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Expanding Potential Workshop 2014: A workshop on navigating the hurdles faced by women in STEM fields

Read Julia Chang's reaction to the inaugural workshop - inspiration for creating the Expanding Potential Seed Projects.

See also: Videos from the workshop

Women remain an underrepresented group in STEM and STEM-related careers, even though they are just as qualified as their male counterparts. To overcome challenges to women in STEM, Synberc and QB3 have established the “Expanding Potential" workshop to navigate the hurdles faced by women in STEM. This workshop series aims to advocate for women in STEM by opening up a larger discussion with all genders about issues that women are often faced with in the workplace, and also promote career development and networking to encourage retention and diversity at higher level positions.

The inaugural workshop took place on November 15, 2014, and included informational sessions on implicit bias, impostor syndrome, careers in industry, a panel on career transitions, a roundtable on women's issues, and a networking activity. We are planning a second workshop in Fall 2015 that will emphasize putting some of the ideas from the first workshop into action.

The workshop series is targeted primarily for graduate students and postdocs in all areas of STEM. But undergraduate research assistants, research staff, industry professionals, and community participants are also welcome to attend. 

Tweet the Expanding Potential WorkshopIf you are outside of the Bay Area, you can join the conversation by following @synberc and #ExpandingPotential on Twitter. Here is a selection of tweets.

For questions, please contact the workshop organizers:

  • Shaila Kotadia, Education and Outreach Manager, Synberc
  • Sabriya Rosemond, Diversity Fellow, Synberc, 

Inaurgural Workshop Agenda

™8:30 – Registration - coffee & refreshments

Views of Women in the Workplace
9:00 – Introduction: Susan Marqusee

9:15 - Keynote Address: Mary Ann Mason: "Do Babies Matter? Graduate Students and Postdocs"
10:15 – Break
10:35 - Anne MacLachlan: "Alligators and Implicit Bias: Building your career without getting bitten"
11:15 - Maria Padilla: "Unmasking the Imposter Syndrome: Outdated Gender Norms"

12:00 – Lunch™

Navigating the Next Steps
1:00 – Sujie Shin: "Gaining the Upper Hand without Breaking a Nail: Gender and Negotiation in the Workplace" (Canceled due to illness) Alan Sachs, Chief Scientific Officer, Life Sciences Solutions Group, Thermo Fisher Scientific: "Industrial Career Perspectives"
1:40 – Transitions Panel Discussion Moderated by Shaila Kotadia and Sabriya Rosemond

Sharnnia Artis
Marina Crowder
Marla Feller
Rachel Haurwitz
Amanda Robinson
Rachel Slaybaugh
2:45 – Break
3:00 – Roundtable of Women’s Issues in STEM Moderated by Paul Burnett: All Speakers
4:00 – Speed Networking

5:00 – Reception

Suggested reading

Interactive timeline: The past and future history of women in STEM
We asked workshop participants to imagine the future of STEM diversity: How will the gender gap change? What STEM milestones will we achieve? How will equality change your life personally? Click on the boxes to read about the past and "future" history of women in STEM.

First woman chancellor of UC BerkeleyFemale Nobel laureates in every category (at least a few)Sensitization of people (both male and female) towards viewing women in the workspace as equals while taking into consideration special needs.There will be equal representation of all genders and races in the management & head positions at public universities.Hillary Clinton gets elected as presidentWe no longer envision the successful science as this:There will be more than one woman in every physical chemistry class.My daughter will build the next mega-building.Wife will make more money than me. I will take paternity leave.(We will need) grants and workshops for men in science.We will have to recruit straight white guys because our fields will be dominated by women & LGBT & people of color.Ada LovelaceElizabeth BlackwellLisa MeitnerRosalind FranklinEsther LederbergGrace HopperCarol MeninskyJocelyn Bell BurnellAll spectrums of diversity including gender, race, sexuality, disability in academia & in industry -- working towards more diverse leadership, people of authority, & creating role models for future generations

Or click here to browse a very big image of the timeline.


Inaugural Workshop Sponsors
Platinum Sponsors
UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology
Gold Sponsors
Twist Bioscience Twist Bioscience
Monsanto Monsanto
UC Berkeley Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research UC Berkeley Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Silver Sponsors
Agilent Technologies Agilent
Danisco DuPont Danisco
UC Berkeley College of Chemistry 
UC Berkeley College of Engineering Graduate Outreach Program
UC Berkeley Department of Physics
UC Berkeley Department of Math UC Berkeley Mathematics
UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar and Postdoctoral Affairs Program
UC Santa Cruz Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) UCSC Women in Science and Engineering
Center for RNA Systems Biology (CRSB)
Bronze Sponsors
UC Berkeley Office of Equity and Inclusion
Beyond Academia
Beyond Academia


 Synberc - Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center

       California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) at Berkeley