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Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in STEM

Reported by:
Adrienne Umali

Presented by:
Hudson River Park
The New York Academy of Sciences


Diverse top leaders and problem-solvers are critical to fostering and accelerating creativity and innovation in STEM. This diversity is impossible unless we invest in making the STEM workforce more inclusive for women and those from underrepresented populations.

To achieve this, we need to promote diversity at all stages of the STEM pipeline and increase the number of people participating in scientific endeavors, inside and outside academia, as well as those who will help address the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

This panel discussion, presented by the New York Academy of Sciences and Hudson River Park, features diverse STEM experts as they discuss their career paths and the importance of supporting diversity in the STEM workforce.

In this eBriefing, You’ll Learn:

  • The traditional and non-traditional routes panelists took into STEM and the nature of their work
  • The importance of mentorship and how to best leverage these relationships throughout your career
  • How individuals, especially people of color and members of other minority groups, can find and cultivate supportive communities
  • Why conversations about diversity and inclusion are meaningful in STEM
  • How both individuals and large organizations can address systemic inequality to create work environments where everyone can succeed



Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru
Environmental Justice Advocate, Writer, and Rhodes Scholar

Mandë Holford, PhD
Hunter College/AMNH/Killer Snails, LLC

Ronald E. Hunter, Jr, PhD
Mérieux NutriSciences

Megan Lung
NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program & NEIWPCC

Tepring Piquado, PhD
RAND Corporation

Diversity and Inclusion in STEM: Leveraging Your Network and Skills

Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru

Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru is a 21-year-old environmental justice advocate passionate about creating a more inclusive environmental movement. As an emerging climate writer, she has bylines in VICE News and Glamour magazine. Wawa is also the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall Scholarships.

Megan Lung

NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program & NEIWPCC

Megan Lung is an Environmental Analyst at NEIWPCC serving the The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program in stream restoration. Megan coordinates the Culvert Prioritization Project, which seeks to restore stream habitat for migratory fishes and reduce localized flooding through field work, community engagement, and implementation.

Megan hails from the Great Lakes of Michigan and earned a BS in History and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan.

Ronald E. Hunter, Jr, PhD

Mérieux NutriSciences 

Dr. Ronald E. Hunter, Jr. is the Technical Director of Chemistry for North America at Mérieux NutriSciences. In this role, he directs quality control and technical functions of chemistry labs throughout North America to ensure performance meets corporate standards. Previously, Dr. Hunter was a scientist at The Coca-Cola Company, where he served as a subject-matter expert in beverage analyses, method development, and mass spectrometry.  He has over ten years of experience as an analytical chemist in the public, private, and academic sectors.

Dr. Hunter holds BAs in chemistry and Spanish from Mercer University and a PhD in analytical chemistry from Emory University.

Tepring Piquado, PhD

RAND Corporation

Dr. Piquado is a senior policy researcher at RAND Corporation, professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School, chief policy director at California Issues Forum, and CEO of The TMP Group.  Through her work, she leads complex, multi-site and multi-disciplinary projects to provide evidence-based guidance to federal, state and local decision-makers; provides advisory guidance and analysis on active bills and major issues being considered by state legislators; and works with institutional leaders to provide outcome-based solutions that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Piquado earned her MS and PhD in neuroscience from Brandeis University and BS in computer science from Georgetown University.

Mandë Holford, PhD

Hunter College/AMNH/Killer Snails, LLC

Dr. Mandë Holford is an Associate Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College and CUNY-Graduate Center.  Her laboratory investigates the power of venom to transform lives when it is adapted to create novel therapeutics for treating human diseases and disorders. Dr. Holford is also actively involved in science education, advancing the public understanding of science, and science diplomacy. She is co-founder of, an award-winning EdTech company that uses tabletop, digital, and XR games about extreme creatures in nature to advance scientific learning in K-12 classrooms.

Dr. Holford received her PhD in Synthetic Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University.


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