Behind The Microscope: Todays Women Pioneers in Science

June 10
at 5:00pm

Behind The Microscope:

Today's Women Pioneers in Science

June 10, 5 PM–6pm

These STEMM Professionals Double Down On Their Science And Share Their Stories.

Hear Their Passions, Fears, Hopes, and Determination.

Dr. Heather J. Lynch

IACS Endowed Chair for Ecology & Evolution at Stony Brook University
Dr. Heather Lynch works at the front lines of human impacts in the Antarctic to understand how climate change, fishing, and even tourism might be impacting the distribution and abundance of wildlife. Dr. Heather Lynch is the Institute for Advanced Computational Sciences Endowed Chair for Ecology & Evolution at Stony Brook University. Following a B.A. in Physics from Princeton University and an M.A. in Physics from Harvard University, she received her Ph.D. in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University in 2006. Dr. Lynch’s research sits at the intersection of statistical ecology, geography, applied math, and computer science. Her research is focused on all aspects of conservation ecology in the Antarctic, with a particular focus on the integration of satellite imagery and traditional field work to map the distribution and abundance of Antarctic wildlife and to predict how populations will be impacted by climate change, fishing, and tourism.

Dr. Krystal Airola MD

Dr. Airola is the former Section Chief of Breast Imaging. She has won multiple awards including Teacher of the Year. Dr. Krystal Airola is a board-certified fellowship trained radiologist with experience in breast imaging. She received her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, residency training at Stony Brook Medicine, and completed a breast imaging fellowship at New York University. Dr. Airola has the objective of helping patients throughout their experience from screening and cancer detection to treatment and disease evaluation. 

Dr. Marina Astitha

Dr. Marina Astitha works at the forefront of improving the prediction of extreme weather in the Northeast US which affects the livelihood and resiliency of millions of people as we face a changing climate. Dr. Astitha is an Associate Professor and the Associate Department Head for Graduate Education, Equity and Inclusion at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut (UConn). Dr. Astitha has 15+ years of experience in atmospheric numerical modeling systems from regional to global scales. She is leading the Atmospheric Modeling and Air Quality Group ( since joining UConn in 2013. The group includes PhD, MS and undergraduate students in Environmental Engineering conducting research on extreme weather prediction, air quality modeling systems, and integration of numerical models with machine learning algorithms for error reduction and new model development (weather and water quality applications). Dr. Astitha’s group is also conducting research related to renewable energy (offshore wind farms) and storm forecasting that impacts power distribution in the NE US. She has spearheaded two Initiatives, the “Graduate Leadership Award” and the “Antiracism and Equity Action Team”, to actively support and mentor graduate and undergraduate students and formulate actions that educate all members of the CEE community to increase diversity and equity in the faculty and student cohorts. Dr. Astitha is committed to supporting, mentoring, and inspiring the next generation of engineers to innovate, lead and thrive in solving complex environmental problems and sustain a healthy society in the years to come.

Dr. Melanie Chiu

Melanie grew up in San Diego, CA, and earned her A.B. from Dartmouth College, where she was a Chemistry major and Music minor. She completed her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where she learned to design, discover, and study chemical reactions, then rounded out her scientific training with postdoctoral positions at the ETH Zürich and Stanford University, where she learned how to apply fundamental principles of chemistry to inventing and improving optical and semiconductor technologies. Melanie began her independent career at Stony Brook University, and is now a tenure track assistant professor at Michigan State University, where her research group develops and studies chemical reactions to synthesize new and better plastics. Her research group’s work has been recognized by the National Science Foundation CAREER award and the an American Chemical Society Polymer Materials Science & Engineeringl Young Investigator Award. Outside the lab, Melanie enjoys listening to, and occasionally making music, and as well as competing in track cycling races.

Lydia Franco-Hodges

"Do you think it's strange to teach improvisation to scientists?” Lydia replied No to the question, and a resounding Yes, And to the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, diving into building the communication skills of roughly 3000 STEMM professionals.  From NASA to The Nature Conservancy, National Laboratories to global initiatives, Lydia designs and facilitates workshops and programs that marry theatre practices with science communication. Lydia also co-designed and co-facilitates the Alan Alda Center’s Women in STEM Leadership Program’s Professional Development Workshops, and  successful training pilots for women engineers sponsored by the World Bank.Lydia is an Assistant Professor of Practice at the School of Communication and Journalism at Stony Brook University. She serves as a Stony Brook team member for The Inheritance Project in partnership with Stony Brook University’s Diversity, Equity and Intercultural Initiatives. Previously she taught acting and movement at Stony Brook University and enthusiastically applauds the work created by her students. Inspired by Alan Alda and the Center's mission, she champions interpersonal connection and brings her experience as an actor, artist, Brooklyn native, and East End resident to help others make positive impact in our world. Lydia sees communication as the essential beating heart of change. As always, she is thrilled to be with Bay Street Theater and lauds their celebration of Women in STEMM.

The speakers will elaborate on past and current barriers facing underrepresented groups and potential solutions to remedy these

Along with speaking to the legacy of Rosalind Franklin subject of The World Premiere Musical Double Helix, And the inspiration she provided to future generations.

Double Helix

Buy Tickets 

June 3-June 18



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