Current Board Members

Bita Alaghebandan, Co-President

Bita is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Biological Sciences at Columbia. Her current research focuses on understanding the role of chromatin-remodeling complexes in mediating hormone-driven cancers, such as breast and prostate. She hopes that her work can provide insight into how genetic changes can lead to the issue of resistance and relapse in a vast majority of patients. Prior toattending Columbia, Bita earned her M.S. in Entrepreneurial Biotechnology from Georgetown University, where she focused on minimizing the gap between science and business by working with private and public sectors to transfer technological advances from bench to bedside.

Bita is passionate about mentoring young women in STEM and joined WISC in an effort to build an empowering and interdisciplinary network of women in the sciences. She believes that a more diverse, collaborative, and gender-balanced network of scientific leaders is key to successfully addressing today’s global health challenges.

Elena Carazo, Co-President

Elena is a PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences department at Columbia. She studies how antidepressants like Prozac affect specific parts of the brain such as the hippocampus, and how these effects contribute to the beneficial effects of antidepressants. She has volunteered at organizations such as Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach, the Association of Spanish Scientists in the US and Open Labs Science Cafe, with the focus of making neuroscience accessible to the spanish speaking community in NYC. She joined WISC with the hope of building a platform for young women in STEM to gather around and build a better, more inclusive science community at Columbia.

Lorelei Curtin, Vice President

Lorelei is a PhD student in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, and works in the Organic Geochemistry group at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Her research focuses on reconstructing climate changes in the past using biomarkers and compound-specific isotopes in lake sediments. She is interested in how climate change impacts local environments, including changes in vegetation and glacier size, and how these changes affected ancient human communities. Lorelei is currently working on projects in the Faroe Islands, Arctic Norway, Iceland, and Easter Island. Lorelei is also co-chair of the DEES Graduate Student Committee and organizes a weekly seminar for the Biology and Paleoenvironment Division at LDEO. She has been an advocate for women at LDEO, and through her work with WISC, she hopes to help create a community for women in science within the broader Columbia community. Outside of science, Lorelei enjoys most outdoor activities, including hiking, backpacking, climbing, and skiing.

Megan Goldring, Graduate Research Symposium Chair

Megan is a Ph.D student in the Psychology Department at Columbia. Her research interests pertain to interpersonal relationships and health; namely how social processes both help and hinder health outcomes. She hopes that her research can aid in the development of interventions that improve health and well-being. In her free time, Megan can be found enjoying nature (although in New York, this means public parks!), reading a book, and listening to live music. Megan joined WISC because she believes that women constitute a unique and important group for the sciences, and that by generating awareness about issues faced by women STEM, we can create a more equitable and harmonious space for both men and women in the sciences.

Islam Ahmed, Graduate Research Symposium Chair

Islam is a second-year Master’s student studying Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College. Her research interests revolve around Alzheimer’s disease in general, and more specifically, cognitive reserve. This phrase is used to refer to the theory that individuals can build (mostly) temporary defenses against neuropathological damage, to put it off for an (currently) indeterminable amount of time. Simply put, the theory stipulates that these defenses are put in place as a result of commitment to physical activity, pursuit of higher education as well as occupational exposure, and leisurely activity. Islam sees the great potential in this area of research and is hopeful about the implications it will have in the future of AD. A few of her past-times include reading fantasy novels and reviewing them on her blog, traveling, and playing video games, to name a few.

 Gillie Ben-Chorin, Graduate Research Symposium Chair


Lenzie Ford
Manhattanville Postdoctoral Liaison and Undergraduate Mentoring Chair

Lenzie is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Neuroscience Department, having lab space at both the CUMC and Manhattanville campuses. Her research focuses on the structure-function relationship of amyloid-like proteins involved in healthy and diseased long-term memory. Lenzie is also the Society for Neuroscience’s Greater NYC Chapter (BraiNY) Advocacy Co-char. Lenzie received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Sussex, having worked with the gender equality group as their graduate student representative, and received her BS in Neuroscience and Behavior from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Cassie Meeker, Head of Digital Content

Cassie is a PhD candidate in the Mechanical Engineering department at Columbia. She studies how to make interactions between humans and machines more intuitive – both in the context of rehabilitation robotics and teleoperation. She is interested in how we can harvest the signals and movements of the human hand to control robotic hands. In her free time, Cassie loves to travel and swing dance. She is passionate about outreach, particularly in getting girls enthusiastic about science at a young age, because she believes visibility of female scientists is an important factor for young women choosing STEM careers.

Lauren Moseley, Head of Digital Content

Lauren is a PhD student in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia. She is a member of the McKinley Group at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She is interested in using earth system models to examine carbon and oxygen mechanisms in the North Atlantic Ocean. She aims to further our understanding of global carbon cycle processes and improve our ability to make accurate predictions on the co-evolution of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate. Lauren is passionate about dismantling barriers to inclusion in STEM fields, and joined WISC to help foster an inclusive community for everyone at Columbia who identifies as a woman in STEM.

Alyssa Manz, Networking Chair

Alyssa is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Chemistry Department at Columbia University. She specifically is studying “glassy materials,” which are compounds that have characteristics of both solids and of liquids. Despite being poorly understood, they are used quite frequently in our everyday lives. Alyssa was initially introduced to WISC when she worked with Girls’ Science Day in 2014 and has been a board-member since 2017. She hopes to increase student and postdoc engagement by organizing and hosting events during the upcoming academic year.

Felisa Conrad-Burton, Networking Chair
Divya Venkatesh, Roundtable Chair

Divya is a Ph.D. student in the department of Biological Sciences at Columbia. Her current research is aimed at uncovering the role of tumor specific genes in modulating the response of cancer cells to a new form of therapy, called ferroptosis. She hopes that her work will help develop this therapy to have a potential as a precision medicine for cancer patients. She graduated as an engineer in Biotechnology from a premier institute in India, R.V College of Engineering, before she started her PhD at Columbia.

Divya has always believed that with enough encouragement, all women can crack the lid on patriarchal norms to reach great heights. She joined WISC to foster the women community in STEM. She believes that having women centric discussions, workshops and resources at WISC will go a long way in helping women realize and fulfill their potential. She stands by the form of feminism which relies on women bringing the best in each other and aims to use WISC to do just that.

Aubrianna Decker, Science Saturday Starters
Danielle Tufts, Postdoctoral Liaison