Industry Panel

Copy of Walker, James_2019.jpg
James Walker

Dr. James Walker joined Dow in 2018 as a Senior Chemist as part of the Research Assignments Program (RAP). As part of the RAP, he has enjoyed the unique opportunity of exploring different divisions of Dow as a rotational employee. He began his initial rotation in the Chemical Science group, where his work focused on the development of new homogeneous catalyst for olefin polymerizations. Additionally, he utilized his synthetic skills in the development of optically clear adhesives for the Dow Performance Silicones business in collaboration with a large multi-disciplined team of scientist. Following his first year, James joined the Engineered Materials group of the Dow Performance Silicones business where he led the development of new conformal coatings. Currently, James is utilizing his skills in the Laminating Adhesives group of Technical Services & Development, where he is leading a large sustainability study across various product lines for future product development.

James received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Iowa State University. His doctoral research focused on olefin difunctionalizations, such as transition metal- and organo-catalyzed hydroacylation, and new developments in the area of formal carboacylation reactions.

James also spends time in the Great Lakes Bay Region communities as a leader for STEM education. He is currently the President of the Midland Professional Chapter of NOBCChE, where he dedicates his time to helping organize afterschool programming, local science bowls, and sponsorship of STEM events in the region. Outside of work and volunteering activities, James is an avid basketball player and loves to draw.

Heidi Burch

Heidi received the bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering summa cum laude from Virginia Tech and her Ph.D. in polymer engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she investigated mixing and morphology development in miscible polymer blends.  She went on to do a post-doc in the materials science at M.I.T focused on developing edible photonic crystals, a project aimed at developing metallic-look pigments for the U.S. candy market.  Heidi then joined Dupont in the Teflon® fluoropolymer research group at Washington Works in Parkersburg, WV, where she spent almost 10 years developing products for the wire/cable and semiconductor markets.  She relocated to the Experimental Station in 2012, initially joining the Polymer Processing and Characterization group in Central Research.  While in CR&D, she worked on novel materials for ultra-low wear, improving the properties of Corian®, and solid-state refrigeration.  When CR&D was restructured, she transferred to Water and Protection, where she worked on scaling up the mixing process for a next-generation Kevlar® polymer and commercializing a Corian® with improved scratch resistance.  She has since moved into the Electronics and Industrials’s Emerging Technologies Group, where she holds the rank of Technical Fellow.  Some of her research interests include developing sustainable electronic materials, novel processing methods using traditional polymeric materials, and understanding and managing the use of fluoropolymers as materials of last resort.  She holds nine United States Patents and has been the recipient of three DC&F Technology Excellence Awards.  She is also a frequent instructor for DuPont’s internal Polymer University curriculum, the course she co-developed with a Polymer Processing and Characterization group colleague.

Jonathan Wang.jpg
Jonathan Ying Wang

Jonathan Ying Wang 王延瀚 (they/he) is a queer first-generation Taiwanese-Texas who is currently employed at Scripps Research investigating HIV's TM region in the Integrative Structural and Computational Biology Department. They received their MSc in Medicine from Taipei Medical University investigating emerging viral infections, as well as a BSA in Biology and an Honors BS in Radio-Television-Film from The University of Texas at Austin. Currently they are in the process of self-publishing a collection of spoken word poems and post-production for a webseries they directed, co-wrote, and acted in. They are also in therapy for chronic suicidality, depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

Mohammad Zia-Ebrahimi.jpg
Mohammad Zia-Ebrahimi

Mohammad Zia-Ebrahimi is a Senior Research Scientist at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, where he has spent the last 31 years.  He has worked in  many therapeutic areas, including antibacterials, pain, cognitive disorders and for the last 17 years in Oncology.  He has been involved with the discovery and development of four anti-cancer drugs that have reached clinical trials.  

He is passionate about mentoring young scientists and was involved in the Lilly Summer Internship program for 16 years and has now shifted his focus to being a mentor in the Lilly Talent Development Academy, where he mentors  early career professionals.

He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and master’s degree in organic chemistry from Butler University in Indianapolis. 

kavisha (2).jpg
Kavisha Ulapane

Kavisha earned her BSc degree in Chemistry from University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka) in 2013 and joined the PhD program in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kansas soon after. Her work there was focused on improving drug delivery through blood brain barrier and developing analytical methods to quantify brain deposition of peptides and proteins after delivery across the Blood-Brain Barrier. After earning her PhD with honors in 2019, she joined Merck & Co., Inc. as a Senior Scientist at the Small Molecule Analytical Research and Development Department (SMARD). After spending about an year in SMARD, she is now affiliated with Sterile and Specialty Products (SSP) - Sterile formulations for Biologics Department. Kavisha leads formulation and process development activities for both early and late stage development candidates that include screening and developing robust drug product composition, developing scalable process and defining primary packaging.

Government and Non-traditional Panel

pauline serrano.jpg
Pauline Serrano

Dr. Pauline Nancy Serrano is an analytical chemist by training but transitioned into Health and Safety after graduating from the University of California- Davis (UC-Davis) with their doctorate. They are a first-generation, queer, LatinX and southern California native and self-professed "desert person" because they also grew up in Las Vegas, NV. While in Las Vegas, they matriculated at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where they received a B.S. in biochemistry and a M.S. in chemistry (emphasis in nuclear chemistry). Their academic research experience has enhanced their career in EHS by providing practical and useful solutions. A major passion of Pauline's is mentorship; currently they are a mentor with the Cambridge, MA chapter of Science Club for Girls working with girls in the 3rd and 4th grades. In graduate school, Pauline was an NSF- REU, ACS Seed, and UCD-NexMex research mentor to 6 different undergraduates along with working with the Center for Student Retention targeting retention of the LatinX undergraduate population. They currently live in Salem, MA (yes, the witchy city) and works for an amazing gut microbiome biotech start-up (Finch Therapeutics) looking to cure C. difficile along with other gut related ailments in Somerville. They have experience in academia, non-profits, and government agencies/ labs from working at UC-Davis, MIT-LL, and The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. For fun she also enjoys food; eating, cooking, and every aspect in regards to food and food culture. 

Ning Xu.jpg
Ning Xu

Ning Xu came to the United States in 1990 with a Master’s degree in environmental chemistry from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Kentucky in 1994 and conducted her postdoc research at the US Environmental Protection Agency groundwater research center in Ada, OK, as the National Research Council postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Xu worked on groundwater contamination monitoring and remediation for eight years at the EPA Ada site prior to joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2006. She was the deputy group leader for the Actinide Analytical Chemistry group in the Chemistry Division at Los Alamos and led a group of 90 scientists and technicians to work towards solving national security challenges. Currently, Dr. Xu is on a temporary assignment to the National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy headquarters in Washington DC as a technical advisor to the Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control to develop international nuclear safeguards solutions.


Dr. Xu is selected as a member of the 2020 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS). She is being recognized for her sustained contributions to actinide analytical chemistry in support of national nuclear defense, technical nuclear forensics, nuclear material safeguards and deep space exploration. Dr. Xu is widely recognized and acknowledged at Los Alamos and by the ACS New Mexico Section for her dedication to students and mentoring, her inspiring the next generation of scientists to pursue STEM careers through chemistry education outreach and her outstanding leadership of the ACS Central New Mexico Local Section. 

Chemical Kim.jpg
Chemical Kim

Chemical Kim is a science education influencer with over a million followers on social media platforms. Chemical Kim's science motivates viewers to investigate their world through hands-on experimentation. Chemical Kim educates and excites communities in learning science through presentations and programs. Her television features include "The Chemical Kim Science Show,” biweekly science segments on ABC affiliate WZZM 13, and a featured segment on CBS Mission Unstoppable. Chemical Kim is a Chemistry Professor where she works on improvements in chemical education, technology in science education, and inclusion in science education. She is the recipient of the Philo T Farnsworth Award, PMN Spirit Award, ARC Grant, and several technology in education grants. Chemical Kim holds a Bachelor of Science and a Secondary Education Certification from Michigan Technological University and a Master’s in Chemistry and Education. In 2011 she was the LGBTQ Pride co-chair in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and continues to work in improving LGBTQ visibility in STEM education. Chemical Kim lives in Naples, Florida with her beautiful and supporting wife and four children enjoying water sports, running, scuba diving, snorkeling, photography, and Harry Potter cosplay.

Anne Lynn Gillian-Daniel

Dr. Anne Lynn Gillian-Daniel has been the Director of Education and Outreach for the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (UW-MRSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 2012.  She is also the Wisconsin Education lead for the Wisconsin-Puerto Rico Partnership in Research and Education and Materials (WiPR2EM). As part of her position in both centers, Anne Lynn works to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in materials science and engineering and to help early career researchers improve their understanding of issues around equity and inclusion.  In order to help researchers become more effective at communicating science to all audiences, Anne Lynn co-developed an improvisation-based science communication course and has taught the course since 2016.  In addition, Anne Lynn has been a Master Facilitator for the Research Mentor Training curriculum since 2015 and she has facilitated research mentor training for graduate students, postdocs, and faculty interested in improving their mentoring practice.

Academic Panel

Mona Minkara headshot.jpeg
Mona Minkara

Mona Minkara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and an Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University where she heads the COMBINE (Computational Modeling for Biointerface Engineering) Lab. Dr. Minkara uses computational methods to study biological interfaces at the atomic and molecular scales. Her current research examines pulmonary surfactant, the complex protein-lipid substance lining the alveoli. As a scientist who is blind, Dr. Minkara is committed to making science more accessible and inclusive through designing new tools for blind scientists.


Professor Minkara received a B.A. from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Florida. Before joining the Northeastern University faculty, she held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Chemical Theory Center with a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.

image001 (1).jpg
Edgar Arriaga

Dr. Edgar Arriaga (He/him) is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. After earning a “Licenciatura” (BSc.) degree at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala in 1985, Edgar sought opportunities to pursue graduate school and moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The love for science was stronger than the culture shock he experienced and Edgar completed a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Dalhousie University in 1990. It took him two postdoctoral appointments, one at the University of Kansas Medical Center and one at the University of Alberta, to reaffirm his commitment to an academic career. Edgar joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota in 1990. His research on bioanalytical chemistry, supported through NIH, has been unveiling mysteries hidden by the innate heterogeneity of biological systems. His research team, a.k.a. the Organelle Group, is unique in its efforts of using novel measurements at the individual organelle level to investigate “Why we Age”. Dr. Arriaga is co-director of an NIH training grant,  co-leader of the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Diversity & Inclusivity (D&I) Alliance, and chairperson for the Committee on Professional Training (CPT) of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Through these appointments and his personal life, Edgar strives to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect for All.

Sibrina Collins

Sibrina Nichelle Collins is an inorganic chemist who specializes in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and utilizing pop culture as a pedagogical tool to engage young people in the STEM fields. She earned her B.A. in chemistry (cum laude) from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 1994. She later earned an M.S. and PhD in the field of inorganic chemistry from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. 

Over the course of her career, Dr. Collins has mentored 17 undergraduate chemistry students and published peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Inorganic Chemistry, Acta Crystallographia, Journal of Chemical Education, the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, Nature Chemistry and Nature. Dr. Collins is the founding executive director of the Marburger STEM Center on the campus of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan. The Marburger STEM Center is the hub of campus-wide STEM initiatives at LTU, which promotes inclusiveness, excellence, creativity and innovation. 

Robbyn Anand.png
Robbyn Anand

Robbyn K. Anand is the Suresh Faculty Fellow and Carlyle G. Caldwell Endowed Chair in Chemistry at Iowa State University where she joined the Department of Chemistry as an Assistant Professor in August 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Texas at Austin under the guidance of Prof. Richard M. Crooks with the support of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. She developed microfluidic devices employing bipolar electrodes for electrokinetic focusing of charged species and membrane-free seawater desalination. Then, as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, she worked with Prof. Daniel T. Chiu at the University of Washington on the capture and analysis of circulating tumor cells. She pioneered a technique for dielectrophoretic manipulation of biological cells using extended electric field gradients. At Iowa State, Prof. Anand has led the development of a technology for the selective isolation and analysis of single cells with the aim of obtaining information that can improve outcomes in cancer therapy. Her research group has also advanced methodologies for separations in complex media (e.g., blood plasma) and for previously inaccessible target compounds. During this time, Prof. Anand founded the Midwest Women Chemists Retreat - an annual event aimed at the retention of women in the chemical enterprise.

Photo 2016 Swartz,Jim.jpg
Jim Swartz

Jim Swartz is Dack Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Science in the Liberal Arts at Grinnell College, chemistry department chair (1988-90, 13-14), science division chair (90-94), Dean of the College (1998-2008), and interim Associate Vice President of Analytical Support/Institutional Research (2011-13).  Jim coordinated the NSF-funded Project Kaleidoscope Pedagogies of Engagement faculty development project.  He was a founding (and served for 20 years) member of the Advisory Board member of the Iowa Energy Center.


While science division chair Jim lead efforts to substantially reform teaching of introductory science courses, expand undergraduate research and improve science facilities.  He was a leader in the planning of the Grinnell Science Project, a major effort to improve the success in science of members of groups traditionally under-represented in science which received a Presidential Award for Excellence Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in 2011.  While Dean he helped to expand programs for scholarly leaves, student-faculty research, faculty diversity and creation of a major interdisciplinary teaching focus.  Four major grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation plus three from the HHMI and two from the NSF supported these efforts.  


He has received several grants from NSF and others supporting improvements of in undergraduate chemistry, and was a co-PI of a major national Systemic Initiative collaborative grant (ChemLinks) to reform the introductory chemistry course.  Jim served as the Program Director of the Pew Midstates Science and Math Consortium and the Coalition for Faculty Diversity, each for six years.  He was a consultant-evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission for 15 years.  He directs the pedagogical workshops for the Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska NSF-LSAMP project.  


Jim coordinated the planning for three science building projects at Grinnell and co-chaired the planning and design committee for a $110 million interdisciplinary humanities and social studies facility.  He was a participant in the very first Project Kaleidoscope facilities workshop and served as a presenter for many others.  He has consulted with over 40 institutions on science curriculum and pedagogy and/or science facilities.  


Jim has served as a consultant on science curriculum and facilities planning at over 35 colleges and as a consultant on issues related to liberal education at others.  He currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education.