Replacing the Academic Ladder with a Round Table

8-mo pregnant at Cold Spring Harbor

I was raised in a household of women. As the sole provider, my mother taught me at an early age that women can be independent, self-sufficient, and career-driven while achieving the same goals at equal or superior performance as men. Although I learned to embrace my independence and chase my dreams at home, I discovered early in my academic career that many academics did not recognize my strength and potential. Over half of all women in academia leave after the postdoctoral stage, and even fewer take faculty positions. Society artificially places demands on women, mothers, and individuals of diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, and gender backgrounds, redirecting these groups to leave STEM careers before obtaining leadership research roles. This is a tremendous disservice to the greater progression of science. 

Every neuroscientist brings a unique perspective, talent, and drive to their research. To maximize research efforts, it is paramount that leaders create working environments that allow every mind to flourish and collaborate. This begins by leveling and expanding scientific communication. One working environment is not ideal for all. Simple changes to how science is conducted in a lab, at conferences, and in collaborations can drastically expand the spectrum of what neuroscience research is possible. As a woman in academic research, I have a strong voice, passion, and understanding of what improvements are needed to increase diversity in neuroscience research. I want to modernize mentorship, education, and access to resources, to enforce respect for everyone who wants to pursue a career in research. Science belongs to all of society. 


  • As a the Polak Young Investigator Award and member of the Association of Chemoreceptive Sciences Mentoring and Networking Committee, I am actively organizing career development events that provide counseling and negotiation skills, specifically for finding academic positions for women and minorities in science.

  • As the Yale Neuroscience Postdoc Network president, I organized an inter-departmental seminar series supported with my T32 Yale Neuroscience Postdoc Training Grant funds. 

  • I initiated and organized a Two-Photon Imaging Interest Group with funds from my NRSA F32 Grant Award at the University of Utah. 

  • As the Graduate Student Neuroscience Representative, I ensured diversity in planning and orchestrating outside speaker presentations and seminars.  


My goals include generating new supportive tools and networks that individuals can use to improve their working environments to meet diverse scientists' needs. I am actively working to move science away from merely recognizing these issues, impeding the inclusion of diversity in science, and ultimately limiting scientific advancement, to facilitating change that will advance the ability of all to generate high-quality research results.

Miniscope Training with Denise Cai

Verhagen Laboratory, John B. Pierce Picnic

Skiing with the Wachowiak Lab 

Hiking with the Wachowiak Lab