community.

 

"I think everyone should follow the work of Dr. Joy Buolamwini! Her prescient work on the bias in AI is only going to become more important as time goes on. Check out her amazing TED talk!"

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Olivia Wolff, SCFGLive! Intern (she/her)

Olivia is a recent graduate of Emerson College, where she got her BFA in Acting and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Originally from Southern California, she loves the beach and In N Out burger! In her free time she writes poems and plays, and dreams about creating the next hit HBO series. With years of experience in performance and production management, Olivia strives to create collaboratively and inspire audiences. She is passionate about gender equality in the education system, and believes in the importance of connecting with underrepresented communities, specifically when it comes to opportunities in STEM. Olivia is currently working on a memoir and continues to nurture her career in the arts.

 

"A woman in STEM that I find fascinating is Dr. Sandra Moore Faber, a pioneering figure in the field of astrophysics. She is known for her research on galaxy formation and evolution, and has made significant contributions to the advancement of telescope technology."

LEADERSHIP AND STAFF

Board of Directors

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Abe brings expertise in investments, finance, project management, and operations to Science Club for Girls. A first-generation college graduate, Abe is passionate about increasing access to STEM education and opportunities for underrepresented communities. At John Hancock Financial, Abe co-founded an Impact Investment startup COIN which helped investors align with their values in areas such as Gender Equality and Diversity. Abe received a BA in Economics from Harvard College and a Master’s Degree in Management from Harvard Extension. 

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Stephanie is an Assistant General Counsel in Litigation at Fresenius Medical Care North America, the world’s largest fully integrated renal healthcare company, and serves on the Legal Department’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Pro Bono Committees. Before FMCNA, she was a Senior Associate with the law firm Goodwin Procter LLP, representing clients from the technology, software, pharmaceutical, and financial industries in litigations and government investigations.  Throughout her career, Stephanie has engaged with the community through her volunteer and pro bono work. Stephanie received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, a Master of Laws in Intellectual Property & Information Law from King’s College London, and a B.S. in Biology from Boston College.

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Alejandra is SVP & Chief Legal Officer at Mersana Therapeutics, Inc., a public biotech company focused on discovering and developing life-changing antibody-drug-conjugates for patients fighting cancer. Before Mersana, Alejandra was Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel & Secretary for Momenta Pharmaceuticals, where she was a member of executive management, led the company's legal operations, and advised the Board of Directors on key strategic matters. Prior to Momenta, she was Vice President & General Counsel of Cerulean Pharma Inc. and before that, she worked at Millennium the Takeda Oncology Company in several positions of increasing seniority. Alejandra received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her A.B. from Harvard University and is a member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Bar.

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GRETCHEN FOUGERE
Vice Chair

Gretchen is passionate about energizing students to explore the awesome potential of the STEM/STEAM disciplines to transform their lives. She was senior leader at Engineering is Elementary at the Museum of Science and a K-12 educator. Gretchen was Associate Dean, College of Engineering, Boston University and founded three STEM educational programs, annually training and deploying 60 engineers to 3,400 secondary students nationwide. Prior experience includes roles at Duracell, Motorola and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. She received a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Chayla is a Director in Global Regulatory Affairs at Vertex Pharmaceuticals with over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry. As a STEM professional, she is often the only woman of color in the room. Her commitment to engage and encourage young women to pursue STEM careers and increase representation in this space is what brings her to Science Club for Girls. Chayla is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served on the Board of Directors for The Boston Pearl Foundation and Junior League of Boston.  Chayla is a chemist by training and holds a B.S from Southern University, a historically black college/ university (HBCU) in her hometown, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; an M.S. from Louisiana State University; and a J.D. from New England Law| Boston. Chayla enjoys musical theater, travel, great food and has recently taken up mixology.

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Kate is a human experience research intern at Perkins & Will, working to integrate public health findings into our built environments. Her scientific passion was ignited through her undergraduate education in geology and has remained aflame in her evolving career at the intersection of environmental science, health, and justice. Kate first became involved in Science Club for Girls in 2017 when she ran the Boston Marathon and raised funds for SCFG. Afterwards, she began mentoring with SCFG at the King Open school and then virtually through the COVID-19 pandemic.  The girls and gender-expansive youth Kate had the privilege of mentoring inspire her to be a fierce advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in every STEM sphere she occupies. Kate recently graduated with her Master of Science from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with research focused on the quality and healthfulness of K-12 grade school infrastructure. Kate received a B.A. cum laude in Geology and Geography from Colgate University.

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Jessica Ho is a Trust Solutions Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and focuses on serving life sciences companies as they manage through accounting, business, and operational challenges. She started her career with PwC in Boston and spent time in New York and London. Jessica’s client experiences include working with large, multinational public biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies. She is passionate about advancing women in STEM and underrepresented communities. Jessica graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Massachusetts and New York and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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Donna is a global marketing leader with more than 20 years in the medical device industry. She is currently Director of Global Marketing at Haemonetics where she leads a global marketing team focused on driving growth of a novel technology platform.  Over the course of her career, Donna has held positions of increasing responsibility across marketing and product management as well as in research and development.  She has experience creating market entry strategies for expansion into complementary market segments, managing a portfolio lifecycle, and building sustainable relationships with KOLs to support assessment of adjacent markets. Prior to joining Haemonetics in 2019, Donna held global marketing leadership roles at PAREXEL, Smith & Nephew and Covidien (now Medtronic). Throughout her career she has committed to mentoring colleagues both inside and outside of these organizations. She’s an active volunteer for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and currently serving as HBA New England Regional Chair.

Donna earned an MBA in Marketing from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. 

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Ruby Opara Collings is Vice President, Global Internal Audit (CAE) at Haemonetics, responsible for the strategic vision and transformation of the function; she also leads Enterprise Risk Management for the company.  Prior to HAE, she held multiple global positions in the 12+ years at Covidien (Medtronic), with extensive experience in audit, accounting, and controls.  Ruby is a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Ambassador, and fuels her passion via positive influence, advocacy, effective leadership, and dynamic engagement.  She has been involved in numerous women’s leadership initiatives and global inclusion networks, and is currently an Advisory Board member for the Women’s Network of Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.  Ruby is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and holds an MBA from University of Louisiana, Lafayette as well as a BSc. in Accounting from the University of Nigeria. 

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Since earning her PhD in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Brown University, Jennifer has been involved in the founding, launch, and successful exit of numerous startups in the life science industry for over 20 years. She has also spent time with the acquiring corporations, leading integration processes while building marketing teams and commercial strategies for success. She recently launched Operation-All, a company that supports early stage companies. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and pets. Her volunteer engagements currently include: member of the Board of Trustees of the USS Constitution Museum, member of the Board of Directors of Charlestown Youth Hockey, and serving as a mentor for several organizations.

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Kaitlyn was drawn to SCFG because of her strong personal connection to the experiences of SCFG's participants. As a first-generation, low-income student from East Cambridge, Kaitlyn’s potential as a scientist was discovered and nurtured by mentors in free, hands-on molecular biology programs offered by local outreach organizations and the Biogen Community Lab. Today, Kaitlyn is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Genetics department at Harvard Medical School, where she focuses on reproductive biology through the lens of development and evolution. She received a PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Organismal Biology from UMass Boston, and a BA in Biology from Smith College. She has been involved with SCFG as a mentor and member of the Development committee since 2021, and seeks to provide her community with the same opportunities and mentorship that opened her pathway to STEM.

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