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Developing Scientists through Outreach: Defining Quality for the Scientist

Developing Scientists through Outreach: Defining Quality for the Scientist

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

State University of New York

The New York Academy of Sciences


Placing STEM students and postdocs (undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) in K-12 learning environments to mentor, teach and do other forms of outreach is a well-known strategy to repair the leaky STEM pipeline. It is known that these STEM students and postdocs gain specific skills in mentoring, teaching, and communications during their experiences. It is also documented that they gain personal satisfaction, see it as their professional responsibility, and seek to gain these practical skills in a well-structured program. What are less well understood is the relationship between participation in these programs and long-term job opportunities, the transferability of gained skills to the workforce, and the role of these programs in steering scientists into teaching careers.

As a mutually beneficial partnership, identifying what works to recruit and retain subject matter experts in the STEM fields to serve as mentors, instructors and role models are key practices to scaling up programs.

In this conference, we seek to better understand how to design, administer and evaluate programs to best satisfy the needs of the K12 learners, their mentors and sponsoring faculty members and institutions.

Topics of discussion will include:

  • • Identifying best practices in program design to maximize skills development for participants, defining measures of quality for all participants
  • • Share cross disciplinary frameworks to successful strategies from different fields that may be applied to this one such as service learning, pro bono legal work and clinical experiences in teaching and medicine
  • • Build community amongst different stakeholders who work with pools of SMEs and need pools of SMEs to administer their programs
  • • Understanding the tension between the priorities of the sponsoring faculty members/institutions and mentors

Participants will include grad students, post-docs, administrators and faculty members in different STEM disciplines, outreach professionals and program managers who administer outreach programs and researchers in the field.


Portions of this meeting, including the keynote addresses, will be presented as a Livestream. For full details see the link below:


This event is free but registration is required.

Presented by

  • NSF
  • SUNY
  • The New York Academy of Sciences


* Presentation titles and times are subject to change.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

3:00 PM

Opening Remarks and Welcome

3:30 PM

Keynote Speaker: The importance of engagement and interest in STEM persistence
Robert H. Tai, EdD- University of Virginia

4:15 PM

Panel: What do SMEs want from their experience?

Moderator: Yaihara Fortis, PhD- The New York Academy of Sciences
Panelists:<br/ > W. Marcus Lambert, PhD- Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science
Julie Nadel, PhD- ASHG/NHGRI
Andrea Unser, PhD- Glauconix Inc

5:15 PM

Workshop and Breakout Session

Workshops Facilitators:
Jeanne Garbarino, PhD- The Rockefeller University
Latasha Wright, PhD- Biobus
Emily Ford, PhD- Columbia University
Stephanie Kadison, PhD- Bard High School Early College Queens
Ben Dubin-Thayer, PhD- Biobus

6:45 PM

Keynote: Balancing Outreach with Research
Emily Rice, PhD- College of Staten Island of the City University of New York

7:30 PM

Networking Reception


Keynote Speaker

Emily Rice, PhD

College of Staten Island of the City University of New York

Dr. Emily Rice is an astronomer, professor, and creative science communicator in New York City. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Science & Physics at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York (CUNY), faculty in the physics PhD program at the CUNY Graduate Center, and resident research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). She studies low mass stars, brown dwarfs (sometimes called "failed" stars), and directly-imaged exoplanets by analyzing their spectra and modeling their atmospheres. Her research group has received funding from NASA and the NSF, and she is a co-author on 30 refereed publications. In 2015 Dr. Rice was an inaugural recipient of the Henry Wasser Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences. She earned her PhD at UCLA in Astronomy & Astrophysics and undergraduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in Physics & Astronomy and German. In addition to her research, she co-authored of a suite of labs for introductory college-level astronomy courses called Astronomy Labs: A Concept Oriented Approach, available through Pearson. She frequently gives public presentations, including at the Hayden Planetarium at AMNH, and makes media appearances, most recently on StarTalk with Neil Tyson. She also produces science parody videos, organizes and hosts Astronomy on Tap events at bars in NYC, and curates science fashion on the STARtorialist blog. Some past projects include AMNH's Science Bulletins and Cosmic Discoveries iPhone app.

Workshops Facilitators

Ben Dubin-Thayer, PhD


Ben Dubin-Thaler created the BioBus in 2008 after completing his BA in Physics and Mathematics as well as his PhD in Biology from Columbia University. "Dr. Ben," as he is known to students aboard the BioBus, started the BioBus as an experiment to test his hypothesis that, given the opportunity to use research-microscopes to perform live experiments, anyone would be excited about science and want to do more. Dr. Dubin-Thaler and his team create a new kind of laboratory space that is empowering, accessible, un-intimidating, and that facilitates scientific engagement amongst populations historically underrepresented in science professions. Dr. Dubin-Thaler hopes to create a future in which people from all cultures and backgrounds have equal opportunities to practice and understand science.

Emily Ford, PhD

Columbia University

Emily Ford is Director of Outreach Programs at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science. She dedicates her energy, time, and intellect to help students realize their greatest potential in STEM fields. Her values align with the SEAS Outreach Programs' mission to provide traditionally under-represented students with multiple entry points to academic and professional careers in STEM disciplines. With 15 years in urban and international education, she also aims to provide shared experiences and lasting ties between positive role models in higher ed and under-served New York City youth.

Jeanne Garbarino, PhD

The Rockefeller University

Jeanne Garbarino, a Bronx native, earned her PhD in metabolic biology from Columbia University, followed by a postdoc in the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism at The Rockefeller University, where she now serves as Director of Science Outreach. In this role, Jeanne works with the local K-12 community to provide access to authentic biomedical research opportunities and resources. Additionally, Jeanne has experience as a science communicator, having contributed to multiple blogs and podcasts. Most recently, Jeanne has co-founded the "Science Outreach Working to Inspire the Next Generation" (SOWING) discussion series, which allows outreach professionals in NYC the opportunity to network, troubleshoot, and share resources. You can find Jeanne on social media under the handle @JeanneGarb.

Stephanie Kadison, PhD

Bard High School Early College Queens

Dr. Stephanie Kadison received her BS in Neuroscience from Brandeis University and her PhD in Neurodevelopment from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After her doctorate, she completed a postdoc at the University of Michigan, where she mentored undergraduates in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, a program aimed at engaging undergraduate students in laboratory research. While at Michigan, she was also the recipient of a Hartwell Postdoctoral Fellowship for her research on neural crest cell specification. Dr. Kadison began her second postdoc at Weill Cornell, where she studied motor neurons and the formation of the neuromuscular junction. While at Cornell, she joined the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) After School STEM Mentoring Program. This program prepared her to teach a genetics curriculum to students in underserved middle schools. These positive teaching experiences led her from the bench to her current position as an educator at Bard High School Early College Queens (BHSECQ). She was nominated as a Fellow in the Academy for Teachers, an organization that honors and supports great teaching. She also serves on an Advisory Committee for a SUNY/NYAS NSF STEM Education Grant and is a proud recipient of the STEM Hero Award from the NYAS.

Latasha Wright, PhD


Latasha Wright received her PhD from NYU Langone Medical Center in cell and molecular biology. She went on to continue her scientific training at Johns Hopkins University and Weill Cornell Medical Center. She has co-authored numerous publications and presented her work at international and national conferences. The BioBus enables her to share her love of science with a new generation of potential scientists. The BioBus creates a setting that fosters innovation and creativity. Students are encouraged to ask questions, formulate hypotheses, and design experiments. Everyday that she spends teaching students about science in this transformative environment helps her remember that science is fun. She loves sharing the journey of discovery with students of all ages.


Yaihara Fortis, PhD

The New York Academy of Sciences

Dr. Yaihara Fortis manages the Science Alliance, the professional development branch of the New York Academy of Sciences. Yaihara develops and implements innovative workshops and courses that provide early career scientists with a range of soft and leadership skills that will be essential for all careers. Yaihara also works closely with career development offices and student/postdoc organizations to consolidate resources and implement new ideas for professional development programming.

In 2014, Dr. Fortis completed the Science and Technology Policy Fellowship under the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). During her time as a fellow she worked at the National Science Foundation (NSF) on programs that transform the frontiers of STEM fields using innovative multidisciplinary approaches and inter-institutional and international collaborations.

Dr. Fortis obtained her bachelors’ degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and her doctoral degree in Neuroscience from Brandeis University. Her doctoral work focused in studying the role of multisensory integration in taste processing.


W. Marcus Lambert, PhD

Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science

Dr. Marcus Lambert is currently Director of Diversity and Student Services at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (WCGSMS) and Adjunct Professor of Microbiology at New York City College of Technology. Dr. Lambert received his bachelor's degree from Howard University and his doctorate in biomedical science from New York University School of Medicine. At WCGSMS, Dr. Lambert is responsible for diversity initiatives, outreach, housing, and immigration services for more than 400 graduate students. He serves as an advisor on education policy and diversity to a number of organizations around the United States, including the student run Tri-Institutional Outreach Committee (TOrC). His research interests include identifying determinants of STEM student success in higher education.

Julie Nadel, PhD


Dr. Julie Nadel is currently the Genetics and Education Fellow for the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in Bethesda, Maryland. Her main projects at the NHGRI include the nationalization of DNA Day programming, and creating a bioinformatics lesson plan for high school students in collaboration with the NIH Library. Julie received her PhD in Genetics from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Fall 2015. Her thesis work investigated a non-canonical nucleic acid structure, the RNA:DNA hybrid, and its roll in chromatin composition and gene expression regulation. Julie has participated in many STEM outreach organizations, including the NYAS After School STEM Mentoring Program, which inspired her to begin a STEM outreach program at the Bronx Renaissance Center. She also initiated a community garden partnership through the 'Bronx, Obesity, Diabetes and You' (BODY) group at Albert Einstein College of Medicine with local elementary schools focusing on nutrition and public health.

Andrea Unser, PhD

Glauconix Inc

Andrea Unser is a Research Scientist at Glauconix Inc. She is a recent Ph.D. graduate of SUNY Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) with a research focus on 3D brown adipose tissue engineering. As a graduate student, she contributed greatly to community outreach by volunteering in numerous STEM-focused career and community days (for example) at CNSE as well as STEM mentoring initiatives in partnership with NYAS. These experiences led her to receive the Wendell Williams Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring from her institution in 2014. She continues to participate in outreach opportunities when able. Apart from her work, she enjoys spending time with her husband Kyle and 90-lb golden retriever Arthur.

Organizing Committee

Meghan Groome, PhD

New York Academy of Sciences

Yaihara Fortis-Santiago, PhD

New York Academy of Sciences

Kristian Breton

New York Academy of Sciences

Phillip Ortiz, PhD

State University of New York

Jill Lansing

State University of New York

Gwendolyn Elphick, PhD

State University of New York

Audeliz Matias, PhD

State University of New York

Jeanne Garbarino, PhD

The Rockefeller University

Vikram Kapila, PhD

New York University

Whitney Johnson, PhD

Morgan State University

Katherine Nielsen

University of California, San Francisco

Martin Storksdieke, PhD

Oregon State University


The Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (DRL-1223303). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Presented by

  • NSF
  • SUNY
  • The New York Academy of Sciences

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157

Directions to the Academy

Former mentors are eligible for their hotel accommodations to be covered as well as travel expenses reimbursed. Register for the event and contact Kristian Breton at to reserve a hotel room.

Hotels Near 7 World Trade Center

Recommended partner hotel

Club Quarters, World Trade Center
140 Washington Street
New York, NY 10006
Phone: 212.577.1133

The New York Academy of Sciences is a member of the Club Quarters network, which offers significant savings on hotel reservations to member organizations. Located opposite Memorial Plaza on the south side of the World Trade Center, Club Quarters, World Trade Center is just a short walk to the Academy.

Use Club Quarters Reservation Password NYAS to reserve your discounted accommodations online.

Other nearby hotels

Conrad New York


Millenium Hilton


Marriott Financial Center


Club Quarters, Wall Street


Eurostars Wall Street Hotel


Gild Hall, Financial District


Wall Street Inn


Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park