Usha Rao

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

By AWIS National

The term “Imposter Syndrome” entered the lexicon in the 1970’s to describe the experiences of high-achieving women in academia and industry who attributed their success to sheer luck and reported feeling like frauds, in spite of a track record of outstanding accomplishments.

In this webinar, Dr. Usha Rao addresses the roots of imposter syndrome and discusses the individual and structural aspects that contribute to the experience. She will offer practical solutions and actionable items that help to tackle the issue head-on and reframe it to your advantage.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the upsides (yes, they exist!) to imposter syndrome
  • Learn practical strategies to reframe and manage self-doubt
  • Recognize how fear of failure can be an essential component of success
  • Commit to creating structural solutions that make workplaces more welcoming for everyone

WATCH THE RECORDING  (You must be an AWIS member. Join today or contact for group screening information.)

Meet the Speaker

Dr. Usha Rao is a researcher, keynote speaker, STEM career coach, and consultant. She is a recipient of the Association for Women in Science’s Zenith award, a lifetime award for achievement, leadership, and advocacy. She has also received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Medal for Distinguished Teaching; the Distinguished Research Lectureship from the Association for Women Geoscientists; and the Elizabeth Bingham Mentoring Award from the Philadelphia chapter of AWIS, awarded to a “distinguished scientist who has significantly influenced the advancement of women in science”. Dr. Rao was selected by Pennsylvania Governor Wolf to participate in the “PA Women in STEM” video series to introduce K-12 girls to STEM careers. She serves as a writer and keynote speaker on leadership and mentoring for the science magazine Lab Manager.

Dr. Rao’s research in environmental chemistry focuses on water pollution and sustainability. She holds an undergraduate degree in geology from the University of Bombay and a doctoral degree in environmental geochemistry from the University of Rochester. She held an Environmental Research Council joint postdoctoral fellowship in civil and environmental engineering and the geological sciences at Northwestern University. Dr. Rao is a coordinating editor for the Springer-Nature journal, Environmental Geochemistry and Health. She serves as an Approved Expert Reviewer for the Nobel-prize winning United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) and as a mentor for Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Foundation.

At Saint Joseph’s University where she is a Full Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Rao co-developed the John P. McNulty Program for Leadership in Science and Mathematics. Since 2009, this initiative has supported over 110 gifted undergraduate women with scholarships, peer and faculty mentoring, research funding, and leadership development opportunities to launch them into STEM leadership positions. She also created the University’s first faculty development office to provide resources and support to hundreds of faculty members, serving as long-term Founding Director. She has mentored many research students who have gone on to successful careers in industry and academia. Dr. Rao’s board service includes the Lower Merion Public Library System and the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum at the Barnes Foundation Arboretum. She is active in pediatric cancer fundraising in honor of her daughter Nina.