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Isabel Escobar Elected to Become the Next AWIS National Governing Board Chair

December 13, 2021

Isabel Escobar, professor of chemical engineering and associate director of UK’s Center of Membrane Sciences, has been elected to serve as Board Chair for the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) beginning January 1, 2022.

“It’s an honor for me to be selected to lead the AWIS Board and organization at this point in our history and to further build out our membership and stakeholder community to ensure that women in the science enterprise have the support, and mentorship that they need,” said Escobar.  “AWIS has served this role for me, and I am eager and enthusiastic to continue to lead such a vital organization forward.”

The complete AWIS board will consist of:

  • Board Chair: Isabel Escobar, PhD, Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky
  • Past Chair: Sue Windham-Bannister, PhD, Managing Director, Biomedical Innovation Advisors, LLC, and President and CEO, Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC
  • Chair-Elect: Neelima Rao, Vice President of Human Resources for Global Oncology R&D and North America Country Lead at AstraZeneca
  • Secretary: Brittany Parker Kerrigan, PhD, Associate Director of Research Planning and Development in the Department of Neurosurgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Treasurer: Karene Richards, CEO of Fit Hidden Figure
  • Director: Andrew Bean, PhD, Dean of the Graduate College and Interim Vice Provost for Research, Rush University in Chicago
  • Director: Karen Bjorkman, PhD, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Toledo in Ohio
  • Director: Tasneem Hajara, Managing Director, TIAA
  • Director: Joanne Kamens, PhD, Interim Executive Director, The Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business at Bentley University in Waltham, MA
  • Director: Pam Marrone, PhD, Executive Chair and Partner, Primary BioAg Innovations and Global BioAg Linkages, and Founder and Director Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc.
  • Director: Venkat Sethuraman, PhD, Senior Vice President, Global Biometrics and Data Sciences, Bristol Myers Squibb
  • Director: Patrice Yarbough, PhD, Retired Senior Scientist from NASA
  • Director: Reem Yunis, PhD, Senior Director, Digital Science, Medable, Inc.

Following a call for nominations earlier this fall, the AWIS nominating committee developed a slate to ensure that various skills, experiences, and competencies were represented among the composite board.

“The Board has assembled STEM leaders from academia, industry, the start-up and investment communities, and national scientific organizations with the critical thinking, business acumen, and vision to further our mission of advancing women in science,” said Dr. Escobar. “Our priorities for the coming year will be to set the strategic direction of AWIS, serve our members, and work with organization leaders to ensure equitable and inclusive workplaces.”

About AWIS: Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. In addition to scholarships, AWIS provides career resources, professional development, as well as networking, mentoring, and volunteer opportunities to build leadership skills. To learn more, visit www.awis.org and @AWISNational.