Celebrating Women in Science

More than 150 Einstein faculty, students, postdocs, and staff packed the Lubin Dining Hall on  Feb. 11 for the opportunity to celebrate women in science, hone their networking skills,  and learn more about their value in the workplace. The event was part of an annual day set up by the United Nations to promote participation in science, math, technology, and engineering by women and girls.

The first-ever event at Einstein drew such an enthusiastic response, said Einstein M.D./Ph.D. candidate Erica Moore, co-chair of the  Women’s Networking Group (WNG) that hosted the gathering, “that we had to change the venue” to accommodate a larger audience.

Event honorees Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., Barbara Birshtein, Ph.D.
Event honorees Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., Barbara Birshtein, Ph.D.

Learning Opportunities

Attendees chose among three “Speaking Up” discussion groups aimed at providing key skills for advancing a woman’s career. They included:

  • A networking workshop led by Diane Safer, Ph.D., Einstein’s director of career and professional development for graduate students and postdocs in biomedical sciences. Participants were given seven useful tips for successfully building their networks and the opportunity to practice them on one another.
  • A negotiation workshop led by financial adviser Magdalena Johndrow, M.S., of Johndrow Wealth Management. She  gave tips on how women can learn their value, particularly when pursuing their true worth in employment negotiations. Investment News recently recognized Ms. Johndrow as one of its “Top 40 Under 40.”
  • A self-advocacy workshop led by Carol Bernstein, M.D., vice chair for faculty development in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Einstein and Montefiore. Dr. Bernstein highlighted the benefits of having women in the workplace, along with the need for women to become aware of their strengths and to communicate that to others.

A Range of Career Options

Women had the chance to learn more about the diversity of career tracks that they can take in science during a panel discussion featuring a variety of speakers. “We wanted to highlight the broad range of opportunities out there while also celebrating these women for all their amazing accomplishments,” said WNG board member and Einstein Ph.D. candidate Maryl Lambros.

Libusha Kelly, Ph.D., associate professor of systems and computational biology and of microbiology & immunology at Einstein, chaired the panel, which represented various fields within medicine and science. The women, who each have ties to Einstein and are at various stages in their careers, included Nicole Mahoney, Ph.D., Anita Autry, Ph.D., Nerys Benfield, M.D., and Leontine Narcisse-Ogera, M.D., Ph.D.

We wanted to highlight the broad range of opportunities out there while also celebrating these women for all their amazing accomplishments.

Maryl Lambros

Dr. Mahoney earned her degree at Einstein in 1999, working in the laboratory of Steve Almo, Ph.D., professor and chair of biochemistry, and won a Julius Marmur Award, which is given to students who demonstrate excellence in research through publication of their work. She now works as senior director of regulatory policy at Flatiron Health, where she helps advance the use of real-world evidence for regulatory decision making.

Drs. Autry and Benfield are on the Einstein faculty; Dr. Autry is assistant professor of neuroscience and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Dr. Benfield is associate professor of obstetrics &gynecology and women’s health, as well as associate dean for diversity and inclusion. And Dr. Narcisse-Ogera, an alumna of the Class of 2005, works in the pharmaceutical industry as senior scientific director of the Alligent Group.

“With such diverse backgrounds and career paths, there was something for everyone in the audience to take away from the panel,” Ms. Lambros noted. 

The event concluded with a keynote address from Sandra Masur, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and founding director of its office for women’s careers. She touched upon the current climate for women in science, as well as how to make informed career decisions and how to manage up in different work environments.

Participants enjoy a lively discussion about negotiating
Participants enjoy a lively discussion about negotiating

Building on Success

“We were thrilled by the support and interest from so many people in the Einstein and Montefiore community,” Ms. Moore noted of the event, which was supported by the career and professional development office, graduate school, and Office for Diversity Enhancement. “We wanted the event to be a positive experience, to provide helpful resources, and to serve as an opportunity to recognize prominent female leaders at Einstein, both past and present. With the success of this first Women in Science Day conference, we're excited to continue many of the discussions that were initiated.”

Einstein’s WNG provides the opportunity for women to learn more about science communications, science policy and advocacy, women in academia, funding opportunities, and women in industry.

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