In 2021, Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity) hosted a virtual speaker series to educate, engage and inspire!

Whether you are a STEM-curious student or an expert in your field, we aimed to provide inspiration in your day by introducing you to talented and driven women in STEM fields. Each of our speakers shared their field of expertise, their education and career path and the skills they believe are necessary for success. 

Feeling STEMspired? Your tax-deductible donations help us continue and expand this valuable work to build resources and lead change so that every woman and girl achieves her full STEM potential.

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Alissa Eckert

Thursday, May 13

During this session, Alissa shares imagery and how it inspires and influences people all over the world.

Alissa Eckert is a medical illustrator for the CDC. She received her master’s degree from the Medical Illustration Graduate Program in Augusta in 2006. She earned a BFA in Scientific Illustration from the University of Georgia.

Alissa serves all areas of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) working in 3D and 2D illustration, animation and 3D printing and model creation. Her work has been utilized at the forefront of disease outbreaks and is part of many scientific publications and public health education initiatives. Her work with her team includes collaboration in several high profile and emergency response projects most recently with the creation of the visualization of the SARS-Cov-2 virus seen around the world. Other projects include Ebola outbreak, Zika, the Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report, Influenza pandemics (H5N1 and H1N1), Cholera, CDC Vital Signs, Healthy Homes, CDC’s Zombie Pandemic Novella, and more.

Himali Rodrigo

Thursday, May 6

Are you interested in engineering or learning what an engineer does? Or how you might blend your interest in biology and earth sciences with engineering? Join us and Himali, member of the Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG), the union that represents engineers and related workers. Learn about her education pathway and what has led her to pursue a career in the public sector and specifically the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Amani Webber-Schultz

Thursday, April 15

Amani Webber-Schultz graduated from Rutgers University in May 2020 with a B.Sc. in Marine Science.

During her undergraduate studies, she was a student researcher in Brooke Flammang’s Fluid Locomotion Lab at the New Jersey Institute of Technology where she created 3D models for morphological studies of remoras. She was also a student researcher in Elisabeth Sikes’ Paleoceanography Lab at Rutgers where she worked with foraminiphera.

She co-founded Minorities in Shark Sciences in June 2020, a group with the goal of assisting in diversifying shark science and helping women of color pursue a career in shark science. She is currently working at Field School ( in Miami where she participates in shark and ray research and assisting with teaching field courses.

Dr. Daphne Miller

Thursday, March 18

Are you a student who is passionate about medicine or health but can’t imagine yourself in a white lab coat all day? 

Daphne Miller, M.D. understands!

Dr. Miller spends as much time with soil scientists, farmers, and ecologists as she does with other medical professionals or patients. Her education and career path have not been a straight line. She has drawn from multiple disciplines to build a non-traditional health career.

In her workweek, she helps design healthy, local, food systems; writes science articles for the Washington Post and other publications; teaches future doctors, and cares for patients at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Richmond, California.

Medical practitioners can have very unique careers; they can play with dirt, examine air quality, teach, and be creative writers. Dr. Miller does all these things. She invites you to join her in a conversation to discuss how you can shape a career that aligns with your passions and your values.

Katie Henry

Thursday, February 18

In this session, Katie shared her latest projects to create spy-girl dolls that communicate via secret LED and light sensor jewelry, code a candy machine in Python, and start Street Corner STEAM, a neighborhood creativity project that anyone can lead.

This was a fun session with coding and craft demonstrations and also incorporated stories from Katie’s education and career journey. Whether you are studying STEM in school currently or in a STEM career already, Katie shared valuable tips for creating your best future and becoming a creative leader wherever you are! 

Katie is the Head of Partner Engagement for the Micro:bit Educational Foundation in North America. She has worked in education for ten years, teaching students in kindergarten through college, and training more than 3000 educators worldwide on the topics of computer science and digital creativity. Katie is a licensed school administrator and computer technology coach.

Recently Katie has been invited to join U.S state, federal, and international education policy and diplomacy efforts. She served on the Women in STEM roundtable discussion at the Pennsylvania governor’s office, as a Pennsylvania delegate to the State-Federal STEM Summit in Washington, DC, and as a U.S. Speaker in Morocco, sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Carmen Medina

Thursday, January 21

Carmen Medina  is an organizational heretic and all-purpose troublemaker who spent 32 years at CIA but when you meet her you will hardly notice.

On January 21, Carmen will describe the journey of a successful change agent, drawing on noteworthy examples from women in STEM and emphasizing the five key steps to success for change agents.

From 2005-2007 Carmen was part of the executive team that led the CIA’s Analysis Directorate; in her last assignment before retiring she began the CIA’s Lessons Learned program and led the Agency’s first effort to address the challenges posed by social networks, digital ubiquity, and the emerging culture of collaboration. She was a leader on diversity issues at the CIA, serving on equity boards at all organizational levels and across Directorates. She was the first CIA executive to conceptualize many IT applications now used by analysts, including online production, collaborative tools, and Intellipedia, a project she personally green-lighted; as a senior executive, she began using in 2005 social networking and blogs to reach her diverse workforce.

She is the co-author of the new book: Rebels At Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within, which was informed by her career as a heretic at the CIA.  She is an in-demand expert on critical thinking, diversity of thought, and intrapreneurship, speaking to Fortune 500 companies, major non-profits, and governments.

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