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Women in Science

First Woman to Ever Win the Fields Medal – Known as the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics”

Fields Medal WIS Page

Stanford Professor Is First Woman to Win Fields Medal
August 13, 2014

The International Mathematics Union on Tuesday announced this year’s winner of the Fields Medal, widely seen as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in mathematics. The medal has been awarded since 1936, but this year — for the first time — one of the prizes went to a woman: Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University.

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Physics Majors Attend Conference of Undergraduate Women at Stony Brook

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The Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP) was held at Stony Brook University in New York from 16-19 January 2014. The American Physical Society (APS) organized this conference. The meeting included a full day at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, as well as many research talks by faculty, student presentations, and discussions regarding women in physics. The goal of the conference, according to the APS, “is to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice and ideas.” We were able to receive valuable advice from female experts in different fields of physics and the wide range of career opportunities as well as challenges women faced in physics. We were able to tour cutting edge facilities including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) as well as the STAR and Pheonix detectors located within RHIC and the National Synchrotron Light Source II. Seeing all these huge devices in action was exciting and exposed us to the reality of current high energy physics research.

Several of the women in the TCNJ Physics Department had the opportunity to attend CUWIP at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY. The attendees from TCNJ at the conference included: Sanaa Mansoor (Senior), Raha Ghassemi (Senior), Ariel Omiunu (Junior), Marianna Caruso-Gilbert (Junior), and Kellie Olear (Sophomore). “The Physics Department is very proud of our many excellent women alumnae and students and I’m pleased so many current students were able to attend CUWIP this year.  I hope they will be inspired to continue their studies of physics after graduating from TCNJ”, said Dr. Paul Wiita, Department Chair.

“The privilege of attending this Undergraduate Women in Physics conference was a once in a lifetime opportunity. To be surrounded by women colleagues your own age and to have meaningful discussions with them opened our imagination to so many new ideas. It was an exhilarating experience.” said Sanaa Mansoor.

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Celebration of Women in Science: March 6, 2013

The School of Science will celebrate the dedication and accomplishments of our women students in all areas of science. The event will be held from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM in the biology commons, and a light lunch will be served. Each student will present her recent or ongoing research project, be featured on the School of Science webpage, and receive a certificate of recognition. All are welcome.

Sneak peek at some of our presenters

Melanie Crampton

Title of Presentation: “Eastern United States Crust Characterization”

Major: Physics. Class of 2013.

I plan to use my research experience to bring research into the classroom when I become a physics teacher.

Maggie Fuller

Major: Physics, WGS Minor. Class of 2013.

Title of Presentation: “Towards a Mechanistic Basis for Individualized Treatment of CF”
I worked for two summers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas in the lab of Professor Philip Thomas on the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR), an important chloride ion channel in epithelial cells. Many mutations in CFTR are associated with Cystic Fibrosis, a prominent recessive genetic disease affecting nearly 70,000 people. Understanding the effects of mutations on CFTR folding and function is the first step to identifying and developing specific therapeutics for CF patients. To this end, an ELISA assay was used to measure trafficking of 19 CF-causing mutant proteins to the plasma membrane. I used a β-galactosidase folding assay to measure domain folding to complement this trafficking data. These experiments revealed that some mutants have better folding than wild type and some have better trafficking of full-length CFTR. Other mutants fold more efficiently than wild type yet the full-length proteins traffic poorly. These results together help us to inform hypotheses on the affects of each harmful mutation.
I have developed double mutants to further define the defects associated with each CF-causing mutant and to determine if they affect multiple steps of folding. The β-galactosidase folding assay will need to be performed on each of these additional mutants in the future to fully understand the mechanisms of dysfunction in many cases.

Kerry Ryan

Title of Presentation: “MOKE Imaging of Magnetic Domains in Thin Multilayer Pt/Co Films”

Major: Physics. Class of 2013.

Future plans: I plan to attend graduate school in the fall to pursue a Ph.D in geophysics.


Maya Williams

Title of Presentation: “Plant Competition in a Greek Island Ecosystem: A Pertubation Experiment”

Major: Biology, International Studies Minor. Class of 2014.

Future Goals: Graduate school for research in undecided subject.



Victoria Calafut

Major: Physics. Class of 2014.

Title of Presentation: “Modeling the Fluxes Arising from Turbulent Relativistic Jets”

Abstract: Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are characterized by variable emission across all bands; for radio-loud AGN this is mostly synchrotron radiation from relativistic jets of turbulent plasma. We present a numerical model developed to calculate the theoretical observed fluxes of such jets and plot light curves that allow us to analyze the variations over time. We model the jet to contain a Kolmogorov spectrum of turbulent eddies, with varying sizes and velocities. The observed flux of each eddy depends upon its variable Doppler boosting factor, a function of the relativistic sum of the individual eddy and bulk jet velocities, as well as our viewing angle to the jet. The total observed flux is found by integrating the radiation from the eddies over the turbulent spectrum. We examine theoretical light curves for a range of viewing angles, bulk jet velocities, and maximum turbulent velocities. The flux variations produced in the simulations for sensible values of the parameters tested are consistent with the types of variations observed in AGN systems. This semester, structure functions and power spectral densities of these theoretical light curves will be computed and compared with those of observed light curves, including those of radio-loud AGN measured with the Kepler satellite.

After graduation, I most likely plan to go to graduate school for astrophysics.

Kayla Coleman

Major: Applied Mathematics, Statistics Minor. Class of 2013.
Title of Presentation: “Modeling HIV Infection with Data Mining Techniques”
Future Goals: In the fall of 2013, I will be pursuing my Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. I have already been accepted into North Carolina State University.


Rachel Levin

Major: Statistics, Quantitative Criminology Minor and Actuarial Studies Minor. Class of 2013.

Title of Presentation: “A Geospatial Analysis of Residential Burglary”

Using character functions and various procedures in SAS, Lawrence Township 2010 dispatch data was analyzed to find correlate factors in residential burglary, which were then used to predict the risk of the crime occurring in areas of Lawrence Township, using a Zero-Inflated-Poisson model for analysis.

Future Goals: I plan to continue my education by pursuing a Master of Science in Biostatistics. I hope to succeed as an Applied Clinical Statistician for Oncology Research, as this topic is very near and dear to my heart.


Jenna Lobby

Major: Biology, Music Minor and Women’s and Gender Studies Minor. Class of 2013.

Title: “Analysis of the Role of Npl3 in the Coordination of Multiple Steps in Gene Expression”

Future plans: Starting a  PhD program in cellular and molecular biology




Katherine McGarry

Major: Chemistry, Class of 2013.

Title of Presentation: “Photocleavage of Cyclic Calmodulin Protein Using N-(l-phenylalanine)-4-(1-pyrene) butyramide “
Future Plans: I plan to continue my education and work torwards my Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry






Kristen DeMeester

Major: Chemistry. Class of 2013

Title of Presentation: “Synthesis of Simplified TMC95A Analogs”

TMC95A is a complex, natural organic product that is a known proteasome inhibitor. The successful implementation of a synthetic route to design simplified analogs of TMC95A is of particular interest to pharmaceutical companies.

Future Goals: In Fall 2013, I will attend graduate school to work toward my Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.




Michele Dey

Major: Computer Science. Class of 2013.

Title of Presentation: “New Jersey Courts: PCI Compliance and IT Security”

Abstract: With the increasing integration of and dependence on technology, the security of this technology and the data involved is increasingly important. In response to this concern, the payment card industry (i.e., debit, credit, and similar businesses) established the Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council, which in turn created the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). The PCI DSS consists of 12 major requirements, each of which includes several requirements of its own. If a business meets the PCI DSS and completes a successful assessment by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), then they receive a certification of compliance. The New Jersey Courts is in the process of ensuring compliance by undergoing an assessment. This process encompasses many areas of information technology, but the focus here will be on the following:

  • Vulnerability scanning, analysis, and remediation
  • Web application security

Future plans/goals:My internship applications are still spending, but this summer I hope to be interning for the FBI. My goals are to attend law school and become a Special Agent with the FBI.


Kayla Spector

Major: Physics, Biomedical specialization. Class of 2013.

Title of Presentation: “A Mathematical Model of Tumor Growth in Variable-Density Environments”

Future Plans: I will be attending Thomas Jefferson University in the fall of 2013 to earn an MS in Medical Laboratory Science.


Article coverage of the event by TCNJ’s The Signal.

All faculty members in the School of Science encourage and support women seeking careers in science. The following faculty members and alumni are willing to mentor students and are dedicated to the goal of the “Women in Science” initiative:

To Encourage and Support Women Who Wish to Pursue a Career in Science.

They welcome your interest and questions.



Lisa Ambrose-Lanci Dr. Heba Abourahma
Maggie Benoit Maggie Benoit
Elizabeth Carter Michelle Bunagan
Emily Gibson Hill Nancy Hingston
Gina-Marie Pomann Leeann Thornton
Katarzyna Potocka Wendy Clement
Cristina Tama
Dawn Troast

Amazing Summer (and Semester!) Experiences 2010

10 TCNJ women science students shared their diverse research experiences from summer and semester programs ranging from study abroad to TCNJ’s MUSE program. Others interested in pursuing research in science attended the event and met with our women scientists. Several science professors also attended the event and displayed their support of TCNJ women in science. The event was a great success! Here you can find a powerpoint presentation– click through these slides to learn about each girl’s exciting and unique experience! Below are some photos from the event.

Women Take the Lead in Doctorates!

With female enrollments growing at all levels of higher education, doctoral degrees have been one area where men have continued to dominate. No more. New data being released today show that in 2008-9, for the first time ever, women earned a majority of the doctoral degrees awarded in the United States.  Click here for more information.

Amazing Summer (and Semester!) Experiences 2009

Seven TCNJ women science students share their amazing summer (and semester) experiences with others interested in science. Here you can find a powerpoint presentation– click through these slides to learn about each girl’s exciting and unique experience!

Amazing Summer Experiences 2008

Six TCNJ women science students tell about the amazing summer 2008 experiences they had in science.

Radio Series on Women in Science Wins Gracie Award

A series of radio programs about the changing role of girls and women in science and engineering–funded by the National Science Foundation–has won recognition as the winner of two 2009 Gracie Awards. These awards are made by American Women in Radio and Television, a non-profit organization that has worked since 1951 to improve the quality of broadcast programming and the image of women as depicted in radio, television and cable. For more information click here.

Kristen DeMeester (

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