AWIS Announces Top Awards for STEM Excellence, Leadership, Workplace Equity and Inclusion

September 20, 2019



Maria Ibañez

AWIS Announces Top Awards for STEM Excellence, Leadership, Workplace Equity and Inclusion

WASHINGTON, DC, September 20, 2019 – Today the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) announced the recipients of its 2020 awards to recognize individuals, companies and organizations who are making significant contributions to increased workplace diversity, including placing women in leadership positions and advocating for more inclusive practices in STEM. The awards will be presented at AWIS’ annual premiere event—Innovation and Inclusion Summit and Awards Dinner—on April 23, 2020, at the Houston Corinthian in Houston, TX. The AWIS summit is an annual convening of more than 200 thought leaders from all disciplines and employment sectors in STEM who gather to exchange ideas, provide solutions and develop actionable steps to address gender gaps, inequities and underrepresentation throughout academia and industry.

The 2020 recipients are:

Nisreen El-Hashemite, MD, PhD

Pinnacle Award Recipient

Nisreen El-Hashemite, MD, PhD
CEO/Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT)

Dr. 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.

“I always want to establish my own legacy. A legacy that is a bit far from my title, my family history and politics, a legacy that is based on my achievements and serving humanity.”

Rachel Hutter, P.E.

Leadership Award Recipient

Rachel Hutter, P.E.
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.

“Diversity in STEM is a key component of innovation. I am honored to be a part of inspiring the next generation of engineers to advance our industry and technology.”

Sarah Richardson, PhD

Next Generation Award Recipient

Sarah Richardson, PhD
CEO of MicroByre

Dr. 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.

“I am in awe that my obsession with bacteria has resonated with so many people. I am flattered that my work has been recognized as having potential—and I am even more motivated to deliver on it.”


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


“The AWIS Summit is a major opportunity for women in STEM and STEM-related fields to engage in candid conversations and exchange ideas. Our goal at AWIS is to address issues and identify solutions that advance thought leadership, increase entrepreneurship, and promote, recruitment, advancement, funding and retention of women and other underrepresented communities in STEM,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, PhD, President, AWIS National Governing Board. “We are honored to recognize Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, Rachel Hutter, Dr. Sarah Richardson, and Lockheed Martin Corporation for their many contributions to the achievement of these goals.”

At the Innovation and Inclusion Summit and Awards Dinner AWIS recognizes individuals and companies that work towards positive systemic change in STEM fields, by increasing workplace diversity, promoting women in leadership positions and advocating for more inclusive practices. Past AWIS award winners include Nobel Laureate Carol W. Greider, PhD; Pfizer executive Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, DFAPA; nuclear scientist Mareena Robinson Snowden, PhD; Co-Founder/President and CEO of Caribou Biosciences Rachel Haurwitz, PhD; and Sue Desmond-Hellman, MD, MPH, CEO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; among others. Event sponsors for 2020 to date include Genentech, Elsevier, Texas A&M, Marrone Bio Innovations, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

For more information visit and register to attend at


About AWIS: Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. In addition to scholarships, AWIS provides career resources, professional development, as well as networking, mentoring, and volunteer opportunities to build leadership skills. To learn more, visit and @AWISNational.