Women in Science

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Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award

Congratulations to Dr. Linda Barry, M.D., FACS, recipient of the 2015 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award

This award recognizes a woman working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) who is a leader in her field, and who makes a significant effort to support other women and encourage girls’ interests in STEM. The honoree is selected by the Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science steering committee and the award will be presented at the Green Gala on September 26, 2015.

About Dr. Barry

Linda K. Barry, M.D., is a board certified liver and pancreas surgeon with a unique background in both clinical and basic science research. As an Assistant Professor of Surgery, Dr. Barry teaches at the University of Connecticut Medical School. She serves as Assistant Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at the University of Connecticut, Co-Director for the CICATS Pilot Program for Collaborative Translational and Clinical Research, Director of the Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) and Director of the CICATS M1 Mentorship Program.

Throughout her career, Dr. Barry has been dedicated to mentoring and recruiting women and underrepresented students into medicine and into the field of surgery in particular. She cofounded and coordinated the first National Women in Surgery Symposium, which is now in its sixth year. Three years ago, she established the Women in Surgery Interest Group (WISIG) at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, to encourage women medical students to consider a surgical career. She also advocates for inclusion and diversity issues as UConn’s Group and Inclusion Representative at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Dr. Barry’s professional experience and life’s work has focused on addressing health disparities in health care delivery and research. As Co-Managing Editor of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, she promotes an academic approach to developing solutions to address health disparities. She is involved in several endeavors and community engagement initiatives that promote the health and wellbeing of underserved populations around the U.S. and within the Greater Hartford region. Dr. Barry has successfully obtained NIH grant and extramural sources of funding for her research as well as published several peer-reviewed articles. She serves on various academic and community-based committees. Dr. Barry holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College.

Past recipients:

  • 2014 – Dr. Kristine Larsen, Professor of Astronomy, Central Connecticut State University
  • 2013 – Kimberly McLean, Principal Engineer, General Dynamics Electric Boat

Congratulations to the 2014 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award winner, Dr. Kristine Larsen!

Posted September 23, 2014

The Connecticut Science Center, New England’s premier informal science-learning institution, is pleased to announce the recipient of its second annual Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award: Dr. Kristine Larsen, Professor of Astronomy at Central Connecticut State University. Part of the Science Center’s Women in Science initiative, this award recognizes exceptional leadership in promoting women’s participation and interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Read More

Welcome to the Women in Science Staff Corner

Many of the Connecticut Science Center’s Staff Scientists are women, and we would like to share some of our favorite things about science with you. Check this page for bi-monthly updates, including interviews, experiments, challenges, and more!

Stephanie Airoldi, PhD in Genetics

STEM Educator at the Connecticut Science Center

What drew you to the field of genetics?

I have always been intrigued by biology and living things. The complexity of life, both macro-scale and on a cellular level, is fascinating. I went into the study of genetics because DNA is the key to unlocking the mysteries of all of that complexity. Genetics reveals so much about structure, function, evolution, and cellular biology, and greatly influences our use of medicine and our treatment of diseases. It helps us to understand so much about ourselves—who we are, how we got here, and how our bodies carry on an amazing array of processes every day.

What kind of research did you do?

In graduate school I used fruit flies as a model system to study the process of cell division. Understanding how processes function normally can help us to understand what happens when something goes wrong – when cells divide unchecked and become cancerous, for example.

That sounds cool. Can I try?

Anyone can get involved in genetics! If you enjoy solving puzzles, you can help scientists discover how proteins fold by going to https://fold.it/portal/. After learning a few simple rules about how proteins work, you can play around and discover new forms. Discoveries made by Fold It players have contributed to our knowledge of proteins and have even been included in research articles!

Ask a Woman in Science

Do you have a question for one of our Staff Scientists? Here's your chance to ask it! Submit your question using the form below and we'll post your answer on this page.


Whether you're a woman or girl in the sciences, or are interested in helping more girls and women enter STEM fields, the links below will help you on your way.

  • Girls RISEnet: Girls RISEnet, a partnership between the Miami Science Museum, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and SECME, Inc., is strengthening the professional capacity of informal science educators to engage and motivate minority girls in grades 6-12 to explore and pursue science and engineering careers.
  • Ebony Horsewomen: The mission of the Ebony Horsewomen is to empower youth toward successful lives through the use of horses. Our goal is to provide Comprehensive Equine Education with profound benefits of Equine and Animal Assisted Growth and Learning, Equine Assisted Therapy, Horsemanship Training, and academic programming to build leaders, deter destructive behavior, and increase academic achievement.
  • Girl Scouts of Connecticut: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
  • ManyMentors: Through the power of peer mentoring, ManyMentors will inspire, encourage, and support underrepresented middle and high school students’ interest in, pursuit, and attainment of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees at universities across the country.
  • The National Girls Collaborative Project: The National Girls Collaborative Project™ (NGCP) brings together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW): The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since our founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day—educational, social, economic, and political.
  • National Engineers Week Foundation: Engineers Week celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to kids and adults alike. Engineers Week is part of many corporate and government cultures and is celebrated on every U.S. engineering college campus.
  • SciGirls on PBS: SciGirls is a new show for kids ages 8–12 that showcases bright, curious, real tween girls who put science and engineering to work in their everyday lives. Each half-hour episode follows a different group of middle school girls, whose eagerness to find answers to their questions will inspire your children to explore the world around them and discover that science and technology are everywhere!
  • EngineerGirl: The EngineerGirl website is designed to bring national attention to the exciting opportunities that engineering represents for girls and women.
  • uheart.wordpress.com/: Updates on health-related research by Dr. Beth Taylor, Director for the Center for Health, Care and Well-Being at the University of Hartford and Director of Exercise Physiology Research at Hartford Hospital.
  • Generating Girls' Opportunities (G2O): G2O is an initiative of The Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) designed to engage girls, parents, and teachers in expanding girls' educational opportunities.


The Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science initiative encourages girls and young women to pursue studies and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and celebrates the achievements of women in the sciences.

The initiative seeks to bridge the gender gap in STEM by developing original programming to engage girls in science and to build the community of women in the sciences.

Special Thanks to Supporters of Women in Science at the Connecticut Science Center
Founding sponsor:

Additional support from:

Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation

Steering Committee

Keshia Ashe
Doctoral Candidate, Institute for Regenerative Engineering, UCONN Health Center
Rebeccah Eldridge
Architect, MBH Architecture, LLC.
Joseph O. Ierna
Board Member/Secretary, Petit Family Foundation
Dr. Sandra Inga
STEM Director, Hartford Public Schools
Dr. Marilyn Katz
Physician, Hartford
Marie O’Brien
Chairwoman, Bristol Hospital & Health Care Group
Dr. William A. Petit, Jr.
President, Petit Family Foundation
Kay Rahardjo
Course Developer, Columbia University
Ellyn Savard
Program Initiatives Manager, Girl Scouts of Connecticut
Jessica Tatarczuk
Senior Engineer, Westinghouse Electric Company
Dr. Beth Taylor
Director of Exercise Physiology Research, Hartford Hospital

Blazing Quasars and Blazing Trails: A Journey of Discovery

Join us for an evening reception and talk with Jedidah Isler, Ph.D., NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University.

Building upon her passions for both science and promoting the empowerment of underrepresented groups in STEM fields, Dr. Isler will share her stories and observations of what it means to see the world around us without limits.

Wednesday, February 24
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
With support from:

Can You Make a Medicine?

Kristen Wiglesworth, Principal Scientist at Pfizer with Making Medicine
Picture yourself as a scientist. Design a molecule and learn the role of chemistry in making medicines.

Saturday, February 27
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

To See a World in a Grain of Sand

Join us for an evening reception and talk with Marjorie Senechal, Ph.D. Louise Wolff Kahn Professor Emerita in Mathematics and History of Science and Technology at Smith College

A century after William Blake wrote those words, scientists figured out how to view our world in a landscape of crystals, x-rays, and geometrical models. In this talk, we’ll explore the contentious issues and unsolved problems of this landscape.

Wednesday, March 23
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
In collaboration with:

Connecticut Girls Collaborative Project

Changing your Mind

Sarah A. Raskin, Ph.D. ABPP/ABCN, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program Trinity College
Make brain caps and pipe cleaner neurons, and use prism goggles to see how brain plasticity works.

Saturday, March 26
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Saturday Science: Exploring ME-chanics

Exploring ME-chanics with Stephany Santos, biomedical engineering student at University of Connecticut. See and learn how the human body works through the eyes of biomedical engineer. Understand human motion, cartilage tissues and cells, and make your own model(s).

Location: Level 5 Bridge

Saturday, December 12
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

Saturday Science: Microbes Matter

Microbes Matter with Dr. Ruth A. Gyure, Professor of Microbiology at Western Connecticut State University.
Use a voltmeter to measure the output of a microbial fuel cell.
Get answers to quiz questions by looking at microbes on a Petri plate and through a microscope.

Location: Level 5 Bridge

Saturday, November 14
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

Saturday Science: Birds of Prey

Learn how to identify birds in flight with Allison Ray, Senior Environmental Monitoring Specialist at Burns & McDonnell.

Saturday, August 8
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

Saturday Science: Candy Nuclear Reactors

Join Jessica Tatarczuk, Senior Engineer at Westinghouse Electric Company, to explore how power plants safely generate power by building your own candy reactor.

Location: Level 5 Bridge

Saturday, April 11
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

#BeautyByMe Girls-Only Hackathon

#BeautyByMe is a girls-only Hackathon hosted by the Connecticut Science Center. Middle and high school girls will collaborate to develop original apps that help young people confront powerful media messages about how they should look.

The event will begin with opening remarks from actress, high-fashion model, and app developer Lyndsey Scott, who will share insights on the challenges of being a woman in the computer science field and reflections on ideas of beauty from around the world.
Program Sponsor: Hubbell Foundation
Program Partners:  CTCSTA (Connecticut Computer Science Teachers Association),  ManyMentors
Media Sponsor:  Teentivity.com

Saturday, May 9
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Presented by: