2017 Conference

Thanks to everyone that attended our second annual Women in STEM Conference this year! For anyone that was unable to attend or would simply like to learn more about what we covered, please see the information below. More information will be forthcoming in the spring on the homepage regarding next year’s conference.


Below was the schedule for the day.

  • 8:00 – 9:00am — Registration, breakfast

  • 9:00 – 9:50am — Welcome / Icebreaker

  • 10:00 – 11:00am — Dr. Renee Horton, Keynote

  • 11:00am – 12:00pm — Lunch

  • 12:00 – 12:50pm — Dr. Karissa Sanbonmatsu, Keynote

  • 1:00 – 1:50pm — Breakout Session

  • 2:00 – 2:50pm — Breakout Session

  • 3:00 – 3:50pm — Breakout Session

  • 3:50 – 4:30pm — Closing remarks, RAFFLE!

Note: All events take place in St. Cajetan’s, with the exception of the breakout sessions.

2017 Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sanbonmatsu and Dr. Horton

This year we were fortunate to have two featured keynote speakers: Dr. Renee Horton, a Material Science Engineer with NASA, and Dr. Karissa Sanbonmatsu, a Principle Investigator at Los Alamos National Laboratory and specialist in the mechanisms of ribosomes, riboswitches, and LncRNAs.

Dr. Horton is the first African American – and first in her family – to earn a doctorate in Material Science from the University of Alabama. You can learn more about her by visiting her website. In addition to her research, Dr. Sanbonmatsu discusses how her gender transition led her down the path to studying epigenetics — how social interactions alter DNA. You can learn more about her work by visiting her website as well.

Our sincerest thanks to Dr. Horton and Dr. Sanbonmatsu for their time and energy!

Breakout Session Information

Communications Workshop

When developing plans for this conference, common threads that were discussed among dozens of STEM faculty and career professionals were hurdles we all face when it comes to asserting ourselves in our salary negotiations, feeling confident in interviews, speaking in public or giving presentations, especially in your area of expertise, how to successfully network, and feeling like an equal amongst your colleagues. Simply put, the ability to professionally and assertively communicate is vital to our success – and also something that, historically, gender norms have not embraced.


Panel Discussion

This panel discussion will feature men and women from a wide range of backgrounds who have chosen a variety of different paths. Whatever the right path for you may be, the intent of this session is for you to ask questions and learn from the experiences of panel members who’ve faced similar challenges.

Free-Form Session

This final session gives students a bit of a break, and provides a safe space to interact with both our keynote speakers in a one-on-one environment, our STEM faculty members in a non-classroom setting, and to see what student orgs are available to them. Students are encouraged to ask questions of MSU’s professors about their paths in life, their struggles, and to get to know them more on a personal level. Additionally, this hour is meant to be FUN! We will have a photobooth available and some engaging activities to get involved in.


*Please keep in mind that the Panel Discussion, Communications Workshop, and the Free-Form Session will run concurrently. The audience will be split into three, and after each hour, the audience will swap. Everyone will have an opportunity to attend each presentation. Sessions will take place either in St. Cajetan’s, the Multicultural Lounge, or Tivoli 320.