campus news

Chemistry department to host Global Women’s Breakfast

Poster for GWB 2024 featuring photos of women scientists.


Published February 16, 2024

Karla Rosalia Sanchez Lievanos.
“By introducing this event to UB, our goal is to advance gender equity and motivate aspiring women and women-identified chemists to follow their dreams and passions in the field. ”
Karla Sanchez Lievanos, NSF MPS-Ascend postdoctoral fellow
Department of Chemistry and UB RENEW Institute

A breakfast and panel discussion later this month will celebrate women scientists’ triumphs and discuss the barriers they still face. 

The Department of Chemistry will hold a Global Women’s Breakfast (GWB) event, titled “EmpowerHER,” from 8:30-11 a.m. Feb 27 in the Landmark Room, 210 Student Union. 

Held in conjunction with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and organized by the international Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the GWB series aims to establish an active network of people of all genders to overcome the barriers to gender equality in science. More than 1,500 GWB events have been held by organizations in 100 countries over the past five years.

“By introducing this event to UB, our goal is to advance gender equity and motivate aspiring women and women-identified chemists to follow their dreams and passions in the field,” says one of the organizers, Karla Sanchez Lievanos, a National Science Foundation (NSF) MPS-Ascend postdoctoral fellow in the chemistry department and the UB RENEW Institute. “It will enable participants to share personal experiences, strategies for overcoming challenges and best practices for fostering an inclusive and equitable scientific community.”

The event will highlight the diverse career paths available after graduate school, showcasing the inspiring journeys of successful women in various sectors of the scientific community. 

Panelists will discuss their career paths, with a focus on mentorship, networking and strategies for advancing young scientists’ careers. They include:

  • Kamina Anyango, interim unit diversity officer and assistant dean for student development and academic enhancement, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Carolyn Ribes, business analytical leader at Dow Chemical and a director-at-large, American Chemical Society.
  • Sarah E. Dowd, mass spectrometry applications specialist, Waters Corporation.
  • Deena Butryn, deputy to the coronavirus response official at the Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Danielle Mackowsky, district sales manager, SCIEX.

Despite gains in recent years, women are still underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Just 18% of the U.S. female workforce works in STEM, compared to 29% of the male workforce, according to the NSF.

“Women in scientific disciplines often face gender bias, underrepresentation in leadership roles and difficulties in achieving work-life balance. Some of them also encounter a lack of mentorship opportunities and professional networks, which are crucial for career development,” Lievanos says. “An event like the GWB will provide a safe place to openly discuss these challenges in a supportive environment. Such discussions can lead to actionable insights and collaborative efforts to address these barriers.”

Those interested can register online to confirm their attendance. There will be an option to attend the event remotely. Breakfast seating is limited to 50 people, with priority given to women chemists in the UB chemistry department, but all are welcome to attend the panel discussion and activities.