2017 AWIS New Jersey Women in STEM Mentoring Excellence Award.

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 Association for Women in Science recognizes that mentoring impacts not only the direct beneficiaries, but also induces a ripple effect.  At our dean-littinaugural awarding event, meet these successful women panelists and hear their stories about how mentoring has impacted their professional growth.

Dr. Jacquelyn Litt is the recipient of 2017 Association for Women in Science, New Jersey Women in STEM Mentoring Excellence award.

Dr.Jacquelyn Litt is the Dean of Douglass Residential College and the Douglass Campus and Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology. Dr. Litt has a distinguished record of scholarship, teaching, and administrative service that focuses on women’s issues.She is a national expert on faculty mentoring and consults on mentoring program development around the country.

New Jersey Assembly joint legislative resolution.

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Association for Women in Science empowers andpromotes women scientists through programs that facilitate career development, education, networking, leadership & entrepreneurial opportunities. For close to 20 years we have been annually recognizing high school seniors and this year also Junior female students who reside in New Jersey and who demonstrate interest & intent to pursue STEM for higher education in form of Annual STEM Scholarships & Awards.

Association for Women in Science was recognized for the service on the New Jersey Assembly floor with presentations of resolutions to our scholarship recipients.


Spearheaded by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker,the resolutions had bipartisan support from  Pamela R.Lampitt, Chair Women & Children,   Bateman and  Ciattarelli. Additionally, it was supported on the floor by Maer Muoio, Valerie Vainieri Huttle,  Eric Peterson,    Gordon Johnson,  Ronald S Dancer and  John DiMaio

2016 AWIS New Jersey High School STEM Scholarship Winners

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2016FN AWIS-NJ STEM Scholars

Established in 1995, AWIS NJ empowers and promotes women scientists through programs that facilitate career development, education, networking, leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities.

For close to 20 years, we have been offering STEM scholarships to female high school students from all parts of New Jersey who display high academic performance, are active in extracurricular activities and plan to pursue STEM careers.

The 2016 high school STEM scholarship winners were highly recommended. Their thought-provoking essays enlightened the review committee about the lives and aspirations of the applicants as well as the accomplishments of inspirational New Jersey women scientists. Our reviewers consider the winners among the top young women of scientific aptitude that New Jersey can offer.

2016 AWIS New Jersey High School STEM Scholarship Review Committee

Michael P. Shakarjian, PhD (Chair)

Smita Thakker-Varia, PhD

Jillian Whidby Freund, PhD

Roberta Batorsky, PhD


A Campaign for Mental Health Under Way at Janssen Research & Development, A Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson

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Have you ever thought of eating disorders with disdain, belittled them as a fad, a “phase”, or deemed them as a lifestyle choice? If yes, you are among many who overlook these serious disorders with potentially life-threatening outcomes as “frivolous.”

Our featured article for the month discusses the leading efforts to uncover the causes and potential treatments for illnesses like treatment-resistant depression, suicidality, and other mental illnesses.

It discusses how Craig Kramer’s personal experience with his daughter ‘s attempted suicide showed him the sorry state of affairs for eating disorder patients in terms of diagnosis, prognosis, inadequate insurance coverage, and beyond.
How, through his efforts and the efforts of other Johnson & Johnson leaders, the J&J Global Campaign for Mental Health was initiated as a part of Neuroscience External Affairs at Janssen Research & Development, LLC.


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Snapshots from invigorating discussion “Funding R&D to enhance economic development”.

Media coverage in The Daily Targum


Science policy combined

Rutgers Dept. of Neuroscience & Cell Biology Emmanuel DiCicco-Bloom MD, Princeton Plasma Physics Labs Andrew Zwicker PhD, Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Mercer), Centre for Advanced Biotechnology & Medicine Ann Stock PhD, Association for Women in Science, NJ President Kamana Misra PhD, Human Ecology at Rutgers University Daniel Van Abs PhD, Environmental Analysis and Communications Group Rutgers Jeanne Herb and InnoPharma Navneet Puri PhD.


AWIS-NJ Science & Policy Panel 101

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Science Policy 101
An event designed for science professionals. Understand how and why your participation is essential for shaping good science policy decisions. Science policy is a category of policymaking focusing on policies affecting the conduct of the science and research enterprise, including the funding of science. It also refers to the act of applying scientific knowledge and consensus to the development of public policies. 
Rush D. Holt, PhD., chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a 16 year member of the US House of Representatives says  “The scientific community must play a role in advocating for policies that remove barriers and connect scientists. Fortunately, many in the scientific community are already working together to do just that.”
Use registration link to get additional information about the panelists.

2015 AWIS-NJ STEM Scholarship Winners

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The Scholarship Review Committee congratulates the winners for their efforts and performance in the Scholarship Competition considering these winners among the finest young women of scientific aptitude that New Jersey can offer.

1st place:    Shweta Modi, Edison High School, Edison, NJ
2nd place:  Katherine Chew, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, NJ & Francesca Gualano, High Point Regional High School, Sussex

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We would like to thanks our sponsors: Quatresian, Garden State Neurology, MD4KIDZ, Biothink, Coldwell Bankers, Orchid Consulting, Roshni Media 

Scholarships are given to New Jersey women in their senior year of high school who undertake a science, technology, engineering, or math course of study in the college. Like each year, this year also, applicants from all parts of New Jersey applied. For winners we look for especially high academic performance, activity in a wide variety of extracurricular activities and exceptional support from their recommenders.
Winners also wrote well written, thought-provoking essays enlightening our review committee about the lives and aspirations of our applicants, and about the accomplishments of inspirational New Jersey women scientists.

The Politics of Promotion

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AWIS CJC and Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science, and Engineering are pleased to host a book launch
“Politics of Promotion” by Bonnie Marcus, M.Ed., an award winning entrepreneur and Forbes and business insider contributing writer.

The winners of 20th annual AWIS-CJC High School STEM Scholarships will be announced.

Click here for registering & more information

Arthur L. Johnson High School AWIS_CJC “Adopt a River ” team completes a year.

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Clark school

“Adopt a river” initiative was started by New Jersey chapter for Association for Women in Science to give high school students an opportunity to initiate and get involved in scientific projects that have a social impact. Simultaneously, the students get an opportunity to demonstrate scientific skills that involve team work and interaction with peers and experts.

The Arthur L. Johnson High School chapter of Association of Women in Science (AWIS) and their advisors, Mrs. Linda Bianco, Mrs. Jenette Morse, and Mrs. Dannie Vaccari, conducted water testing at a brook in Garwood as part of the “Adopt a River” program. ALJ’s chapter of AWIS is the first high school chapter in New Jersey and is working to expose girls to careers in the sciences.

The story as featured in the local newspaper

If you wish to participate or get further details, send an email awis_cjc@yahoo.com

AWIS_CJC at 14th annual conference for young women in STEM at Princeton University

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AWIS_CJC supported the annual conference for young women in STEM, an initiative by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Beyond the leadership representation as speakers, AWIS_CJC exhibitor booth introduced close to 500 young female attendees to “AWIS_CJC Annual High School STEM Scholarships” and “AWIS_CJC adopt a river Project.”

The Young Women’s Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics introduces middle-school and high-school aged girls (in 7th though 10th grades) to women scientists and engineers and the wide breadth of careers available to them in these fields.

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2015  AWISNJ STEM Scholarship Applications – Open

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Click here to download AWISNJ Scholarship Guidelines for 2015 PDF.

Scholarship Application Guidelines:

  •                   Deadline April 30, 2015 (11 pm)

  •                   Winners will be announced May 30, 2015

Who Can Enter:

The scholarship is open for any female high school senior (class of 2015) living and studying in New Jersey.

Female high school seniors who reside in New Jersey (only), who are entering college, university, or any educational institution in the fall of 2015 and who are interested in studying any STEM topic.

The application  process is simple and only requires: 

  1. A cover email,

  2. An essay,

  3. & recommendations.

Send completed applications to awis_cjc@yahoo.com

Best of Luck! You could be the next winner. We look forward to reading your essay and supporting your career.

Who is representing you, the STEM professionals in Politics?

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Kamana Misra, PhD, President Association for Women in Science, NJ

Should this be a wake up call for scientists? How many of us know, or care about our reZwicker titlepresentation in the Congress? Some disturbing statistics from the 113th Congress1:

  • Congressmen with science background, ~7%
  • Doctors with MD degrees, ~4%
  • Engineers, ~1%
  • PhD degree holders, <1%, (~0.5%)

So who is actually representing us? For Senators lawyers top the list followed by public service/politics and business people. For Representatives business professionals are the majority followed by public service/politics and lawyers.

Certainly, they are very capable and able representatives, but can they really understand the pain of downsizing a functional lab due to a funding crunch? The pain of terminating groundbreaking research projects due to lack of research staff? And worst, the pain of terminating employment of scientists, who have been taught to believe that they are the best of the breed?

Here in New Jersey, our representation is even worst in the two legislative bodies, the State Senate and Assembly. Amongst these lawmakers ultimately responsible for guiding New Jersey out of our economic downturn, we have a single MD doctor representing us. We all know that the states that invest in STEM are strong states. According to the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, 14 of the world’s top 20 biopharmaceutical companies are in NJ and we have the world’s highest concentration of scientific professionals2. By 2018, New Jersey needs to fill over 269,000 jobs in STEM. It seems to be a logical conclusion: We need to increase the representation of STEM professionals and scientists in the New Jersey Assembly.

More under the featured article tab


AWIS Statement on President Obama’s State of the Union

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Tonight, President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on the State of the Union. In his speech, President Obama called for new steps to strengthen working families across America asking Congress to pass legislation that would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days of paid sick time per year, proposing more than $2 billion in new funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs, and modernizing the Federal workplace by directing agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid leave for parents with a new child.

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) believes family-friendly workplace policies are essential to help retain women scientists, engineers, and technologists in the interest of strengthening America’s diverse, competitive workforce and advancing our country’s innovation enterprise. Creating work environments where employees can integrate the demands of career and family is good policy for both employers and employees. Paid family leave for mothers and fathers, a flexible workplace, and safe and affordable childcare are essential to this nation’s ability to attract and retain the “best and the brightest.”

The United States is currently one of only three countries, including Lesotho and Swaziland, that that does not offer some form of paid leave for workers. Currently, only 40% of the US workforce is covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which permits up to 12 weeks unpaid time off for medical and family issues. In fact, a mere 12% of US employees have access to paid leave through their employers.

Work-life integration issues are having demonstrable impacts particularly on the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. In the largest global survey ever undertaken about work-life integration issues among scientists and researchers worldwide, AWIS found serious issues, including paid parental and sick leave, that challenge employers’ capacity to retain scientific talent, to sustain innovation within the science workplace, and to keep both women and men engaged in research endeavors. Nearly 40% of women respondents said they had delayed having children because of their careers, while 27% of males indicated the same situation. Most respondents noted that they could not afford to start a family on their current income as lack of paid time off and safe and affordable childcare were beyond their reach.

AWIS is pleased to see President Obama giving strong support to the case for improved family-friendly policies in all workforces. We join the President in urging not only the US federal government, its contractors, and funding agencies but also all workplaces to pursue the productivity benefits available from creating workplace cultures that accommodates holistically the work/life dimensions of the workforce.

January 20, 2015                                                                                             Contact: Allison Kimble 703.894.4490

AWIS_CJC, Rutger’s Professional Science Masters, Quartesian & Harel consulting present

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AWIS PSM joint


Harel Logio          Quat logo

Click on the images to get more information about the panelists:

Jacob Harel    Tanya Chowdhury Flora Ma

 Jacob Harel, Tanya Chowdhury   Flora Ma,     

2014 AWISNJ Editorial Board

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As AWISNJ Articles comes close to completing its first year, we want to thank all our editors, associates, contributors and readers for their valuable contributions. It has been an exciting journey and we have together created a valuable resource for our membership to present their opinions, thoughts, and insight on relevant scientific topics and issues.
Moving forward, I hope we will continue to work together to add value to these series.  To achieve this we are excited to introduce the qualified members of our 2014 editorial board team. 
Kamana Misra, PhD
Founding Editor, AWISNJ Articles

2014 Editorial Board

2014 EB New 2

“Adopt-a-River” campaign: A partnership between New Jersey schools and Association for Women in Science, New Jersey Chapter.

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With an objective to get high school students involved in local ecological conservation projects, we invite you to partner with us to learn basics of water quality testing. Each school / team will have an opportunity to identify a river of choice in their neighborhood. Based on the material and instructions provided from our experts, school teams will be assigned simple tasks to test defined parameters of the designated water body.  Each school team will share their results in a presentation at the end of the school year. The long-term goal is to make this a recurring annual event to track ecological parameters of different water bodies across NJ over extended time period with students providing valuable data each calendar period.

Click on the link to get further details and to register:


Snapshots from PSM rutgers, Jeiven Pharmaceuticals& AWIS-CJC joint Event.

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Dr. Sangya S. Varma, Associate Director for Academic Affairs & Curricula Development, Professional Science Master’s Program, Rutgers.

Marty Jeiven, President  Jeiven Pharmaceutical Consulting, Inc., President for AdiraMedica LLC.

Nazish Irfanul Huq, Associate Director of Clinical Development, Shionogi Inc.

Divya Patel, Project Leader, Integrium.

Carolyn Benslimane, Recruiter.

AWIS CJC Annual High School Senior Scholarship Applications, 2013

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AWIS CJC Annual High School Senior Scholarship Applications are now open for 2013

For full information follow the link:

2013 Annual High School Scholarship Application

Or click on the scholarships tab.

AWIS NJ Officers 2013:

Kamana Misra, PhD           Smita Thakker-Varia PhD           Gina Schaefer           Doranelly Kolchev PhD

AWIS-CJC & Rutgers PSM joint event:”Clinical research, a path not so less travelled”.

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Directors of the Professional Science Masters (PSM) program, Rutgers,

 Marty Jeiven, President  Jeiven Pharmaceutical Consulting, Inc., President for AdiraMedica LLC, 

Carolyn Benslimane, Recruiter with Valesta Clinical Solutions, a division of On Assignment and

Anthony E. Klon, PhD, Senior Medical Writer, Tricore Inc.


2012 AWIS NJ scholarship recipients.

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The Association for Women in Science, NJ chapter is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2012 scholarship awards. These scholarship winners have each demonstrated exceptional performance and a special interest in pursuing STEM subjects in college. Congratulations.


Gabrielle Goodrow

The Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Highlands, NJ

1st Place.

Payal Marathe

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, NJ

2nd Place

Amanda Autore

High Point Regional High School, Wantage, N.J.

2nd Place

Attend our upcoming networking event “Mentoring essentials for career enhancement”

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Kathleen W. Scotto, Ph.D.,

Vice President of Research and Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Science

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey


Kathleen W. Scotto, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Research and Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  She previously held the role of Senior Associate Dean of Research at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she is a Professor of Pharmacology and a member of the RWJMS-Cancer Institute of New Jersey.  She received her Ph.D. from the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 1984, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller University until 1988.  Prior to joining UMDNJ-RWJMS in the fall of 2004, Dr. Scotto was an Associate Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (1989-2001) and a Professor of Pharmacology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia (2001-2004). 

In addition to her administrative roles, Dr. Scotto maintains an active NIH-funded laboratory at CINJ.  She is internationally recognized for her work on the regulation of drug resistance genes that impact sensitivity of cancer cells to therapeutic agents.  She is the author of numerous articles, reviews and patents in this area.  The Scotto lab also studies the regulation of alternative splicing, particularly as it relates to the cancer phenotype.  Dr. Scotto serves on multiple committees within the cancer field, and is on the editorial board of two cancer journals.  Combining her dedication to the nurturing and training of young scientists with her passion for the translation of basic science into new disease treatments, she is currently involved in the development of a novel New Jersey state-wide infrastructure to develop and train the clinical/translational research teams of the future. 

Dr Scotto has also been the recipient of a number of awards for her research and administration efforts.  In 2008, Dr Scotto was named an NJABR Outstanding Woman in Research, and in 2011 she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University.


Lets Talk About The Thing Nobody Wants To Talk About

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Click here to REGISTER for the event.

Join us for a conversation with the team from Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), a social venture that invests in people and ideas that are typically overlooked (and often taboo) as vehicles of social and economic change. The United Nations has reported that only 43% of girls in developing nations attend secondary school, largely because of poor access to feminine hygiene products during their so-called “week of shame”. Availability of affordable feminine care products could make it easier for them to attend school and work.

SHE partnered with MIT, North Carolina State University, the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology and former Kimberly Clark leaders to address this taboo subject with serious yet largely unspoken implications.


Brinda Wiita, 
Chief Operating Officer, Cognifem 
SHE Board of Directors

Brinda is a Neuroendocrinologist with extensive experience in healthcare R&D, technology licensing, and alliance management. Her research is focused on women’s health and behavior, with many publications on hormone therapy, mood, quality of life, osteoporosis, depression, vaginal infections, and libido. She has been a champion of improved diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting women, working with the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Kaiser Foundation, Society for the Advancement of Women’s Health Research, and the Mayo Clinic.In the pharmaceutical industry, Brinda held management positions in Clinical Research, Medical Affairs, Business Development and Global Strategic Planning at Glaxo SmithKilne, Solvay/ Abbvie, and Johnson and Johnson. She is currently is managing a technical and strategic consulting company, working with biotech startups, and volunteering with global women’s health nonprofit organizations. She still enjoys travel (3.5 million lifetime airline miles), sightseeing, hiking, and cooking.

Melissa Driver Beard Melisa Driver Beard
Executive Director, SHE
As Executive Director, Melissa leads business development, partnerships and strategic planning.  Before SHE, Melissa was the CEO of Engineering World Health and expanded the organization’s biomedical training programming by into East Africa, West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America over a period of two years.
Melissa developed her passion for work in the emerging markets as an economics and international studies double major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She then completed her graduate degree in public administration, concentrating in public health.  Melissa is an avid traveler, and has visited 43 countries to date.  Her son has been a constant travel companion and shares her love of the undiscovered.