Meet the AWIS-ND Officers 2022-2023:

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.

Rachel Cronin, President


I am a fifth year PhD candidate in the department of Biological Sciences. My research in Dr. Patricia Champion’s lab involves understanding how pathogenic mycobacteria regulate and secrete virulence factors through the ESX-1 system. As president, I am interested in improving AWIS participation by encouraging collaborations within the post-doctoral and undergraduate communities at Notre Dame. I am passionate about improving professional development, outreach, and social opportunities for women in science as well as building a supporting community within our campus. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running, and trying out new recipes.


Liz Arsenault, Vice President



Liz is a coffee loving Bostonian and a 5th year PhD candidate in the Santiago Tirado lab studying the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. She is characterizing a palmitoylated protein with unknown function that is important for fungal mating and may have a link virulence in C. neoformans. When not at the lab, you can often find Liz walking her rescue pup Skipper around campus.










Taylor Sherman, Treasurer



I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences studying in Dr. Patricia Champion’s lab. My research aims to understand how pathogenic mycobacteria evade the host immune system therefore promoting bacterial spread from cell to cell. As the treasurer of AWIS I support the social, professional development and outreach events by processing donations, reimbursements, and deposits. I am passionate about fostering a welcoming environment for all women to join STEM fields. Being treasurer complements this passion by allowing me to be involved in all of the different AWIS events happening throughout the year. 


Caitlin Kerr, Secretary




I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in Dr. Matthew Champion’s lab. My research focuses on in-line robust capillary isoelectric focusing with mass spectrometry detection. As the AWIS secretary, I enjoy being able to coordinate activities and events with students from multiple disciplines of science. I am passionate about working with and empowering women in STEM. 








Amandhi Mathews, Outreach Chair



I am a second year PhD student in the Biological Sciences Program. I primarily study the entry of sensory neurons into the spinal cord in zebrafish during early development. My research also focuses on investigating a new population of glial cells in the zebrafish heart. As the outreach chair, my aim is to build community. I get to organize events which bridge the undergraduate and graduate community here and further take Notre Dame to the local South Bend community. I strongly believe that women empowerment is in open conversation, exposure and engagement with women across departments and colleges. If I am not in the lab, I am reading, at karate training or painting! 









Arpitha Mysore Rajashekara, Professional Development Chair



I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences. I study Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in Dr. David Boone’s lab. My research is aimed at developing effective IBD treatments by understanding the pathology of IBD and microbial diversity in IBD. I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to influence and help shape the minds of the future in any way possible. I am interested in coming up with different creative approaches on how to communicate science to different audiences; exploring & learning effective leadership skills, teaching practices & mentoring styles. As the AWIS professional development chair I connect our members with experienced women scientists from academia and industry to help our members hone their soft skills and make informed decisions about their career path. Apart from my research and AWIS activities I enjoy taking long hikes and lifting weights to unwind and rejuvenate.


Zoe Emory, Social Chair



I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I study the effects of ionizing radiation on actinide materials in Dr. Peter Burns’ lab in collaboration with Dr. Jay LaVerne in the Radiation Lab. As social chair for AWIS, I enjoy planning events to bring the women in STEM across campus together to get to know one another and find community with others in different disciplines. I also love planning events as a great opportunity to find fun and friends amongst fellow scientists.



Mika Schievelbein, STEMentorship Chair



I am a 3rd year biochemistry PhD student in the Jessica Brown Laboratory. My research focuses on understanding RNA triple helices and expanding the limited information known to date. Although, it is known that high levels of RNA triple helices lead to the progression of diseases such as cancer. My research also focuses on developing nucleic acid therapeutics against these dangerous structures. STEMentorship is a program meant to expand the community of women in STEM and provide a supportive environment for young female scientists at Notre Dame looking to pursue a career in STEM. Mentorship and inclusivity in science are two areas that I am passionate about. As STEMentorship Chair, I hope to  provide the opportunities for our female STEM community to grow stronger in numbers and provide a safe space where no women in STEM feels alone. 








Alyssa La Bella, Social Media Chair



I am a 2nd year Biological Sciences Ph.D. student working in the Flores-Mireles Lab. The Flores-Mireles lab studies Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs), one of the most common hospital-acquired infections. My research seeks to understand how Candida albicans, a fungal pathogen, is able to colonize and cause infection in the catheterized bladder.  In my free time, I love to run, watch true crime documentaries, and knit. 


Departmental Representatives

  • ACMS - Emma Cobian
  • Chemistry - Kangling Ma
  • Engineering - Alicia Wei & Caitlin Coverstone
  • Postdoctoral - Hanna Hlushko & Senjuti Banerjee