Dear Colleagues, 

I am pleased to include another issue of RFS Briefings with some timely and encouraging updates on women in science.

Join us this week for our annual end-of-year virtual conference. During this 3-day, complimentary event (held on January 25, 26, and 27), we will hear insights from leaders in cutting-edge fields such as precision medicine and space exploration to large and small biotech industry leaders, as well as journalists, and new leadership in Washington. Register now.                   

Please continue to share important news and opportunities with us so that we may share it with you, and others who are committed to supporting the careers of exceptional women in science. 

Stay safe and sound, 


Karla Shepard Rubinger
Executive Director
Rosalind Franklin Society 

NASA announces new Chief Scientist, Senior Climate Advisor.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that Dr. Katherine Calvin will serve the agency in dual roles as chief scientist and senior climate advisor. As chief scientist and senior climate advisor, Calvin will serve as principal advisor to the administrator and other agency leaders on NASA science programs, strategic planning, and policy. Read more. Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

This woman is reshaping our understanding of the living world.
"She could see things nobody else could see—and a lot of them just didn’t fit.” Innovative Genomics Institute’s Microbiology Director Jill Banfield revolutionized our understanding of the microbial world. Get a peek into the mind behind the science in the profile by Hope Henderson in California Magazine. Read more.

'As a black woman in STEM I'm used for photo opportunities'
Cynthia Chapple. Image by Tyler Small.

When Cynthia Chapple was asked to help out with a photograph of a research professor and his staff, she assumed that she would be the one taking the photo. The image was going to be used by the professor for a grant application. "This was an example of 'Photoshop' diversity, when black women are used for photo opportunities," she tells the BBC, "I was being used to show he worked in an inclusive team and to secure him funding. I was embarrassed." Read more.

Student raises more than $70K to start women's scholarship in response to professor's viral remarks.
Ally Orr, a senior at Boise State University, raised more than $70,000 to establish the Women in STEM, Medicine and Law Scholarship. Orr was inspired to do so after viewing a viral video of one of the university’s professors, Scott Yenor, saying “every effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering” in a speech at the annual National Conservatism Conference. Read more.

Professor Sharon Peacock awarded the MRC Millennium Medal 2021.

“Professor Sharon Peacock is one of the world’s leading academic clinical microbiologists. Her pioneering work on pathogen sequencing and her visionary leadership of COG-UK have had a profound impact on national and international policy and played a critical role in the COVID-19 pandemic response. Sharon’s commitment to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in research by leading women in STEM initiatives has been truly remarkable. The MRC is delighted to recognise Sharon’s achievements by awarding her the MRC Millennium Medal 2021,” according to Professor Fiona Watt, MRC Executive Chair. Read more. 

Eight women astronomers you should know.
Top Row: Hypatia, Andrea Ghez, Henrietta Leavitt, Mary Somerville. Bottom Row: Sara Seager, Emilie du Chatelet, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Caroline Herschel.via Wikimedia Commons/JSTOR

Women astronomers remain a minority and often encounter a lack of recognition, unwelcoming career paths, and harassment. But today women participate and publish in astronomy and astrophysics at higher rates than in physics overall, producing world-class research, writes Sidney Perkowitz. Read more.

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research announces 2022 Emerging Leader Awards.
The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research has awarded seven grants to promising early-career investigators for projects aimed at addressing unmet needs in cancer research. Each Emerging Leader Award is $250,000 per year for three years, totaling $750,000. Since its founding in mid-2017, The Mark Foundation has awarded over $20 million to 28 early-career scientists with Emerging Leader Awards. Read more.

Dillard University Virtual Town Hall: Successes in STEM Education, Research, and Workforce Preparedness.
During this town hall event, you will hear from faculty and leaders about the strategies that have enabled Dillard students to realize their dreams of entering and succeeding in STEM professions. This event is one in a series of town halls the National Academies is conducting in collaboration with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to promote the findings of the 2019 National Academies report, Minority Serving Institutions: America’s Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the STEM Workforce. Read more.

These scientists are racing to beat omicron.
HHMI scientists are joining many of their colleagues worldwide in working to combat the new coronavirus. They’re developing diagnostic testing, understanding the virus’s basic biology, modeling the epidemiology, and developing potential therapies or vaccines. Read more.

Deborah Nickerson, pioneering genome researcher, dies at 67.
Deborah Nickerson, a human genomics researcher who helped discover genes responsible for cardiovascular disease, autism and Miller syndrome, a rare condition that causes malformations of the face and limbs, died on Dec. 24 at her home in Seattle, Richard Sandomir reports. Read more.

Cancer researcher Beatrice Mintz Dies at 100.
Beatrice Mintz. Photo: Fox Chase Cancer Center/The Scientist.

Beatrice Mintz, a pioneering cancer researcher and developmental biologist whose findings helped pave the way for less harmful chemotherapy and radiation treatments, died on January 3 in her home in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. She was 100 years old, Natalia Mesa reports. Read more.

Rosalind Franklin Mars rover set for September launch after landing tests.
The UK-built ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover is set for launch in September after a series of successful tests, including driving off its landing platform. “The Rosalind Franklin rover showcases some of the best of the UK’s space sector and its search for signs of life on Mars will inspire future generations of scientists and engineers,” said Sue Horne, head of space exploration at the UK Space Agency (UKSA). Read more.

Are you changing the world? Do you know a woman who is? JOURNEY is accepting Fellow nominations and applications!
JOURNEY is accepting Fellow nominations and applications. They are seeking applications and nominations for accomplished innovators who have exceptional potential to achieve higher levels of power and make sustainable impact. Read more.

A physicist’s lessons about race, power, and the universe.

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, explores how society and physics influence each other in her book The Disordered Cosmos. Neel Dhanesha recently asked Prescod-Weinstein about being one of the few Black women in her field, how concepts from physics apply to our lives, and why dark matter is a complicated metaphor. Photo courtesy of Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (via Vox). Read more.

The Angelika Amon Young Scientist Award.
The Angelika Amon Young Scientist Award at MIT's Koch Institute is an endowed prize established in 2021 by family and friends to support two graduate students from institutions outside the United States who embody Dr. Amon’s infectious enthusiasm for discovery science. The Amon Young Scientist Awards are open to applications from mid- to late-stage graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in the life sciences or biomedical research at non-US institutions. And she was a distinguished member of the RFS Board. Read more.

2020 Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Award Ceremony honors Hoonani (Nani) Cuadrado.
This special virtual ceremony celebrates Hoonani (Nani) Cuadrado, the 2020 recipient of the Gold Foundation’s Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award. This prestigious annual award honors a woman who exemplifies humanism and has advanced, through her scholarship, advocacy, leadership or work, the well-being of underserved or at-risk populations in the healthcare arena. Read more. 

Marianna Limas, Social Media Manager
Nilda Rivera, Partnership and Events Manager