2017-2018 WSU AWIS chapter officers and faculty advisors

The Washington State University student organization affiliated with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) was recognized for its STEM advocacy activity this past year in Spokane.

AWIS is a global network with 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM worldwide. The WSU group, based on the WSU Health Sciences campus in Spokane, was selected as one of 10 affiliates nationwide for the AWIS STAR Award.

The AWIS Star Award, announced in April, honors the affiliate groups which have accomplished key objectives outlined in the group’s strategic plan. According to AWIS, the WSU affiliated activities over the past year have focused on breaking down the systemic issues women in STEM face, which was a key factor in the group’s selection for the award. WSU AWIS activities included two leadership summits, a series of special topic events that covered issues ranging from time management to implicit bias, involvement fairs, and work on a childcare subsidy program for students.

“Being selected for the AWIS Star Award has been an honor. We are launching a Mentoring Circle Program for the 2018-19 academic year and hope it serves to propel women in science at WSU Health Sciences to pursue leadership positions in research-related careers,” Ana Vergara said, she is a graduate student in pharmaceutical sciences in Spokane.

WSU AWIS officers include:
Ana Vergara, co-founder and president
Kari Gaither, co-founder and vice president
Yadira Perez-Paramo, programs director
Irina Teslenko, communications director
Priyanka Bushana, secretary
Senada Karnak, visiting scholar volunteer

This recognition is an example of how the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is committed to developing outstanding scientists through providing opportunities for graduate students to participate in advocacy for STEM and for their future profession.

The AWIS vision is for women in STEM to be compensated fairly and without discrimination, advanced equitably and without bias, exposed to successful role models in leadership positions, and recognized and respected for their scientific and leadership achievements. This aligns with The WSU Grand Challenges research initiative at WSU, specifically regarding advancing opportunity and equity by promoting women and historically underrepresented groups entering STEM disciplines.