Women in Science and Health (WISH)

WISH is an organization of women faculty at University at Abany, SUNY that fosters scientific networking and provides skill-building opportunities for students, postdocs, and faculty in the STEM fields to promote gender equality and work-life balance.

WISH was established in 2014 by Elga Wulfert, Professor of Psychology and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Marlene Belfort, Professor of Biology and Scientific Director of the interdisciplinary Life Sciences Initiative.


Recent News

Dr. Caitlin Fass

Women in Science & Health Virtual Meeting
Thursday, October 20, 2022 12 - 1 pm
Overcoming Burnout: A Workshop with Dr. Caitlin Fass

Dr. Caitlin Fass is a motivational life coach and Former tenured Developmental Psychology Professor and Department Chair Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences.Women in Science & Health. The workshop is for graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff of all genders!

Learn more about Dr. Caitlin Fass


Former University at Albany post-doctoral researcher Alvine Kamaha installs part of a new dark matter detector that is the largest in the world. Photo by Matthew Kapust / Sanford Underground Research Facility

WISH Member and Physics Professor Cecilia Levy Part of Dark Matter Detector Project

University at Albany scientists are in the vanguard of a new effort to finally see what has never been seen before: dark matter. Physics professor and WISH member Cecilia Levy along with Matthew Szydagis, post-doctoral researcher Alvine Kamaha and more than six others from UAlbany have been working on the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter detector that was just completed in South Dakota.

“This is discovering the universe like we’ve never seen it before,” Levy said. “Right now you have a particle that has properties that no one has ever seen before.” Read the Times Union article


Eureka! students visit the physics labs at UAlbany as part of their summer program. (Photo by Assistant Professor of Physics Cecilia Levy)

Eureka! Program Powers Girls to Succeed in STEM Fields

For the fifth consecutive year, the University at Albany is partnering with Girls Inc. of the Capital Region to provide girls with an introduction to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) while encouraging personal development, sports, mentorship and career exploration. A nationally recognized endeavor by Girls Inc. that provides hands-on opportunities in STEM, the Capital Region Girls Inc. Eureka! program has 57 girls from a number of different schools learning about atmospheric and environmental sciences, mathematics and statistics, physics, psychology, women’s studies, geography and planning, chemistry, ChoreoPhysics and biology.

Read the Eureka! program article


WISH members honored by President's Exellence Awards, left to right: Winsome Foderingham, Rabi Musah, Marlene Belfort, Karin Reinhold

WISH Members Honored at President’s Excellence Awards

Several WISH members were honored on May 3, 2022, at the President’s Excellence Awards ceremony, which celebrated awards at an in-person ceremony for 2022, 2021 and 2020.

President’s Excellence Award in Research and Creative Activities
2022 - Rabi Musah, Department of Chemistry
2021 - Jeanette Altarriba, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Psychology
2020 - Christine Wagner, Department of Psychology

President’s Excellence Award in Academic Service
2022 - Karin Reinhold, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Congratulations Rabi, Karin, Jeanette and Chris. You make us proud!

(Pictured, left to right: Winsome Foderingham, Rabi Musah, Marlene Belfort, Karin Reinhold)


2022 WISH Excellence award winners, top row, L to R: Niara Nichols, Mónica Ventura; second row, L to R: Alexis Weber, Jose Velez; bottom row: Laney Fielding, Skyla Mitchell.

2022 Excellence at the Intersection of Science and Life WISH Award Winners

The Women in Science and Health (WISH) established an award to recognize students and postdoctoral fellows who are pursuing degrees/careers in STEM fields, achieving excellence in their field while also being exemplars in excelling at life and finding balance.

This short-essay competition is open to UAlbany undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, of any gender in STEM fields, with awards of $100.

The Winners of the 2022 Awards are:

Undergraduate Students
Laney Fielding - Humanity at the Intersection
Skyla Mitchell - Striving for Excellence
Jose Velez - A Story for Hope

Graduate Students
Niara Nichols - Balancing Acts and Wobbling
Mónica Ventura - Putting Mental Health First to Achieve Excellence at the Intersection of Science and Life
Alexis Weber - A Year in the Life of a Science Nerd

(Pictured, left to right - Top row: Niara Nichols, Mónica Ventura
Second row: Alexis Weber, Jose Velez
Bottom row: Laney Fielding, Skyla Mitchell.)


Ché-Doni Platt

Apply for the WISH Excellence at the Intersection of Science and Life Award

Deadline: April 15, 2022

Work-life balance is hard, especially as we deal with the repercussions of the ongoing pandemic. For those in STEM, this balance can be especially hard to achieve; yet, many do achieve school/work-life integration by succeeding academically/in their career without losing sight of other important areas of their life. Women in Science and Health (WISH) established an award to recognize students and postdoctoral fellows of all genders who are pursuing degrees and careers in STEM, and are achieving excellence in their field while also being exemplars in excelling at life.

The Excellence at the Intersection of Science and Life Award is open to students and postdocs of any gender in a STEM field. $100 awards will be given at the undergraduate, graduate (MS/PhD studies), and postdoctoral level (PhD or other advanced degree).

To apply for the award, fill out this form and submit an essay of up to 600 words on how you have achieved excellence at the intersection of science and life. The submission deadline is Friday, April 15, 2022.

Please contact members of the WISH Steering Committee with any questions.


WISH/Project SAGES 2021-2022 Seed Grant Award Winners, Friday, March 25, 2022, 12-1pm. Short presentations will be given on each winning project.

WISH/Project SAGES 2021-2022 Seed Grant Award Winners Presentations

Please join Women in Science and Health on Friday, March 25, 2022, 12-1 p.m., as each Project SAGES Seed Grant award winner presents her project.

The presenters include Sweta Vangaveti of The RNA Institute, Cecilia Levy of the Department of Physics, and Cui Cui Chen of the Department of Economics.

The event will be held virtually via Zoom. Join the meeting (Meeting ID: 978 9446 7653, Passcode: 444534)


Join Us, A Conversation With Rachel Gross, Science Journalist, Thurs March 10, 2022, 4:30 and 7:30pm - D'Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciences Research Building. Science writing at its finest. Located at University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave, Albany NY 12222

A Conversation with Rachel Gross, March 10, 2022

Please join Women in Science and Health and the NYS Writers Institute on Thursday, March 10, 2022, 4:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. for a conversation with science journalist Rachel Gross.

Craft Talk on Science Writing - 4:30 p.m.
Presentation/Q&A - 7:30 p.m.

Both events in the D’Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciences Research Building, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany.

Mask required. Free and open to the public. Plenty of free parking in the State Quad. See map and more information at www.nyswritersinstitute.org/rachel-gross.


Flyer: WISH Project SAGES, External Sponsor Program Awards, Feb 23, 2022 at noon via Zoom, moderated by Drs. Marlene Belfort and Elga Wulfert.

WISH Project SAGES External Sponsor Program Awards, Feb. 23, 2022

Please join Women in Science and Health Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, 12 p.m., for the Project SAGES External Sponsor Program Awards, moderated by Drs. Marlene Belfort and Edelgard Wulfert.

The UAlbany department awardees include Aubrey Hillman from the Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Betty Lin from Psychology, Haruka Takayama from Economics and Hyun-Kyoung Kwon from Mathematics and Statistics. View the full-size poster.

Join the Zoom Meeting
(Meeting ID: 924 4290 3707, Passcode: 869696)


WISH logo

WISH Spring 2022 Programs Announced

Women in Science and Health (WISH) has exciting programs planned for the Spring 2022 semester.

  • Feb 23, 12:00 p.m. - Project SAGES External Sponsor Awards
  • Mar 10, 4:30 p.m. - Rachel Gross, Craft talk on Science Writing, with Writers Institute
  • Mar 10, 7:30 p.m. - Rachel Gross, Vagina Obscura, with Writers Institute
  • Mar 25, 12:00 p.m. - Project SAGES Seed Grant Awards
  • Apr 29, 12:00 p.m. - Student/post-doc Essay Competition

Stay tuned for details of the events!


WISH: Checking in and looking ahead WISH seeks to promote networking and provide opportunities for fellowship . The circumstances of the past year have made it difficult to live up to that aspect of our mission. We miss interacting as a group, and we have heard from many of you expressing similar sentiments. We would therefore like to invite you to a more informal gathering focused on having a conversation. What are the challenges you face as our professional and personal lives remain in flux? How can WISH help address these challenges? Are you looking for educational opportunities, or fellowship with your colleagues? Would you be interested in presenting your research to WISH peers? Are you ready to meet in person again? We’d love to hear from you and hope that you will take time to join us on Friday, November 19 th in person or via Zoom! HYBRID MEETING LSRB1144 & Zoom November 19, noon 1:00pm https://albany.zoom.us/j/94706439585?pwd=UDRuMWNqVzFyOFkvS k8vVlg1QzVPdz09 Meeting ID: 947 0643 9585 Passcode: 276057 We’ll spend part of our meeting time introducing the “SAGES” ADVANCE grant External Sponsors Program , which is designed to allow junior female faculty

WISH Meeting: Checking In and Looking Ahead, November 19, 2021

Please join the Women in Science and Health hybrid meeting Friday, November 19, 2021, 12-1pm, for an informal gathering to discuss future opportunities for networking and fellowship, and to get your feedback on your current challenges and how WISH can help. We will also introduce the SAGES Advance grant external sponsors program, which is designed to allow junior female faculty members to develop a scientific relationship with a prominent expert in their field.

You can join the meeting either in person in LSRB1144, or virtually via Zoom (Meeting ID: 947 0643 9585, Passcode: 276057).


Flyer: WISH Male Ambassadors panel discussion, Friday, October 22, 2021, 12-1pm

WISH Male Ambassadors Panel Discussion October 22, 2021

Please join the Women in Science and Health virtual meeting Friday, October 22, 2021, 12-1pm, for a panel discussion on the importance of men in the quest for gender equity, led by Dr. Edelgard Wulfert and Dr. Kristen Corbosiero.

The panel includes Dr. Andrew Berglund, Director of The RNA Institute; Dr. Keith Earle, Physics Department Chair; Dr. Robert Griffin, Dean of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security & Cybersecurity; Dr. David Holtgrave, Dean of the School of Public Health; and Christopher Thorncroft, Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center.

Join the Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 979 8999 8463 Passcode: WISH2021


Graduate Student from Lednev Lab Honorable Mention for GWIS National Fellowship

Lamyaa Almehmadi, Graduate Student from Lednev Lab has been selected to receive an honorable mention for the 2021-2022 Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) National Fellowship Program. Congratulations, Lamyaa!


Female scientists, student and faculty, working in lab at UAlbany

UAlbany SAGES Seed Grant Program - Request for Proposals

With funds from the NSF ADVANCE Project SAGES and support from the Offices of the President and Vice President for Research, WISH is providing pilot funding to build diverse collaborative teams in the STEM fields. The goal of this program is to maximize women and minoritized women scientists’ success in the tenure NSF logoand promotion process and catalyze and support University at Albany faculty in the pursuit of external grants. WISH will award three seed grants to research teams this year with a maximum of $15,000 each.

Please go to the SAGES website for details regarding eligibility and instructions for submission. Please note that a letter of intent is due by October 22 at 5 pm which can be submitted through the SAGES Seed Grant web page.


WISH NSF Research Awards and Women Collaborating for Inclusion, Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 12-1pm

WISH NSF Research Awards, and Women Collaborating for Inclusion, Meeting September 28, 2021

Please join the Women in Science and Health virtual meeting Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 12-1pm, for the WISH NSF Research Awards, presented by Dr. Edelgard Wulfert and Dr. Melinda Larsen, and Women Collaborating for Inclusion, with Dr. Lydia Contreras and Dr. Elizabeth Vásquez.

Dr. Lydia Contreras is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Managing Director of Diversity, Provost's Office, at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Elizabeth Vásquez is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University at Albany.

Join the Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 979 1516 3693 Passcode: 461770


December 7, 2016 - Portrait of Biological Sciences Graduate student Marissa Louis at the Pager Lab of the RNA Institute. Photo by Carlo de Jesus

‘State of Grace’ Returns to Campus to Celebrate Women in Tech

The College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) is hosting its annual “State of Grace” conference next week for the first time in-person since the start of the pandemic. The three-day conference, which is organized by CEHC Vice Dean Jennifer Goodall, celebrates women in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM). Open to students, faculty, staff, and local professionals, State of Grace offers opportunities to hear from women industry leaders, network, and polish resumes and interview skills, along with a number of hands-on workshops that encourage gender diversity in computing.

The conference takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 28 through Thursday, Sept. 30. Most of the activities will be inside UAlbany’s new $180 million, 245,000 square-foot ETEC building, except for two virtual lectures. Read more about the conference.


December 7, 2016 - Portrait of Biological Sciences Graduate student Marissa Louis at the Pager Lab of the RNA Institute. Photo by Carlo de Jesus

UAlbany Receives $1M grant to enhance gender equity in STEM research

Co-principal investigators include WISH Steering Committee members Professors Elga Wulfert, Marlene Belfort and Melinda Larsen, and WISH member Christine Wagner

July 2021 - The National Science Foundation has awarded the University at Albany a $1 million, three-year grant from to create an academic climate where female faculty in the fields of science, technology engineering and math can develop their careers to the fullest potential.

The three-year grant will fund the Striving to Achieve Gender Equity in STEM (SAGES) project to offer increased campus support, departmental mentorship opportunities for women faculty, ally training and the implementation of unbiased recruitment and hiring strategies.

Read more about the grant on the Albany Times Union, Business Review, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.


2021 WISH Excellence award winners, top row, L to R: Danielle Saint Hilaire, Sammantha Robyn Montague; second row, L to R: Megan Chambers, Kate Tubbesing; bottom row: Rae Drach.

2021 Excellence at the Intersection of Science and Life WISH Award Winners

The Women in Science and Health (WISH) established an award to recognize students and postdoctoral fellows who are pursuing degrees/careers in STEM fields, achieving excellence in their field while also being exemplars in excelling at life and finding balance.

This short-essay competition is open to UAlbany undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, of any gender in STEM fields, with awards of $100.

The winners of the 2021 Awards are:

  • Undergraduate: Danielle Saint Hilaire (Biological Sciences)
  • Master’s: Sammantha Robyn Montague (Forensic Biology)
  • PhD: Megan Chambers (Chemistry)
  • PhD: Rae Drach (Clinical Psychology)
  • Post doc: Kate Tubbesing (Biomedical Research)

Watch the winners read their essays

Pictured, top row, L to R: Danielle Saint Hilaire, Sammantha Robyn Montague; second row, L to R: Megan Chambers, Kate Tubbesing; bottom row: Rae Drach.

The agenda for the Fall 2021 includes: September: Women Collaborating for Inclusion, October: Maintaining Equilibrium, November: Male Ambassadors, December: Holiday Networking.


Male Ambassadors Friday, April 16, 2021, 12-1pm

Male Ambassadors, Friday, April 16

A panel discussion on the importance of men in the quest for gender equity

Please join the Women in Science and Health Virtual Meeting: Male Ambassadors - A panel discussion on the importance of men in the quest for gender equity, with: Dr. Christopher Thorncroft - Director, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, Dr. Robert Griffin - Dean, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security & Cybersecurity, and Dr. David Holtgrave - Dean, School of Public Health. A discussion led by Dr. Kristen Corbosiero of the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Janice Pata of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Elga Wulfert of Psychology.

Friday April 16, 2021, 12:00-1:00pm

Please click here to join the conversation
986 9336 1870 Passcode: WISH-2021


Women Collaborating for Inclusion, Dr. Dorcey Applyrs, A candid conversation about how to change culture to create inclusive environments. Thursday, March 25, 2021, 12-1pm

Women Collaborating for Inclusion, Dr. Dorcey Applyrs, Thursday, March 25

Hosted by Profs Marlene Belfort (Biological Sciences), Janice Pata and Joan Curcio (Biomedical Sciences)

Please join us for the second in the series, Women Collaborating for Inclusion, for a candid conversation with the Honorable Dorcey Applyrs about how to change culture to create inclusive environments.

Thursday March 25, 2021, 12:00-1:00pm

Please click here to join the conversation
936 7725 1983 Passcode: 033083


Managing stress and distress during covid-19 presentation and discussion led by Drs. Elga Wulfert and Julia M. Hormes (Psychology) 3-4-21

Managing Stress and Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Thursday, March 4

Presentation, discussion by Drs. Elga Wulfert and Julia M. Hormes

The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating depression, anxiety, and stress at a time when access to usual ways of coping and mental health care is limited for many. This WISH meeting, led by Elga Wulfert and Julia Hormes, will review data on the mental health impacts of the pandemic, discuss ways in which depression, anxiety, and stress can manifest, and suggest straight-forward and efficient strategies to prioritize self-care at a time when many are stretched to the limit in professional and personal domains. We hope you will be able to join us for this presentation and group discussion.

Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 12:30-1:30pm via Zoom

Please click here to join the webinar
Meeting ID: 990 2203 5992, Passcode: 701101


Shirley Malcom

Science in the Time of COVID and America’s Reckoning with Race, a Talk by Dr. Shirley Malcom

Life Science Research Symposium, Fri., Jan. 22 at 9:45am

Dr Shirley Malcom of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will be giving a talk at the Life Science Research Symposium on Friday, January 22nd at 9.45 am, entitled, Science in the Time of COVID and America’s Reckoning with Race. Dr. Malcom is the director of AAAS’s STEMM Equity Achievement (SEA Change) Program. In this position she works to improve the quality of and increase access to education and careers in STEMM.

Please click here to join the webinar

There will be an opportunity to visit with Dr. Malcom as a group at 10:45am after her talk.

View the Symposium schedule


Picture A Scientist logo

WISH Spring 2021 Programs Announced

Women in Science and Health (WISH) has exciting programs planned for the Spring 2021 semester. Please contact individual steering committee members if you wish to contribute.

  • January 21, 2021, 1pm-2pm, Picture A Scientist, Movie Discussion (video to be made available Sun-Tue prior). Discussion leaders: Profs. Mindy Larsen and Elga Wulfert
  • March 4, 2021, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Academic Stressors and Mental Health, Discussion leaders: Profs. Julia Hormes and Elga Wulfert
  • March 25, 2021, Time TBD, Women collaborating for Inclusion, Discussion leaders: Profs. Marlene Belfort and Janice Pata
  • April 16, 2021, Time TBD, Male Ambassadors, Discussion leaders: Profs. Kristen Corbosiero and Janice Pata
  • May 6, 2021, 12pm-1pm, Student and Postdoc Awards: Excellence at the interface of Science and Life, Discussion leaders: Profs. Kristen Corbosiero and Julia Hormes

Stay tuned for details of the events!

WISH Steering Committee (Marlene Belfort, Kristen Corbosiero, Julia Hormes, Mindy Larsen, Janice Pata and Elga Wulfert).