AWIS Annual Awards

 

The AWIS Annual Awards highlight members’ career

achievements that demonstrate strong leadership
skills, innovative thinking, and a commitment to inclusivity,
diversity, equity, and/or accessibility.

Maria Belen Carillo-Rivas, PhD
Senior Vice President, Head of Regulatory Affairs, Imvax, Inc.
2021 Leadership Award Recipient

2022 Applications are closed!

Check back this fall to view the winners.

Award Categories

These awards recognize AWIS members who are making significant contributions to science, increasing workplace diversity, promoting women into leadership positions, and advocating for more inclusive practices in STEM. See below for past recipients.

Spark Award

Highlights a student or early career leader in STEM who is a visible and vocal advocate for diversity and inclusive scientific practices.

Meridian Award

Recognizes a mid-career professional whose diversity and inclusion efforts represent a true leader in the pursuit of workplace equity.

Zenith Award

Honors senior career professional’s lifetime of innovative achievements in STEM and commitment to workplace diversity.
2021 Award Recipients
AWIS Leadership Award Recipient Dr. Maria Belen Carrillo-Rivas

Leadership Award

Commending an experienced STEM leader for fostering a high representation of women in leadership and supportive workplace policies.

Dr. Maria Belen Carrillo-Rivas is a Pharmaceutical Business Executive and Drug Developer with a strong scientific background in driving the industry-leading pharmaceutical organization’s performance, quality, innovation, and excellence. As the recipient of 2021 Association of Women in Science (AWIS) Leadership Award. She’s pioneering a regulatory path forward for people living with rare diseases. Dr. Carrillo-Rivas played an integral role in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine EUA submission and spearheaded decisions on submission strategy, readiness, and clinical data quality. Her diverse background is in academia, pharmaceutical, and biotech with expertise in preclinical sciences, clinical development, and regulatory submissions. She has a proven track record of leading large product portfolios, R&D programs, and complex regulatory submissions, building productive business partnerships that result in quality, sustainability, and business growth.

2020 Award Recipients

Leadership Award

Commending an experienced STEM leader for fostering a high representation of women in leadership and supportive workplace policies.

Rachel Hutter, P.E. is Senior Vice President for International Facilities Operations Services and Worldwide Safety, Health and Engineering with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Today Rachel is fulfilling her childhood dream as she leads engineering at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Throughout her more than 22-year career with Disney, Rachel has held 10 different roles. Her current responsibilities span the globe to include oversight of teams in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

 

Pinnacle Award

Honoring an individual’s lifetime of innovative achievements in STEM and commitment to workplace diversity.

Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite is an internationally recognized scientist and scholar,  winner of awards in the fields of science, arts, literature, and humanitarian affairs and author of several scientific papers, studies and books. Her career started in 1995 at University of London hospitals and institutes. Dr. El-Hashemite is the first Royal Princess qualified in science and medicine, having earned a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, Master of Science, Medical Doctorate (MD) and a Doctorate (PhD) in Human Genetics.

 

Next Generation Award

Highlighting an early career leader in STEM who is a visible and vocal advocate for diversity and inclusive scientific practices.

Dr. Sarah Richardson is a computational and molecular biologist, as well as an entrepreneur. Dr. Richardson earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Maryland College Park and a Doctorate of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She leads the construction of genomic toolkits for non‐model prokaryotes, which she describes as using DNA to train bacteria to do tricks on command.

 

Game Changer Award

Recognizing an exemplary company whose diversity and inclusion efforts represent a true ally to the pursuit of workplace equality.

Lockheed Martin is a Fortune 500 company that ensures workplace equity, diversity and inclusion, and the advancement of women in leadership.

 

 

2019 Award Recipients

Pinnacle Award

Honoring an individual’s lifetime of innovative achievements in STEM and commitment to workplace diversity.

Carol W. Greider, PhD, is the Daniel Nathans Professor, and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics and a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Greider received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983 and a Ph.D. in 1987 from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1984, working together with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, she discovered telomerase, an enzyme that maintains telomeres, or chromosome ends. In 1988, Dr. Greider went to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where, as an independent Cold Spring Harbor Fellow, she cloned and characterized the RNA component of telomerase. In 1990, Dr. Greider was appointed as an assistant investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, followed later by appointment to Investigator in 1994. She expanded the focus of her telomere research to include the role of telomere length in cellular senescence, cell death and in cancer. In 1997, Dr. Greider moved her laboratory to the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2003 she was appointed as the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. At Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Greider’s group continued to study the biochemistry of telomerase and determined the secondary structure of the human telomerase RNA. In addition she characterized the loss of telomere function in mice, which allowed an understanding of short telomere syndromes in humans such as bone marrow failure, pulmonary fibrosis and other diseases. Dr. Greider shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 with Drs. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak for their work on telomeres and telomerase. Dr. Greider currently directs a group of eight scientists studying both the role of short telomeres in age-related disease and cancer as well as the regulatory mechanism that maintain telomere length.

 

Leadership Award

Commending an experienced STEM leader for fostering a high representation of women in leadership and supportive workplace policies.

Freda C. Lewis-Hall, MD, DFAPA, is Pfizer’s Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer. During her 35-year career, Dr. Lewis-Hall has been on the frontlines of health care from the standpoints of a clinician, a researcher, and a leader in the biopharmaceuticals and life sciences industries. The common threads throughout have been her passion to advocate for better outcomes for all patients and her commitment to mentoring the next generations of women leaders in science and medicine. Trained as a psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis-Hall began her medical career in patient care and became well known for her work on the effects of mental illness on families and communities and on issues of health care disparities. She has held positions of leadership at the Howard University Hospital and College of Medicine, Vertex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Some of her many achievements include founding the Lilly Center for Women’s Health in the 1990s; serving on the board of the U.S. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute since its inception in 2010; creating Pfizer’s public health information program Get Healthy Stay Healthy in 2012; launching the industry’s first public compassionate use request portal, PfizerCARES, in 2015; and spearheading the creation of SpringWorks Therapeutics, a new company working to develop promising new treatments in underserved areas of urgent medical need, in 2017. For the past decade, Lewis-Hall has served as Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer, responsible for the safe, effective and appropriate use of Pfizer’s medicines and vaccines, and in this role she reshaped Pfizer’s medical policies and practices to intensify the company’s focus on patient engagement and inclusion. In her new role as Chief Patient Officer of Pfizer, Lewis-Hall will work to extend the reach of Pfizer’s patient-facing health information and education and amplify the voice of the patient inside and outside Pfizer.

 

Next Generation Award

Highlighting an early career leader in STEM who is a visible and vocal advocate for diversity and inclusive scientific practices.

Mareena Robinson Snowden, PhD, is Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research focuses on nuclear arms control verification sufficiency, nonproliferation, and modernization. Prior to joining Carnegie, Dr. Robinson Snowden served as a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellow in the Office of Major Modernization Programs. This office is responsible for the modernization of warhead systems and ensuring access to the strategic materials used in the U.S. stockpile. Dr. Robinson Snowden became the first black woman to earn a Doctorate in Nuclear Engineering from MIT in 2017 and holds a Bachelor in Physics from Florida A&M University. Her story in STEM has been featured in MARVEL Comics, CNBC, BET and other national television, radio and print media.

 

 

 

2018 Award Recipients

Pinnacle Award

Honoring an individual’s lifetime of innovative achievements in STEM and commitment to workplace diversity.

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, is the 2018 recipient of the AWIS Pinnacle Award which recognizes her contributions in STEM as a scientist, physician, philanthropist, and mentor. As Chief Executive Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sue leads the organization’s vision for a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. Under her watch, the foundation has also been pushing harder on women’s empowerment while working towards closing gender data gaps to help accelerate progress for women around the world. Forbes magazine has named her one of the world’s seven most “powerful innovators” and in her current role she champions global development by getting the right interventions, to the right populations, in the right places, to save lives. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Sue was listed among Fortune magazine’s “top 50 most powerful women in business” for seven years and, in 2010, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and elected to the Institute of Medicine.

 

Leadership Award

Commending an experienced STEM leader for fostering a high representation of women in leadership and supportive workplace policies.

Melinda Richter, MBA, is the Global Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS. In her role, she fosters the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies external R&D engine and supports the innovation community by creating capital-efficient commercialization models that give early stage companies a big company advantage. Melinda has received numerous industry awards including: the PharmaVOICE 100; Fierce Biotech Top 15 Women; Most Influential Women in Business (San Francisco Business Times); MM&M 2017 Healthcare Transformer; BIO Super Hero; and Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company in Biotech. She serves on various boards and advisory panels and is currently board member and Treasurer of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA).

 

Game Changer Award

Recognizing an exemplary company whose diversity and inclusion efforts represent a true ally to the pursuit of workplace equality.

Salesforce is the global leader in customer relationship management (CRM), and is committed to a set of core values—trust, growth, innovation, and equality of every human being. For its efforts, Salesforce has been named the 2017 World’s Best Workplace by Great Place to Work, one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Diversity three years in a row, and one of Comparably’s Best Companies for Women. Leading the charge on Equality and reporting directly to CEO Marc Benioff, Tony Prophet will be accepting the award on behalf of Salesforce. As its Chief Equality Officer, Prophet is focused on gender, LGBTQ, and racial issues—ensuring the company reflects the diversity and upholds the values of the communities it serves.

 

Next Generation Award

Highlighting an early career leader in STEM who is a visible and vocal advocate for diversity and inclusive scientific practices.

Rachel Haurwitz, PhD, is a co-founder of Caribou Biosciences and has been President and CEO since its inception. She has a research background in CRISPR-Cas biology, and is also a co-founder of Intellia Therapeutics. Rachel is an inventor on several patents and patent applications covering multiple CRISPR-derived technologies, and she has co-authored scientific papers in high impact journals characterizing CRISPR-Cas systems. Rachel earned an A.B. in Biological Sciences from Harvard College, and received a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. This award draws specific attention to her continued innovation at the helm of Caribou Biosciences, as well as her commitment to diversity and progressive workplace policies.

 

Acknowledgements

Thank you to our featured partners for their support of AWIS and the AWIS Foundation Awards.

We would also like to thank the Scholarship Committee for the administration of these programs.

We are grateful for all AWIS donors and supporters for helping women in science and related STEM fields achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.

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