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How to Succeed as a Woman in Academia

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

in collaboration with Future of Research, Boston

It is increasingly difficult to obtain a faculty position, and women are still severely under-represented in STEM professorships. Come hear insight and advice from a panel of female professors who are successfully navigating the world of academics.

5:00pm – 5:30pm Registration
5:30pm – 5:45pm Introduction on Gender Diversity Issues
5:45pm – 7:00pm Panel Discussion
7:00pm – 8:00pm Networking and Refreshments

MASS AWIS members $5 · Non-members $10
BCH Postdocs, FREE with ID (Click HERE)


  • Dr. Samuel Sommers: Associate Professor of Psychology, Tufts University

Panelists (Bios Below):

  • Dr. Jamie Maguire: Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Tufts Medical School
  • Dr. Tiffany Donalson: Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Dr. Rachael Fearns: Associate Professor of Microbiology, Boston University, School of Medicine
  • Dr. Lisa Shin: Professor and Department Chair of Psychology, Tufts University
  • Dr. Jale Akyurtlu: Professor Emerita of Chemical Engineering, Hampton University

Thanks to our co-sponsor for this event!


Jamie Maguire, PhD

Dr. Maguire graduated with a BS in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998 and got her doctorate in Neuroscience from George Washington University in 2003. After a postdoc position at the University of California, Los Angeles, she became an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine in 2010.

Research in the Maguire lab focuses on GABAergic inhibition in health and disease. Their research focuses on how GABAergic inhibition is altered under both physiological and pathological conditions. A particular emphasis in Maguire lab involves investigating the GABAergic control of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which mediates the body’s response to stress.  Stress triggers illnesses ranging from the common cold to epilepsy and the goal of the lab is to investigate how the body’s physiological response to stress is controlled and how we can modulate HPA axis function to prevent the adverse effects of stress.  They use a wide variety of approaches, ranging from electrophysiology to behavior.  Using these techniques, the Maguire lab aims to determine the nature of GABAAR regulation in different areas of the brain to understand how dysfunction affects the pathophysiology of neurologicial and neuropsychiatric disorders


Rachel Fearns, PhD

Rachel is an Associate Professor of Microbiology at Boston University, School of Medicine where her group studies molecular mechanisms underlying RNA virus gene expression. Rachel’s research is mainly driven by addressing basic biology questions, but this work has led to strong collaborative links with the pharmaceutical industry and her group’s research is supported by grants from industry sponsors in addition to the National Institute of Health (NIH); Medical Research Council, United Kingdom (UK); and The Hartwell Foundation. Although largely research-focused, Rachel also directs the graduate virology class and has been an advisor for the incoming graduate student class and works to provide outreach to local schoolchildren. Rachel began her career in the UK and earned her PhD from St. Andrew’s University. She then moved to the United States for a post-doctoral fellowship at the NIH in Bethesda, moved back to the UK as an academic at the University of Dundee, and then joined Boston University in 2007. She currently lives in Newton with her immunologist husband and budding entomologist/ zoologist/ paleontologist five-year old son.


Tiffany Donaldson, PhD

Dr. Tiffany Donaldson received her BA in Biology and Spanish from Dartmouth College in 1989, and Master’s in Psychology/Neuroscience from Harvard University in 1991 working with Dr. Ann Kelley. Dr. Donaldson followed Dr. Kelley to Northeastern and graduated with a PhD in 1993 completing her dissertation with distinction. After two postdoc positions, Dr. Donaldson joined the University of Massachusetts, Boston Psychology Department in 1997 and was tenured in 2003. In 2001 and 2003, she received her college’s Outstanding Teaching Award and the President’s Public Service Award in 2004 for her commitment to training underrepresented minority K-12 students in life and physical sciences in the Greater Boston area.

Dr. Donaldson’s current research is focused on understanding the intersect of biological and environmental factors that create vulnerability and resilience to drug addiction. She uses a rodent model to explore biological sex and trait anxiety as pathways to drug addiction, such as how female and particularly anxious rodents are more sensitive to stimulant drugs, more likely to show impulsive behavior and relapse to drug-taking. She breeds her own trait-anxiety animals at the University of Massachusetts vivarium to create high (HAn) and low anxiety (LAn) animals to explore the cellular and molecular factors that contribute to this stimulant drug-vulnerable profile. She uses her neuroscience lab as a training platform for undergraduate and graduate students serving as mentor for more than 100 students.


Lisa M. Shin, PhD

Dr. Shin is Professor and Chair of Psychology at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where she has been a faculty member since 1998.  After obtaining a BA in Psychology at Dartmouth College, she went on to earn a PhD in Psychology at Harvard University.  She subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

The principal theme of her research involves examining brain function and cognitive processing in patients with anxiety disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her work involves the use of positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine whether brain structures such as the amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus function normally in patients with PTSD. Her lab is currently seeking to determine whether functional neuroimaging measures can be used to help predict treatment response and whether functional brain abnormalities in PTSD are acquired characteristics of the disorder or whether they represent familial vulnerability factors that increase the risk of PTSD after trauma exposure.

Dr. Shin has received a number of prizes for her research, including Young Investigator Awards (1999-2001; 2003-2005) from the American National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, Anxiety Disorders Association of America, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.


Jale Akyurtlu, PhD

Jale Akyurtlu is a Professor Emerita of Engineering of Hampton University. She has BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She is the first female PhD recipient from University of Wisconsin-Madison Chemical Engineering Department.

Her research interests lie in chemical reaction engineering and catalysis, mainly related to general energy and environmental research; undergraduate education in nanotechnology; and engineering education in general.  She secured research funding of about $4.3 M during her tenure at Hampton University and has had over 30 publications and more than 60 presentations.  She also has a patent on “Catalyst for Decomposition of Nitrogen Oxides.”

As Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation-Math and Science Partnerships funding, she worked with three school districts in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia to enhance the algebraic problem-solving skills of secondary education math teachers. Additionally, she was a Fulbright Scholar; the recipient of the E.L. Hamm, Sr. Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006; and Provost’s Academic Excellence Award in 2013 at Hampton University.

How to Succeed as a Woman in Academia


Wednesday, November 9, 2016
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:


Boston Children’s Hospital (Auditorium)
1 Autumn St
Boston, MA 02215 United States
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MASS AWIS is the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association for Women in Sciences. Our mission is to support women in all scientific fields and to achieve equity and full participation for women in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Our events and membership are open for the public regardless of their gender, professional background, or career level.