Empowerment Retreat 2019

GWiS and 500 Women Scientists at a retreat for gender equity in science. You’ll meet new friends, build skills, and make plans for positive change in your community.

Advocating for Gender Equity in STEM

500 Women Scientists and Graduate Women in Science invite you to join us for a retreat to engage and promote advocacy and policy change in our communities. Our goal is to identify and plan actions that support STEM-related work in all its forms. Inclusion and engagement requires that we empower each other to take action, and we’ll learn from local, creative activists who have taken on their own projects (academic or otherwise).

During this event, we will build new relationships and collaborations, work together in a skill-based workshop, hear from experts, engage in discussions, and leave with tangible goals for creating change in our community.

We encourage you to come with an idea for change in your own communities. Potential topics include allyship, public advocacy, mentoring, or work-life balance, but we welcome all ideas. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to walk away with the tools and relationships to initiate your change.

Past Retreats

Spring 2019 Empowerment Retreat

Programming & Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Saramoira Shields
​Saramoira Shields is the Associate Director for the NASA/NY Space Grant Consortium and previously worked at the Space Systems Design Studio (part of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University) and CHESS (Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source). She is interested in space technology, theoretical mathematics (specifically topology, manifolds, and hyperbolic geometry), robot kinematics, and artificial intelligence. She also has a background in film production and training in acting.

Short Talk: Sarah Davidson Evanega

​Sarah Davidson Evanega serves as International Professor of Plant Breeding (adjunct) and Senior Associate Director of International Programs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. She is the Sr. Associate Director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Project a 66 million dollar project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development that is based in International Programs (IP-CALS) at Cornell University, but involves project partners from over 20 institutions around the world, all working together to protect the world’s wheat from stem rust. She teaches courses on plant biotechnology and scientific writing and is particularly concerned about strengthening leadership development programs in developing countries where IP-CALS works. Sarah also leads IP-CALS gender working group, AWARE (Advancing Women in Agriculture through Research and Education). She received her PhD in the field of Plant Biology from Cornell University. Her primary research focuses on the controversy around biotechnology in developing countries.​

Short Talk: ​​Cintia Orsi

Roundtable Discussants 

Adi Grabiner-Keinan
​As the director of IDP, Adi develops a variety of structured processes and programs for students, faculty, and staff, that foster communication across difference and influence campus climate. She leads the expansion of IDP in a direction that supports the evolving needs of the University and provides strategic guidance to the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education on the development and implementation of curricular and co-curricular programs.  Adi’s doctoral research examined the Israeli Left and political activism in Israel/Palestine. As a graduate student at Cornell University, she taught classes on the politics of protest and issues related to social justice. Before coming to Cornell she served as the Academic Administrator for Experiential Learning at Brandeis University, where she worked with faculty to incorporate experiential learning and reflective practice into their courses, and created opportunities for students to construct knowledge from direct experience. Her experience at the Branco Weiss Institute for the Development of Thinking (an Israeli educational NGO) allowed her to work with teenagers and educators from different social and cultural backgrounds in Israel. She developed educational programs for at-risk high school students and led multicultural teams of educators to implement them nationwide. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University, her M.A. in Cultural Production from Brandeis University and her B.A. in History from Tel Aviv University.

Marlen Gonzalez
​Dr. Gonzalez is short for Marlen Zoraida Maria Gonzalez Caraballo (de Lawley). She is originally from the Dominican Republic but grew up in the tristate area. She received her BA in Psychology and English Creative writing from Manhattanville College. After conducting policy research with low-income families and social neuroscience research with families in the Simon Simplex  Study (looking at family with de-novo Autism diagnoses), Dr. Gonzalez went to the University of Virginia to work with Dr. James A. Coan and earn a degree in clinical psychology. Her work, and that of the Life History Lab, is to understand how developmental context shapes the adult brain and what it means for dimensions of normative behavior as well as non-communicative diseases such as mental health and cardiovascular health.  By developmental context, she means the totality of our childhood environment– the physical, social, political, and economic affordances and dangers which makes demands of us. She is interested in working with students who are creative but ultimately grounded in methods and able to create steady progress.

Anna Waymack
I research selfhood and paradoxical voices in literature. My dissertation investigates the construct of old age and its relationship to futurity in Middle English poetry, asking whether late medieval narrative structures echoed these radically different concepts of the life course. My other projects draw on the late-antique Latin poet Maximianus, travel literature, Christine de Pizan, Sir Philip Sidney’s letters, and contemporary rape narratives, covering a range of topics including neurodiversity and memory, gender(ing), the transmission of maps, authorship, and trauma. My research on tyranny and speech has spilled over into active participation in and contributions to the current conversation on academic freedom; my research on fourteenth-century rape allegations informs and is informed by my advocacy for sexual harassment survivors within the academy.

Lauren Kilgour​
Lauren studies the culture and politics of network technology, with specific emphasis placed on technology design and use in varied contexts. Within this wider area of research, her dissertation project examines the stakes and implications of using electronic ankle monitors as an alternative to incarceration in criminal justice contexts. Lauren holds degrees in English Literature (HBA) and Information (MI) from the University of Toronto. Prior to beginning doctoral study at Cornell, Lauren worked in the non-profit sector in Toronto, Canada, and interned with the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently, she is also a Graduate Student Affiliate with Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality.


Friday, 3 May

3:00-3:30 PM Opening Session + Coffee with Cintia Hotta Orsi
3:30-4:30 PM Project Brainstorming
4:30-5:00 PM Short Talk + Q&A: Sarah Evanega Davidson
5:00-5:30 PM Project Brainstorming + Appetizers
5:30-6:00 PM Project Selection
6:00 PM (Optional) Social Hour + Dinner at The Loft

Saturday, 4 May

10:00-11:00 AM Working Session + Coffee
11:00-11:30 AM Keynote Address: Saramoira Shields
11:30-11:45 AM Keynote Q&A
11:45 AM-12:00 PM Roundtable Introductions
12:00-1:00 PM Roundtable Discussions + Lunch
1:00-3:00 PM Working Session
3:00-3:30 PM Closing Session

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