A recent conference promoting Physics among undergraduate women was a veritable Hunter College reunion, with five alums involved as speakers, panelists, or organizers.
The three-day American Physical Society Conference, held at the CUNY Graduate Center from January 19 to 21, drew about 100 undergraduates, including 17 from CUNY schools.
“The event was a showcase of the powerhouse women physical scientists who have graduated from Hunter and done research in our lab,” said Distinguished Professor of Physics Steve Greenbaum, who during his 40 years at Hunter and CUNY taught and/or mentored all of them. “It’s a testament to our brilliant students and the intensive training we give them.”
And what powerhouses they are!
Conference co-chair Dr. Sophia Suarez BA/MA ’98 was Greenbaum’s undergraduate research student, stayed on in his lab for her PhD at CUNY, and is now full professor of Physics and Nanoscience at Brooklyn College and CUNY-GC.
Plenary speaker Dr. Fatima Alleyne ’02 is the first African-American woman to have earned a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from U.C. Berkeley. She is the founder and CEO of BeyondDEIBA, which advances diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Ukrainian-born panelist Dr. Tetiana Nosach Quignon MA ’09 is a data scientist at Google.
Panelist Dr. Sandra Brown BA/MA ’94 worked with Greenbaum, then became the sixth African-American woman to earn a Physics PhD at MIT. Her PhD adviser at MIT was another Hunter alumna, the famous “carbon queen” Mildred Dresselhaus HCHS ’47, HC ’51.
Brown also earned a law degree and had a successful practice as a patent attorney. She now advises tech companies and higher-education institutions on legal, regulatory, and compliance matters.
Panelist Dr. Shana Elbaum-Garfinkle ’06, who was a Thomas Hunter Honors scholar, got her PhD from Yale in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. An interdisciplinary scientist, working at the interface of biology, physics, and engineering, she is a faculty member of the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center.
Another panelist, Dr. Nishani Jayakody, worked with Greenbaum at the CUNY Graduate Center.
“Stay tuned!” Greenbaum said. “I have other brilliant Hunter students in the pipeline.”