Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb S.T.E.A.M. Women’s Empowerment Conference

Thank you to all who attended the conference! We’ll see you next year!


The Rutgers Student Affairs S.T.E.A.M. Women’s Empowerment Conference is a forum where individuals will be inspired to take personal responsibility in owning and embracing their story and identity. The theme for this conference is “Nevertheless, She Persisted”, a powerful phrase that encapsulates the need for women to feel empowered even as those who oppress, try to silence them.

Dr. Jewel Plummer CobbDr. Jewel Plummer Cobb

Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb, an influential educator, trailblazer and scientist who served as the sixth Dean of Douglass from 1976 to 1981. Dr. Cobb passed away on New Year’s Day, 2017, at the age of 92, in Maplewood, NJ.

Born on January 17, 1924, Dr. Cobb was the granddaughter of a freed slave and grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a doctor and a school teacher. She overcame racial segregation and sexism throughout her career…Read more


educate-iconUnite, educate and inspire women to discover their passion and purpose and elevate their understanding of what it means to be a woman in today’s society.

world-iconCreate an atmosphere where women from all walks of life can empower each other to achieve new levels of success.

female-celebration-iconCreate a platform where we can recognize and celebrate self-identified female students, faculty, staff and alumni who have made significant strides in their disciplines, who overcame challenges and who have left their imprint on our community today.

I-am-Malala-book-imgS.T.E.A.M. Ambassador Program

Graduate Advisors:
Danielle St. Vincent and Catrice Carter

The S.T.E.A.M. Ambassadors program is a volunteer program designed for students who are interested in learning more about women’s empowerment and the behind the scenes ways to create programming geared towards supporting and motivating women in a university setting. Learn more…

Schedule of Events

  • 10:00 AM

    Opening Ceremony

  • 10:30 AM

    S.T.E.A.M. Hot Topics

  • 11:10 AM

    Empowerment Breakout Session I

  • 12:00 PM

    Lunch - Multipurpose Room

  • 12:30 PM

    Keynote Speaker -Dr. Colleen Georges

  • 1:25 PM

    Empowerment Breakout Session II

  • 2:20 PM

    S.T.E.A.M. Hot Topics

  • 2:55 PM

    Closing Address

  • 3:00 PM

    Vice Chancellor’s Mocktail Networking Hour and Art Gallery - The Cove

Conference Hosts

Shuting ZhangShuting Zhang is an undergraduate junior, Accounting and Finance double majors, in Rutgers Business School. She currently serves as the President for ScarletKnight Chapter of National Residence Hall Honorary. She was born and raised in China. This is her third year studying in the United States. She has been involved in Residence Life since her freshman year as a mentee in Global Roommate Program. Later on, she became a mentor herself in the program. Her leadership journey started by being the associate director of Residence Hall Association, and it continues to be shaped by her leadership roles in National Residence Hall Honorary and Business School International Ambassador Team. Her goal for the future is to get involved in international accounting and finance markets through maintaining international regulations and bringing legal changes. During her free time, she likes going outdoor for activities, such as long-distance walking, rock climbing, kayaking and mountain biking.


“The friends, professional staff, professors I met at Rutgers have helped to shape me to be a better person and to take the lead. I am very proud to be a part of Rutgers family. I admire everyone who dares to push their limits, challenges the status quo and eventually achieves their dream. Throughout my leadership experiences at Rutgers, it is very rewarding to see other people who are inspired by my actions to better themselves. I am looking forward to meeting inspirational future leaders at this conference and learn from each other.”

Danica SapI am Danica Sapit, a senior studying Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science and studying User Experience Design / Visual Arts in NYC. I am the current founder and president of the Rutgers STEAM (Science,  Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) section and held various Executive Board positions in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). In SWE, as External Vice President, I was in charge of the largest student-run career fair on campus, the SHE-SWE-MEET Career Fair, providing opportunities to engineering and computer science students, especially for minority groups, and this past year, we brought in a record number of companies and grad schools as well as students. I was also a leader and organizer for our Industry Mentorship program, linking our students to industry mentors to help train them professionally and allow them an inside look into top companies around the area. Through STEAM, I also worked with the Center for Math and Computer Science Research to develop an education colloquium series connecting researchers with educators to help develop pedagogical lesson plans that introduce groundbreaking research in hands-on, accessible activities, especially to disenfranchised school communities.

I have done research in Computer Vision and held past internships at IBM and Credit Suisse. Outside of school, I freelance as an illustrator and web developer and have also worked and volunteered part-time at various other art and tech residences, Tech4Good Labs, and software consulting companies. There, I often work on projects utilizing technology for social good, ranging from mental health to the refugee crisis.

Whenever there is a moment of free time, I love to draw, paint, bike, sing too loudly in the shower, sleep, get tagged in obscure memes, and make really bad jokes.


Ernst & Young LLP Awards

This award was established in honor of Dr. Janet Lippe Norwood (DC ‘45), who was the first woman to lead the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and served under both a Democratic and a Republican president.

The Dr. Janet Lippe Norwood Prize was established to recognize two (2) students who identify as a woman for their tremendous contributions to the Rutgers University-New Brunswick community as well as their commitment to academics, leadership and service.

Eligible nominees must be: Enrolled at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. Either a full or part-time undergraduate or graduate student. In good academic standing and maintain a cumulative 3.0* GPA or higher. In good disciplinary standing and demonstrate a balance of academic and co-curricular excellence.

Art Gallery

Esteem Presenters


Women in Leadership, leaning in without falling over

Joining her, Dr. Colleen Georges – Positive Psychology Coach, Speaker, Educator and Author.

Session Description: This session covers the major organizational, cultural, societal and personal obstacles to women succeeding in senior positions and help us examine our:

  • -Boundaries: are we clear what we will accept?
  • -Assertiveness: how far will we go?
  • -Courage: would we blow a whistle for this?
  • -Personal resilience: have we got enough?
  • -Networks: Do you have allies, critical friends, friendly critics?


Felicia McGinty joined Rutgers in August 2013 as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Dr. McGinty provides leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the large and complex division of Student Affairs. Dr. McGinty holds a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, a Master of Arts in Education Counseling, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona University. In 2007, NAU honored her with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for outstanding service to the university and community.

Dr. McGinty has a distinguished background in admissions, recruitment, student engagement and many other aspects of student affairs. She brings more than 25 years of professional experience in student affairs as well as a notable record of public service. Prior to joining RU, Dr. McGinty served as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at University of California Santa Cruz, Associate Vice President for Student Engagement at Pennsylvania State University and was Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In previous roles, she was the Director of New Student Experience at Montclair State University and Assistant Director of the Division of Student Services at Northern Arizona University.

As a seasoned student affairs professional, McGinty leads with a forward-thinking, student-centered philosophy to enhance the co-curricular experience and promote student success. Dr. McGinty’s areas of particular professional interest and expertise encompass student recruitment, retention, and graduation; academic advising; first year programs; counseling and psychological services; and the creation of climates of support for diverse student populations. Dr. McGinty has developed and taught courses on First Year Success, Critical Thinking, and Academic and Personal Development, all designed to assist new students in transitioning to college, and on increasing retention rates in traditionally vulnerable populations. Over the course of her career she has worked in close partnership with faculty, fellow administrators, and alumni, to create a holistic experience to support learning for undergraduate and graduate students.

Her broad experiences are complemented by leadership positions in various professional associations and community service. She is an active member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and has served on the executive committee of the Council of Student Affairs for the Association of Public Land-grant Universities. In 2007, McGinty was selected to participate in a postdoctoral studies program for senior administrators in higher education at the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. Dr. McGinty serves as a court appointed special advocate for a foster youth and is a member of the Silicon Valley chapter of the National Association of 100 Black Women.


Getting comfortable with conflict

Session Description: This interactive workshop will focus on how women move beyond the stereotypical roles as victims and become empowered in conflict situations? Women are the most vulnerable in conflict situations, yet women are most frequently relied on to be the peacekeeper.  This session is designed to empower women to achieve a level of comfort in dealing with conflict and learn tools to be effective at conflict resolution.  Participants will explore some key questions: Why conflict? What causes conflict? What are the different personality styles/approaches to dealing with conflict? What are some roadblocks to conflict resolution?  What are the steps to successful conflict resolution?


Francine Conway, an accomplished scholar and clinical psychologist recognized for her work in aging and child psychopathology, has been named the new dean of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.The appointment is effective July 1.

Conway, a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia University, earned her doctoral degree from the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University. She was a member of the faculty at Adelphi University’s Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies from 2003 until this year and served as the chair of its psychology program since 2008.

During her tenure at Adelphi, she developed and directed the institute’s community-based mental health clinic that provides psychotherapy to children living in underserved communities.

“Dr. Conway brings an impressive combination of attributes to the leadership of GSAPP,” said Cathryn Potter, professor and dean of Rutgers’ School of Social Work, who headed the search committee. “She is a clinician, a bridge builder and a very able academic administrator. Most important, she is an accomplished leader who can work collaboratively with GSAPP faculty, students and community partners to envision and enact the next generation of professional psychology education and practice.”

Conway’s scholarly focus has been in two critical areas – aging and child psychopathology. Her aging research has received support from the National Institute of Health’s Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research and the National Institute on Aging. In the area of child psychology, she has gained national and international recognition for her work on the psychodynamic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, collaborating with colleagues in Sweden, Germany and London.

She has served on the executive board for the Gerontological Society of America’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Division and its Research, Education and Practice Committee as well as the American Psychological Association’s Division of Clinical Geropsychology. Her editorships include the Journal of Women and Aging, Psychotherapy and Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy. From 2000 to 2003, while she was on faculty at Long Island University, she served as the director of the Institute on Aging and was the founder and director of the GRAN Care Research and Service Center for Grandparent Caregivers.

Conway continues to gain national prominence in translational presentations of her research and clinical work with children diagnosed with ADHD through national forums, such as her recent TEDx talk “Cultivating Compassion for the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Child: Shifting Our Stance from Moral Indictment to Empathy.”

Conway replaces Stanley Messer, who has served as the dean of GSAPP since 2001  An accomplished scholar whose expertise is in the application of psychodynamic theory and research to brief and integrative therapies, Messer is credited with growing the school’s graduate programs in clinical psychology and school psychology and helping GSAPP achieve national distinction.

Messer, who began his career at Rutgers in 1968, was among the first faculty members when GSAPP opened its doors in 1974.

“Few people have had the opportunity to serve as the chair of a university committee that helped establish a professional school of psychology, to be able to serve as its dean, and to then see it thrive,” Messer said.

Get Excited about Preparing for Rutgers (High School Students ONLY)

Session Description: During this interaction session, we will explore the meaning of engineering at  Rutgers and  all the wonderful opportunities available with a degree from Rutgers. We will discuss ways to prepare for such an enormous place.


Candiece White currently serves as an Assistant Dean and Director of Women in Engineering programs in Undergraduate Education at Rutgers University, School of Engineering.  Candiece serves a number of roles in her department as an advisor for the Educational Opportunity Fund program, the Director for The Academy at Rutgers for Girls in Engineering & Technology, a pre-college program for middle and high school girls, and the liaison from the School of Engineering for the Reilly Douglass Engineering Living Learning Community ( Reilly DELLC).

Speaker-StacyShape Up Your Mindset for a Healthy Body

Session Description: Understand the power of a positive mindset and get inspired to say “yes” to a healthier you.  You can make sustainable changes in health and fitness, even if you have not succeeded in the past.   Learn to change your thoughts to empower yourself to make healthy choices. The journey to a healthier body starts in your head.


Stacy Trukowski  is currently the interim Executive Director of Recreation at Rutgers University.   As a wife, mother and fitness leader with over 25 years of experience  in the fitness & wellness industry she continues to be passionate about empowering women to be their best selves.  She has a B.S. in Sports Medicine from Radford University, a M.S. in Exercise Science from James Madison University and is a certified ACSM Exercise Physiologist, an INTENSATI Leader and a wellness coach.


Your Personal Brand’s Impact of Your Social Capital

Session Description: Ever wonder what your personal brand says about you? Is your personal brand having a positive impact on your social capital? During this session, we will explore the idea of personal branding, strategies for strengthening your brand and building your social capital.


Keisha joined the Division of Student Affairs as Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor in September 2016. In this role, she oversees all aspects of the inner-workings of the Vice Chancellor’s Office. These operations include strategic communications, public and media relations, financial planning, staffing of divisional committees, and creating and advancing key projects and initiatives. Keisha also serves as an advisor to the Vice Chancellor, and works closely with a variety of university administrators and faculty to enhance the RU experience for all stakeholders.


What happens to High School ‘Mean Girls’ in College and Beyond? Negotiating Power and Competition

Session Description: This interactive discussion will address the phenomenon of girls bullying girls in high school as a way to police sexuality and identity, and how that changes and/or dissipates in college and beyond. The discussion will deal more directly with gender, power and competition in the workplace.


Rebecca Reynolds is a poet, assistant dean, and part time instructor in Women’s and Gender Studies at Douglass and Rutgers University. Her first book, Daughter of the Hangnail (New Issues Press), received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. At Douglass, she works in the BOLD Center and serves as Dean of advising and mentoring and the Director of the Mary I. Bunting Program for returning women students at Douglass Residential College. She has worked at Douglass since 1991.



Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Recognizing the Possibilities Within Yourself

Session Description: Negative self-talk can be anxiety producing. This session will involve an interactive exchange regarding the topics of perfectionism, failure, acknowledging and appreciating where you are in your journey, and how you can support and uplift other women to combat imposter syndrome. Let’s face facts together. You’ve come this far because you’ve earned it, you deserve it, and there’s more to come. Strap in for the ride!


Ariel Leget has worked as a professional staff member in Residence Life for the past eight years. She received her M.S. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Old Dominion University and is working towards her Ed.D. at Rutgers University. Ariel currently works as the Assistant Director of Living-Learning Communities and Academic Initiatives at Rutgers University. Her favorite aspect about working with LLCs is building partnerships with faculty and staff and using student feedback to improve the current LLC model. In her rare downtime, she enjoys breaking a sweat at the gym and visiting family in NY

Speaker-MistyThe Power of Vulnerability

Session Description: So often young women are told that their vulnerability and  emotions are weaknesses that they should learn to hide and control. However, I have found it to be quite the opposite. In this session we will discuss the power of vulnerability and the impact one can have on the world through embracing your emotions and using them to connect to others no matter your field or focus!


Misty is currently a Residence Life Coordinator here at Rutgers University serving a the BEST Hall Community which is a STEM community serving students within the School of Engineering, School of Pharmacy, School of Arts & Sciences and School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership. Misty uses her personal passion for Science to motivate and guide her students towards success!



Understanding Intersectionality in STEM

Session Description: Women in STEM maintain dual-identities; that of women and that of scientists. Given the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields, generally speaking, this impact’s both how women see themselves and how they are perceived by others.  As human beings, we possess multiple identities and the ways in which these identities interact, known as intersectionality, results in educational and career experiences that vary widely.  In this presentation, research investigating intersectionality in specific STEM disciplines, and STEM in general will be discussed.  The presenter will also share experiences during her academic and professional journey as an African American woman in physics.


Dr. Cochran is the current Dean of the Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Science, Mathematics, & Engineering.  Cochran earned her bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics and her master’s degree in teaching with a specialization in secondary school physics from Chicago State University. Cochran earned her Ed.S. and her Ph.D. in science education and curriculum and instruction with a cognate in physics, respectively, from Florida International University. Cochran has taught science, mathematics, and education courses at the elementary, high school, and collegiate levels for a variety of student populations including prospective, preservice, and inservice physics teachers. Cochran identifies as a physics education researcher.  Her current research centers on creating inclusive environments in graduate physics programs and broadening participation at all academic levels within the discipline.

Jackasha Wiley

Sister Girl, I am Going To College: Navigating High School and the College Admissions Process

Session Description: During this interactive session, participants will create a “College Bound Resource Kit ” that highlights academic resources, student leadership and advocacy techniques, grade specific checklists, financial aid planning, scholarship strategies to make the transition to higher education smooth and successful.


Jackasha Wiley is the Director of Upward Bound and Pre-College Initiatives for Student Access & Educational Equity within Undergraduate Academic Affairs.  Ms. Wiley is a two time graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Women and Gender Studies from Douglass College and a Masters of Education in Social Studies from the Graduate School of Education. Ms. Wiley is also a certified New Jersey High-School teacher. Ms. Wiley is product of urban education and alumni of the Rutgers Upward Bound, EOF, SSS, and McNair programs that have been established to promote educational opportunities for underrepresented students. Her passion lies in youth academic achievement and success. Prior to her role in Upward Bound, Ms. Wiley was a high school Social Studies and Financial Literacy teacher in Orange, NJ. Along with being actively involved in urban communities through mentoring and volunteering, she also conducts research on African-American males in (urban) education and has presented her research at various conferences and Universities.

S.T.E.A.M. Hot Topics Talks Speakers

Speaker-ChristineI am Christie Schweighardt and I am a Health Administration major in Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. This major really stuck out to me because it brought together my two favorite things: policy and helping others! I currently serve as the Chief of Staff for the Rutgers University Student Assembly and as the Entertainment Chair for Rutgers Relay for Life/Colleges Against Cancer. These two positions have definitely shaped me as a leader and I do not know where I would be without the people I have met in these two organizations.

Planning something like Relay for Life—a 14 hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society—with the rest of the executive board is extremely fulfilling because it is an event that is all about celebrating life. In college, we all often forget that there is life outside of our textbooks and it means a lot to me to provide a space for people to truly live in the moment and not just go through the motions—even if it may only be for a few hours. Cancer takes away so much from too many people and it is important to come together and fight back.

For RUSA, it has also been a privilege to see everyone’s ideas come to fruition in bettering student life here at Rutgers. Even the smallest of brainstorms have led to extremely large policy changes, such as the RUSA Medical Amnesty Policy, and it has been amazing to play a part in its creation.

Rutgers is home to me, and was also home to my grandfather. He definitely left a mark on this university over 50 years ago and he has inspired me to do the same. When I graduate next year, I hope to be remembered as someone who never gave up.

Speaker-HebaI am Heba Abdo and I am a educational researcher, university lecturer of Teacher Education, former teacher and school leader, and social activist. I received my BA and M.Ed. degrees at Rutgers University and I am currently enrolled in the Rutgers Ed.D.Program in Teacher Leadership.  I also work at the Rutgers University School System Improvement, a USDOE grant-based project that supports principals, teachers, and instructional coaches in many NJ charter schools.


I have presented at many conferences and received two research awards.  My research interests include teacher evaluation as a formative process, teacher self-reflection, instructional coaching, teacher leadership, and culturally responsive pedagogy.  I proudly member of the on-campus community where I reside with my two daughters.


I am Chanel Jordan and I am a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences. When I first came to Rutgers, I  wanted to go on the Pre-Medicine track but had a change of heart my freshman year. I realized that medicine wasn’t my true passion. I knew that I still wanted to be in a field that would help people, but that I wanted to do that on a different scale either in politics or as an international human rights lawyer. Although more women are making strides in politics, I want to be a face for girls and women of color. I am currently a member of the Residence Hall Association, serving as the Executive Vice President of the organization and is a newly selected member of the National Residence Hall Honorary.

My favorite thing to do is travel to big cities and eat good food. If I wasn’t at Rutgers or in school, I would be traveling the world either working in fashion or taking traveling photos. When I first got accepted to Rutgers, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go here. But the minute I stepped on campus, I knew that I needed to go here. Every day, I fall more in love with the Campus and the people. I made the right choice coming here.

I currently live in Winkler Hall on Busch Campus.

Speaker-ChristinaI am Christina Ramirez and I am a PhD candidate in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at Rutgers University. I completed my M.S. and B.S. degrees at Seton Hall University. My research focus is in the use of ursolic acid, a widely studied phytochemical, in the prevention of skin carcinogenesis. In addition to my research, I am very active outside of the laboratory exploring my interests in student affairs and the pharmaceutical industry. I currently hold an internship at Prolong Pharmaceuticals and is actively pursuing a Certificate in Pharmaceutical and Clinical Trials Management at Rutgers. I am also very passionate about mentoring and advising. As such, I have been the Lead Graduate Mentor at Bunting-Cobb Residence Hall for Women in STEM for the past four years and have advised and mentored students as a Resident Assistant for the RiSE undergraduate research program. After completing my studies, I hope to secure a position in the pharmaceutical industry that will allow to me the ability to utilize my experience and scientific knowledge in the field of pharmacology.

Christina ParryI am Christina Parry and I am a senior from Holmdel, New Jersey studying Electrical and Computer Engineering with minors in Computer Science and Economics. As the current President of the Engineering Governing Council (EGC), I work to further advance the School of Engineering and address university-wide concerns for the engineering community. Throughout my time at Rutgers, I have been consistently involved on campus and held several leadership positions in the Rutgers Section of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Theta Tau, the professional engineering fraternity on campus. In my past work experience, I interned as a Software Developer at AT&T in Middletown, NJ and a Technology Analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, NY, where I will be starting my full-time career in August 2017. When I am not busy studying and balancing extracurricular activities, I love running, going to concerts, travelling, reading, baking, and socializing with friends.

Ashley Green

I am Dr. Ashley L. Green and I am currently a Product Safety Toxicologist at L’Oreal USA in Clark, NJ. I received my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Rutgers University-Douglass College in 2008.  Shortly after, I earned my doctorate from Rutgers/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology with a focus on neurotoxicology. While at Rutgers, I earned many accolades for my novel neuro-molecular tox research in in vitro and in vivo model systems. In addition to my academic research and career in the personal care industry, I still manage time for social/community associated activities. I have been a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated for over 10 years. In addition to sorority activities, I am an active member of my church choir and a host of scientific professional organizations.

I am honored to be amongst the future leaders of the world and is blessed that God saw fit for me to be in this position.

2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight..”

#stemHERstoryRUSponsored by University-wide Campus Partners, this initiative is geared towards celebrating the women who dedicate their careers to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields while raising awareness to the overall Rutgers Community.

image004The goals of the #stemHERstoryRU campaign are:

  • Continuously showcase women dedicated to careers in STEM
  • Educate and provide resources and support for women currently pursuing opportunities in STEM
  • Promote, empower, and encourage young women interested in STEM and provide role modeling opportunities.

ContactFor more information about the conference please contact Karima Woodyard karima.woodyard@rutgers.edu