About Our Community


“[M.I.T. Biologist Nancy] Hopkins says she did not enjoy the tumult surrounding the Summers controversy, ‘but if it had the effect of bringing this issue forward and inspiring this young woman to write this fabulous play … I’d say it was worth it, because this is an important play.’”

— The Boston Globe


Our Staff

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Silvia L. Mazzula, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Silvia L. Mazzula, Ph.D., is an award­-wining educator, scholar, and mental health researcher. Her current research investigates racial cultural trauma, stress, and mental health, social networks and academic pipeline development, and Latino psychology. As an evaluator, she has developed process, benchmark measures, and systemic guidelines to assess equitable and inclusive scientific studies and scholarship, conducted social framework evaluations of workplace discrimination, and informed organizational plans, policies, and practices related to inclusiveness. A tenured associate professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (~ 4% of professors in the country are Latina) and former President of the Latino Mental Health Association of New Jersey, Dr. Mazzula is an authority voice on support for Ph.D. prepared Latinas and nationally recognized for her successful outreach to underrepresented scholars, students, and faculty members. She is a founder and Executive director of the Latina Researchers Network (LRN), the country’s first multi­disciplinary research network to support Latina doctoral level investigators, scholars and evaluators, where she manages program design, incubation and evaluation. Her work has been published in scientific journals and numerous book chapters. She is an editor of SAGE Encyclopedia on Psychology and Gender, author of Ethics for Counselors: Integrating Counseling and Psychology Standards, and co-­investigator of the Race Based Traumatic Stress Symptom Scale. She has given 100+ empirically­ based talks, seminars, and workshops on culturally responsive science and on diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the country. She has earned numerous awards, appeared on NBC, and been featured or expert quoted on National Public Radio (NPR), USA Today, Washington Times, El Diario NY, Insight into Diversity Magazine, and others. Dr. Mazzula earned a B.A. in Biology and M.A. in Counseling and Human Services from The College of New Jersey and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University. She is a mixed­-race Latina, first generation college student from poor economic background, born in Uruguay, South America, raised in New Jersey, and mother of three boys.

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Gioia De Cari, M.S.

co-principal investigator

Gioia De Cari is an artist, women’s equality activist, and former mathematician. As a professional actress since 1992, she has performed leading roles in numerous theater productions and independent films. In 2007, she founded her own theater company, Unexpected Theatre, to explore women’s stories. An evening of readings of several works ­in­ progress led to the first production, Truth Values, which has since become popular nationally. Truth Values, De Cari’s personal story of her experiences in mathematics, has been presented at over 50 different theaters and performing arts centers across the United States, including the La Jolla Playhouse, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, USC’s Visions and Voices Arts and Humanities Series, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre EST/Sloan First Light Festival.

On tour, most performances of Truth Values have been presented with post­-performance Q&As and panels, featuring experts on women-in-STEM issues and unconscious bias. Over 75 of these have been held to date. Early in this touring project, the discussion events were put together by presenters, with De Cari as an invited guest. Captivated by her experience of the power of this combination of theater and conversation, De Cari became more involved with the planning of these discussions, and began to build ideas for a hybrid theater and women-­in-­STEM student workshop featuring more intimate conversations with peers and mentors on these topics. In particular, she became passionate about sharing with students the diverse network of experts she had come to know, thus offering students a chance for the sense of community and opportunities for mentorship she wished for and lacked during her own graduate studies in STEM. These activities form the basis for the Truth Values Community program.

Gioia has studied acting with legendary teacher Wynn Handman, and playwriting with the late Milan Stitt of Carnegie Mellon. After graduating summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, she earned a Master of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An accomplished singer as well, Gioia released her debut album, Quiet Songs, with her husband, classical guitarist John Olson, and they recently released their second album, Eve’s Diary. They have toured throughout the United States. Gioia is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association, SAG/­AFTRA, and The Dramatists Guild of America.

Previous Speakers and Mentors


Dr. Maria Klawe

Dr. Maria Klawe began her tenure as Harvey Mudd College’s fifth president in 2006. Prior to joining HMC, she served as Dean of Engineering and Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. Klawe joined Princeton from the University of British Columbia where she served in various roles from 1988 to 2002. Prior to UBC, Klawe spent eight years with IBM Research in California and two years at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. (1977) and B.Sc. (1973) in mathematics from the University of Alberta. Klawe is a board member of the Alliance for Southern California Innovation, the nonprofit Math for America, the chair of the board of the nonprofit EdReports.org, fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a trustee for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. She is the recipient of the 2014 Women of Vision ABIE Award for Leadership and was ranked 17 on Fortune’s 2014 list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

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Dr. Gilda A. Barabino

Gilda A. Barabino is the Daniel and Frances Berg Professor and Dean of the Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY). She holds appointments the in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering and the CUNY School of Medicine. Prior to joining CCNY, she served as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. At Georgia Tech she also served as the inaugural Vice Provost for Academic Diversity. Prior to her appointments at Georgia Tech and Emory, she rose to the rank of Full Professor of Chemical Engineering and served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Northeastern University.  She is a noted investigator in the areas of sickle cell disease, cellular and tissue engineering, and race and gender in science and engineering. Dr. Barabino received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University. She is Past-President of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and Past-President of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). She is a Fellow of AIMBE, BMES, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Xavier University of Louisiana in 2016 and serves on their Board of Trustees. Dr. Barabino consults nationally and internationally on STEM education and research, diversity in higher education, workforce and faculty development and policy. She is the founder and Executive Director of the National Institute for Faculty Equity.

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Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse

Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse is the founder and president of Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that mobilizes Latino professionals to serve as role models to introduce a diverse array of college and career opportunities and inspire students to pursue higher education.  Founded in New Jersey in 2008, HISPA expanded to Texas in 2011, to New York in 2013, and to Florida in 2015. Under her guidance, HISPA has recruited 2,500 volunteers reaching over 10,000 students to date. Díaz-Claisse was elected to the President’s Council of Cornell Women in 2017 and inducted into Trenton YWCA’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. Other awards and recognitions include the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics’ “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education” (2015); New Jersey Hispanic Leadership Association Education Award (2014); Princeton University Service Award (2013); Latino Institute 2013 award; NJIT Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Educator of the Year Award (2012); Verizon Hispanic Support Organization Community Service Award (2012); Save Latin America, Inc. Tres Próceres Award (2011); and New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center Distinguished Maria De Castro Blake Outstanding Community Service Award (2010).   

Díaz-Claisse’s professional background includes a 10-year career at AT&T as an Operations Research Analyst and seven years as an educational consultant. She holds a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico; a masters in engineering in operations research from Cornell University, a masters in mathematics from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Arizona State University.

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Dr. Mary C. Boyce

Mary C. Boyce, Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor, Columbia Engineering, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dean Mary C. Boyce leads the education and research mission of Columbia Engineering with more than 200 faculty, 1600 undergraduate students and 2600 graduate students. A strong advocate of interdisciplinary research and the translation of innovation to impact, she has increased faculty in cross-cutting fields, and recently launched an inspiring new vision for the school, Columbia Engineering for Humanity.  Her own research focuses on materials and mechanics, particularly in the areas of multi-scale mechanics of polymers and soft composites, both those that are man-made and those formed naturally. She has been widely recognized for her scholarly achievements, including election as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.  Dean Boyce earned her BS degree in engineering science and mechanics from Virginia Tech, and her MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.

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Dr. Virginia Valian

Dr. Virginia Valian works on the psychology of language and gender equity.  In gender equity Dr Valian performs research on the reasons behind women's slow advancement in the professions and proposes remedies for individuals and institutions.  She has recently investigated the roles of modern sexism and right-wing authoritarianism in the 2016 presidential elections and women's underrepresentation among university colloquium speakers.  In July, MIT Press will publish her book with Abigail Stewart titled An Inclusive Academy:  Achieving Diversity and Excellence.

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Dr. Jasna Brujic

Jasna Brujic is a Professor of Physics at New York University. She is one of the core faculty in the Center for Soft Matter Research. Brujic is an experimental physicist, who received her Ph.D. for work on the statistical mechanics of granular matter at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, UK. She then conducted postdoctoral research at Columbia University in the area of single molecule proteins. Since 2007, Brujic has led a research group at the interface between soft matter physics and biophysics. The group uses biomimetic emulsion systems to study jammed matter, cellular organization in tissues in 3D, protein protein adhesion, and programmable selfassembly of materials with custom designs.

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Dr. Ana Carnaval

Ana Carnaval, Associate Professor, Biology, Graduate Center and City College. Dr. Carnaval's lab studies spatial patterns of biodiversity and their underlying evolutionary and ecological processes, with the explicit aim of improving biodiversity prediction and conservation in tropical regions. Their research projects focus on tropical biogeography, integrative uses of comparative phylogeography, GIS-based distribution models, current environmental data and paleoclimatic simulations, and the impacts of global anthropogenic changes and host-pathogen interactions on amphibian diversity. Ongoing lab projects and collaborations involve field work in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, the Cerrado, and the Australian Wet Tropics.

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Dr. Lissette Delgado-Cruzata

Lissette Delgado-Cruzata, MPH, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology at John Jay College, in the City University of New York. She earned her Masters in Public Health and PhD at the Columbia University, and her undergraduate degree at the University of Havana, Cuba. She carries out translational research in the discovery and development of epigenetic biomarkers in chronic diseases, specifically she is interested in identifying breast cancer susceptibility biomarkers in Latinas. Her work has been funded the National Cancer Institute, and the American Society of Cell Biology. She is passionate about increasing the number of minority students that go on to graduate school programs, and directs two initiatives: the Minority Initiative of Female Students in STEM (MIXXS2) and the Program to Inspire Minority Undergraduates in Environmental Health Science Research (PrIMER), which is currently funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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Dr. Laura Kay

Professor Laura Kay received her B.S. in Physics and B.A. in Feminist Studies from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She is the recipient of an NSF Career Grant and is lead author of the textbook 21st Century Astronomy. She has served as the chair of the department of physics and astronomy at Barnard College.

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Dr. Kaliris Salas-Ramirez

Dr. Kaliris Salas-Ramirez is currently an Assistant Medical Professor at the newly accredited CUNYSchool of Medicine in the department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences. She runs a behavioral neuropsychopharmacology research laboratory and teaches physicians Neuroscience. She is also an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College, CUNY teaching upper level undergraduate and graduate courses on the biological basis of psychology.

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Dr. Patricia Silveyra

Dr. Patricia Silveyra was born and raised in Argentina, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, and her PhD in Biochemistry, from the University of Buenos Aires. She came to the United States in 2008 after being selected for an Ambassadorial Scholarship by The Rotary Foundation to pursue postdoctoral studies at Penn State University, and in 2011 she joined their faculty. Dr. Silveyra‘s research group studies molecular mechanisms of lung inflammation, with special emphasis on the impact of air pollution and sex hormones in asthma exacerbations. She has received multiple research grants including K01 and BIRCWH awards from NIH, Graduate Women in Science, and foundation grants. She has also received awards for her promotion of women in science and community service, including the Achieving Women Award, the YWCA Tribute to Women of Excellence, the Paul Harris Fellowship award from Rotary International, and the Leadership Harrisburg Area “Extra Mile” award. Dr. Silveyra has also served as President of a non-profit organization “Estamos Unidos de Pennsylvania” with whom she supports the central Pennsylvania Latino community in the areas of education, cultural competence, leadership and social skills development. She is also the faculty advisor for the Penn State Hershey Latino Hispanic Medical Student Association (LMSA), and she has served in multiple leadership roles at Penn State. In 2015, she served as interim Director for Diversity and Inclusion in Education for the Penn State College of Medicine, and she founded a summer internship program for local undergraduate students interested in careers in science and medicine. Dr. Silveyra has published over 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and she has presented her work extensively

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Dr. Frances King Stage

Frances King Stage is Professor of Higher Education at New York University. She earned her B.S. at the University of Miami and her M.S. at Drexel University, both in Mathematics. Her Ph.D. is from Arizona State University in Higher Education. Her research specialization includes college student learning, especially for STEM disciplines and student participation in math and science majors. Recent work has focused on characteristics of undergraduate institutions that produce unexpected levels of students who go on to earn STEM doctorates. She also studies college access and success for underrepresented students. Stage has over 15 books150 publications, most focusing on college students and the methods used to study them. Her books include Answering Critical Questions Using Quantitative DataResearch in the College Context: Approaches and Methods and Creating Learning Centered Classrooms. Stage is past Vice President for the Postsecondary Education Division (J) of the American Educational Research Association and has won awards for research and scholarship from the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the American Educational Research Association. She spent 1999-2000as a Senior Fellow at the National Science Foundation and was a Fulbright Specialist at the University of West Indies, Mona, Jamaica in 2008 and at the University of West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados in 2011. Before moving to NYU in 2000, she was Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. She has directed more than 50 doctoral dissertations to completion