Geri’s Blog

March 8, 2020. Happy International Women’s Day!   With a special shout out to all the thousands of women scientists and engineers we have worked with through the COACh program. 

February 24-27, 2020  Pomona College and the Robbins Lecture Series  What a wonderful way to spend a week in sunny California at Pomona College.  My first evening I gave a presentation at a banquet for many high school STEM students from nearby schools as part of the Robbins Lecture Seroes.  This was followed by the students asking me lots of interesting questions about STEM careers and being a women in science.  That was a great kick-off for a great week in which I gave several other talks, had time to meet and get to know the faculty in chemistry and allied departments, and met with students.  It was a special treat for me since my son Bryan had gone to Pomona.  Thanks to everyone for their hospitality.

February 11, 2020  Carnegie Mellon’s Dickson Prize    What a day!  Today I was awarded Carnegie Mellon’s Dickson Prize in Science.  I’m so honored to be selected and also still a bit in disbelief.  The Prize is awarded annually to the person who has been judged by the university to have made the most progress in the scientific field in the United States for the year in question.   Established by Dr. Joseph Z. Dickson, a Pittsburgh physician, and his wife Agnes Fischer Dickson, the first Dickson Prize in Science was awarded in 1970.  It was a wonderful and full day at Carnegie Mellon University where I got to meet with many students and faculty, and gave a scientific presentation.   It was a wonderful day spent with students, faculty and campus leaders.  Thank you all so much for this huge honor! 

February 6, 2020  Wonderful Wooster!  Over the past week I have I had the pleasure of giving the Helen Murray Free Lecture in the Chemistry department at the College of Wooster.  In 1993 she served as president of the ACS. She and her husband, Alfred, were inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2000, and in 2010, the ACS designated the development of diagnostic test strips as a National Historic Chemical Landmark. That same year, she was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama. In 2011, Helen was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY.  What an amazing career she has had.  And a wonderful visit to Wooster.

January 27-30, 2020   Back to Bangkok and KMUTT    This week brought me to Bangkok and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) for the annual review of its research programs by the International Research Advisory Panel (IRAP).  While there I conducted, along with dear friend Supapan Seraphin, COACh workshops for their students and faculty on publishing and proposal writing.  I also gave a scientific presentation on “The Power of Combining Experiment and Computer Simulations”.  It was a very successful review and a wonderful time to be in Bangkok.

January 14,15, 2020  Brussels and the Solvay Prize  This week I had the pleasure of serving on the selection committee for the Future Solvay Prize which recognizes a scientist every two years for major discoveries that lay the foundation for the chemistry of the future while serving human progress.  The winner unanimously selected by the committee was Carolyn Bertozzi, Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University for her invention of bioorthogonal chemical reactions that can be performed in living cells.  Bertozzi will receive her award on March 10 in a ceremony held at the Palais des Académies in Brussels in the presence of His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium.  HUGE KUDOS to Carolyn!!  Another amazing woman scientist to celebrate!

December  15-18, 2019  Back to Beautiful Oman  It’s been  a wonderful return to one of my favorite countries, Oman.  While there I had the opportunity to return to be part of the launch of The Research Council’s (TRC) National Research and Development Strategy 2040.  TRC has been working over the past year to develop the strategy and it is excellent.  I had a chance to speak at the event in my role as past member of the International Advisory Board.  It was  attended by many of the high-ranking ministers and officials of the Omani government, along with Omani researchers and students.  Congrats to all TRC staff and to Dr. Jamily, Director of the project.

As an added treat I was hosted by His Majesty Hilal Hinai’s family to spend a night at a camp in a remote part of the Oman desert.  The sunrise over the desert dunes was amazing as well as my camel ride.   Huge thanks to everyone for their generous hospitality.

December  10-13, 2019 There’s Talent in Tanzania! I had the pleasure of being part of the  10th International Conference of the African Materials Research Society (AMRS) held this week in Arusha.  The conference brings together over 700 materials science researchers from all over the world.  It’s a great meeting for scientific and research communities to build knowledge, foster relationships and promote action for further understanding and collaborations in the broad fields associated with materials science and technology. The meeting was held at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology.  I gave two COACh workshops, one on publishing and the other on proposal writing.  Big thanks to everyone for inviting me to be involved in another Africa MRS meeting.

November 21, 2019  Visit to IUPUI What an honor it was for me to be the first Frank J. Welcher Lecturer in the chemistry department at the University of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis(IUPUI).  I gave a scientific presentation and also a COACh Negotiation workshop for the faculty as hosted by the IUPUI STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute.  It was a particular treat tobe hosted by Pratibha Varma-Nelson is a COACh alumni who has gone on to be incredibly successful in numerous leadership roles.

November 13-17, 2019  SIGMA XI Annual Meeting in Madison   As current president of Sigma Xi’s, the Scientific Research Honor Society, I had the pleasure of helping to plan and convene the Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference in Madison this past week.  It was a resounding success!  With the theme of Our Changing Global Climate it had an amazing set of speakers including Vint Cerf (GOOGLE) and Joe Palca (NPR).   The programs highlighted the challenges that we face in sustaining life on this planet, and recent research advances and opportunities for involvement in addressing these challenges.  The high attendance reflected the interest and commitment of Sigma Xi members and other attendees to this important topic.  On Sunday following the meeting we launched the inaugural STEM Art and Film Festival.  Twelve remarkable films competed in three categories: documentary, short film, and animation, . addressing topics that included cyborgs, conservation, environmental challenges, math, and science trailblazers. The day-long event showcased 30 pieces of artwork that depicted science through photography, visualization, installation, painting, and drawing; The event was open to the public at no charge, and was attended by members of the local community in addition to participants of the Annual Meeting.  Great science, great people and great fun!  

The Mad Hatters:  Geri, Vint Cerf and Joe Palca (with adorable Joe below)

November 4, 2019  Women Rule at the US Naval Academy! The 1st WOMEN IN STEM Symposium  was held today at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland and I got to be there!  What an event! See the picture of the fantastic STEM women faculty and students who were part of this amazing symposium at the U.S. Naval Academy. The symposium was the brain-child of Professor Shirley Lin, a fantastic chemistry faculty member there. Takes courage to pull any 1st time event and she did and it was fantastic! The symposium preceded the 9th Annual Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference. Thanks to Shirley and the Academy for inviting me to be part of these two events.

Makes one very proud of all the men and women at the U.S. Naval Academy who are devoting their careers and lives to the Nation.

November 1, 2019  #HIDDEN NO MORE:  Empowering Women Leaders in STEM Globally This is the most amazing program sponsored by the International Visitor Leadership Program (ILVP) of the U.S. State Department! It brings ~50 STEM career women from all over the world for a 2 week visit to laboratories, agencies, companies in various cities in the US. I had the pleasure of presenting two COACh workshops for them in Washington DC today – one on Negotiation and one on Mentorship. It was sooooo much fun working with this incredibly bright and diverse group from 50 different countries.

What a privilege it was for me to meet them and to learn so much about the culture, challenges and opportunities for women doing science and engineering in their countries. You all rock!

Big thanks to Kim Jenkins and Dan Labarca, Project Managers of the ILVP for organizing this amazing life-changing program. It’s amazing what you do and your passion for this project.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2019!!!!!  Annual tradition of our research group with the Emoji theme.

October 2019 Way-Post-Tenure Lecture Tour Although I am well past tenure, I had a lot of fun visiting a number of top-notch chemistry departments-  analogous to what our younger faculty do in their  pre-tenure year.  At Emory University in Atlanta I was honored to present the 2019-2020 Harold S. Johnston Lectureship.  When I was in graduate school at Berkeley, the Johnston laboratory was just down the hall from Pimentel’s laboratory.  So it was special for me to be a part of this remembrance of him.  This was followed by a visit to the Chemistry Department at Michigan State where I was honored to be selected as the Max T. Rogers Distinguished Lecturer. I gave two scientific lectures over two full and fun days.  It was also great to reconnect with long-time friend Gary Blanchard and his colleagues during my visit.  Then on to Virginia Tech where I had the pleasure of giving the college-wide J. Mark Sowers Distinguished Lecture.  What a great visit and what a beautiful campus!  Lots of really good faculty and students.  It was indeed a treat and an honor to be selected for all of these lectureships! 

October 7,8, 2019  Future of Science in Mexico City
Huge thanks to Dr. Jorge Peón Peralta, Director of the Instituto de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Dr. Omar Yaghi for inviting me to be part of the conference in Mexico City these past few days on the Future of Science: Chemistry and Materials for the 21st Century.  I was joined by an illustrious group that included Peter Stang, Miguel Garcia-Garibay, Oman Yaghi, Jillian Buriak and Heather Maynard.  In addition to hearing their persentations we also had a chance to meet with students, many of them undergraduates, at a poster session.  Very impressive science by these student!   Great to meet you all!

OCTOBER 2, 2019  Marvelous Malaysia!  There are many wonderful things about Malaysia! Today and yesterday I had the opportunity to present several COACh workshops here in Bango, Malaysis to students and faculty at the PERMATApintar National Gifted Centre, UKM. I had such a wonderful and bright group of students from special schools here in Malaysia for talented and gifted students the last few days and I will have more to meet here in the days to come. These are just amazing students and their faculty.

Special thanks to Adura Mohd. Adnan for inviting me and organizing my visit.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2019  COACh in Ghana! Thanks to the Elsevier Foundation we have been able to continue our Water First! workshops where we bring together women scientists and engineers from all over Africa that are working on water issues – both research and policy. Held in Accra earlier this week, we had two days to learn about water issues around food safety, contaminants and toxins in lakes, rivers and drinking water, water access and water policies and management issues. It was an AMAZING group and we all enjoyed getting to know each other and learn about our research interests and ca

reer aspirations. The younger women scientists were inspired by the senior women and their persistence it battling through their challenges and the more senior women were amazed at how many of the younger women said that they have supportive husbands which contributes to their ability to do their science.
It was two wonderful days of developing collaborations, networking and mentoring. I already miss you all!
Huge thanks to the Elsevier Foundation and their Director Ylann Scheme and Domiziana Francescon her assistant. And of course a huge thanks to Priscilla Lewis, my amazing COACh assistant.

August 7-9, 2019  PRIS’19 at Dead Sea, Jordan   I was so delighted and honored to be part of this summit which is an annual gathering of Jordanian and Arab young scientists and engineers who share the passion of creating a strong and vibrant scientific and innovation enterprise in the Arab world. With the theme of “Connect for Science”, over 1,000 were in attendance for a series of plenary sessions, inspirational talks, panel discussions and competitions.

This event was organized by Phi Science Institute – a non-profit organization focused on fostering a community of emerging scholars in order to enable their pursuit of innovative applied research in Jordan and the Middle East region. Led by Dr. Ahmad Jadallah, Founder and CEO of Phi Science Institute (PHI) and Zaina Muqbel, the PHI Science Institute Research & Innovation Director of PHI is quickly becoming a model for countries seeking to increase the number of young scientists, especially in developing countries.

A highlight of the morning session was a moving speech by HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) and Chair of the Phi Board of Trustees who shared her vision for the youth of Jordan in helping advance the country in science and technology.  It was my pleasure to also be part of a panel discussion led by Dr. Rana Dajani on Women in Science.

Overall it was just a phenomenal experience! I wish I had had more time to meet all the students. Their energy, curiosity and desire to use their talents to the betterment of their countries was infectious.

JULY 8,9, 2019  Spectroscopy in Auckland! This week I presented a Plenary Address at the 10th International Conference on Advances in Vibrational Spectroscopy  (ICAVS 10).  This conferences has been held in countries all over the world, and for the first time here in New Zealand.  Great speakers, great students and great science!  Thanks to the organizers for the opportunity to be part of this conference.

June 28, 2019  Empowering Women in Organic Chemistry  (EWOC) EWOC is an exciting new organization that seeks to increase the number and success of women in organic chemistry.  It’s great and sorely needed given the few organic chemistry women in leadership roles in academia, industry and government laboratories here in the U.S.  The first EWOC meeting was held in Philadelphia today and I was delighted to be part of it.  I had a chance to talk about my career path as well as COACh.  Many thanks to the organizers!

March – May 2019 A Crazy Spring!  The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of interesting times here at the University of Oregon and around the country.  I talked  about our research on water at the Eugene Rotary Club and at  the “Celebrating Women in Science Speaker Series” at Scripps College in Southern California in March.

April took me to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg Virginia to give the Hillger-Roberts-Kranbuehl Lecture and meet with all their amazing students and faculty, to the University of Georgia in Athens Georgia to give the 2019 Chemistry Alumni Lecture and attend their alumni dinner gala with graduate students dressed in their finest, gave a couple of COACh workshops at Purdue University in Indiana, and a couple of talks/lectures at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office in Alexandria Virginia.  What would a chemist like me be doing at USPTO??  It was at the wonderful invitation from my former undergraduate research student – Mindy Fleisher/Bickel – and a great time to celebrate her career successes.   

May brought lots of highlights too.  My graduate student Brandon Schabes successfully presented and defended his PhD thesis.  Go Brandon!  I was honored to receive the Linus Pauling Legacy Award from Oregon State University in Corvallis.(   A wonderful added bonus with this honor was to connect with friends including both the current and past presidents of Oregon State University, Presidents Ed Ray and  John Byrne, and to also have a tour of the Linus Pauling archives at their library.  Amazing!  I am humbled and grateful to receive this wonderful award from my sister Oregon institution. 

Also in Oregon I had an event sponsored by the National Medal of Science and Technology Foundation where I spoke to a group of middle school students careers in science and was interviewed by the Provost at Portland State University in an event open to faculty and students in the Portland area.  Jumping to the midwest, I gave the William H. Flygare Memorial Lecture in Physical Chemistry at the Unviersity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Illinois and coupled that with a visit to Ames Laboratory where I gave a COACh workshop on mentoring.  All equally fun visits and a chance to reconnect with old friends.  The month ended with a wonderful trip to the big Island of Hawaii where, in my role as incoming president of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society, the CEO Jamie Vernon and I presented the Gold Key Award to Silicon Valley Pioneer and Intel Founder, Gordon Moore.  What an amazing man – equally famous for “Moore’s Law”.  He and his wife Betty Moore have also been very generous in giving through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.  It was a great visit!

MARCH 8, 2019  Happy International Women’s Day from Sri Lanka What a treat it is for me to spend this special day with a an amazing group of women scientists and engineers in Colombo Sri Lanka. The morning has been spent giving a COACh workshops on mentoring, networking and negotiation. This evening we are having a special Anniversary Sessions and thematic Symposium of the Sri Lanka National Chapter of OWSD on “Balance for Science”.

It’s been such fun and so interesting for me to learn about the lives of these wonderful, smart and highly motivated professional women.

HUGE thanks to Dr. Nadira Karunaweera of the University of Colombo and President of the Sri Lanka OWSD Chapter and Dr. Hermal Silva of the University of Colombo and Secretary of the Sri Lanka OWSD Chapter for hosting and organizing the events.

February 27, 2019  Shout-out to the BYU Women in Chemistry Club   I had a great time visiting the chemistry department at Brigham Young University and giving a couple of talks. While there I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with undergraduate and graduate student members of the newly formed BYU Women in Chemistry Club for lunch and discussions about lots of topics including how to combine a career and family. Although I hardly have all the answers for that topic, we have a fun and engaging conversation about options and opportunities. What a great group!

It was also wonderful to be with my dear friends on the BYU chemistry faculty, Steve Goates and Julia Boerio-Goates. We met back in 1973 when we were summer research interns at IBM in Essex Junction Vermont. We have stayed friends all these years – amazing how fast the time has gone by.

Big thanks to everyone that made my visit so enjoyable.

January 28, 2019  Making New Friends in Malaysia  My first trip to Malaysia has been amazing. During the my visit to Kuala Lumpur I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Dr. Ayu Abdullah who I first met at the IVLP State Department sponsored COACh workshop in Washington D.C. A former aerospace engineer she now works in Malaysia to help rural communities plan for installation of solar energy equipment to power their homes. I also had a chance to learn more about science and engineering in Malaysia through my visits with officers at the U.S. Embassy. Big thanks to Duden Freeman and also Dr. Ayu for their extra time spent with me and also Farizan Zulkifli at the U.S. Embassy for arranging my visit there!

Another highlight of my visit was to meet with and Dr. Rahmah Mohamed, CEO of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency that accredits universities and her colleague Dr. Adura Adnan, Director of the Permata STEM Talent Center. Dr. Rahmah, Dr. Adura, Dr. Ayu and Ms. Duden provided me with a valuable perspective on the status of women in science and engineering in the country. My final fun event was to meet and talk with some amazing high school students at the Permata Pintar National Gifted Center, UKM. 
These students are assessed to be some of the brightest students in Malaysia, with many of them seeking to go abroad for their college education. They were wonderful and so inquisitive. You can see all the wonderful pictures of them. I owe a huge thanks to both Director Prof Dr Noriah Ishak and Deputy Dr Rorlinda Yusof for hosting me at their school.

I cannot thank everyone enough for how generous they were with their time and hospitality. I entered the country knowing so little about Malaysia and left with a .head full of information and a very positive impression of the country and Malaysians. Dr. Rahmah, Dr. Adura and I are brainstorming on how we can bring COACh programs to Malaysia. I hope we can make it work.

January 25, 2019  Honoring the Amazing  PROF. MARGARET ANN ARMOUR       A few days ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the University of Alberta chemistry department where they have created a lecture series to honor the amazing contributions of Prof. Margaret Ann Armour to the University of Alberta, the chemistry department there and women in science. She founded Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) at the University of Alberta in 1981, and since its inception, the WISEST programs have reached more than 15,000 participants with 85% of their Summer Research Participants pursuing undergraduate degrees in Science or Engineering.

It was a pleasure to be part of this inaugural event at the invitation of the chemistry department graduate students. Huge thanks to Meagan Oakley, her friends and faculty for the wonderful hospitality. And especially to have the chance to get to know and honor Prof. Armour.

January 14, 2019 Happenings in Mumbai and Pune, India  It’s been a whirlwind trip to this western part of India where I had the opportunity to meet with many scientists, engineers and innovators at multiple universities and institutions here in this part of India. I especially want to give a shout-out to the many wonderful and bright women researchers, faculty and students that I met. There was considerable interest in having COACh come back and do workshops in Mumbai. I’m hoping that opportunity happens!

While there I spoke and participated at events at the University of Mumbai, The National Chemical Laboratory in Pune and CSIR in Mumbai. The visit at the University of Mumbai involved the inauguration of the incubation center on the Kalina Campus. I was accompanied by the very eminent scientists, Sir Richard Roberts, Nobel Laureate from New England Biolabs, Dr. Colin Suckling, Professor and former Dean of the University of Strathclyde and Dr. Mukund Chorghade, President and CSO of Chorghade Enterprises and THINQ Pharma/THINQ Discovery. It was great fun to meet and work with Rich, Colin and Mukund. Mukund was the kind organizer of our visits and presentation events and continuously entertained us with his great sense of humor.

Big thanks to the hundreds of people who attended our seminars and events, to our host institutions and of course Mukund.

November 15, 2018  Greetings from Dammam Saudi Arabia. This week I had the pleasure of visiting with students and faculty at Mohammad Al Mana College of Health Sciences (MACHS) in Saudi Arabia. MACHS is a new college founded by Dr. Aisha Almana to increse the number of health related workers in fields such as nursing and pharmacy in Saudi Arabia. It’s a heroic effort by a woman who is heroic in her own right. A prominent Saudi businesswoman, Dr. Almana is a longstanding activist and campaigner for Saudi women’s rights, particularly in health and education and also in the getting women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. She is considered the ‘founding mother’ of the Saudi women’s reform movement and has supported numerous efforts to further the education of Arab women

While at the college I gave two COACh workshops, one on Effective Proposal Writing and the second o
n Mentoring for Success. They were both well attended and with lots of questions. The faculty at the college are so devoted to their students and the students are really passionate about their studies. The University of Oregon has a collaborative project with the college which was also part of my visit.

I also had the very special opportunity to be a part of their graduation ceremonies. It is the custom of the country to have separate graduation ceremonies for the female and male graduates. I was honored to be able to give a brief speech at the female graduation and also to experience the excitement and emotion that always accompanies a graduation. It was wonderful!

Huge thanks to everyone involved with my visit and especially Dr. Aisha Almana, Fatima Alabdullaziz, Jenan AlMatouq, Amal Kholaghassi and my University of Oregon colleague Lori O’Hallaren.

November 2, 2018   HIDDEN NO MORE: Advancing Women in STEAM Fields
This is a wonderful  program sponsored by the International Visitor Leadership Program(IVLP) of the U.S. State Department that brings together female science and art students, teachers and professionals from 50 different countries for a whirlwind two-week tour of the U.S. They get to visit laboratories, universities, museums and companies all over country and learn what life is like here in the U.S. I had a chance to overlap with this amazing group today when I gave two COACh workshops, one on Mentoring and the other on Effective Negotiation while they were in Washington DC. It was so fascinating to conduct these workshops with these women from such a variety of countries and cultures. Wow. And what an amazing group they are.

I look forward to visiting a number of them in their countries. In the meantime, happy travels and success in your career adventures.

HUGE thanks to Dan Labarca and Lia Lumauig of the Institute of International Education for coordination and especially Kimberly Jenkins in the Office of the ILVP in the U.S. State Department who extended me this wonderful invitation.


Today was a great day in many ways. First taking advantage of the invitation of Laura Sofen and her graduate student and postdoctoral colleagues who are the current leadership of the Science Leadership and Management organization at UC Berkeley. I spoke with the group about “The Challenges and Adventures of Unconventional Leadership Roles in Science”, reflecting in part on our journey with COACh.

While there I had an additional treat to meet with Bob and Christine Harris, long-time friends from Berkeley. Prof. Bob Harris was my quantum mechanics teacher many many moons ago when I was a first year graduate student at UC Berkeley. Amazingly we have kept in frequent touch over all these years, a touch that I continue to treasure.

Thanks Laura Sofen, Bob Bergman (their faculty leader) and other members of the SLAM group.

October 6, 2018 Celebrating the best of Oman  A huge congratulations to my friend Dr. Hilal Al Hinai for his election as a International Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences! Dr. Hinai has been a key leader in building the research enterprise and The Research Council in the Sultanate of Oman. He has also been a strong supporter of COACh, helping us to bring our workshops to Oman. An honor well deserved for Dr. Hinai! And what a treat to have him come to the induction ceremony in Boston with his son. Congratulations Dr. Hinai!

October 3, 2018  COACh at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) annual meeting.
What a pleasure it has been to attend my first AISES meeting held in Oklahoma City.  It has really been a unique experience for me to meet with the native American undergraduate, graduate students, postdocs and faculty that came to the COACh workshops that I facilitated on “Mentoring for Success” and “Career Launch and Acceleration”.

One of the best parts of the day was to meet with the students involved in Prof. Mary Jo Ondrechen’s program “Lighting the Pathway to Faculty Careers for Natives in STEM” program. Sitting in a circle together I had a chance to hear the wonderful and often challengeing stories of these young native american STEM students aspire to be our next generation of science academic teachers. What an honor it was for me to be part of all of this. And Kudos to Mary Jo for her leadership.

September  25, 2018 Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. I had a wonderful time in this beautiful part of the country where I gave a lectureship at App State. What a gem of a school nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was very honored to be selected as their Morgan Science Speaker for this year.  

A huge thanks to Jennifer Cecile for organizing my visit and all the wonderful faculty and students that I had a chance to meet.

August 22, 2018  Bangkok, Thailand – Inspiration, Motivation and Creativity  is the theme for the 15th Asia Pacific Conference on Giftedness (APCG) that I had a chance to be part of this week at the National Convention Center. There were many great talks given to hundreds of teachers and young students from all over the Asia Pacific Region. I gave a talk on “Curiosity”, highlighting the amazingly gifted teenager named Agnes Pockels whose fundamental studies in the late 1800s conducted while washing dishes as a teenager in her kitchen was fundamental in establishing the modern discipline of surface science. It was a wonderful conference with many new teachers and students to meet and greet.

My thanks to the APCG conference for the invitation and a special thanks to the APCG Conference Secretariat, Ms. Charinya Saichan.

August 9, 2018  Revisit to Brookhaven National Laboratory 
It was a quick visit but a very fun one visiting Brookhaven National Laboratory with both my science and my COACh hat on. Had a fun time giving both a scientific talk, having lunch with the Brookhaven Women in Science group (wow! Have they made progress since I last visited a couple of years ago – go BWIS!) and giving COACh workshops on Mentoring for Success.

Thanks to everyone for the great visit!

July 17, 2018 Women in Science and Innovation in Science in Uganda  What an additional treat it has been for me to visit with women scientists and innovators in Kampala Uganda following our USAID Mentoring Conference in Rwanda. I met with about 30 women in all stages of their STEM careers to learn about the challenges women face in Uganda in their aspiration to be successful in STEM fields. I gave a short presentation on “Women in Leadership Roles in Science and Innovation” followed by rich discussions and insights from those in attendance on women in STEM in Uganda. I was so honored that many came from far distances (and roads in Uganda are a challenge in themselves!) to attend my session that was held at the the amazing Resilience Africa Network (RAN) center at a Makerere University site. I learned so much for all of you and hope that we have a chance to meet again

And a huge thanks to Dr. Sheila Desai, Director, Office of Economic Growth, Dorothy Ngalombi and Khadija Mohamud of USAID in Kamapala and to Dorothy Okello and RAN for hosting the event.

While in Kampala I also had the chance to meet with the Permanent Secretary of the newly formed Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, David O. Obong and his staff to give them ideas and best practices for their efforts in increasing the science and innovation research in Uganda. What a wonderful group!

And to top it off, lunch hosted by Sheila Desai with the US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah R. Malac.

Best wishes for great success to you all!

July 13, 2018 Greetings from KIGALI, Rwanda It’s been a wonderful opportunity to be part of the USAID sponsored Mentoring Workshop for groups of women scientists from different countries in Africa. I was privileged to be invited to lead several COACh sessions on topics such as mentoring, networking, negotiation and publishing at the 3 day workshop in Kigali. Approximately 45 women scientists came as cohorts from South African, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia. Each cohort from each of the countries consisted of 3-5 mentees and one mentor. This unique workshop was the brainchild of Dr. Anjali Kumar of USAID. The goals of the workshop were to learn and practice best practices of mentoring and for each cohort to develop a one-year plan for working together with their senior mentor to address issues that would help them advance in their careers.

From all accounts the workshop was an amazing experience for everyone – including me. Anjali felt that it went well beyond her expectations. Everyone left with dozens of new friends from different countries that they could stay in touch with as the months and years go forward. More importantly, they now have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a mentor, sponsor or coach for each other and have a plan developed for group mentoring in the coming year.

Once again it proved to me that magical and powerful things can happen when women scientists get together and share their stories, aspirations and friendship.


June 11, 2018. It’s Joe Palca of NPR!  

What a treat to have had a chance to be interviewed by the infamous Joe Palca at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as part of their Women in Science Speaker Series.

Joe is such an amazing reporter with an incredibly dry and funny sense of humor. It couldn’t have been more fun!

Big thanks to the director of LBNL, Mike Witherell for starting and hosting this series.

May 23, 2018  BUSY in BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan   A whirlwind trip to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, allowed me to visit a number of laboratories and meet with many STEM researchers and students. As in Uzbekistan, finding resources for science is difficult and equally difficult to find collaborators in the US. My first visit was to the highly esteemed Academy of Science with it’s beautiful and artful representations of the atom outside. Many laboratory and institute directors attended my presentation on science in the U.S. including the president of the Academy.

A visit to the highly regarded Polytechnic Institute was very exciting, especially being on a campus with many STEM students engaged in their courses and also studying for their exams. I was quite impressed with their agricultural oriented laboratories and their facilities in general that prepare students for agricultural jobs while also conducting research. I am so grateful for their warm welcome.

At the Sapat primary and secondary school in Bishkek I had another opportunity to meet with many dedicated teachers and with women in technology at the American Center that is co-located with the Bishkek Children’s library. Too many wonderful people to list so please see them in the pictures.
Everyone that I met would like to connect with scientists in the US but they don’t know how. All ideas are welcome. Although english can be an impediment for some, the younger generation is working hard to learn english and with much success.

Big thanks to everyone that was so generous in coming to my talks and engaging in conversation. Many traveled many hours from different provinces to come to Bishkek to see me, including my dear friend Myskal Sagynbaeva. And a special thanks to Cori and Manas of the US Embassy for all their help with my visit and the US Chargé d’Affaires Alan Meltzer for meeting with me.          .

May 18, 2018 STEM and COACh in Osh, Kyrgyzstan   Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful country with over 90% of the landscape covered with gorgeous mountains. Boutiful farm fields cover much of the remaining land. Like Uzbekistan and many neighboring countries, much of the STEM academic research and educational endeavors mirror the structure of the former Soviet Union. Transitioning to a research and educational structure that is updated and more like western countries has been long in coming but clear signs of recent progress are apparent.

Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan has about 10 universities. The last two days I have had a chance to meet with scientists and students one of the best, Osh Technical University, with a group of young inventors at the American Center and with high school STEM teachers from the southern region of Kyrgyzstan at the highly regarded Sapat school. There are 16 Sapat schools in the country and they graduate some of the best students in the country – their students winning many STEM local and international Olympiad awards.

I am so grateful for all of the visiting arrangements made by the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan (and a big shout-out to magnificent Manas Kaarav from the Embassy who shephered me around and helped with my shortcomings with Russian and Kyrgyz languages). I also want to thank the institutes that hosed my events and the students and teachers that came to my events and shared with me their knowledge about STEM in the country, their aspirations and the challenges that they have in elevating the science and innovation ecosystem in their country.

May 16, 2018 COACh’s First Visit to Central Asia – Tashkent Uzbekistan     I have learned much in the past few days about science and innovation efforts in this wonderful country. My visit to the region is a result of a very special International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. State Department called #HiddenNoMore: Empowering Women Leaders in STEM. While speaking about COACh to the 2017 class of women scientists from all over the world, several women from Central Asia asked if there was anyway that I could bring COACh to the region. With funds from the University of Oregon I have finally been able to make the trip and am so glad that I did.

While here I have given several talks and visited with professors, researchers and students from the Uzbekistan Academy of Science, the newly formed Center for Advanced Technologies, and the Tashkent Chemical Technological Institute. I have toured laboratories and even had a special event with you students from around Tashkent who are practicing their English skills through the English Conversation Club at the U.S. Embassy. Like in many countries the number of women in the biological sciences is nearly at gender parity but men far outnumber women in the physical sciences and engineering. Women are even fewer in number when it comes to leadership posts, Academy of Science membership and directorships. That said, I met some amazing women who are leading the way in science in Uzbekistan and are serving as role models for those to come.

Thank you so much to Claire Thomas from the U.S. Embassy and her assistant Ekaterina Biryukova for hosting my visit and also Shahlo Turdikulova, Director of the Center for Advanced Technologies and member of the 2017 class of IVLP that invited me to come. It’s been a wonderful visit with lots of great pictures to remind me of all of you.

May 6, 2018  HOLD THOSE HORSES! We’re at the Kentucky Derby with the Univ. of Louisville Chemistry Graduate Students!  What a great time I’ve had the last few days with the students from the Chemistry Graduate Student Association (CGSA) at the University of Louisville! I am so honored and delighted to have been chosen by the CGSA students to be their 2018 Derby Lecturer – which includes giving a couple of seminars, a wonderful banquet, a COACh workshop on negotiation and a memorable trip to the Kentucky Derby with my husband Steve, CGSA graduate students Anthony, Austin, Nina and Raj and with additional help from Amir.

This has been so much fun! Even getting soaked with the nearly continuous rain couldn’t dampen our spirits at the Derby. See all the pictures and the video of the CGSA students that attended the COACh workshop.

A huge thanks to all of the fantastic graduate students that I have met in the department and all the work that they have put into this amazing visit – especially Austin who is president of CGSA. They are the best. I suggest hiring them all if you get a chance. 😊

March 17, 2018 Greetings from the ACS Spring Meeting in New Orleans   What a great way to spend St. Patrick’s Day, meeting reconnecting, and working with women scientists at our COACh workshops here in New Orleans.  Jane Tucker and I gave workshops today on mentoring, leadership and networking to a really wonderful group.  Especially gratifying were the participants who had previously attended other COACh workshops and shared their success stories with us. Thanks everyone for being part of our COACh program.


March 8, 2018  Happy International Women’s Day from Delhi   Greetings and warm wishes to all as we all celebrate the wonderful women and girls in our lives.  I am spending these two days at a wonderful celebration and update of the status of women in STEM in India.  It has provided me a unique opportunity to get the national perspective on the importance of women in STEM and the efforts being expended to increase their numbers.  I am honored to have given an address at the conference and to meet so many highly committed people attending the meeting.  The meeting was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in India.  Big thanks to the organizer:  Dr.(Mrs.) Manju Sharma, Former Secretary to the Govt. of India, Department of Biotechnology, Principal Advisor to the Dept. Science and Technology, Gujarat, Distinguished Women Scientist Chair, NASI, Allahabad

February 26-28, 2018 Back to Tunis, Tunisia for another wonderful visit!    Thanks to the Elsevier Foundation we are back in Tunisia to coach PhD students at INSAT ( University of Carthage) on career building skills in STEM. Thanks to all the wonderful participant at our workshops and my wonderful partner, Professor Rim Cherif. Be sure to check out the video too!

During our workshops  the participating graduate students gave 2 minute talks and Flash talks on their research. THEY WERE SUPERB!! Great projects and great communication skills. We presented several of them with awards for their talks. Take a look at all the great pictures on the COACh Facebook page.

February 15, 2018  Science at St. Olaf!  The warmth of my reception at the Chemistry department at St. Olaf College made up for the cold weather and snow!  I had a great time visiting with faculty and students here and am very honored to have been selected by the student to be the St. Olaf College Distinguished Lecturer.  I gave a scientific lecture on our research and an evening presentation on my global science activities.  While there I also had the pleasure of reconnecting with wonderful friends from my high school, Jane and Kirk Lewis.  thanks everyone for the wonderful visit!

February 13, 2018 Visit to the University of Syracuse  Today I had the honor of being the Prins Lecturer in the chemistry department of Syracuse University.  I got to meet with many faculty and students who are very excited about their research – and for good reason.  I also had the pleasure of having lunch women faculty in the WiSE program at the university – which was an added treat.  Big thanks to all those involved in my visit.  It was indeed enjoyable!

February 5-7, 2018  Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystems Science Conference 2018, New Orleans  Since its inception in 2013, the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference (GoMOSES) has sought to link fundamental research on the Gulf ecosystem to practical application. The 2018 theme, “Response, Restoration, and Resiliency in the Gulf,” continued this trend, exploring how fundamental science can help restore and maintain Gulf ecosystem integrity, inform response strategies, and strengthen resilience. I was truly honored to be chosen to be one of the plenary speakers at the conference to talk about our studies of surfactants and dispersants at oil-water interfaces.  I was so incredibly impressed with all the research conducted across many disciplines to understand how to better manage and remediate oil spills.  It is amazing!  I thank the organizers for inviting me to be part of this very important meeting.  I do look forward to working with others to see how our research might help the effort.   

While in New Orleans, I had an extra treat to have lunch with a wonderful high school friend that I haven’t seen in years – Terry Brennan.  It was great to catch up!

 January 24, 2018 Back in Bangkok at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT)             We had a wonderful meeting today with many students, researchers and faculty in science and engineering at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Bangkok. Supapan Seraphin, Lerwen Liu and I talked with with them our experiences and tips on how to have success in science and tips on writing proposals. Big thanks to everyone that came!    Best wishes for successful careers!

Link to video!

January 12, 2018   APS CUWiP at the University of Oregon     What a treat it was for me to be the kick-off speaker for the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) held at the University of Oregon last weekend. Over 200 female undergraduates from Northern California and the Northwest came to hear scientific talks, attend career building workshops, have a Physics Slam and poster sessions. These Many CUWiP simultaneously occurred across the US.

It was a huge success with a turnout much larger than the organizers expected. Huge thanks to all the sponsors and local organizers including the amazing Prof. Stephanie Majewski, Kara Zappitelli and Amanda Steinhebel.   (Link to the We Love Physics video)

January 10,  2018  Aloha and Happy New Year!                  What a great way to start the new year – in Honolulu at the University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST).   It was a fun day and half giving COACh workshops to graduate students, postodoctoral associates and faculty on “Mentoring for Success” and “Launching a Career in Science”

Big thanks to Dr. Barb Bruno and her staff for hosting me and organizing the event. Best wishes for future success to all the participants.  (more pics)

January 5, 2018  Back to High School – Manhattan, Kansas           There are some things that come from completely out of the blue – and this was one of them!  My high school has put me on their “Wall of Fame” thanks to the nomination by a former high school buddy Nancy Kruh.  I went back to Manhattan High for the ceremony which took place between the girls’ and the boys’ Friday night basketball games, fitting given that the last time I was on that basketball court was when I was cheerleader.  Although in those Pre-Title IX days, we didn’t have girls basketball.

It was really fun!  I got to see many former  high school friends and also my first research director in chemistry at KSU, Dr. Clif Meloan.  I am so honored and so thrilled to be with my friends from so many years ago.  A big thanks to everyone for coming and to my former high school for honoring me.

December 20, 2017  Happy Holidays!  We continue our holiday tradition of a holiday party, gifts to families in the community and a celebratory lunch.  Wishing you all the best for the  holidays and the coming new year. 

December 17, 2017  COACh Going Nuclear at SNMICON 2017 in Delhi, India   I met some truly amazing women scientists and doctors at the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Imaging Conference at the end of this week in Delhi. The focus of the conference is to promote pragmatic approaches for advancement in precision nuclear medicine for the visualization and treatment of clinical pathologies.

Yesterday afternoon I had a chance to be part of a special session on Women Scientists in Nuclear Medicine and gave a COACh Negotiation workshop to a wonderful group of women prior to the session. I always enjoy learning about women scientists in India at these events.

Huge thanks to Cathy Cutler of Brookhaven National Laboratory for inviting me to be part of the SNMICON 2017 meeting and arranging the special afternoon for women scientists. And also to Anil Kumar Mishra and Puja Hazari for all their welcoming and generous hosting of our event.

December 14, 2017   COACh in Botswana for the Africa MRS Conference   What a treat it has been to be here in Gaborone at the African Materials Research Society Conference! There are over 500 participants from all over Africa- students, researchers and faculty with lots of great science to report. And a good number also from the U.S. I am inspired by all the enthusiasm and excitement of the young scientists here. Wonderful science indeed!Yesterday I had the opportunity to give three COACh workshops on Publishing, Proposal Writing and Scientific Presentations a very interactive and engaged group of researchers. Was really fun! In the evening we had a conference celebration at a nearby restaurant where we were entertained by this amazing group of Botswana dancers and drummers that performed some amazing traditional dances.

(See video and more pictures)  What a WONDERFUL country. A huge thanks and shout out to Africa MRS for inviting COACh to be part of the conference.

December 10, 2017  Greetings from Beautiful Oman!  It’s always such a treat to return to Oman in an advisory capacity to help them develop their research enterprise through The Research Council. Sunday I attended a wonderful ceremony that honored and celebrated Omani researchers. What a treat it was to see the women researchers win the highest awards. Kudos to you and all the other wonderful winners!

A wonderful time indeed to be in Oman. The weather, mountains and coastline could not be more beautiful this time of year.


October 28, 2017  Greetings from Dehradun in Northern India

It’s been a fantastic visit to the Uttarakhand State Council for Science & Technology (UCOST)in Dehradun, India where Pushpa Murthy and I gave a full-day workshop on “Leadership and Career Development for Women in STEM Fields.” We were given such a warm welcome from the leadership of UCOST, their staff and women from a variety of different institutions in the region. We continue to be impressed with the many amazing women scientists and engineers that we work with in India! Thank you all for hosting us! We look forward to staying in touch.

The workshop was the brainchild of D
r. Punam Singh, Regional Directorof IGNOU Regional Centre in Shimla, India. Dr. Singh had attended our COACh workshop in Pune India a couple of years ago and urged us to come back. While visiting with her in Dehradun she reported that our visit to Pune had resulted in the formation of a Women in Science group among the Pune participants and lots of continued interactions. We look forward to hearing from all that attended our workshop here in Dehradun and also from the former India workshop participants. We are at your service to help Indian scientists in any way that we can.

A HUGE thanks to Dr. Kirti Joshi Bhatt, Scientific Officer of UCOST for the amazing effort that she put into organizing this workshop on quite short notice. And her wonderful staff who who were invaluable. It could not have happened without Dr. Bhatt and Dr. Singh.

And also a big thanks to the very inspirational Dr. Savita, Director of the Forest Research Institute of Dehradun. She is the first female director of this amazing Institute.

October 26, 2017  COAChing from Nepal: Hidden No More: Empowering Women and Girls in STEM Fields

While working in Nepal this week I had the wonderful opportunity to speak through a video conference with the most amazing group of 48 women scientists from all over the world that have spent the past three weeks in the U.S. to explore ways to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM fields. The visitation with the label “#HiddenNoMore: Empowering Women Leaders in STEM” and was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) . It followed in the wake of the successful screenings of the film “Hidden Figures” about a black female mathematician working at NASA during the Space race.

I caught up with them in LA near the end of their three week visitation. What a treat it was to speak with them, to tell them about the COACh program and AAAS. It’s an amazing group! There was much interest expressed in our COACh international programs! I do indeed hope that we can come and help those interested in bringing our career development workshops to your countries.

SO a very big salute to these amazing women, their accomplishments and their aspirations.

A special thanks to Kimberly Jenkins from the U.S. State Department for her leadership on the project and the invitation to be a virtual part of the meeting. And also to Welela Makonnen from 21st Century Fox in LA for helping with the events in southern California.

October 19, 2017  MPOWIR-Mentoring Physical Oceanography Women to Increase Retention   Had a wonderful time with the women in physical oceanography at the Pattullo Conference for female early career women scientists in Virginia in early October. I provided a COACh workshop with elements of negotiation, mentoring and networking to a very welcoming group of women. I learned as much from them as they did from me. The field of physical oceanography is a challenging field for women, in part because of the field work that can extend for long periods of time and additional gender related issues. But what great and important science they are doing!

A huge thanks goes to Sara Clem, Sonya Legg and Colleen Mouw for leading the MPOWIR effort, organizing the workshop and inviting COACh to come. And a big thanks to NSF, DOE, ONR, NASA and NOAA for sponsoring the Pattullo Conference and MPOWIR.

Wishing you all great success!

September 26, 2017  A Warm Welcome in Australia  It’s been a great visit here in Brisbane where I have had a chance to be part of the 2017 International Conference on BioNano Innovation here at the University of Queensland (UQ), giving a scientific talk as well as participating in several COACh related activities.

Last evening was a wonderful event to celebrate Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, the first female Nobel Laureate from Australia and current director of the Salk Institute. I had a great time this afternoon giving a COACh workshop at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnologyon “The Art of Effective Negotiation” to a really engaging and fun group of postdocs and graduate students from the UQ (see the video!) – and an evening presentation on the “Importance of Inclusive Leadership in Science and Innovation”. The University of Queensland is working very hard to level the playing field for women scientists here and with an impressive commitment. It’s been a super visit!

HUGE thanks to Professor Debra Bernhardt and her colleagues including Professor Andrew Whittaker at the University of Queensland for organizing the workshop as part of the BioNano conference.

September 11, 2017  Catching Up                         It’s been a busy past few weeks! As our summer comes to a close and fall approaches I would be remiss in not highlighting some of our COACh activities during this time.

We had a great turn-out at our COACh Career Building workshops in Washington DC in August prior to the American Chemical Society meeting. We had a wonderful group of new and returning participants in our Powerful Postdocs, COACh-the-COAChes and Leadership and Negotiation workshops! Thanks to all who joined us and best wishes for the future. 

At the very end of August I spent the morning at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2017 Bioscience Retreat to provide the COACh “Mentoring for Success in Science and Innovation” workshop as part of their launch of a new mentoring program in the Bioscience division. It was really fun! Lots of good dialogue and role-playing, followed by a luncheon presentation to the division on “The Importance of Strong and Inclusive Leadership and Networking”. A big thanks goes to Mary Maxon (Division Director) and Helen Cademartori for the invitation and to all those who participated.

The Elsevier Foundation in Amsterdam was the next stop and another welcome experience. The Elsevier Foundation has been a strong supporter of COACh’s efforts in Tunisia, with Prof. Rim Cherif in Tunis as the driver of that program. The Elsevier Foundation, under the Directorship of the amazing Dr. Ylaan Schemm funds important international programs around the globe on such issues as education, health and women in science. Their co-sponsorship of the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Women Scientists in the Developing World has honored some of the most amazing women young scientists.  I’m happy and honored to be on their Board. 

July 24, 2017    BACK to Indonesia for the PEER Indonesia Forum in Jakarta  It’s been fun to be a part of this USAID Forum for some of the best Indonesian scientists in the country. With the theme of “Apply the Science”, the focus of the Forum is to share ideas and enhance science communication skills of those funded by the PEER program. 

Huge thanks to the USAID PEER team and the NAS folks for organizing such a great event!  Best wishes to everyone for great success!

July 17, 2017  Warm greetings from the Spice Islands of Indonesia   Today was spent with many fantastic young scientists here in Ambon, Indonesia as part of the 7th Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium for U.S., Indonesian and Australian scientists. The Indonesian participants at our COACh workshops today came from several different islands in Indonesia and were so wonderful to meet and work with. We presented four COACh workshops during the day on proposal writing, publishing their scientific results, launching an international career in science and effective negotiation and communication. GroupCRazycrop

We could not have asked for more fun, engaging and motivated group of participants! You all rock! We wish you all the best for your careers. Please keep in touch! 

Huge thanks to USAID, the Kavli Foundation and the NAS folks for inviting us to once again be part of this wonderful Frontiers Symposium! Cheers to you all!  (more pictures and video)


July 13, 2017  2017 Cottrell Scholars Conference in Tuscan          One of my very first research grants in my career came from Research Corporation, guided by the wise advice of Dr. Scott Pyron.  Today I had a chance to partially pay back that huge benefit to my career by speaking at the 2017 Cottrell Research Scholars Conference in Tuscan Arizona.  The group attended included recent and past Cottrell Research Scholars and folks like me who were invited to share our insights. I  gave really fun presentation on “The Importance of Inclusive Leadership and Mentoring” which included some really enjoyable audience participation activities related to effective mentoring.  What a great group!!  Huge thanks to Research Corporation for the invitation and to all that attended. Best wishes for continued success!

May 23, 2017  Greetings from Sri Lanka   Beautiful country, wonderful people, amazing women scientists! 

Today I had the privilege of meeting and COAChing a wonderful group of women scientists from all parts of Sri Lanka. The event held in Colombo was entitled the “COACh Training Workshop on Leadership and Career Development for Women in Science, Technology and Research”. Participants included graduate students, researchers, faculty and administrators who were very interactive and are very motivated to contribute to the science and technology efforts of their country. I gave presentations on Persuasive Communication, Effective Negotiation and Leadership and Networking Building Techniques.

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It was great fun!! My best wishes to all of you – including the Sri Lanka graduate students I meet a few days ago at KSU who gave me a wonderful introduction to Sri Lanka before my departure. Enjoy the great video on the COACh Facebook post. 

The workshop was organized jointly by the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka (NASSL), the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka(NSF), in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Academy of Young Scientists (SLAYS).  

Thanks so much to all the organizers and sponsors for this wonderful opportunity.A special thanks to Professor Nadira Karunaweera, General Secretary, NASSL for inviting me to come. Tomorrow I will speak about “S&T Innovation Strategies in the United States” at the 38thAnnual General Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka before heading back to Oregon.

May 13, 2017  Illinois Institute of Technology Commencement, Chicago, Illinois   
What an  honor it has been to be the Commencement Speaker and to receive an honorary PhD degree from this wonderful University.  It’s an amazing school that has been producing great scientists and engineers for decades.  I am inspired by the many graduates that have worked so hard for their degrees, many first generation graduates.  Thank you for this great honor and best wishes to all the graduates on a wonderful career!34734863095_846c81ae3e_z

May 12, 2017. Kansas State University Graduate School Commencement, Manhattan, Kansas  Came back “home” today to Manhattan to receive an honorary degree and be the commencement speaker at the Kansas State University Graduate School graduation ceremony.  As a KSU undergraduate alum, it was so much fun and a chance to thank those in the Chemistry department who launched me in my career.  I also had a chance to be with some wonderful high school friends that I haven’t seen in years and my dear friend Paula in Lindsborg.  Congratulations to all the graduates and best wishes for future success.

April 24-26, 2017  Frontiers of Science Educator Conference for Educators in the Lower Mekong River Countries  Thanks to the support of the US Embassy in Bangkok and Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, COACh is having the wonderful opportunity this week in Bangkok to bring together STEM educators from the U.S. and those from the five Lower Mekong River countries of Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

IMG_7482 IMG_7485IMG_7512.JPG IMG_7498.JPG       It’s an amazing group who are passionate about their teaching, their students and their role in advancing their countries through STEM education. We’ve had lots of time for networking, sharing stories, comparing challenges and opportunities and developing collaborative projects. How privileged we are to be able to host such a unique adventure!IMG_7528.JPG

Huge thanks to all the wonderful attendees. Enjoy the video on the COACh Facebook page and all the pictures in the post there and above! We look forward to keeping in touch as we move forward.

April 13,14, 2017  National Institute of Standards and Technology  I’ve had a great couple of days visiting with some fantastic scientists and engineers at NIST in Gaithersburg Maryland. Yesterday I gave a COACh Negotiation and Communication workshop to a large group of researchers there and learned alot about this very unique and important National Laboratory. Then today I gave the Director’s Colloqium, with stories of the many women and men that COACh has worked in so many countries in SE Asia, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. It was a wonderful reception both days! IMG_7452

Huge thanks to Drs. Lisa Fredin, Tamae Maeda Wong and Heather Evans for organizing my trip and NIST for sponsoring it.

April 10-11, 2017  Jean Dreyfus Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions at Iona College       It’s been a very interesting and enjoyable days spent at Iona College, visiting with students, faculty and new friends.  My visit and presentations coincided with the Iona Scholars Day which allows students from all parts of campus to show off their research and creative work conducted over the past academic year.   My host, Professor Sunghee Lee of the chemistry department is doing some amazing research on oil-water interfaces with over a dozen undergraduate research students – EACH YEAR.  Big thanks to Prof. Lee, her colleagues, students and the Dreyfus Foundation for support.  

April 1, 2017  WOHOO!  COACh 20-Year Reunion in San Francisco!  What a great time we had at our celebration workshops in San Francisco today! It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the small group of women chemists started COACh, having no idea that in 20 years we would have worked with over 20,000 scientists and engineers around the globe on career building workshops and projects.IMG_7331

At our COACh “Upping Your Game” workshop we a reunion workshop that included many women that had attended our workshops in the late 90s and early 2000s. What a treat it was to hear their accomplishments and continued efforts to succeed under often difficult situations. And their efforts to share what they learned many years ago at the COACh workshops with their students and colleagues. Jane Tucker and Barb Butterfield, our founding facilitators were there to lead and share stories and experiences. Was a love fest indeed.IMG_7373

Our second workshop brought together several dozen new COACh workshop attendees in a workshop on communication and negotiation led by our other founding facilitators Lee Warren and Nancy Houfek. Tis the next generation indeed and another amazing group!IMG_7329

The day of workshops ended with a special session that brought together the junior and the senior group to network and ask questions of each other. The first question from one of the junior members created quite a flurry of very insightful responses and advice: “What do you wish you had known at our career level”. And then the senior women turned back to the junior women to learn what they felt that they needed in their careers. It was amazing!IMG_7328

And of course in the COACh tradition, a great reception ended the day on the 30th floor of the Marriott hotel, with a grand view of San Francisco. The pictures capture a bit of the festive reception.

IMG_7372Huge thanks to NSF, DOE and NIH for their continued support of COACh, to Priscilla who always makes things happen, to the COACh Advisory Board and workshop facilitators, to all the wonderful attendees at this workshop and all the amazing women and men that we have had the privilege of working with around the globe over these 20 years! Onward!

March 27, 2017  Greetings from Sultanate of Oman                 

It has been a wonderful return to Oman for meetings in my role as a member of the International Advisory Board for The Research Council of Oman, the major funding agency for research in this Middle East country.  For those of you not familiar with Oman, it is the second largest country on the Arabian Peninsula.  “Boasting a unique culture and stunning landscapes it has a vast array of natural attractions ranges from rugged mountains to ochre deserts. With the advent of 1970 came the dawn of a modern renaissance in the Sultanate, with the beginning of the prosperous era of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Divers, hikers and history buffs all relish the pristine local waters, untouched coastline and labyrinthine souks. The country’s Oman’s greatest attraction is its diverse landscape. The country’s abundant cultural and archaeological heritage reflects hundreds of years of foreign influence and international trade. Oman is home to more than 500 forts, as well as castles, watchtowers and a wealth of ancient cave paintings, not to mention four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Through deliberate and sustainable development, the country remains firmly rooted in its traditions. A trip to Oman affords the chance to experience the timeless Arabian way of life.” IMG_7312.JPG


March 8, 2017  Happy International Women’s Day from Tunisia!

Here’s to strong women! May we KNOW them. May we BE them. May we RAISE them.”

Wishing you all a wonderful day as we celebrate the women and girls all over the world!

This week Prof. Rim Cherif and I are running COACh career building workshops for graduate students and researchers here in Tunis. What a fantastic and bright group of participants! Thanks to the Elsevier Foundation for support of the workshops.  IMG_7197 IMG_7239IMG_7219


February 9, 2017 Fantastic Day with the Women in Chemical Sciences (WCS) at the University of Washington

WCS is the Women in Chemical Sciences group at the University of Washington and what a super group it is! I love spending the day with smart, energetic and highly motivated graduate students and postdocs that will be our next leaders in our scientific enterprise. The day provided me with lots of opportunities to talk with the WCS members including women graduate students from physics and male graduate students also. It was a lot of fun for me to give the COACh Negotiations workshop and also to have an open forum of questions and discussions about all the different kinds of career options as scientists and engineers.

HUGE thanks to Katie Corp and Beth Mundy (WICS president) for helping to organize my visit. I am deeply honored to have been chosen to be your 2017 WCS Lecturer.

And the additional treat was to have time with buddies and COACh alums – Profs Anne McCoy and Karen Goldberg – and Chem department chair – Prof. Mike Heinekey. Too much fun!

All the best to everyone and best wishes for great success ahead!


January 23, 2017  Greetings from Beautiful Thailand!             This week  I am in Bangkok to give a series of our COACh workshops (8 in total) at the Thailand Science Park for a large group of wonderful researchers, students and faculty from KMUTT, MTEC, NANOTECH and local tech companies. It’s been a great first day and with more to come in the next two days. I am joined by Prof. Supapan Seraphin, originally from Thailand and back now in Bangkok after many years at the University of Arizona. 

The workshops are sponsored by the National Science and Technology Development Agency of Thailand. A huge thanks to Patcharaporn Tippayatus of the National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC) for helping to organize this wonderful event. Lots of good memories in the pictures!

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January 10, 2017  Happy New Year!  COACh and BWIS (Brookhaven National Laboratory Women in Science)    

I’ve had a great experience this past couple of days to meet and work with women scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) on Long Island, New York. I gave our COACh negotiation workshop and was involved in many discussions about the current status of women at the laboratory, the need for improvements in the workplace to assure that all employed at the laboratory achieve the career goals to which they aspire, and ways that BWIS can play a key role in driving those improvements.IMG_6968

You are an amazing group of women and I am privileged to have had the chance to work with you! Best wishes as you move forward in this important venture.

A big shout-out and thanks to Anna Goldberg, current coordinator of BWIS, for making this happen. You ROCK!

And thanks also to Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs for his support and Lisa Durham and Lydia Finney from Argonne for assisting in the workshop.

December 5,6, 2016 Fiarahabana avy any Madagasikara! (Greetings from Madagascar!)
What a treat it has been these last two days to meet and work with so many fantastic STEM graduate students, researchers, teachers and faculty members who attended our series of COACh workshops ohere in Antananarivo, Madagascar. I couldn’t have imagined a more receptive, open, smart and motivated group of attendees! What a privilege it is for me to be here to learn from you about life, work and science here in this wonderful island country. You all are amazing and have such a good command of English – given that it is your THIRD language after Malagasy and French. Thank you so much for coming!IMG_4575 copy 2IMG_6783
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I am here at the invitation of Dr. Niri Ramamonjisoa and Dr. Onja Razafindratsima, both born in Madagascar who attended our COACh workshops in the U.S. as postdocs at Sloan Kettering and Rice University respectively. They and their friends Dr. Nanou Rabetokotany did all the arrangements for the COACh workshops including organizing the event, translating all our COACh workshops into French and signing up over 140 attendees.

Madagascar is indeed an unique and amazing island. It has been an isolated island for around 70 million years, breaking away first Africa around 165 million years ago and then from India nearly 100 million years later. This isolation led to the development of a unique flora and fauna, with 90 percent of its wildlife found only in Madagascar. I had a chance to go into the Andasibe National Park over the weekend to see the amazing Indri lemurs in the wild. A sight and experience that is unforgettable!  Big thanks again to Niri , Onja and Nanou for all your efforts to help scientists in your country and all the amazing Malagasy scientists for giving me the chance to meet you.

December 4, 2016  Greetings from the beautiful island of Mauritius!  It’s been a great few days talking with many wonderful STEM researchers, teachers, students, and community members on this absolutely spectacular island in the Indian Ocean. It is summer here with palm trees swaying in the ocean breezes. The country is working hard to increase its excellence in science, led by their amazing president, Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib, who has her PhD in organic chemistry.

The US Embassy hosted me at their “Let’s Talk about Science” event which included the Mauritius Research Council and Planet Earth. Many great questions! I also had a chance to give a talk hosted by the Ministry of Education to science educators and administrators. As with many countries they are struggling with revamping their STEM curriculum. My third presentation was at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Center where we talked about the need for scientists and researchers to help solve many global environmental challenges. The Science Center is an amazing asset to the island. My final presentation was at Café Scientifique and hosted by an NGO on the island helping to advance science literacy. It was also a lot of fun with many great questions. It was held at the Flying Dodo Brewing Company and restaurant.IMG_6439 IMG_6450 IMG_6447

Merci beaucoup to Jennifer Barr and Matt Gerdin for hosting my visit and others from the US Embassy who helped coordinate all of the logistics of my meetings. You Rock!

Warm regards from the southern hemisphere,

November 17, 2016: VIVA L’ALGERIE!  COACH in Algiers  We’ve had the most amazing three days here in Algiers giving over a dozen COACh workshops at the Center of Development of Advanced Technologies (CDTA) and the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in the Maison de la Science (USTHD). We met so many wonderful students, faculty and researchers who were very active participants in our workshops. Conversations, laughter and stories shared in English, Arabic and French made this such an enjoyable experience for Nora Berrah (Univ. of Connecticut) and I as we gave the workshops to many Algerians – men and women. Nora is a native of Algeria and fabulous role model for the attendees.

The education and science that the students receive – from elementary school through university – is very impressive as well as their English skills – usually their third language. Everyone was so kind, warm and welcoming. And the amazing Algerian press coverage made us all TV, radio and newspaper stars!20161117_161431 IMG_6037 IMG_6039

HUGE thanks to Professors Leila Adnane and Yasmina Ziari for organizing and hosting our workshops at USTHD and Dr. Nadia Soule for our workshops at CDTA. And Leila’s graduate student Raouf Souker for driving us all over Algiers in rush hour traffic – and his pal Hammache. You Rock!IMG_6053 IMG_6058 IMG_6055

And a big thanks also for our travel support from the OES Division of the U.S. State Department as part our US-Africa Women in Science program.  Enjoy the pictures and keep in touch. 

Salom aleikoum!T res bonne continuation! Best wishes for great success!

October 31, 2016:  Happy Halloween!  It has been a tradition in my research group to dress up for Halloween.  It goes back over 20 years with many great costumes.  In recent years the group has chosen a theme for the costumes with this year’s theme being the very scarey “anything having to do with tea”.  And in case you can’t guess what we all are, Brandon has helped with labels.


October 20, 2016:  COACh in Bangkok: The International Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Conference (ISMTEC).  It has been my pleasure to be part of the ISMTEC meeting in Bangkok this past week for a discussion of how to prepare Thailand’s STEM students for the workforce. It was a very well attended conference by teachers and students and sponsored by the Thai government. Thailand, like many countries in the region are struggling to upgrade their STEM educational curriculum and teaching methods to make their courses more relevant to the job market of today and in the future.


It was great to meet all of you at the conference. And a big thanks to the organizers and the invitation to speak at the conference.

As a final note, I also wish to extend to those in Thailand my sympathies for the loss of your beloved King, King Bhumibol the Great. To be in Thailand during this time of mourning gave me a sense of how important this amazing man has been to all of your lives and your country.

October 18,19, 2016: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam:  It’s been another wonderful albeit short return to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam where I had a chance to meet with some fantastic young women scientists at the American Center.


I also had a chance to visit the FabLab Saigon that was founded by Ms. Phan Hoàng Anh and her colleagues. Every time I return to this country I rediscover all the wonderful young people that are the future of science and technology in this country. It is indeed a bright future ahead. It was great to meet and learn about all of you.


Special thanks to Anne Eisenhower Turnbull, the Economic Officer of the U.S. Consulate Ho Chi Minh City who helped arrange and host my visit.

October 14-17, 2016: Yangon and Naypyidaw, Myanmar: My return to Myanmar has enhanced my knowledge about this wonderful country that is in a huge and complex transition with the election of Aung San Suu Kyi as the first and incumbent State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy. This visit was focussed on our new COACh effort to build the Southeast Asian Nutritional Neuroscience Network  to help educate nutritionists, doctors, policy makers and young mothers about how chronic malnutrition affects brain development from conception through the first two years of life, and research and interventions that are necessary to reduce the neurocognitive impact.

img_5938      It was a particular pleasure of mine to reconnect with two of our workshop participants from Myanmar that attended our workshop on this topic in Luang Prabang, Laos last March – two amazing women – Dr. May Khin Than, Director of the Nutrition Center and Dr. Lwin Mar Hlaing, Assistant Director of the Nutrition Research Section of the National Nutrition Centre (NNC), both of the Department of Public Health Ministry of Health and Sports in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. We have developed some exciting and important plans forward that we hope to implement in the coming months and years if funding can be secured. In the picture of us in front of the Public Health Ministry of Health and Sport, Dr. May Khin Than is on my right and Dr. Lwin Mar Hlaing on my left. Thank you so much for your time to meet with me. It was great!

And big thanks to Kira Mitre and Dr. Ma Myo Aye from the US Embassy who helped facilitate my visit to Yangon and Naypyidaw. You are great too!

October 4,5, 2016:  Muscat Oman;  It’s was great to be back in Oman last week for the 10th International Advisory Board meeting for The Research Council (TRC). As I have written before, Oman is working hard to build up it’s research enterprise and is doing it very strategically. Unfortunately the low price of oil, a primary source of income in the country, is slowing the progress. There are wonderful scientists in Oman and many are looking for collaborations with those in developed countries that are working in the areas of agriculture, water, energy and food security. It is such a gentle and peaceful country in this very volatile part of the world. A true oasis.

img_5928In addition to meeting many amazing scientists on this trip, I had the opportunity to go to the Agriculture Research at Rumais. There I learned about the challenges and opportunities in agriculture in the area and in Oman. And met some amazing women working in their laboratories. Was AWESOME! You come see several of them in the selfie below along with Dame Allison Richard who is also on the Advisory Board. The other picture is of our visit to Fanja with Dame Richard and His Excellency, Dr. Hilal Al Hinai, Secretary General of TRC.


September 26, 2016:  It’s the start of a new academic year at the University of Oregon: I’ve been on the faculty here at Oregon for 31 years (hard to believe!) and I still get excited when the new students arrive on campus each fall.  Welcome to all of you including our new group of graduate students.  

I’m also very excited about our new group of undergraduates that are in our Presidential Undergraduate Scholars Program!  It will be great working with you this year and watching you progress in your new research experiences.

ximg_5817August 25-31, 2016:  MYANMAR: In the midst of exciting changes:  It’s been an amazing visit to Myanmar this week. Having visited the neighboring countries of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand over the past 18 months in my role as Science Envoy, I have awaiting my chance to visit the 5th of my Envoy. The wait was worth it! I met so many wonderful people in Yangon and learned a lot about this wonderful country as it moves towards democracy and the leadership of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.

First, a big thanks to Ambassador Scot Marciel for hosting a wonderful reception for me at his residence in Yangon. Attending the reception were community members working in science and engineering fields. It was superb.


A big shout out to the Geek Girls who told me about the new companies that they have stxgeekgirlsarted and their aspirations for success. They have formed a network of other tech oriented young women that are using their technical skills to start companies and contribute to the new opportunities that are coming with the political changes in the country.   You Rock!!

I also met with a group of more senior women that are leading a netwoimg_5847rk of Women Entrepreneurs comprised of over 2000 members in Myanmar. It is clear in meeting with both groups that women are going to be major players in building the new economy in the country. Women comprise over 80% of the scientists in Myanmar! It is absolutely amazing.

Thanks also to the Yangon University for giving me the opportunity to speak to a large group of their faculty and students about being a scientist in the US. They have a wonderful group of faculty in the chemistry department that I also got to meet.


I also had a chance to visit with many people working to reduce the childhood stunting epidemic in Myanmar through intervention methods and also so great social media and app tools being developed to reach that critical first 1000 days of life of the baby and pregnancy of the mother. You are all inspiring! As I have written about earlier in Laos and Cambodia, childhood stunting affects over 30% of the children in the country.

Warm regards and thanks to all, especially Joseph Povolini from the US Embassy who organized my visit.

August 20, 2016:  Fun in Philly!  We had a great turn-out of fantastic women graduate students, postdoctoral associates, faculty and researchers from the DOE National Laboratories and NIST at our COACh workshops in Philadelphia prior to the ACS meeting. Prof. Pushpa Murthy and I gave workshops to women postdoctoral associates on “Career Launch and Acceleration” and “Effective Negotiation Techniques”.


The workshop also helped us launch another group of COAChes that will give our workshops to undergraduates and graduate students at their institutions and organizations, our COACh-the-COAChes program.


In a parall20160820_175725el session Profs. Mary Wirth and Rebecca White gave another very informative workshop on Entrepreneurship to a very engaged group of women scientists and engineers. We had fantastic participation in all the workshops.

Thanks and best wishes to all – enjoy the pictures, share with others and keep in touch.

July 30-31, 2016: Greetings from Surabaya Indonesia: What a great day it has been! Indonesia is such a wonderful country to be visiting as part of the 2016 Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium. Today I had the pleasure of giving four COACh workshops on Negotiation, Publishing, Proposal Writing and Career Building to a large group of Indonesian and Australian scientists and engineers. It was a so much fun as the group was very engaged, asking lots of questions and sharing many fun moments!


I wish you all much success in your careers and hope that our paths cross again in the future. It has been a privilege for me to work with all of you.


June 25-28, 2016: Back in Bangkok:    I had a very enjoyable and educational visit this week at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Bangkok. Professor Supapan Seraphin and I reviewed their scientific and engineering programs and met with many students and faculty. They have some really great programs at KMUTT and we were happy to play a part in helping them move ahead in science and engineering.  Best wishes to all and thanks for the great visit!

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June 13, 2016: Rwanda!  Women in Water in Africa

IMG_5027What an amazing experience it has been to be in Kigali Rwanda these past few days for our COACh POWWER (Partnerships on Women in Water Engineering and Research) workshop. With the mantra of “WATER FIRST” the fantastic women scientists and policymakers from 11 different African countries are all passionate about the need in Africa and around the world to put access to clean water as a top priority and to mobilize women to lead the effort. Countries represented include Sudan, Burundi, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa Uganda and Tanzania.  More details can be found on the Water First! website.

Water First Workshop Summary In many parts of this African continent women and girls lives are centered around securing clean water each day for their families with young girls needing to drop out of school early because of the need to travel on foot may kilometers each day to carry water collect and carry water back to their homes. In nearly all countries there are a plethora of government policies about access to clean water but few are actually implemented. Women, who tend to be more action oriented than their male colleagues, rarely reach or are appointed to leadership positions in the water resource area, exacerbating the disconnect between policy and what is happening on the ground.

DSC01559The workshop was an amazing experience as the group rapidly centered our attention on how we as women (and our supportive male colleagues) can truly make a difference. Our efforts beyond this workshop will be focussing in three areas:

1. Educate – the public and policy makers on the need to put WATER FIRST and make sure that our young girls acquire the education necessary for them to be leaders in Africa in this area.

2. Empower – women tDSC01492o be leaders in this effort.DSC01591

3. Emulate – the best practices and role-models as a way forward on this incredibly important issue.

Join us! In the coming weeks we will be developing a website that summarizes our workshop outcomes and plans forward. We need everyone!


A HUGE THANKS goes to the U.S. State Department and the OES division for sponsoring this workshop. This follows on the first two POWWER African conferences held in Casablanca (2014) and Namibia (2015). And also the assistance from the US Embassy and USAID mission staff in Rwanda.

And how fantastic it is to hold this workshop in a country where women hold over 60% of the positions in parliament and the education and empowerment of women and girls is a very high priority. Kigali, the site of our workshop and capital of the country is a beautiful city to behold.

Thanks all of you that were part of this and others interested in joining our efforts to make sure that we put WATER FIRST!

June 1, 2016: The Investiture of President Schill as President of the University of Oregon. What an honor for me to be in the precession.  GO DUCKS!

Images from the Investiture of University of Oregon president Michael H. Schill on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Eugene, Oregon.

Images from the Investiture of University of Oregon president Michael H. Schill on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Eugene, Oregon.

May 20, 2016:    This message is to all of the wonderful, amazing and hardworking undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral associates that I have had the privilege of working with in my research over the course of my career.   It is also to all those friends and colleagues – especially my family – who have supported me through the tough times and been there for the fun times.

Yesterday I received the National Medal of Science from President Obama.  

This Medal is for you!  Words cannot express how grateful I am to all of you and how honored I am to be the representative of all of our efforts.


Medals Ceremony

May 17, 2016:  HUGE Congratulations to my graduate student Laura McWilliams for the successful defense of her PhD Thesis!  Fabulous science and fabulous presentation.  You rock!  Photo-on-2013-07-05-at-08-2.20-12pheci

May 10, 2016:  The Field Museum in Chicago is an amazing place!  Today I had the pleasure of speaking at an annual celebration hosted by the  Field Museum Women’s Board.  The event helps to raise funds to support graduate fellowships for young women in STEM that are in the final stages of their Ph.D. dissertations, and for paid internships for Chicago high school and undergraduate female students.  It was an amazing turnout of several hundred women professionals in the Chicago area and also a group of female STEM students from Solorio Academy High School.  It was super to meet all the students (GO GIRLS!) and to also meet and see so many Chicago women that are committed to this issue and the Field Museum.  Let me express my huge thanks to Dr. Richard Lariviere, President and CEO of the museum (and his wife Jan) for extending to me this wonderful invitation and opportunity and a personal tour of their latest exhibit – The Terracotta Warriors. 

May 3, 2016: Great day at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo Michigan!  I spent the day meeting with chemistry department faculty and dozens of chemistry majors.  Kalamazoo has more chemistry majors than I have seen in any college of its size – 50-60 each year!  I gave talks including a imagespresentation on our research as well as talks on international engagement, career opportunities for the future and one of my favorite talks on “Quilting together a career in science”.  It was a busy and very very enjoyable day.  Thanks so much to all the faculty and students that made the visit so much fun.  And thank you for the honor of selecting me as the 2016 Tourtellotte Lecturer.

  April 28, 2016:  “Implicit Bias in Peer Review:  Publications and Grants” was the topic of a unique and amazing symposium held today at AAAS in Washington DC. The workshop was designed to examine the data and best practices on ensuring that the integrity of peer review process in picking the best science is not being reduced by reviewers implicit biases by Graffiti Park2016_0428_153936-4198-Sgender, race and ethnicity, institution or country of origin. Much data was shared on the topic and many interesting discussions. It was great to see how seriously different journal editors (including from Nature and Science)are taking this issue seriously, especially to understand if the review process could be improved by such practices as double blind reviews. Also very interesting was to see the divergence in opinions of the importance of funding agencies in collecting demographic data on Graffiti Park2016_0428_150329-4060-Sproposal submissions and funding and institute bias training activities. NSF is clearly the leader in this area with NIH and DOE currently improving their data collection. Representatives from the DOD agencies like ONR and DARPA reported little or no interest on the topic of collecting demographics or any programs on implicit bias. AAAS plans to post a summary of the symposium in coming weeks. A big thanks to all at AAAS that worked so hard to host this important event.

April 14, 2016: Great day spent at the SUNY Buffalo!  I spent the day giving a talk and meeting with many wonderful faculty member in the Chemistry department here.  The family of Howard Tieckelman created the lectureship that I was honored to give in memory of his wonderful scientific accomplishments and contributions.  Thanks to all the great faculty and students – especially Prof. Joe Gardella who hosted my visit.

April 3-4, 2016:Oman is such an amazing country!  Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with The Research Council (TRC) of Oman to help build and strengthen the research capacity in their country as they try to diversify their economy from oil.  These past two days have been spent in Muscat at the Grand Hyatt reviewing many of their programs and plans for the future.  TRC is looking for opportunities for it’s faculty to develop international collaborations.  Check out the TRC website to learn more.

March 29, 2016:   Big KUDOS to both Bri Gordon and Andrew Carpenter, two of my fantastic graduate students that both passed their annual reviews today.  Great work and wonderful students!Bri-head-21dx8qh

March 13-14, 2016:  Luang Prabang, Laos – In my travels throughout SE Asia, one topic that has tugged on my heartstrings has been the very high prevalence of childhood stunting by the age of 2 that can be as high as 50% of the children in many countries of this region.

During these past two days I have been involved in organizing and running a workshop in Luang Prabang that has brought together researchers and clinicians from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar that work in the area of childhood nutrition.  It was an amazing collection of professionals at the workshop with many collaborations developed in education and research.  Jeff Measelle and Dare Baldwin, neuroscientists from the University of Oregon are partners in the efforts.  One outcome of this workshop has been for formation of a network of professionals in the region committed to this issue:  the Southeast Asian Nutrition and Neuroscience Network (SEAN3).

The overall goals of this effort are to (a) galvanize awareness among local scientists and decision-makers to major scientific advances in the are of chronic malnutrition and brain development, b) identify the most effective and promising intervention strategies, and c) create a growing network of in-country professionals that to lead the implementation of a coordinated science-to-action plan within the region with the aims of reducing the prevalence of chronic malnutrition while increasing the protection of the development of the human brain by 2020.uman brain by 2020.

Although much is understood about how chronic malnutrition results in physical stunting in the first 1000 days of human life, there is increasing evidence that this is accompanied by impaired neurological development that has life-long consequences. Because the brain is critical to all facets of health and wellbeing, interventions that support and protect the brain’s development when it is most vulnerable (conception through approximately age 2) are critical to any society’s vitality. Nutritional interventions that take a life-cycle approach, that seek to mitigate the ravages of chronic malnutrition (stunting) at critical periods during development, and which target both the physical and neurobiological aspects of malnutrition appear to have the strongest and longest-lasting effect. At present, these scientific realities have not adequately informed efforts in low- and middle-income countries, especially Southeast Asia where rates of childhood stunting are the highest in the world.

This first workshop was sponsored by the U.S. Science Envoy Program. The plan is for subsequent workshops to be conducted in these and other nearby countries where chronic malnutrition is pervasive.

March 12-13, 2016:  Amman Jordan.  Lots of great experiences!      

I had the pleasure today of speaking at a meeting in Amman Jordan sponsored by the  Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) and Middle East Research Cooperation (MERC) .

pga_171402s This meeting brings together principal investigators from the US and around the Middle East to present their research data funded by USAID PEER and to develop regional collaborations with other scientists.  It was a super meeting!  I was invited to give a presentation entitled “International Science Collaborations: Ingredients for Success” and another talk on “The Art of Effective Negotiation”.  It was super fun with lots of great participation from the over 100 participants from the Middle East.  Big thanks to the PEER program for letting me be a part of the event and meet so many interesting scientists.


I also had the amazing opportunity to have dinner with a group of women professionals in Amman, friends and colleagues of Dr. Rana Dajani at Hashemite University.  It was a wonderful dinner with conversations about our careers, the veil, children, life in Jordan today and career aspirations and accomplishments. I just was so privileged to meet these women (Zeena Tabas, Abeer Al-Bawwab, Nancy Hakooz, Nasreen Barakat, Lion Otaya and Rana Dajani. and I thank them for hosting me for dinner.

And a visit to Amman wouldn’t be complete without visiting Petra.  It is certainly a “bucket-list” must!  I was blown away by the beauty and the amazing way that Jordan has preserved this precious precious site.  Petra is a histoIMG_3711srical and archaeological city in the southern Jordan government that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduit system. From Wikipedia:  Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan’s most-visited tourist attraction.It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor) in abasin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

March 11, 2016

Visit to the Phenomenal Science and Engineering Festival in Cambodia! Amazing!  

Cambodia this week celebrated Science and Engineering with their 2nd Annual STEM Festival in Phnom Penh.

Thousands of aspiring young students from all over Cambodia are coming this week to hear talks, attend a Hackathan, be part of a mini Maker Faire and so much more. What a treat it was for me to speak to several hundred students at the Faire about “Why I love being a Scientist” as part of my US Science Envoy travels.  It was so wonderful to meet all of these aspiring scientists and engineers from a country that is emerging as an important SE Asia country.  My warm regards to all.  (More pictures on the COACh Facebook page.

March 8, 2016 

Happy International Women’s Day!

Our wonderful COACh Cameroon leader, Dr. Barbara Tiedeu represented COACh at the NEF Global Gathering in Senegal and participated in the Women in STEM in Africa sessions organized by AIMS in partnership with Portia Ltd. What a great opportunity has been these past few days to both celebrate International Women’s Day and also to reflect on the progress made to date on promoting African Women in STEM, to highlight innovative initiatives and to explore what the future holds for promoting African Women in STEM.

Big thanks to Karen Craggs-Milne, Director of Gender Equality and Inclusion, AIMS Global Secretariat for including COACh in the activities.

March 7-8, 2016 Greetings from Bangkok Thailand where I am attending the Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology between the US and Thailand.  Many great ideas for scientific collaborations in areas of health, education, water and the environment were discussed and plans made for future collaborative activities.

February 12-15, 2016  The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is this week and it’s been alot of fun!  Scientists from all over the world have joined us here in Washington DC for the annual event that highlights the best science in the world.  The most exciting new announcement was on the detection of gravitational waves the day that the meeting began.  As President of AAAS, I was able to choose the theme of the annual meeting – and I chose it to be “Global Scientific Engagement”.  It was exciting to see all the new discoveries and to also meet old friends and new ones.  You can find the grand opening of the meeting here which includes my opening presentation on the importance of Global scientific engagement (starting at about 20 minutes into the video clip).  It’s been a huge honor for me to be President of AAAS this year!  At the end of the meeting I turned over my reign to Prof. Barbara Schaal of the Washington University and I take on the responsibility of Chair of the Board of AAAS.  Thanks everyone! 

January 12, 2016: A Celebration of Women In Technology in the Lower Mekong Countries of Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

There are some amazing young women in Tech in the Lower Mekong Region! This week brought about 30 college-level women from the countries of Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam together at a fantastic event hosted by the Intel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The 2-day workshop was a unique opportunity for the participants to meet each other, to share their career aspirations, to compare the challenges and

opportunities for women in science and technology in each of their countries and to learn some COACh skills. This is the first time that such an event has been held in the Lower Mekong Region so it was very exciting and very informative. Take a look at all the great pictures. Big thanks to all of the wonderful and bright participants. You rock!!

We owe a huge thanks to Intel for hosting the workshop and especially Sherry Boger, the General Manager of Intel Products Vietnam for her support and taking the time out of her very busy schedule to be part of the event. We also thank the amazing team of the USAID COMET program for organizing and providing travel and lodging support for the participants, the Science Envoy Program and the U.S. Embassy folks including Nate Rettenmayer and U.S. Consulate General Rena Bitter for their support.

I wish all you wonderful ladies great career success! 

January 8, 2016:  Happy 2016 from Cambodia!  

What a great group of fantastic students I spoke with to day at the American Corner in Phnom Penh! It was very interesting and fun talking with them about their studies, their career aspirations, and the challenges of getting a employable education in a developing country such as Cambodia. It was an absolutely impressive group with very good english skills and high motivation to be successful. I wish I could bring them all back to the US with me!

Good luck all with your studies and future careers and be sure to share these photos with your friends.

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome and to Chea Sphea and Andrew Davnie-Easton for organizing the event.



December 2-10, 2015:   Every time I come to Vietnam I become more impressed with the scientists, teachers and students that I meet. It’s been a great two weeks here, bouncing between events and meetings in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Danang, Hue City and Hanoi.  I’ve summarized the highlights of my visits below.

December 2-4, 2015: Back to one of my very favorite cities – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in my role as US Science Envoy to Vietnam.  I have been participating in several events, the first being the 9th Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) between the U.S. and Vietnam. I have been working to assist in the development of S&T collaborations between scientists and researchers in our two countries.  The JCM has focussed on 5 areas of collaboration:  Health and Medical Science, Biotechnology and Agriculture, STEM Education and Research Exchange, Conservation and Environmental Science and Climate Change,c47185ab69fd479a1a38c15974468278 Hydrology and Metrology.  The U.S. delegation was led by Dr. Jonathan Margolis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space, and Health, Department of State and the Vietnamese delegation was led by Dr. Tran Quoc Khanh, Vice Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).  Ted_Osius_2014

The Opening Ceremony included participation of H.E. Nguyen Quan – Vietnam Minister for Science and Technology, the phenomenal H.E. Ted Osius – U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and representatives of Governmental Organization, Institutes, Universities and Companies from both sides was held on the 2nd of December 2015.  If even a fraction of the ideas proposed are come to fruition, the effort can be considered a success.  Huge Thanks to Dr. Christin Kjelland for organizing this amazing JCM.

December 2, 2015: ROBOTICS RULE:  While in HCMC I also met with some really bright Vietnam students at the American Center that have been involved in a Robotics Club. AmericanCenterRoboticsClubIt was great to see their inventions and to also talk to them about their career aspirations with Dr. Jonathan Margolis from the U.S. State Department.


On the following day I gave a presentation on careers in science at the American Center to a large group of students and community members interested science and a science career. Lots of great questions from the students!

December 7, 2015:  On to Danang in central Vietnam for the next few days where I gave a COACh workshops on Effective Communication to a full room of students at the Danang University of Technology and another presentation on science careers at the University of Education. Many students have very impressive English skills! I wish my Vietnamese was so good! Lots of great pictures to so take a look at them.

DUT University of Education

DUT University of Education students


DUT University of Technology students

DUT University of Technology students

The Danang FabLab was my next stop where we did experiments with middle school students to demonstrate principles in energy, heat, crystallization and chemical change. Many students in Vietnam do not have any much science education in their schools and no possibility of doing simple experiments. The FabLab is a small space put together by Mr. Hoi Nguyen and his wife to give them such experience. They are science heros indeed! It was great (as you can see from the pictures) and makes me want to come back and so some more in other regions of Vietnam. 


The last Danang event was amazing in a different way – the Autumn Meeting to showcase Vietnamese independent movies and help train new directors, actors and producers for this growing industry in Vietnam. The U.S. government is helping provide advice to movie directors, producers and actors on intellectual property issues that can help them protect their artistic works. I got to attend the evening Gala celebrating their most famous directors, producers and actors in Vietnam. Awesome!…/da-nang-hosts-event-for-independent…


December 8, 2015:  Then on to Hue City where I had the opportunity to meet with students and faculty from the Hue University of Science and the Hue Learning Resource Center. Hue is an amazing city and cultural center for Vietnam. Again, great interactions and pictures. Thank you Lan for interpreting and your support of our COACh efforts!


December 9, 2015: My final visits were in Hanoi in northern Vietnam. In the first event I was able to be part of the signing of Joint Statement of Intent between NSA and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST). The Statement of Intent is an acknowledgement of strong bilateral interest in cooperation on space-based research, including Earth science, weather research, remote sensing, and educational activities. It was a wonderful ceremony involving our Ambassador Ted Osius and VAST Chairman Chau Van Minh. Lots of great science and technology will result from this.

The last event was to speak at the Professional Workshop on Environmental Assessment and Climate Change sponsored by the U.S. State Department. This workshop is to help scientists from the Lower Mekong Countries discuss how they can help their governments be more informed on environmentally important issues and how current natural resources will be affected by climate change. Climate change is evident everywhere in SE Asia so efforts like these are very important.I’m now back in Ho Chi Minh City getting ready to depart for the US.

It’s been a great trip! Thanks so much to all who helped with my visit and all the wonderful Vietnamese people I met! And thanks to the US Science Envoy Program for letting me be part of all of these events.

November 16, 2015:  THAILAND NATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL: Great Students, Teachers and Fun!

What a treat it has been to be part of this amazing Science Festival that is held every year in Thailand and this year in Bangkok! Students, teachers and families come from all over this beautiful country to attend this very unique event that runs for two weeks.

How fortunate I was to be able to attend and speak with many students and their teachers at this festival yesterday. 

Derived from the first “Thai National Science Day” in 1982, the festival now hosts over 1 MILLION visitors each year with exhibits from over 50 national and international institutions from governmental, educational and commercial sectors.

It was a pleasure to meet all of you and to get a chance to see what’s happening in science and technology in Thailand.

Cheers to all and keep up your interest in science. Our world needs you!

November 12,13, 2015:  TUNISIA: Seeking International Collaborations in Science and Engineering

Thanks to funding from the Elsevier Foundation, we brought the full set of COACh career building workshops to Tunis and Sup’Com at the University of Carthage. We are spending four days this week working with many fantastic engineering students and faculty in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Internet Security areas. Many are very interested in research and educational collaborations with scientists and engineers in the US and other countries. Let us know if you are interested in partnering with them!

It is indeed a remarkable country and each time we visit we are even more impressed. From the 1980s until today women’s rights advocates have contributed to the making of gender legislation either by direct involvement in committees preparing the law or by indirectly putting pressure on power holders. Many in the country, including the women we have met this week and those attending our 2013 workshops, are very proud of Tunisia’s unique history in giving women many freedoms that have not been available in many other MENA countries. We are honored to be able to play a small role in assisting in this advancement.

A HUGE thanks to the remarkable Assoc. Professor Rim Cherif who is PI on the Elsevier grant and the host and organizer of our workshops. And an equally huge thanks to Elsevier for funding this project and its commitment to women in science in developing countries.

We had such a great time and have met so many wonderful faculty and students here! We look forward to hearing from you and identifying yourselves in all the selfie pictures we took.


What a pleaIMG_2845 - Version 2sure it has been the past few days to meet faculty and be part of conference on “Transforming Realities: Gender Equality in Higher Education” run by the FESTA team at the University of Limerick. Female Empowerment in Science & Technology in Academia (FESTA) is a cross national, EU, Framework 7 project, exploring women’s under representation at senior levels in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines.

It was fantastic to learn more about the impressive activities at the University of Limerick to increase the number and success of women in STEM fields on this beautiful campus. The Equity Challenge Unit has awarded Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick bronze institutional awards for their work on promoting OrganizingCmtwomen’s careers in science.

Kudos to UL and all those devoted to this effort which includes Professor Edmond Magner (Dean of the Faculty of Science + Engineering), Professor Pat O’Connor (Principal Investigator FESTA), Dr Clare O’Hagan, Research Fellow, and Dr Ita Richardson (Senior Lecturer and Principal Investigator Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre) and President Don Barry.

Thanks for being such wonderful hosts and keep up all these fantastic efforts! I so enjoyed all the wonderful discussions and interactions with you and your colleagues

November 5,6, 2015:  COACh and the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories – Argonne National Laboratory

During the past year COACh has had the opportunity to work with several of the DOE National Laboratories to conduct survey research and provide COACh career building workshops for scientists and engineers on site. Through these workshops we have learned alot about the opportunities and challenges that women face in their careers as they seek to contribute to the DOE mission in advancing energy research and development in this country. These COACh activities motivated organizing this Summit.

To gain a more comprehensive picture of the opportunities and challenges that women scientist and engineers face at the U.S. DOE National Laboratories we that brought together a group of women from nearly all of the 17 DOE National laboratories to discuss the issue of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) across the DOE complex. 

The output of the Summit is series of recommendations NLDCRecommendationsDOEWomenScientistsEngineers sent to the National Laboratory Directors’ Council (NLDC) and the leadership of DOE to assist them in their efforts to increase the Diversity and Inclusion in the laboratories. It is well known that the percentage of women career scientists and engineers in the DOE laboratories is relatively low, with much lower percentages in leadership positions in these laboratories. Scientists and engineers from underrepresented minority groups lag far farther behind.

Summit Participants

Summit Participants

Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and his leadership team has recently put diversity and inclusion in the DOE laboratories as a priority as have many of his Laboratory Directors in the NLDC. We applaud this effort and we thank the NLDC leadership for their welcome response to our recommendations which they received this week and are using to develop action plans.

summit of women scientists and engineers workshopsummit of women scientists and engineers workshop

summit of women scientists and engineers workshop

We, along with many other COACh members and supporters, share the vision that these D&I efforts are necessary to ensure that our DOE laboratories are at the forefront of our nation’s innovation, discovery, and science and engineering stewardship. We look forward to aiding this effort in any way possible and will be watching closely for action and progress on this important issue.  

Thanks to Argonne National Laboratory for hosting the Summit and DOE funding to COACh for the Summit – and the multitude of COACh workshops that it has helped support in the U.S. over the past 15 years. Over 15,000 scientists and engineers have benefitted!

~ Summit Co-organizers: Geri Richmond (U Oregon) and Lisa Durham (Argonne)

October 31, 2015:  Happy Halloween from the Richmond Group!


 October 5-14, 2015:  Greetings from Sultanate of Oman: The Land of Many Wonders and Wonderful People

We have had an amazing time here in Oman the past 10 days working together with The Research Council (TRC) of Oman to assist in building and strengthening their research culture and capacity. It’s been an incredible and exciting experience for us in meeting and working with several hundred fantastic faculty, teachers and students in four different cities in Oman: Muscat, Nizwa, Sohar and Salalah. Part of this project has been to develop and provide in each location a special proposal writing workshop and hands-on training session that we tailored to the TRC grants program. It’s been great and rewarding experience – and such fun! We also provided our COACh workshop on publishing in international journals.

Muscat Workshop Participants

Muscat Workshop Participants

Sohar Workshop Participants

Sohar Workshop Participants

Nizwa Workshop Participants

Nizwa Workshop Participants

Salalah Workshop Participants

Salalah Workshop Participants

We have learned as much from all of you in Oman as you have learned from us. Thanks to all of you for coming to the workshops. Oman is indeed an amazing country – so remarkably different and peaceful than many of its neighboring countries here in the Middle East. And stunningly beautiful. Where people from all over the Middle East live in a peaceful coexistence.

We leave tomorrow with wonderful memories of all of you that we have had the privilege of meeting and working with.

We are also greatly indebted to the TRC leaders and staff who have shepherded us around the country to various workshops and given us such a warm welcome. You rock!

All our best and warm wishes from the COACh traveling team:
Geri Richmond, Laura Greene, Diane Souvaine, Hilary Godwin and Jean Stockard

September 5, 2015: Greetings from Guwahati, India!
We’ve made many new friends during our COACh workshops at Guwahati in the very northeastern part of India in the state of Assam. It’s an amazing part of India with rapid education and population growth. We had a great time conducting workshops with students, faculty and researchers from different partsIMG_2500s of India. We were delighted and honored to have the U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Rahul Verma, speak at our opening session. We conducted a full set of six workshops in two days with this wonderful group. Enjoy the pictures of our wonderful new friends.IMG_5345s
September 1, 2015:  Greetings from Pune, India
Over the past few days we have had the privilege of conducting a series of 6 COACh workshops with women scientists from India in Pune as part of our COACh International program. I’m here with our COACh team of Pushpa Murthy, Jean Stockard and Laura Greene.
These COACh workshops were sponsored by COACh, the India Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the India-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
What a wonderful experience it has been for all of us. We learned much about each other, shared experiences and laughed alot! Enjoy all of the pictures of the fantastic women we had the pleasure to meet.  Many more pictures are on the COACh Facebook page.
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