AWIS Member Spotlight:

Diane Ogedi Ugwu

Research Assistant/Doctoral student
Washington State University
AWIS member since 2023

“Celebrate achievements, big and small.”

Diane Ogedi Ugwu

​What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

Regular constructive feedback is a valuable opportunity for personal growth and empowers us to refine our skills.

What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?

Transitioning from bench science to science education research, and gaining scholarships to pursue my doctoral studies at two reputable North American universities — a journey that spanned three years! Amidst rejection emails, I refined my strategies, turning setbacks into stepping stones toward the path I now tread.

What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why? What obstacles will you overcome?

I hope to become an expert in program assessment and science policy. In this role, I will be equipped to contribute to shaping impactful programs, assessing their effectiveness, and contributing to policies that not only advance scientific progress but also make science accessible and equitable. Bridging the gap between STEM expertise and policy demands a balance of scientific knowledge and policy analysis skills.

Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.

I’m participating in a program assessment project funded by the National Science Foundation (Division of Undergraduate Education), to sustain the implementation of undergraduate research experience.

How has AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

AWIS membership provides me with abundant resources and exposure which aid my professional growth.

What is your favorite word? (only one word)


How do you define it?

Unexplored territories and limitless opportunities for growth and success.

How has this word influenced or inspired your career?

Cultivating a growth mindset helps me not to dwell on past failures; instead, I look forward to what I can still achieve.

How does AWIS impact your career journey?

Since joining AWIS, I have benefited extensively from valuable webinars that help me navigate my unique challenges as an international graduate student. My favorite ones were “Win-Win Networking” with Alaina Levine and “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome” with Usha Rao.

What are you currently reading or listening to?

I’m reading a book called STEM Moms by Cassie Leonard. I also enjoy listening to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk, The Danger of a Single Story. This talk lives rent-free in my head!

What do you consider the best professional or personal advice you’ve ever received?

Celebrate achievements, big and small.

Diane Ugwu earned a BSc and MSc in biochemistry from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. After, she worked in the biochemistry department at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri-Nigeria, as a lab technologist and later as an assistant lecturer. In 2023, she started her PhD in the molecular bioscience program at Washington State University, with interdisciplinary research in biochemistry and molecular biology education in Dr. Erika Offerdahl’s lab. Diane is the Community Programs Manager for Mothers in Science Nonprofit.