Chapter Officers

Chapter Officers


President – Megan Stine

MJS_bioMegan Jean Stine is a science educator, program manager, and aspiring coder who supports a strong foundation in STEM for all. She was trained as a cellular biologist, earning her B.S. in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from Johns Hopkins University.  During her postdoctoral fellowship studying the use of nanoparticles in the treatment of lung cancer, Megan worked as an adjunct laboratory instructor at a college in Baltimore, MD, then an online mathematics instructor for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Since, she has worked as the Science Program Manager for CTYOnline, a freelance science writer, and a Scientific Program Manager for the NCI. Currently, Dr. Stine is a Program Officer for Science Education Outreach at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where she manages the team’s outreach activities, promotes the department’s science education resources on social media, and leads the BioInteractive Ambassador program. She currently serves on the board as President-Elect.

President-Elect – Jennifer Blum

Jen AWIS picJennifer “Jen” Blum is an astrophysicist and graduated from Columbia University in NYC with a Bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics. In 2011, she was the first African American in five years to obtain her Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of Michigan. Her expertise was in black holes and she was a Rackham Science Award Fellow. She has been trained by multiple mentors, including Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, current director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, and host of the TV series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”. Jen was a member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) while at University of Michigan. She has been an AWIS DC mentoring circle leader for the last two years and has participated in Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conferences. Jen is currently a researcher for the Department of Defense. Her hobbies include professional voice acting in radio commercials.

Past-President – Leslie Jimison Hamilton


Leslie Jimison Hamilton is a materials scientist, having earned her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from NC State University (2005) and her M.S. and Ph.D. in the same field at Stanford Engineering (2008, 2011) as a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow. She completed postdoctoral work in France in the Department of Bioelectronics at the Microelectronics Centre de Provence (BEL, CMP), and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow. She is currently a senior scientist in the Research and Exploratory Development Department at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). At APL, she is a STEM Corps volunteer, acting as a mentor for high school and college-aged students. Leslie was a member of the AWIS Palo Alto chapter during her time in the Bay Area, and has been a member of AWIS DC Metropolitan Chapter since early 2013. She has been a participant in AWIS DC’s Mentoring Circles program since it’s introduction. She is currently serving on the board as Past-President.

Vice President for Programs – Federica Polato

Federica Polato is a research associate at the National Institutes of Health focusing on finding therapies for retinal degeneration diseases. She holds a PhD in life sciences from the UK and moved to the States to pursue postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute. As a fellow and during her PhD, she conducted research to identify biomarkers and novel targets for drug development against breast and ovarian cancer. Her interests in women’s health issues led her to the Society for Women’s Health and Research where, as an intern, she co-organized a conference on the role of environmental exposure and gender differences in the development of autoimmune diseases. Besides the creativity and continuous learning of her work in a research laboratory, Federica enjoys coaching younger STEM trainees. She joined the AWIS-DC chapter because she would love to contribute to the mission of the association in inspiring younger women to pursue a career in the STEM field. When not working, she spends her time in the outdoor as much as possible whether biking in the rock creek park or on the river chasing rapids with her kayak.


Vice President for Public Relations; Membership – Deborah Bouvier

Bouvier Headshot_2Deborah is a neuroscientist with 13 years of scientific experience in the academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. The main focus of her research is to understand human disease. Deborah holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA where, as a member of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) program, she carried out independent research on the contribution of sex chromosomes and sex hormones to the sex bias in rodent models of MS and lupus. For her work, Deborah was awarded the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology fellowship as well as the American College of Rheumatology/ Abbott Medical and Graduate Student Achievement Award. In 2007, Deborah joined Abbott Laboratories as a medical science liaison, educating the medical community about the current research in Vitamin D biology and chronic kidney disease. She was soon recruited back into academia as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania where she designed, organized and executed a 5 year NIH clinical trial looking at the effects of yoga practice on high blood pressure and cerebral blood flow.

In 2011, Deborah and her family relocated to the Washington DC area. While caring for her two small children, Deborah served 3 terms on the board of a local non-profit and assisted several other families in the creation of a Montessori cooperative preschool. Deborah joined AWIS DC in the summer of 2015 and immediately reaped the benefits of membership. She served as VP for Programs in 2016 and was elected as VP for Membership in 2017. Deborah would like to plan events to grow our membership and create a larger network for members to interact with. She will utilize her broad range of scientific experience and professional connections to achieve this goal and support women in the STEM fields.

Vice President for Communications – Kelsey Sugrue

Kelsey is a fifth-year graduate student at the Institute for Biomedical Science at The George Washington University, where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine. She works at the Children’s National Medical Center where she is conducting her thesis research, focusing on the molecular mechanisms underlying congenital heart defects. Prior to coming to Washington D.C., Kelsey received her undergraduate degree in Molecular/Cellular Biology from Saint Mary’s College Notre Dame, a women’s college that instilled in her a strong sense of “girl power.” It was also during this time that she worked for two summers in the research labs at the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh. As a result of these experiences, Kelsey has become very passionate about science and helping women in science find success and happiness in their education and careers.

Kelsey has been an active member of AWIS DC for three years as well as the Mentoring Circles Program. In 2016, she was elected as Vice President of Communications for the AWIS DC Chapter and is excited to be continuing her role on board for another year. She enjoys sharing the excitement of science to non-science audiences, whether through Twitter (@Kelsey_Sugrue), her blog “Sketching Science,” or in the community by teaching middle school students through the Adventures in Science program. When she’s not in the lab working on her thesis project, Kelsey’s other hobbies include cooking, photography, running, and enjoying all the fun things D.C. has to offer.

Vice President for Finance – Barbara J. Natalizio

Natalizio-AWISDCBarbara J. Natalizio, Ph.D. is a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow serving in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Graduate Education at the National Science Foundation. Prior to the AAAS fellowship, Dr. Natalizio was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where her research focused on investigating messenger RNA export regulation and its effects on eukaryotic gene expression. There she became interested in issues related to career transitions for scientists as a member of the Executive Committee of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Postdoctoral Association. As a member of the Board of Directors of the National Postdoctoral Association, Dr. Natalizio advocates for the enrichment of the postdoctoral experience by supporting initiatives that provide professional development opportunities. Moreover, her transformative training at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science inspired her to help scientists become more effective communicators. Dr. Natalizio is passionate about channeling this enthusiasm for communicating with non-scientific audiences to advocate for improved science policy. She received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and history from Montclair State University and her Ph.D. in molecular genetics and microbiology from Duke University.

Volunteer – Meredith Goodrich

Volunteer – Rita Lechuga 

Chapter Officers
President – Leslie Jimison Hamilton


President-Elect – Megan Stine


Past-President – Kristina Krasnov Miller


Vice President for Programs – Deborah Bouvier


Vice President for Public Relations; Membership – Jennifer Blum

Jen AWIS pic

Vice President for Communications – Kelsey Sugrue

Vice President for Finance – Barbara J. Natalizio


President – Kristina Krasnov Miller


President-Elect – Leslie Jimison Hamilton


Past-President – Jodi Wesemann (replacing Soo Kim Jennings)

Vice President for Programs – Sherry Marts (replacing Allison Mathes)

Sherry Marts smaller (1)

Vice President for Public Relations; Membership – Ofelia A Olivero


Vice President for Communications – Mayra Montrose


Vice President for Public Relationships; Social Media – Sarah J. R. Staton

Sarah J R Staton Bio pic_0

Vice President for Finance – Christine Burgess








President – Soo Kim Jennings

President-elect – Kristina Krasnov Miller


Past-president – Melissa McCartney

Vice President for Programs – Xiamin Su

xiaomin su

Vice President for Public Relations; Membership – Eada Wallbank


Vice President for Communications – Mayra Montrose


Vice President for Public Relations; Social Media – Bethany Brookshire

Bethany Brookshire

Vice President for Finance – Heather Dean

Heather Dean

President – Melissa McCartney

President-elect – Soo Kim

Past-president – Jodi Wesemann (replacing Lisa Nichols)

Vice President for Programs – Alka Prasad

Vice President for Public Relations; Membership – Shana Spindler

Vice President for Communications – Lee-Ann Hayek

Vice President for Public Relations; Social Media – Jodi Wittlin

Vice President for Finance – Marcia Holden
President – Lisa Nichols
President Elect –Melissa McCartney
Past President –Anissa Elayadi
VP for Finance – Marcia Holden
VP for Programs – Alka Prasad
VP for Communications – Soo Kim
co-VP for Public Relations – Callie Raulfs-Wang
co-VP for Public Relations – Romina R. Heymann
co-VP for Public Relations – Shana Spindler
President – Anissa Elayadi
President Elect – Lisa Nichols
Past President – Jennifer Hobin
VP for Finance – Marcia Holden
VP for Programming – Jamie Whitacre
VP for Communications – Heather Gorby
VP for Public Relations – Nicole Gibson
President – Jennifer Hobin
President Elect – Anissa Elayadi
Past President – Jodi Wesemann
VP for Finance – Marcia Holden
VP for Programming – Lisa Nichols
VP for Communications – Jodi Wittlin
VP for Public Relations – Nicole Gibson
President – Jodi Wesemann
President Elect – Jennifer Hobin
Past President – Natalia Melcer
VP for Finance – Marcia Holden
VP for Programming – Ana Ferraras and Ester Sztein
VP for Communications – Angela Grant
VP for Public Relations – Christina Fuentes
President – Natalia Melcer
President Elect – Jodi Wesemann
VP for Finance – Lenka Federkova
VP for Programming – Jennifer Hobin
VP for Communications – Angela Grant
VP for Public Relations – Joslyn Kravitz
President – Jodi Wesemann
President Elect – Natalia Melcer
Past President – Nancy Bakowski
VP for Finance – Lenka Federkova
VP for Programming – Ester Sztein
VP for Communications – Anne Fleckenstein
VP for Public Relations – Lisa Frehill
President – Jodi Wesemann
VP for Finance – Lenka Federkova
VP for Programming – Natalia Melcer
VP for Communications – Ester Sztein
VP for Public Relations – Afua Anim
President – Nancy Bakowski/ Jodi Wesemann
VP for Finance – Lenka Federkova
VP for Programming –  Jodi Wesemann
VP for Communications – Judy Keen /Ester Sztein
VP for Public Relations – Afua Anim
President – Nancy Bakowski
VP for Finance – Lenka Federkova
VP for Programming – Tsvetanka Zheleva
VP for Communications – Edith Richmond Schartz
VP for Public Relations –  Jodi Wesemann