Dr. Bonnie Bertolaet, Executive Director
Prior to her role as Executive Director, Dr. Bertolaet served on the Board of Science Club for Girls from 2017 and served as its Chair in 2018. In that role, she was the major force behind the current strategic plan, the operational restructuring of SCFG, and a reinvigorated focus on development. Dr. Bertolaet has worked 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.
Fun fact: "I used to see dolphins swimming and whales spouting on my commute to work."
Nadine Budbill, Grants & Communications Manager
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, positive 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.
Fun fact: "I live with 1 cat, 1 dog, 3 goats, 10 chickens, and 2 amazing humans!"
Neika Christalin, Program Manager
Neika graduated from UMass Amherst in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health, with a minor in Psychology. During her years at UMass, Neika was involved in the NAACP chapter, serving as the chair of Youth Engagement and Public Relations. She also served on the Social Justice and Empowerment Committee for Student Government. Prior to joining SCFG, Neika worked as an instructor for the Boston Public Health Committee’s Summer Enrichment Program. Neika says: “I am excited to continue working with youth and making a difference in my community. As a first-generation college student, and having grown up in a lower-income household, I understand the importance of providing opportunities to young women and being mentored by someone with a similar background.” Outside of SCFG, Neika loves to paint, cook, and and go on weekend getaways!
Fun fact: "I recently began my hair loc journey!"
Lesa Duval, Program Recruitment Manager
Lesa graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in 2018 with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. She then worked as an Engineer for several years, where she assisted with design tasks, preparing reports, and running tests to deliver strategic solutions aligned with business goals and emerging technologies. In her free time, Lesa has volunteered with many different organizations in Massachusetts to help foster resilience and self-confidence in girls. At a very young age, she excelled at inspiring children to establish and achieve personal goals. As Vice President of the Students of Caribbean Ancestry group at the University of Massachusetts, Lesa was active in organizing, planning, and facilitating events and meetings that brought awareness of Caribbean students on campus. At SCFG, Lesa is excited to support the youth and provide them resources to gain interest in STEM.
Fun Fact: " I have traveled to twelve countries and counting. Germany was my favorite one."
Olivia Lee, SCFGLive! Intern
Olivia is a junior at Westborough High School and is currently an intern for Science Club for Girls' online/tv science show, SCFGLive!. She's been with Science Club for Girls for four years––first as a STEMinistas participant and then as a Junior Mentor––which inspired her interest in science education. Olivia also works at the MIT Museum to promote science communication among youth. Through this internship she hopes to gain more experience in order to join efforts for girls' education as she enters college
Fun fact: “I am a figure skater!"
Anicia Miller, WFB Communications & Outreach Intern
Anicia is the Science Club for Girls WFB Communications and Outreach Intern, a position funded by the Women’s Foundation of Boston for the 2021 calendar year. She is currently a first-year at Harvard University pursuing a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a Language Citation in American Sign Language, and is a second-semester Mentor this spring. 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.
Fun fact: "I have a very rambunctious pet mouse named Harvey Reese."
Francesca Sotomayor, Program Manager
Francesca is our Program Manager for SCFG. Originally from New Jersey, Francesca moved to Boston to attend Boston University and graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During their years at BU, she worked with the Community Service Center to work on volunteer programming focused on youth development. She also previously worked as an Assistant Teacher with youth who needed behavioral and emotional support in the classroom. When they are not working on SCFG, Francesca also volunteers with LGBTQ+ youth to foster connections amongst peers and provide educational resources usually not available in mainstream classrooms. They hope to create an environment for all youth to feel empowered in who they are and feel confident in themselves to work towards their goals, especially in STEM!
Fun Fact: "One time, I performed a competition dance for Beyoncé’s choreographer!"
Ellen Sturgis, Finance Director
Ellen has over 30 years of nonprofit experience in finance and operations for small to medium sized organizations in a variety of sectors. She is a principal of Night Heron Consulting which offers interim CEO & CFO services as well as expertise in redesigning financial and operational systems. Ellen, a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, has an MBA in Finance from Boston College, and serves as a Trustee of Hampshire College (B.A. History/Political Science), a Corporator for Middlesex Savings Bank, and is on the Leadership Council for MassCreative.
Fun fact: "With the exception of a one year leave in college, I have lived in Massachusetts my whole life."
Lucy Sweeney, Director of Development
Lucy joined Science Club for Girls as the Director of Development in January 2020. With over a decade of experience in Boston's non-profit sector, Lucy brings expertise in individual fundraising and events. Previously, Lucy worked at The Food Project in a variety of roles, including Associate and Interim Director of Development, and at Brigham and Women's Hospital as the Project & Events Manager for the Department of Medicine. She received a B.A. in Spanish and Studio Art from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Lucy is passionate about youth development and equity, and is a lifelong student of science.
Fun fact: "My favorite meals are my mom’s homemade pesto and my grandmother’s meatballs."
Cristina Ullmann, Program Director
Cristina has worked for both environmental non profits and science education organizations and is passionate about getting young girls interested in STEM. As the Program Director, Cristina is responsible for coordinating the clubs and managing the 80+ volunteers who teach our curriculum to the girls. Cristina has an M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Fun fact: "I do a lot of odd things in my current position at SCFG like buying beef hearts at the butcher shop for dissection or experimenting with bubble recipes, but my previous strange jobs have included: parking cars, simultaneous translator, and selling composting toilets."
Hannah Buchsbaum (Weinstock), Program Manager
Hannah is a content creator and producer for SCFG's online/TV show, SCFGLive! and helps manage our many programs. Prior to joining SCFG, she worked as a middle school STEM educator in Chelsea, MA where she created and taught classes in Computer Science, Technology/Engineering, 8th grade Physical Science, 5th grade General Science, and 6th grade Earth Science. Hannah received her B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University where she worked in a Social Psychology laboratory focused on identifying and mitigating stereotype threats among students of color. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Social Work from Boston College.
Fun fact: "I have a big fear of oranges (although clementines are fine)."
Leadership and Staff
Board of Directors
Abe is proud to join SCFG as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair and brings expertise in investments, finance, project management, and operations. 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.
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.
President & Board Chair
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.
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.
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.
Kate first became involved in Science Club for Girls in 2017 when she ran the Boston Marathon and raised over $1,000 for the organization. She then began mentoring at the King Open school in Cambridge and joined the Development Committee. Kate's career is in the environmental sector, where she works as a Project Geologist at Roux Associates to consult in environmental risk management. Ms. Hardock received a B.A. cum laude in Geology and Geography from Colgate University.
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.
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.
Karen is Senior Director of Clinical Biomarker Sciences at Pfizer where she has worked for over 25 years. Her parallel volunteer career demonstrates a passion for programs that promote the positive development of women and girls. Karen has served as President and Chairman of the Board for both the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (2012-13) and the Junior League of Boston (2017-18). She is the recipient of JL Boston’s 2005 Active Volunteer Award, the 2006 Outstanding Manager Award, and the 2015 Sarah Lawrence Award for community service beyond the Junior League. Karen earned her PhD in Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Karen Whitney is President of The Sonder Group and builds teams for life science companies developing breakthrough technologies such as Next Generation Sequencing and Synthetic Biology. Previously, she was VP, Business Development at the NewcoGen Group a Flagship Pioneering Fund and was part of the founding business development team at Celera Genomics, the first company to sequence the human genome. For over a decade, she held commercial leadership roles at PE Applied Biosystems (Now Thermo) and Pharmacia (Danaher). She earned a BA in Biology from Colby College.