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Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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Upcoming Events

2016 Spring Committee Meeting and Workshop
Beckman Center
Irvine, CA

Past Events

2015 Fall Committee Meeting
Keck Center
Washington, DC

Title IX Policy Summit
NAS Building
Washington, DC

2015 Spring Committee Meeting
Beckman Center
Irvine, CA

A Conversation with Claude Steele
Beckman Center
Irvine, CA
View Event

2014 Committee Meeting
Keck Center
Washington, DC

2014 Committee Meeting
Beckman Center
Irvine, CA

Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia - Summary of a Conference Report Dissemination Event
NAS 125

2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20418
View Event  

More past events...

Contact Us

Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Keck Center
500 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: 202.334.2389
Fax: 202.334.2290


CWSEM Member Biographies

Rita R. Colwell [NAS]*, Chair
Distinguished University Professor
University of Maryland, College Park, and
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Rita Colwell is Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Senior Advisor and Chairman Emeritus, Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and President and CEO of CosmosID, Inc. Her interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Colwell served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, 1998-2004. In her capacity as NSF Director, she served as Co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Before going to NSF, Colwell was President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology at the University Maryland. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990. Colwell has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and also as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, and the International Union of Microbiological Societies. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is Immediate Past-President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). Colwell has also been awarded 55 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education and received numerous awards. Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr. Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics, from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington.

Alice M. Agogino [NAE]
Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, and
Councilor, Council of the National Academy of Engineering

 Alice M. Agogino is the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering and an affiliated faculty at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Haas School of Business. She also directs the Berkeley Expert Systems Technology Laboratory and the Berkeley Instructional Technology Studio. She has served in a number of administrative positions at UCB including associate dean of engineering and faculty assistant to the executive vice chancellor and provost in educational development and technology. She continues as principal investigator for the National Engineering Education Delivery System and the digital libraries of courseware in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. She received a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico (1975), an MS in mechanical engineering (1978) from the UCB, and Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering-Economic Systems at Stanford University (1984). She is a member of the Association of Women in Science and was awarded the NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars in 2004. She served as a member of the COSEPUP Committee on Women in Academic Science and Engineering. She is a Council member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Joan W. Bennett [NAS]

Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology and Pathology,
Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, and
Associate Vice President, Office for Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, Rutgers University

Joan W. Bennett is is a professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and the associate vice president for The Office for Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Rutgers University. She is a past president of the American Society for Microbiology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Bennett has done work in fungal genetics as well as in women’s studies. She taught a popular course Biology of Women beginning in 1976 while she was at Tulane University (1971-2006). She is currently a leader of her institution’s NSF ADVANCE project on women faculty. Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and history from Upsala College, and a master’s and doctorate degree in botany from the University of Chicago.

Robert J. Birgeneau [NAS]
Chancellor Emeritus
University of California, Berkeley

Robert J. Birgeneau was the Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley from September 2004 through May 2013. An internationally distinguished physicist, Birgeneau is a leader in higher education and is well known for his commitment to diversity and equity in the academic community. Before coming to Berkeley, Birgeneau served four years as President of the University of Toronto. He previously was Dean of the School of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he spent 25 years on the faculty. Before joining MIT, he was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories from 1968 to 1975. Birgeneau is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and other scholarly societies. He has received many awards for teaching as well as research on the fundamental properties of materials. Birgeneau is also the leader of the Lincoln Project, an initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences both to advocate for the importance of public colleges and universities and to devise strategies to reverse the progressive disinvestment in public higher education by government. A Toronto native, Birgeneau received his B.Sc. in mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1963 and Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1966.

Jennifer T. Chayes

Distinguished Scientist, and Managing Director
Microsoft Research New England and Microsoft Research New York City

Jennifer Tour Chayes is Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she co-founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she co-founded in 2012. Before joining Microsoft in 1997, Chayes was for many years Professor of Mathematics at UCLA. Chayes is the author of over 125 academic papers and the inventor of over 30 patents. Her research areas include phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of self-engineered networks, graph algorithms and algorithmic game theory. Chayes received her B.A. in biology and physics at Wesleyan University, where she graduated first in her class, and her Ph.D. in mathematical physics at Princeton. She did her postdoctoral work in the Mathematics and Physics Departments at Harvard and Cornell. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Chayes has been the recipient of many leadership awards including the Leadership Award of Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, the Women Who Lead Award, and the Women of Leadership Vision Award of the Anita Borg Institute. She has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Chayes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Fields Institute, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Mathematical Society, and an Elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Ed Lazowska [NAE]

Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science and Engineering
University of Washington

Edward Lazowska holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he also serves as the Director of the University of Washington eScience Institute. Lazowska is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition, he has received the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology from Reed College, and the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award. Lazowska’s national leadership activities include serving as Co-Chair of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee from 2003-05, and as Co-Chair of the Working Group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2010. He also has served as Chair of the Computing Research Association, Chair of the NSF CISE Advisory Committee, Chair of the DARPA Information Science and Technology Study Group, and Founding Chair of the Computing Community Consortium, as well as serving on a large number of National Academies study committees. In recognition of his national leadership he has received the Computing Research Association Distinguished Service Award, the ACM Presidential Award, and the ACM Distinguished Service Award. A long-time advocate for increasing women’s participation in the field, Lazowska serves on the Executive Advisory Council of the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Lazowska received his A.B. from Brown University in 1972 and his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1977, when he joined the University of Washington faculty.

Vivian W. Pinn [NAM]
Senior Scientist Emerita, Fogarty International Center, and
Former Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health (Retired)
National Institutes of Health

Vivian W. Pinn is the former Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was the first full-time Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health in the Office of the Director of NIH, appointed in 1991. She came to NIH from Howard University’s College of Medicine in Washington, DC, where she had been Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology, and she has previously held appointments at Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. She has been invited to present the ORWH’s mandate, programs, and initiatives to many national and international organizations with an interest in improving women’s health, the health of minorities, and careers in bioscience for women and minorities. She served as Co-Chair of the Committee on Women in Biomedical Careers until her retirement. She has received numerous honors, awards, and recognitions and has been granted eleven honorary degrees of laws and science since 1992. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). She received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.D. from the University of Virginia, School Of Medicine in 1967.

Patricia Taboada-Serrano
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Rochester Institute of Technology

Patricia Taboada-Serrano is the Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. She was born in Brazil and raised in Bolivia. She is a chemical engineer, has a M.Sc. in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering. She has worked as a research and development engineer at the Center for Applied Research in Bolivia, a postdoctoral research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and an instructor at Simon Bolivar University (Venezuela), and the Catholic University (Bolivia). She has over twenty scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, numerous conference presentations, and two patents pending. Her research interests include nanothermodynamics and the application of nanotechnology in alternative energy systems. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Bolivian Institute of Engineers, and the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) Women for Science Working Group.

 Valerie Taylor
Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Dwight Look College of Engineering, and
Regents Professor and Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

Valerie Taylor is the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Dwight Look College of Engineering and the Regents Professor and Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. In 2003, she joined Texas A&M University as the Department Head of CSE, where she remained in that position until 2011. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Taylor was a member of the faculty in the EECS Department at Northwestern University for eleven years. She has authored or co-authored over 100 papers in the area high performance computing. She is also the Executive Director of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT). Taylor is an IEEE Fellow and has received numerous awards for distinguished research and leadership, including the 2001 IEEE Harriet B. Rigas Award for a woman with significant contributions in engineering education, the 2002 Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni from the University of California at Berkeley, the 2002 CRA Nico Habermann Award for increasing the diversity in computing, and the 2005 Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing. Taylor is a member of ACM. Valerie E. Taylor earned her B.S. in ECE and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Purdue University in 1985 and 1986, respectively, and a Ph.D. in EECS from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1991.

Lydia Villa-Komaroff
Molecular Biologist, Businesswoman, Diversity Advocate

Lydia Villa-Komaroff is a molecular biologist, a businesswoman, and a diversity advocate. She currently serves on the boards of the Massachusetts Life Science Center (Gubernatorial appointment); ATCC (an independent, private, nonprofit biological resource center and research organization); the Keck Graduate Institute; and she is a member of the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering. She is a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS); the Society is the recipient of the National Science Board's Public Service Award for contributions (2002) and the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (2004). She has been a board member and Vice President of SACNAS and currently serves as a member of the Committee of Senior Advisors.

She held research positions at Harvard University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and Children's Hospital, Boston and published over 70 research articles and reviews. As an administrator she served as Vice President for Research at Northwestern University (Illinois) and Vice President for Research and Chief Operating Officer of the Whitehead Institute (Cambridge, MA). Dr. Villa-Komaroff was elected to the AAAS Board and served on the Advisory Councils for National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and the Biology Directorate of NSF.  She was CSO and CEO of Cytonome, Inc and co-founder and CSO of Cytonome/ST, LLC, a company developing and manufacturing purpose-built cell sorters. She served on the board of Transkaryotic Therapies, Inc., a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company that developed products for the treatment of rare diseases, and was non-executive Chair of the Board before it was acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals. She was a member of the US delegation to the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference-Women and the Economy Forum held in Russia (2012).

Villa-Komaroff is a fellow of AAAS and AWIS. Her honors include election to the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Award by Hispanic Business Magazine, selection as 2008 Hispanic Scientist of the Year by the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida, 2013 Woman of Distinction by the American Association of University Women, and as the 2016 recipient of the Morison Prize from MIT. She is one of 11 women scientists profiled on the website of the White House Office of Science and Technology. She received her BA from Goucher College and her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from MIT; her advisors were David Baltimore and Harvey Lodish. As a postdoc in Walter Gilbert’s laboratory, she was lead author of a landmark paper reporting the first synthesis of mammalian insulin in bacterial cells.

Susan R. Wessler [NAS]

Distinguished Professor,
Department of Botany & Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside
Home Secretary, National Academy of Sciences

Susan R. Wessler is a Distinguished Professor of Genetics in the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Born in New York City, Wessler earned her B.A. at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1974, and her Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1980. Wessler completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Carnegie Institute of Washington, working on transposable elements in maize. From 1983-2010 Wessler was in the department of plant biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, where she was Assistant, Associate, Full Professor and finally Regents Professor. Wessler was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 and was elected in 2004 to the Council of the National Academy. She was elected as NAS Home Secretary in 2011. She is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of Distinguished Scientist Award (2007) from the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), the Stephen Hales Prize (2010) from the American Association of Plant Biology and the FASEB Excellence in Science Award (2012). Her scientific interest focuses on the subject of plant transposable elements and the evolution of plant genomes.

Sheldon Weinbaum [NAS/NAE/NAM]

CUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus
The City College of the City University of New York

Sheldon Weinbaum is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the City College of New York. Weinbaum is one of nineteen living individuals elected to all three U.S. National Academies (the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the only engineer to have received a Guggenheim Fellowship in the category cell and molecular biology. He received his Ph.D. in engineering in 1963 from Harvard University and is widely recognized for novel biomechanical models that have changed existing views in such areas as vulnerable plaque rupture, bone fluid flow, cellular mechanotransduction, renal transport, and microvascular heat exchange. Though Weinbaum is retired from classroom teaching, he continues to work full-time at the Grove School of Engineering, doing research and advising graduate students. He is also well known for his long-standing efforts to integrate women and under-represented minorities into engineering. He has been a lifelong advocate for women and minorities in science and engineering. He was the lead plaintiff and organizer of a class-action lawsuit (Weinbaum vs. Cuomo 1992-1996) charging New York State officials with racially discriminatory funding of its two university systems, CUNY and SUNY, the first CUNY faculty recipient of the Public Service Award of the Fund for the City of New York 1988, and the Inaugural recipient of the “Diversity Award” of the Biomedical Engineering Society (2009). In the last ranking of PhD programs in the U.S. by the NRC in 2011 the CUNY doctoral program in Biomedical Engineering, which he founded, was ranked first in diversity among all 74 programs in the nation. He is currently chair of the Selection Committee that chooses the annual Sloan Awardees for the outstanding math and science teachers in the New York City public high schools.


Previous Committee Members

Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Co-founder and Board Member, Cytonome, LLC

Jeremy Berg
, Associate Senior Vice Chancellor for Science, University of Pittsburgh

Lilian Wu, Chair (Emeritus),
Program Executive, Global University Programs, IBM Corporate

Florence B. Bonner, Senior Vice President for Research and Compliance, Howard University

Allan Fisher, Vice PresidentLaureate Education, Inc.

Pardis Sabeti, Assistant Professor, Harvard University

* Denotes membership in the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, or the National Academy of Medicine.