Women’s roles in advancing sustainability focus of STEM summit

WISC Summit

By ROBBY JOHNSON republished from UBNow

Published April 3, 2018

“We hope that Chancellor Johnson will draw on her own experiences as a change agent who has had high-profile impacts already to inspire our women students, staff and faculty to advance positive changes, too.”
Liesl Folks, dean
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Women’s roles in advancing sustainability are the focus of the fourth annual Women in STEM Summit on April 18.

“Sustainable Solutions and Champions of Change (A Gender Perspective)” will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Union Theater, North Campus. The event, part of UB's Sustainability Month, is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and registration is required.

The summit will feature a “keynote interview” with SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Inventors Hall of Fame whose background includes experience in higher education, clean energy and energy policy.

Before assuming her current position, Chancellor Johnson was co-founder and CEO of Cube Hydro Partners LLC, a clean-energy infrastructure company focused on building and operating hydropower plants in North America. She also served as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, with duties that included unifying and managing a broad $10.5 billion energy and environment portfolio.

Chancellor Johnson will be interviewed by Liesl Folks, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a physicist and an internationally recognized expert in nanotechnology and magnetism, and strong advocate for STEM education initiatives.

“We hope that Chancellor Johnson will draw on her own experiences as a change agent who has had high-profile impacts already to inspire our women students, staff and faculty to advance positive changes, too,” Folks says. “I hope that she will share some of the challenges she faced and her strategies for overcoming them with our attendees.”

Organized by the UB Women in STEM Cooperative and UB Sustainability, the day-long summit also will feature two sessions — “Building Sustainable Solutions” and “Influencing Sustainable Change” — featuring women panelists from a variety of STEM disciplines.

“The audience should expect to hear a range of perspectives on leading change and inspiring others to align with common goals and objectives,” says Folks. “These thoughts will, ideally, be helpful to our community in which so many women at all levels have great ideas about how we can make improvements in our organizations and in our community.”

The event's panelists include:

  • Ingabire Adam, student, Buffalo Public Schools, and member, WNY Environmental Alliance.
  • Sara Behdad, assistant professor, departments of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
  • Martha Bohm, assistant professor, Department of Architecture.
  • Susan Clark, policy, planning and sustainability specialist, UB Renew Institute.
  • Trina Hamilton, associate professor, Department of Geography.
  • Alexandra McPherson, principal, Niagara Share.
  • Sara Metcalf, associate professor, Department of Geography.
  • Lina Mu, associate professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health.
  • Yeeli Mui, visiting scholar, Department of Urban & Regional Planning.
  • Tonga Pham, associate vice president, UB Facilities.
  • Elizabeth Thomas, assistant professor, Department of Geology.

Facilitators of the panels are Sarah Muldoon, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics, and Derek Nichols, UB sustainability engagement coordinator.

The day will conclude with a networking and information reception featuring organizations that support diversity and sustainability initiatives.

global goals

Sustainable Development Goals:

5.     Gender equality: Empowering women and achieve gender equality