Scientista orgnization hosts research symposium, empowers women


Lyric Aquino Scientista advisor Robin Sellinger presenting an award with Parastoo Maleki , the Scientista president to one out of three winners, Zeinab Parsouzi at the Scientista Symposium on March 8th, 2017.

Lyric Aquino

Kent State Graduate Scientista organization hosted its second annual research symposium this past Wednesday, giving women in science an opportunity to share their research with mentors and peers.

The Scientistas, originally founded at Harvard University in 2001, seek to encourage women in the sciences to share their research, network and make friendships.

Keynote speaker Erica Montbach, a liquid crystal display scientist at Boogie Boards, encouraged the audience to keep pursing their dreams.

“Go innovate,” Montbach said. “Change the face of science.”

The topics discussed ranged from African-American children’s picture books and how they spread cultural identity to high-level scientific concepts.

President Beverly Warren spoke to the audience, encouraging them to help one another feel comfortable as a minority in the science field.

“We succeed when we lift everyone up,” Warren said. “Keep that in mind.”

Warren told the Scientistas to know their hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.

“I just want you to know how proud I am of your work, of you,” Warren said.

For the symposium, the Scientistas split into two groups: poster board presenters and oral presenters.

The poster board presenters were first and presented their research data using elaborate posters as a visual aid. The oral presenters used slideshows and spoke for seven minutes about their research.

Zeinab Parsouzi, a physics graduate student, and Zahra Ghasemahmad, a biomedical science graduate student, tied for first place in the poster board category. Michelle Rivers, a psychological science graduate student, won first place in the oral category.

The Scientistas said they welcome members of hard sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics and soft sciences, such as psychology, library sciences and geology. They welcome people of all genders, as long as they are allies with women working in science.

Erin Graham, a psychological science graduate and Scientista member, said the group includes a diverse crowd.

“We have a lot of international students here, and we have people from the LGBTQ Center that are also here,” Graham said. “It’s women in science, but it’s also all different types of women.”

Graham said the support from other members is one of the benefits of being a part of the group.

“We’re all sharing our voices,” Graham said. “We’re passionate about exploring our world and innovation and then emphasizing those voices, which are often not heard in our society.”

Lyric Aquino is the humanities reporter, contact her at [email protected].