Executive Board


Molly Rathbun, BMMB


Molly is a molecular biology researcher at Penn State studying virus evolution. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Szpara lab under the Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology (BMMB) program. She is interested in understanding how viruses generate and maintain genetic diversity to adapt to different hosts. To do this, she uses a combination of experimental biology, bioinformatics, and statistics.

She has always been passionate about exploring new knowledge and sharing it with others, so when she began her Ph.D. studies at Penn State in 2016 she decided to join Graduate Women in Science. She has since enjoyed all the exciting opportunities to mentor young female scientists, and collaborate with fellow trainees on various science outreach projects.  She’s looking forward to another great year with GWIS, and if you’re interested in learning more about our organization please don’t hesitate to ask her!

President-Elect/Vice President

Albanie Hendrickson-Stives, Chemistry


Albanie Hendrickson-Stives is a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry department studying nanoparticle assembly via electric fields for tunable optics. She is very interested in explaining and sharing science with students from rural areas who do not many opportunites to explore STEM concepts at a young age. Because of this she has been involved with the Girl Scout Workshop through GWIS as well as participating in many outreach opportunities through GWIS and the MRSEC Outreach and Education Team.   
When not focusing on outreach and science she enjoys painting, reading and exercising (hiking, frisbee, soccer, group fitness). She also enjoys spending quality time with her leopard gecko, Thor.



Kathleen Krist, Chemistry


Kathleen is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry working under Will Noid. Her research involves using theories from statistical mechanics and stochastic dynamics to understand experiments in active matter. In her spare time, she enjoy biking, hiking, golfing, and learning about effective teaching strategies.


Jessica Schulze, Chemistry


Public Relations Officer

Juhi Arora, Pathobiology


Juhi is a 3rd year graduate student studying how vitamin D affects the immune system within the gut. She is part of the Pathobiology program at Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and is guided by Dr. Margherita Cantorna. In her spare time, she loves to write poetry and cook.



Ashlee McGovern, Chemistry


Ashlee is a second year student from the Briseno group in the Chemistry department, and her research generally focuses on characterization of organic devices. She is very thankful for the chance to get involved with GWIS because the organization has an important mission “to inspire, support and recognize women in science.” She wants to be able to help her fellow scientists connect with one another through social events, workshops and seminars in order to foster close connections while beginning to build a network for the future. Her favorite thing about GWIS is the diverse set of backgrounds we all have! It can lead to opportunities to learn new things and meet new people. Outside of the science realm, she is an avid bowler and a loving mother of two cats.



Megan Steves, Chemistry




Sofia Roitman, Biology



Ambika Somasundar, Chemical Engineering


Ambika  is a PhD student in the department of chemical engineering and has been elected for the science++ co-chair position.

Community Outreach

Catherine Douds, BMMB



Megan Sylvia, Plant Biology







Girl Scout Workshop

Victoria Bonnell, BMMB



Pho Bui, Chemistry


Grad School 101

Jennifer Miller, Chemistry


As a co-chair for Grad School 101, Jennifer gets to give Penn State REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) students a sneak peak into the life of a graduate student. She also walks them through the logistics of grad school applications, visitation weekends, and the process of choosing a school and research group. She participated in two REU programs when she was an undergrad, and so it’s extra fun now being able to be involved in these programs through GWIS!



Alyssa Bienvenu, Chemistry


Alyssa’s graduate research is in the use of machine learning for studying and discovering reaction mechanisms. In her free time, she loves to attend social dances, read novels, cook Cajun food, and volunteer with the local animal shelter. As a Grad School 101 co-chair, She has the amazing opportunity share her REU experiences with students and give them an inside look at how those programs influenced her decision to pursue a Ph.D. 

Women in STEM Month

Saehyun Choi, Chemistry







Kathleen Coleman, MatSE


Currently Kathleen is a second year in the Materials Science Engineering Ph.D. program, where she is investigating the relationship between different types of mechanical stresses on the piezoelectric properties and performance of thin piezoelectric films.  One of the major applications for this research is improving the energy harvesting performance of these films. In addition to her research she enjoys spending my time outdoors by either hiking, running, playing volleyball, and skiing as well as doing outreach events where she gets to teach young middle school students about STEM.


Sarah Sheffield, Chemistry


Professional Development

Allison Williams, BMB


Executive Mentors

Having served as Executive board members in the past, they can help guide the future.

Nicole Famularo, Chemistry


Nicole is a fourth year PhD candidate in Chemistry studying nanoparticle assembly for optical applications like metamaterials. When she is not in lab she enjoys cycling, playing video games, cooking, and playing with her cats.




Santina Cruz, Chemistry


Santina is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry under the direction of Benjamin Lear. Her thesis research aims to understand how the surface chemistry controls the electronic properties of metal nanoparticles. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, working out, golfing, playing volleyball, reading, shopping, gardening, and playing video games.

Matt Fares, Chemistry


Matt is a 4th year Ph.D student in the Zhang lab studying protein misfolding and aggregation and the effects of these events on cells, including how they adapt or develop diseases. Matt’s hobbies include running, board games, and video games.

Faculty Advisors

Nita Bharti, nita@psu.edu

Assistant Professor of Biology, Lloyd Huck Early Career Professor

Department of Biology