AWIS Chapter Spotlight – Seattle

July 28, 2023

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(Left to right) Dr. Mi-Youn Brusniak, Seattle AWIS President; Dr. Melody Campbell, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center; Professor Jennie Mayer, Bellevue College; Dr. Michele Andrasik, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.
(Left to right) Dr. Mi-Youn Brusniak, Seattle AWIS President; Dr. Melody Campbell, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center; Professor Jennie Mayer, Bellevue College; Dr. Michele Andrasik, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

The AWIS Seattle Chapter welcomed the community to a celebration of women in STEM on June 14, 2023 for its 9th Annual Awards Banquet. The event brought together 127 researchers, students, and public supporters of women in STEM for an evening of lively conversations, delicious food, and an inspiring program.

The program featured reflections from the three 2023 award winners. The personal stories about their education and career paths, the people that influenced their career, and advice to other women in the STEM pipeline were informative and inspiring!

Award winners are selected annually from nominations received from the community (AWIS members and non-members), a difficult selection process because there are so many amazing women that have positively impacted their colleagues and the community. This year’s award categories and winners were:

Science Advancement and Leadership
Dr. Michele Andrasik, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Director, Social & Behavioral Science and Community Engagement
Principal Staff Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

Early Career Achievement in STEM
Dr. Melody Campbell, PhD
, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Assistant Professor, Basic Sciences Division
Director, Electron Microscopy Core

Excellence in STEM Education/Outreach
Professor Jennie Mayer, MS
, Bellevue College
Chemistry Professor and Physical Sciences Program Chair
American Chemical Society Puget Sound Section, Education Chair

(Left) Dr. Michele Andrasik receiving 2023 award for Science Advancement and Leadership from Ijeoma Kalu, MSc, AWIS Seattle Chapter Awards & Banquet Committee Co-chair. (Center) Dr. Melody Campbell receiving 2023 award for Early Career Achievement in STEM from Ijeoma Kalu, MSc. (Right) Professor Jennie Mayer receiving 2023 award for Excellence in STEM Education/Outreach from Dr. Reitha Weeks, AWIS Seattle Chapter Board member.

The 2023 undergraduate scholarship winners were also introduced, along with the major scholarship donors. The seven scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $7,000, were awarded to students pursuing STEM degrees at four different universities in Washington in diverse majors such as physics, neuroscience, civil engineering, environmental science, and computer science.

2023 Seattle AWIS undergraduate scholarship recipients and major scholarship donors. Seven students received scholarships totaling $32,500.
2023 undergraduate scholarship recipients and major scholarship donors from the AWIS Seattle Chapter. Seven students received scholarships totaling $32,500.

The evening was an opportunity for the STEM community to mingle and share good conversations and great food. For the many non-AWIS members in attendance, it was an opportunity to learn more about National AWIS and the Seattle chapter. It was also an opportunity to meet representatives from local biotech companies, non-profit research organizations, and other professional organizations that support the AWIS mission.

Table sponsors for the event included Bristol Myers Squibb, Seattle AAUW, Fred Hutchinson Basic Sciences and Vaccine & Infectious Diseases Division, Bellevue College, American Chemical Society, Puget Sound Section – Friends of Jennie, Just-Evotec Biologics, and Friends of STEM Engagement. The event would not have been possible without the support of the community sponsors.

The awards banquet is one of several signature programs at the AWIS Seattle Chapter. The others include:

  1. Monthly programs, September through June. Topics include scientific research, science policy, and professional development. Programs are now hybrid (in person and virtual) and open to the public at no charge.
  2. Peer and group Mentoring Program
  3. GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science) program for middle school girls, providing hands-on activity programs and field trips
  4. Scholarship program for undergraduates majoring in a STEM field
  5. Awards and banquet

The Seattle Chapter received a 2023 Shooting Star award from AWIS for fundraising and that award recognized the efforts to support our scholarship program and awards banquet. The seven 2023 undergraduate scholarship recipients received a total of $32,500 from twelve major donors and multiple AWIS and non-AWIS members. The awards banquet was made possible with $9,500 from seven table sponsors, representing biotech companies, academic institutions, non-profit research organizations and professional organizations.