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MWRDC 2023 will be held at Park University in Parkville, MO. 


Day 1 - Friday, June 23 

11:30 am – 2:30 pm | Registration  

Location: Copley Quad Student Housing

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm | Welcome & Introduction by Dr. Robbyn Anand

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Science Communication with Dr. Miranda Paley

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

5:15 pm – 6:15 pm | Industry Panel

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

6:30 pm – 7:15 pm | Dinner

Location: Thompson Student Center Dining Hall

7:30 pm – 8:30 pm | Keynote Address by Dr. Chris Bannochie

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

8:40 pm – 9:30 pm | Networking Bingo*

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

Day 2 - Saturday, June 24 

8:00 am – 8:45 am | Breakfast and Coffee

Location: Thompson Student Center Dining Hall

9:00 am – 11:30 am | Bias Mitigation with Dr. Anne Lynn Gillian-Daniel

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

11:35 am – 11:50 pm | Group Photo

Location: TBD

12:00 pm – 12:45 pm | Lunch

Location: Thompson Student Center Dining Hall

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Breakout Session #1**

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

2:10 pm – 3:10 pm | Breakout Session #2**

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

​3:20 pm – 4:55 pm | Poster Session

Location: Academic Plaza Commons


5:00 pm – 6:20 pm | Break/Socialization

6:30 pm – 7:15 pm | Dinner

Location: Thompson Student Center Dining Hall

7:30 pm – 8:30 pm | Academic Panel

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

8:30 pm – 11:30 pm | After Hours/Free Time*

Location: Academic Plaza Commons

Day 3 - Sunday, June 25

8:30 am – 9:15 am | Breakfast and Check-Out***

Location: Thompson Student Center Dining Hall

9:30 am – 10:30 am | Government and Non-Traditional Panel

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

10:30 am – 11:30 am | Wellness Workshop with Dr. Miriam Krause and Jeannette Mejia

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

11:30 am – 12:00 pm | Concluding Remarks

Location: Academic Plaza AP380

Keynote Address

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Dr. Chris Bannochie
From Dr. Quest to activist: My journey through science, activism, exploration, and leadership

We all start out with a dream, which can unfold in ways we may not imagine.  As a kid, I wanted to be Dr. Quest or Jacque Cousteau – wandering the world and understanding it through scientific exploration.  While my ten year old self knew on some level that I was gay, my focus since grade school was always on earning my Ph.D., and I didn’t see my sexual orientation as having anything to contribute to that objective.  It was not a matter of being in the closet, so much as it was a single minded obsession with school – nothing would deter or distract me.  Sure, I went to all the required formal dances in Prep School: Homecoming, the Regimental Dinner Dance, and the Military Ball (our version of prom), and was invited to Sadie Hawkins at an all-girls school. I began to travel, first six weeks in Ireland at Gormanston College and then a three week senior class trip to the United Kingdom and visiting relatives in Scotland.

But in college and graduate school I didn’t date while still being very social.  I expanded my travel, first spending five weeks in Europe with two friends after college, and then giving my first scientific paper in Canada at the North American Chemical Congress.  It was not until my postdoc that I felt free to meet someone and began dating Mary, a young resident in Pathology at Barnes Hospital, fluent in French, a gourmet cook, and gorgeous, but we broke up, and I knew I was looking for something else.

After my postdoc, I started at the Savannah River Laboratory, as it was then called.  Initially my work was based in the lab, but then I assumed the design of and oversaw the construction of a mobile rad lab in Chicago.  I loved the travel back and forth to the windy city, where I had spent time with cousins growing up.  It was in Boys Town that I went to my first gay bar and later danced with a guy.  This was what I was looking for.  The years that followed brought my formal coming out, dating, the start of my activism, moving to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay Area with my future husband, and a determination to make it easier for the next generation of scientists to be out at work.

This talk will explore the technical and personal journey that has taken me to 49 states, 51 countries, and seven continents, and from the lab to the corner office.  I currently lead a multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering team of 28 staff members, postdocs, visiting faculty, and interns studying the fundamental properties of energy and magnetic materials, as well as the development of radiofrequency heating technologies and materials to reduce energy consumption in manufacturing.

Industry Panel

Renato Bauer
Eli Lilly

Renato Bauer is a Senior Advisor at Eli Lilly where he has been since 2013.  He has worked at two US-based research sites for Eli Lilly, including Indianapolis, where he currently resides, and San Diego, where he helped start a new research group from 2017 to 2021.  His medicinal chemistry contributions have led to the discovery of therapeutics that focus on unmet medical need, including a molecule that is in clinical trials for advanced solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.  Before Lilly, Renato did a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University (2011-2013), earned his PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University (2005-2011), and received a BS in Biochemistry from Stonehill College (2001-2005).  He is passionate about mentoring young scientists and has found success leading from the lab, where he has mentored new hires and summer interns who have gone on to lead their own successful careers.  His first language is Spanish and he is a native of Lima, Peru.

Anoja Perera
Stowers Institute

Anoja Perera is the director of Sequencing and Discovery Genomics Team at Stowers Institute. With a B.S. degree in biology, Anoja Perera developed her skills in DNA sequencing, genomics applications, automation, and high throughput processing while working with Raju Kucherlapati, Ph.D., on the original Human and Mouse Genome Projects. After several years’ experience as group leader for sequencing at the Harvard-Partners Center of Genetics and Genomics in Cambridge, Mass., she joined the Stowers Molecular Biology group. Perera served as senior lab manager from 2006 until 2019 when she was appointed director. In this role, Perera seeks to advance research by making cutting-edge sequencing technologies available to the scientific staff. For many years, Perera has been an active member of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities and served on multiple committees including the organization’s Executive Board. She is also a member of BioKansas and serves on several committees.

Erin Finley
Thermo Fisher

Erin Finley is the manager and SME of the solid state and physical properties lab. The primary focus of this lab is to support analytical method development and validation for XRD and particle size analysis. The second part of Erin’s role is to support and manage the instrument qualification status of all compliant systems within the Analytical Research and Development group. Erin has been with Patheon API part of Thermo Fisher Scientific since 2019. She completed her BSc. in Life Science at Penn State University, Berks College in 2013, and went on to earn her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Houston in 2019. Erin has focused her career on providing expertise to clients in niche fields of study, i.e., solid-state chemistry, specifically particle-size engineering. She has worked with many different clients to overcome challenges in their drug substances which allowed them to move their therapies from clinical trials onto commercial production. Being a part of a process that can effect real change in patients and their families is something Erin finds very rewarding. As one of only a few women PhD’s at her site, Erin strives every day to build a diverse and inclusive workspace for everyone. She does this by being an active member of the Women's Empowerment Resource Group, where she volunteers her time in outreach events within her local community.

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Christine Hatter

Christine Hatter joined DuPont in 2020 as a Senior Scientist in the Advanced Packaging Technologies (APT) group within the Electronics and Industrial business. As a member of APT, she works on formulation optimization and new product development of dielectric materials for advanced microelectronics packaging at the Marlborough, MA site. Before joining DuPont, she received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Drexel University (2020). Her doctoral research focused on structure-property-processing relationships of two-dimensional nanomaterial fillers in polymer composite systems.Prior to graduate studies, Christine participated in a DOE funded internship at Oak Ridge National laboratory investigating thermoplastic composite materials using rare-earth magnetic powders for bonded magnets in clean energy applications. She received her B.S. degree in Physics from Rutgers University (2014). She enjoys coordinating and participating in STEM outreach activities and mentoring young scientists and is an active member in the DuPont GOLD program which promotes increasing URM scientists in industry careers. She also likes traveling abroad, experiencing new cuisines and outdoor activities.

Government and Non-Traditional Panel

Becky Rodriguez
Institute for Defense Analyses

Dr. Rebeca (Becky) Rodriguez (she/her) is a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Alexandria, VA. Becky received her B.S. in Chemistry from American University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota (UMN). Her doctoral research focused on the detection of various types of food contaminants with linear polymer affinity agents and surface-enhanced Raman scattering detection.

Beyond chemistry, Becky found her journey in chemistry to be difficult; thus, aimed to increase visibility and presentation as a marginalized scientist. She did this with various community volunteering, leadership and advocacy work, and outreach among kids of various ages and identities. Creating equity and promoting justice is a large part of her motivation, as she is a first generation, Latinx, and was a low-income student, navigating higher education. She created the Underrepresented Students in STEM Symposium Twin Cities (USSS-TC) alongside her research group (Haynes group) at UMN to provide local Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) with a safe space to present their science and the option to participate in a mentorship program all at no cost to the participant. Many of her passions include bringing science demonstrations to kids of young ages because of not having opportunities like that growing up. Because of her work inside and outside of lab, she is the recipient of many awards such as the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Fellowship, the Women's Chemist Committee Merck Research Award, and the UMN Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award, as the first recipient from the College of Science & Engineering in the 23-year history of the award.

As a professional, Becky is at IDA, a federally funded research and development center supporting the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). IDA serves as an independent organization providing technical expertise to DOT&E, which falls under the Secretary of Defense; providing various briefings to Congress. She specifically supports some space communication programs and all space-based missile warning programs. Her analytical chemistry background has been incredibly impactful in her current position through interdisciplinary problem solving, statistics, and science communication. Outside of work, Becky enjoys visiting museums, making polymer clay earrings, and trying new restaurants in the DC area.

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Vanessa Rosa
The Cuvette

Dr. Rosa is the Director of Innovation, Outreach, Diversity, & Education for Duke University & STEM Education Research at The Cuvette, a journal dedicated to disrupting toxic academic norms and connecting science education practitioners, researchers, and administrators. Dr. Rosa’s research involves applying Critical frameworks to disentangle power structures in the construction of knowledge. She has worked with educators across multiple institutions to identify and subvert systemic norms in assessing introductory science courses that limit students' success with inequitable access to pre-college mathematics preparation. She has risked much in speaking against norms that lead to academics and their students’ collective oppression. 


Now, she is developing an interdisciplinary science education research journal implementing ethically subversive publishing practices (no paywalls, multilingual access, technological relevance, accessible and practice-focused writing, an emphasis on multiple ways of knowing and doing science, etc.) to help bridge the practitioner-researcher divide. Her work aims to empower educators with the resources and information needed to identify, disrupt, dismantle, and reform unjust practices, policies, and norms in science education.

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Miranda Paley

Dr. Miranda Paley is a chemistry PhD turned science communication and project management professional. She excels at teams together to complete critical projects. She has a broad research knowledge base and is particularly skilled at interpreting and explaining science to varied audiences and maintains meaningful engagement with network of global scientists in academia, government and industry. Dr. Paley serves as a program manager, biology and chemistry subject matter expert and science communicator for the DHS S&T Directorate. Previously, she was as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow who provided communications expertise and strategic advice at the Department of Defense (DoD) in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment (ODASD-Env) on the topic of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). She also has experience in academic publishing and scientific public affairs with the American Chemical Society as the former Managing Editor for ACS Central Science. She has her PhD in chemical biology from University of California- Irvine, where her dissertation was on expanding the bioluminescent toolbox using mutant luciferase enzymes and synthetic alternative luciferin substrates, and completed her B.A. in biochemistry from Grinnell College, in Grinnell IA.

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Chris Bannochie
Savannah River National Lab

Chris Bannochie is currently Senior Manager of Advanced & Energy Materials for the Savannah River National Laboratory.

He received a B.A. degree in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics from St. John’s University and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Texas A&M University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He joined the Savannah River Laboratory following his postdoctoral tenure. For three years, he was a Visiting Scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on laser ablation/ICP-MS characterization for the Plutonium Immobilization Program (PIP). His research areas have ranged from the development of radiopharmaceuticals for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to process development and analytical characterization, particularly the speciation of mercury in high- and low-level nuclear waste streams, in support of vitrification and cementitious stabilization.

Dr. Bannochie has been active in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion activities for the past 20+ years. He is a founding member of SRS GLOBE and currently the management sponsor of SRNL GLOBE & Allies, the laboratory’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group. He is chair of the Johns Hopkins University Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE) Advisory Board, and a member of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Respect (DEIR) Experts Panel. Chris has served on several boards including those for Leadership Augusta, the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta Pride, Georgia Equality, the National Organization for Gay & Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, and the Malta Conferences Foundation.

He is an ACS Councilor and has represented the Savannah River Local Section for 28 years, has served on ACS elected and appointed National Committees, and served as General Chair for two regional meetings: SERMACS 2006 and 2018. He developed and initiated the first ACS Committee Member Demographic Survey in 2016, which included advanced survey questions about sexual orientation and gender expression and identity.

Dr. Bannochie is an inaugural fellow of the American Chemical Society (2009) and an inductee of Sigma Xi and Phi Lambda Upsilon and has won numerous local, regional, and national awards. Chris loves photography, gardening, scuba, and travel – he has visited all seven continents and 50 countries. He resides in Augusta, GA with his husband David and their miniature schnauzer Hudson.

Academic Panel

Miriam Krause
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Miriam Krause is the Director of Education, Outreach, & Diversity for the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, a multi-institute Center for Chemical Innovation funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. She earned her B.A. in geology from Pomona College and her Ph.D. in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences from the University of Minnesota, plus stints as a Peace Corps Volunteer science teacher in Samoa, a Speech-Language Pathology clinical fellow at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and an Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Bowling Green State University. She lives in Minnesota with her spouse, their 5-year-old, and two elderly pets.

Christian Malapit
Northwestern University

Christian (he/him) is a Filipino scientist. He was born and raised in the northernmost region in the Philippines and moved to Manila to obtain his BS and MS in Chemistry from Far Eastern University and Ateneo de Manila University. In 2016, Christian received his PhD in organic chemistry under the mentorship of Prof. Amy Howell at the University of Connecticut. There he developed various transition metal catalyzed reactions for the selective transformations of heterocyclic compounds. His PhD work was recognized with a Connecticut Chemistry Research Award, the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry, and a Boehringer Ingelheim PhD fellowship where he had the opportunity to conduct a year of research working on the development of a transnitrilation reaction for a drug campaign for Alzheimer's disease. Christian moved to the University of Michigan as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Melanie Sanford. There he worked on mechanistic organometallic chemistry for the development of decarbonylative cross-coupling reactions. As an NIH Pathway to Independence Investigator, Christian moved to the NSF Center for Synthetic Organic Electrochemistry at the University of Utah where he worked on electrocatalysis for organic synthesis.

    In 2022, Christian started his tenure-track appointment as an assistant professor of chemistry at Northwestern University where his group works on the utility of organic synthesis, transition-metal catalysis, and molecular electrochemistry towards the discovery of sustainable organic reactions and the development of next-generation organic-based redox-flow batteries. Christian values mentorship and advocates for providing transformational support and leadership to BIPOC and LGBTQ scientists.

Lisa Szczepura
Illinois State University

Lisa Szczepura is a University Professor of Chemistry at Illinois State University.  She is a synthetic inorganic chemist working on the preparation of novel transition metal cluster complexes.  Szczepura earned a BS in Chemistry and PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at SUNY at Buffalo, before moving to Illinois for a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (1995-1997).  She began her academic career at Illinois State University in 1997, and was awarded a Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2001-2002).  Szczepura has received numerous awards for both teaching and research. In addition, she has spearheaded several programs aimed at improving the success rate of underrepresented students in STEM, including the Enrichment Workshop Program and the Charles Morris STEM Social.  She enjoys training students in her research laboratory as well as mentoring students interested in careers in science. 


Dr. Greg Claycomb is currently serving as Professor of Chemistry at Park University where he has been since 2008.  During his time at Park, Dr. Claycomb has moved through the ranks of Assistant, Associate, Full Professor, Department Chair and has also served as the President of the Faculty Federation for five years. During that time, he has mentored a large number of undergraduate students which either became successfully employed in a number of chemical positions within the KC-metro or pursued graduate degrees.  While at Park, Dr. Claycomb developed a method of using of standard operating procedures as a mechanism for guiding undergraduate students in the development of research projects.  The pedagogical approach has been very successful over many years as evidenced by numerous conference presentations, a growing number of students pursuing graduate degrees, and scientific publications with undergraduates.  Prior to coming to Park, Dr. Claycomb worked in the as surface scientist in both academic and industrial settings which resulted in over 50 successful regional, national, and international research collaborations.  Dr. Claycomb has been the recipient of number of awards but finds his students success to be his greatest reward.  Dr. Claycomb resides in Leavenworth, KS with his wife and five-year-old son.

Greg Claycomb
Park University

Breakout Session & Workshop Facilitators

Donna Jean
Park University

Dr. Jean is currently serving as Associate Professor of Chemistry at Park University where she has been since 2007.  Dr. Jean also serves as the Liberal Education Director at Park.  She has previously served as Program Coordinator for Chemistry and Department Chair in Natural and Physical Sciences.  Dr. Jean has been teaching at the undergraduate level for 25 years, previously at Xavier University of Louisiana, and Angelo State University, both minority-serving institutions.  She has been active in mentoring students in synthetic organic/organometallic chemistry research projects, as well as chemical education research involving active learning techniques. Many of those students have gone on to pursue graduate or professional degrees, a fact Dr. Jean is very proud of.  Dr. Jean resides in Parkville, Missouri, with her husband, 16-year-old son, and two very active dogs.

Azin Agah
Park University

Dr. Azin Agah is currently serving as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Park University where she has been since 2018.  During her time at Park she has mentored a number of undergraduate research projects.  She has been the recipient of the American Heart Association and National Institute of Health grants focusing on wound healing and angiogenesis. Her favorite course is Medicinal Chemistry and she enjoys teaching pre-nursing majors.

Safia Jilani
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Safia Jilani is a postdoctoral scientist with the NSF Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, working in Dr. Christy Haynes’ lab at University of Minnesota. She earned her B.S. in chemistry with a concentration in secondary education from Dominican University and her Ph.D. in chemistry from Georgetown University. Her research interests include nanomaterials, electrochemistry, spectroelectrochemistry, invisible work, and addressing big real world problems with science. She is passionate about improving access, inclusion, equity, and quality of science and science education for students. Her interests outside of science academia include traveling, running, writing, science henna, and going on long walks with friends.


Friday Workshop: Science Communication 

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In this interactive session, we will learn how to communicate our science better and nail our elevator pitch be it for a job, a conference, or to a non-specialist audience.


Get ready to have fun, engage, and brainstorm in a friendly and informative setting!

Miranda Paley

Saturday Workshop: Breaking the Bias Habit


During this interactive workshop, we will explore implicit or unconscious biases and the underlying assumptions we make about groups of people.  We will treat the application of such biases as a “habit,” with a focus on race, ethnicity, and gender and explore strategies we can use to break the bias habit.  


Dr. Gillian-Daniel will present research that demonstrates the impact of implicit bias and discuss effective strategies to create more equitable and inclusive workplaces. 

Anne Lynn Gillian-Daniel

Sunday Workshop: Creating a Culture of Wellness

Miriam Krause

Wellness is an extremely important part of living a joyful and fulfilling life, but it is often overlooked. In this interactive session participants will be encouraged to engage with one another as we discuss and cultivate ideas on how to create a culture of wellness based on the power that each of us holds. The session will include an overview of the 8 dimensions of wellness and how we can apply those teachings to improve the wellness of ourselves and our communities.


Jeannette Mejia


Safia Jilani

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Eleni Spanolios


Breakout Sessions

Building an Effective CV/ Resume (Chris Bannochie, Lisa Szczepura, Miriam Krause, and Anoja Perera, AP380)

Learn how to make your CV & resume stand-out from the crowd! Hear from our experts in various sectors on how to tailor your document to land your dream job. Attendees should come prepared with a CV/resume to discuss and revise their draft on-site.


Landing Your First Job (Renato Bauer and Donna Jean, AP371)

We’re all nervous when someone asks “So, what’s after graduate school/your postdoc?” – this breakout will focus on helping you get your foot in the door of your first job. Talk to people in-the-know about how/when/where you should apply and practice making a lasting impression during the interview process.


How to Sell Yourself (Robbyn Anand and Christine Hatter, AP271)

You have the experience and the knowledge, now let’s focus on convincing others you’re ready for the job. Develop and sharpen skills on how to confidently advocate for yourself and your work in a professional setting.


Catalyzing Advocacy in Science (Miranda Paley, AP279)

Some chemists love spending their day in lab doing synthesis, while others have different plans in mind. Here is an exciting opportunity to learn from science policy and advocacy experts about the importance of science in the federal policymaking. This session aims to empower attendees with ways to become a voice for scientific research in their careers.


Inclusive Design: How to Create Safe Spaces for All (Vanessa Rosa and Christian Malapit, AP371)

Why is it important to create an inclusive space for all? What inequities are faced by certain groups of students or our colleagues and how can we be supportive? Discuss strategies to create an inclusive environment (in the classroom, lab, and office) and actions to promote DEI in research and teaching.  


Effective Communication to Create a Healthy Workplace (Gregory Claycomb and Erin Finley, AP271)

Teamwork and collaboration are valuable skillsets to have in the modern workplace, but sometimes working with a group of scientists can be challenging. Learn how to work well with a diverse group people in the workplace and how to manage better conflict while still advocating for yourself.


Outreach: A Two-Way (Becky Rodriguez and Azin Agah, AP279)

Giving back to the community is important and can support underrepresented and marginalized groups. But it also helps you! How do we positively impact our local and professional communities through science outreach and mentorship? Discuss what different types of mentorship can look like, and how it differs between different job sectors/roles. Figure out how to adapt and be more accommodating as a mentor, enabling you to maintain positive relationships mentees and peers.

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