Meet the AWIS-ND Officers 2021-2022:
Dr. Rebecca Wingert, Faculty Advisor since 2012
Dr. Rebecca Ann Wingert is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Gallagher Family Professor of Stem Cell Research at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Wingert received dual undergraduate degrees in Biology and English from Muhlenberg College in 1999, and subsequently earned her Ph.D. in Cellular and Developmental Biology from Harvard University in 2005. She worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School until 2010, where she accrued further training in Genetics and Stem Cell Biology. Dr. Wingert came to Notre Dame in 2010 to start her independent research laboratory, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Stem Cell Biology, Stem Cell Aging, Development and Organ Regeneration.
At Notre Dame, the Wingert laboratory studies the mechanisms that direct kidney formation. They perform basic research to elucidate how nephrons, the functional unit of the kidney, are made during development and regenerate after injury using the zebrafish, Danio rerio. The long-term goals are to discover new biomedical interventions that can be used to treat or prevent kidney disease. To support these endeavors, Dr. Wingert received a Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award from the March of Dimes in 2011, which recognizes promising young investigators pursuing research that aims to understand and treat developmental defects in children. Research in the Wingert lab is also supported by several multi-year grants from the National Institutes of Health, including the Director’s New Innovator Award (2011-2016) to study the mechanisms of kidney regeneration, and a Research Project (R01) Award (2013-2018) to identify genetic models of kidney birth defects using zebrafish.
Claire Nelmark, President
Claire Nelmark is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She graduated from College of St. Benedict (MN) with Chemistry and Applied Physics majors and a Mathematics minor. She currently works in Professor Arnaldo Serrano’s lab where her research concerns 2DIR spectroscopy, protein dynamics, and spectroscopic system development. Claire is excited to promote and support women of all ages in STEM, as well as form lasting collaborations that further our mission.
Aubrey Jeffries, Vice President
Aubrey Jeffries is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering and minor in Geology. She currently works in Hicks and O’Brien groups where her research concerns the conversion of derivatives of biomass compounds to fuel-like or high grade chemicals. Aubrey is passionate about supporting and promoting the inclusion of women in fields of science as well as encouraging the younger generation of female students to explore STEM through the AWIS community.
Joseph Liberko, Treasurer
Joseph Liberko is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Lawrence University with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. He currently works in Professor Jon Camden’s lab where his research concerns interactions between plasmonic and phonic materials. Joseph joined the Association for Women in Science at Notre Dame to show support for women in his department and learn more about their experiences.
Caitlin Kerr, Secretary
Caitlin Kerr is a second-year student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She graduated from Drake University with a B.A. as a Chemistry and Spanish double major. She currently works in Professor Matthew Champion's lab where her research focuses on creating an interface between a capillary isoelectric focusing (CIEF) instrument and mass spectrometry (MS). CIEF requires ampholytes for the separation to occur, which contaminates MS and causes signal suppression of your molecules of interest. My interface will reduce/eliminate the concentration of ampholytes prior to MS. Caitlin is excited to be a part of AWIS and inspire women as well as be inspired by all the amazing people in this organization. AWIS helps create leaders in science and I am so excited to continue my membership in this organization.
Elizabeth (Liz) Arsenault, Outreach Chair
Liz Arsenault is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences. She graduated from the University of Conneticut with a B.S. in Marine Sciences and a minor in Ecology Evolutionary Biology. She currently works in the Santiago-Tirado Lab where her lab works with infectious fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Her lab research aims are to determine how Cryptococcus is able to cause disease in a human host. Liz loves being a part of AWIS because she is able to work and connect with other women in STEM at Notre Dame.
Zihan Huang, Professional Development Chair
Zihan Huang is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She graduated from University of California San Diego with a B.S in Chemical Engineering. She currently works in Ruilan Guo's group where her research focuses on iptycene-based microporous polymeric membranes for advanced gas separation applications. Zihan is excited to meet more of my fellow women in science and to help facilitate connections between these individuals.
Marissa Andersen, Social Chair
Marissa Andersen is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences. She graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead with a B.A. in Biology and minor in Psychology. She currently works in Professor Flores-Mireles' lab where her research concerns testing and developing new urinary catheter materials. Marissa is excited to get experience working on a committee and planning events to bring together the women for science members socially.
Hanna Hlushko, STEMentorship Chair
Hanna Hlushko is a post-doctoral researcher in the Radiation Laboratory. She graduated fromBelarusian State University with a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry. Following her masters, she obtained a PhD from Texas A&M University in Materials Science and Engineering. Her research explores how the composition and morphology of solid surfaces affect water radiolysis under ionizing radiation. Hanna is passionate about helping undergraduate and graduate students to meet their needs in mentorship, to help them find opportunities for professional and personal development.
Naviya Schuster-Little, Social Media Chair
Naviya Schuster-Little is a third-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Biochemistry. She currently works in Professor Rebecca Whelan’s lab where her research concerns studying women's health problems through the lens of analytical chemistry. Naviya is currently working on developing new analytical assays for detecting early-stage ovarian cancer, the peptide hormone oxytocin, and bacteria species. Naviya is excited about connecting with other women scientists and raising her Corgi Louie.
- Biological Sciences - Rachel Cronin
- Engineering - Alicia Wei
- Undergraduate - Margaret (Meg) Berquist
- Postdoctoral - Danica Walsh