26 Impactful Women at Binghamton University
Posted by Chloe Van Caeseele on March 9, 2023
March is Women’s History Month, which is dedicated to recognizing women’s contributions and achievements from the past and present, despite the barriers they face. We asked our campus community to nominate women who they thought were making a positive impact at Binghamton. Here are a few successful women on campus who are integral to our University.
In a male-dominated field, Leslie Torres creates race cars from scratch as a project manager on the Motorsports Formula team under the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). With 70+ team members and thousands of parts in their assembly, integration is one of the most critical aspects of the project and this undergraduate senior makes sure everyone is on the same page every step of the way, from design to competition, at the national level.
Erin Cody is helping Harpur College students develop their professional edge. As director of Harpur Edge, Cody manages a staff that offers programming from crash courses in Python, to alumni mentoring programs, to introductory language workshops and more! Cody is all about making sure that students complement their academic skills with their personal skills. She makes sure that the largest college at Binghamton feels tight-knit and interconnected.
This undergraduate senior majoring in business administration is the president of Binghamton’s chapter of Delta Sigma Pi. The professional co-ed business fraternity builds relationships with students, alumni and employers to help students develop their professional skills and network. This year, she was awarded the 2023 Niagara Regional Collegian of the Year award for maintaining a high standard for professional development and achieving the highest chapter GPA in Greek Life.
Coordinator of educational leadership for the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership, Suzanne McLeod leads with a responsibility to provide schools with outstanding educational leaders. Her role on campus allows Binghamton University's high educational standards to benefit future educational leaders all throughout the state of New York — from building principals to school superintendents — preparing them for opportunities for new and necessary leadership roles, such as directors of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Many Binghamton students are future scientists! Harpur College undergrad Kniya Duncan, for example, has set her sights on a career as a polar scientist. A summer research experience helped her envision what that will be like.
Ahyeon Koh is a biomedical engineer at the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science who recently won a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. Her research aims to create better biosensors. She develops devices that produce real-time data to improve health and well-being. Learn more about her research!
Big student support offices and programs including the Center for Civic Engagement, the Fleishman Career Center, Student Transition and Success Emerging Leaders Program, Transfer Student Services, Binghamton Advantage Program (BAP) and the Speaking Center are all made possible by staff in the Division of Student Affairs. As assistant vice president for student success, Kelli Smith is dedicated to giving students opportunities to grow and succeed. On top of it all, Smith is a mother of three who commits herself to both her career and her family.
This senior majoring in computer science and member of the Binghamton University Scholars Program is working to decrease the gender gap within STEM fields. Jennifer Seibert is the president of Girls Who Code, an outreach program that teaches young women how to code. She builds community with her collegiate level coders as a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, the professional and social sorority for women in engineering and technical sciences.
Across campus, Lina Begdache shares her drive to improve human health. Her research explores the links between nutrition and well-being, examining nutritional requirements specific to gender and age, and introducing other factors.
Our students pave the way for women to be successful athletes. Captain of the Women’s and Non-Binary Club Ultimate Frisbee Team, Jolie Krebs is a junior majoring in English with a minor in Spanish. When not in the classroom, Krebs creates a welcoming environment for women of all experience levels to explore a fun, fast-paced, competitive sport that is all about sportsmanship.
For the past 20 years, Alexsa Silva has kept Binghamton’s Department of Chemistry running and even successfully transitioned the program to remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The department's director of instruction and outreach is responsible for all the nuts and bolts, training staff members, assisting in course development, overseeing the budget, and beyond. In addition, she invests in the future as the chair of the Chemistry Outreach Program, reaching over 300 K-12 students every semester.
This research assistant professor has been studying bacterial biofilms for almost a decade! Caitlin Light is currently in charge of the First-year Research Immersion Program (FRI) stream on Microbial Biofilms in Human Health. Dedicating her career to teaching and training others, Light has also directed summer research programs, mentored students as a faculty advisor for clubs and even served on the American Society for Microbiology’s Undergraduate Education committee at a national level.
Jessica Treadwell is currently the assistant director of student support for Residential Life. Working with residential students to provide case management services through advocacy, Treadwell provides empathy and understanding, connects students to resources and provides direct mental health intervention in order to help students navigate their college experience in a way that feels supported, understood and beneficial for them.
Keri Mastro Dwyer
At Binghamton’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, this graduate from the first cohort of students at the school already made her way back to the faculty. Keri Mastro Dwyer is helping to train the next generation of pharmacists.
Tracy Brooks, vice-chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, works with future pharmacists at the undergraduate level all the way up to their final graduate year. Between conducting cancer pharmacology research, advising and mentoring, and serving as the faculty advisor for Relay for Life, Brooks is a mother of five who helps those she teaches how to develop a work-life balance like hers.
Working closely with students in the health and wellness studies minor, Jennifer Wegmann spearheaded a program called the Mindset Mentors. Wegmann studies and teaches about the stress mindset in her stress management classes and has given students an opportunity to use what they learn in class to help other students.
Chemist Jennifer Hirschi is relatively new to Binghamton's faculty, but she's already conducting research focused on the mechanisms involved in catalytic reactions.
Also a winner of a CAREER Award, Tracy Hookway plans to study the interplay between the sympathetic neurons that speed up the heart’s beat rate and the parasympathetic neurons that slow it down. Learn more in BingUNews.
Watson mechanical engineer Sherry Towfighian is creating the next generation of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Check out her feature in our Faculty Focus video series.
Johann Fiore-Conte is the associate vice president for student affairs and chief health and wellness officer for the University, and with a big title comes big responsibility. Health and Counseling Services, Health Promotion and Prevention Services, Campus Recreational Services, Services for Students with Disabilities and the Office of Student Conduct are all under her oversight. In addition, Fiore-Conte was a critical contributor to the COVID-19 pandemic response on campus.
This staff member makes healthcare more accessible to students. Health Promotion Coordinator Mandy Qualls oversees the safer sex and menstrual product program, providing free internal and external condoms, lubrication, tampons, pads and other items across all of Binghamton’s campuses.
As our University expands its academic offerings, it needs high-caliber faculty to make it come to life. Sue O’Brien is an associate professor of physical therapy and is a part of the inaugural Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which welcomes its first cohort of students in June 2023. She also won a Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence award.
Biologist Karin Sauer leads a team at several institutions that studies infections related to implanted medical devices and prepares students to conduct research related to biofilms.
Starting as an Information Technology Services (ITS) Help Desk student assistant as an undergraduate in 2003, Genevieve Vallerga has now become the assistant director of client resolution for ITS. She’s the one who oversees Brightspace, Binghamton’s Learning Management System, which is something students can’t go a day without, as well as the Help Desk and the Residential Consultant (ResCon) program to make sure the campus’ technology needs are being met.
As director of the Graduate Biomedical Anthropology program, Deborah Schechter is all about making sure that students have internship and job opportunities. Schechter works with the Fleishman Career Center offering a series of professional development workshops, advises students one-on-one to understand their post-graduate goals, and builds the biomedical anthropology alumni network to help students make meaningful connections.
As an office assistant in the Business Office, Rose Hassett, has kept the University running behind the scenes since 2007. Handling invoices, reimbursements, moving expenses, and consultants, Hasset teaches campus about the proper processes and procedures for fiscal management of their NYS funds with a smile.
Chloe Van Caeseele is an intern for the Office of Media and Public Relations, and a senior majoring in anthropology with a minor in linguistics. She is also a campus tour guide and a resident assistant in Hinman College. In her free time, she loves to ski, take spin classes and watch (too much) reality TV.
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