Skip to Main Content

AFN-WISS Awardees

Women speaker

The following women tenure-line STEM faculty and women Postdoctoral Associates at the Florida Metropolitan Universities (USF/UCF/FIU) have been selected for the AFN-WISS program.

These awardees receive funding to travel to USF, UCF, or FIU in order to conduct research seminars, develop collaborations, and build networks.

To see the awardees by the calendar year of their travel, expand the list by clicking the + sign.

  • 2019

    Sahar Ajabshir, Assistant Professor, Cellular Biology and Pharmacology, FIU, visiting UF/USF
    Hosts: Susan Percival, Robert Karch

    Josephine Allen, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, UF, visiting USF
    Host: Norma Alcantar
    Josephine Allen is an Associate Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at UF. Her visit to USF will provide an opportunity to connect with and start a collaborative relationship with Dr. Normal Alcantar. Their lab groups are interested in Biomaterial Engineering, and they plan to use this time to develop new research directions, discuss funding opportunities, and design some collaborative studies.

    Jihye Bae, Postdoctoral Associate, Biomedical Engineering, FIU, visting UCF
    Host: Melanie Coathup
    Jihye Bae is a Postdoctoral Associate in Biomedical Engineering at FIU. her main research areas are signal processing, machine learning, and their applications to brain machine interfaces. During her visit, she will share knowledge about how signal processing and machine learning techniques can help control external devices for paralyzed individuals, to learn how the advanced techniques developed in the UCF’s Prosthetic Interfaces Cluster can bring benefits to Brain Machine Interface studies.

    Sarina Ergas, Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, USF, visiting FIu
    Host: Berrin Tansel
    Sarina Ergas is a Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering at USF. She and host Dr. Tansel carry out complimentary research on water treatment; hazardous and industrial waste management; landfill processes and release mechanisms; sustainable sludge treatment and recovery and environmental protection in developing countries, and collaborate with the Applied Research Center at FIU. 

    Aurelie Germa, Assistant Professor, School of Geosciences, USF, visiting FIU
    Host: Rosemary Hickey-Vargas
    Aurelie Germa is an Assistant Professor in the School of Geosciences at USF. She studies the long-term evolution of volcanic systems, using primarily K-Ar dating, and plans to develop at USF a K-Ar geochronology laboratory that will be open to external users, with a priority to users from Florida Metropolitan Universities. She plans to visit FIU and use the Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy (FCAEM) to do microprobe analysis and a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to do chemical mapping of minerals and calculate diffusion and growth rates.

    Luanna Prevost, Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology, USF, visiting FIU
    Host: Sarah Eddy
    Luanna Prevost is an Assistant Professor in Integrative Biology at USF. Her research focuses on the development of tools that can support writing in large enrollment courses while at the same time providing instructors with insight into students understanding. During her visit, she will present her work on computerized scoring of biology assessment and student thinking to the STEM Transformation Institute.

    Daniela Radu, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, FIU, visiting USF
    Host: Venkat Bhethanabotla
    Daniela Radu is an Associate Professor in Mechanicals & Materials Engineering at FIU. Her seminar will provide a discussion of ongoing research and efforts to include women inscience and engineering. A collaboration has already started in the context of an NSF grant submission, and collaborations and student exchange with host Venkat Bhethanabotla in the area of nanomaterials with optoelectronic properties are envisioned to expand.

    Erin Saitta, Lecturer, Chemistry, UCF, visiting FIU
    Host: Sonia Underwood
    Erin Saitta is a lecturer with a research assignment in Chemistry at UCF. She will visit FIU in order to learn, connect with colleagues and look for collaborators, and recruit students. She is working on growing the chemistry education program at UCF and hopes to learn about the leveraging of active learning spaces for large enrollment chemistry courses. She is also interested in collaboration opportunities for students between UCF and FIU. 

    Tong Wan, Postdoctoral Associate, Physics, UCF, visiting FIU
    Host: Geoffrey Potvin
    Tong Wan is a Postdoctoral Associate at UCF, with a Ph.D from the University of Washington. She will grow her professional network while at FIU. She conducts research in physics and STEM education, and her postdoctoral work involves improving graduate teaching assistants' teaching practices.

    Chunlei Wang, Professor, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, FIU, visiting USF
    Host: Norma Alcantar
    Chunlei Wang is a Mechanical & Materials Engineering Professor at FIU. She plans to visit the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at USF and give a seminar in order to  introduce research activities conducted at Mechanical & Materials Engineering at FIU, network with women faculty and postdocs/students, discuss future research collaboration and professional development, and seek joint collaborative proposal opportunities.

  • 2018
    Candice Bridge, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and NCFS, University of Central Florida, visiting USF
    Host: Erin Kimmerle

    Candice Bridge, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UCF. Bridge’s visit to USF will initiate the development of two of the three major academic forensic research centers in the state of Florida. In addition, it grants her the opportunity to conduct novel research in the areas of forensic chemistry and anthropology that will benefit forensic disciplines as well as share with the students, how women research faculty are making a difference in science and criminal investigations.

    Deepa Chari, Postdoctoral Associate, STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, visiting UCF.
    Host: Dr. Talat Rahman

    Deepa Chari is a Postdoctoral Associate currently residing in the STEM Transformation Institute at FIU. Her postdoctoral research at FIU focuses on the outlooks, efforts and challenges towards diversifying Physics departments nationwide. Chari’s visit to UCF provides the chance to showcase her work on graduate diversity and departmental colloquium. Moreover, her presentations will inform student and faculty about decision making for admission and mentoring practices.

    Amal Elawady, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Florida International University, visiting UCF.
    Host: F. Necati Catbas

    Amal Elawady, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at FIU. Elawady is currently a lead scientist for FIU’s International Hurricane Research Center’s Laboratory for Wind Engineering Research and the Wall of Wind (WOW) Research Group. Her visit to UCF will allow her to connect with peers in UCF not only for potential collaborations but to also introduce the capabilities of WOW and how it may improve research.  

    Hilary Emerson, Postdoctoral Associate, Applied Research Center, Florida International University, visiting UCF.
    Host: Debra Reinhart

    Hilary Emerson is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Applied Research Center at FIU. Emerson’s visit is an ideal opportunity to establish future collaborations with faculty at UCF for future proposal development in the areas of environmental chemistry, remediation of radionuclides and waste management. 

    Theresa Evans-Nguyen, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, University of South Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host: Francisco Alberto Fernandez Lima

    Theresa Evans-Nguyen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at USF. Her visit to FIU fosters her ties in the branches of spectrometry and forensic communities, providing visibility of women in academia. By visiting the lab of her host Dr. Fernandez-Lima, Dr. Evans-Nguyen will learn about Trapped Ion Mobility Spectrometry and will be giving an informal lecture on her research in the space and defense sectors. 

    Hilary Flower, Research Associate, Geosciences, University of South Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host: Dr. Sparkle Malone

    Hilary Flower is a Research Associate in Geosciences at USF. Flower will use the opportunity of a visit to FIU as a launch pad for her career. Furthermore, as a Research Associate the visitation will develop the grant Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research Program- created by her host Dr. Malone and herself. By presenting the grant as a collaboration between two universities it provides the means to network and gain critical connections for their mutual research going forward.

    Rashmi Gupta, Postdoctoral Associate, Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host(s): Dr. Yesim Darici, Dr. Yuk-Ching Tse-Dinh

    Rashmi Gupta is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Biomedical Sciences at UCF. In her lab, Gupta routinely screens various drug libraries for biological activity against intracellular bacterial pathogens. The goal of her visit to FIU is to learn and gain hands-on experiences that analyze the inhibition of bacterial compounds. Her hope is to bring that knowledge back to the Rohde lab and apply those techniques with the pathogens that her department studies.

    Hong Liu, Associate Professor, Earth and Environment, Florida International University, visiting UCF.
    Host: Pedro Quintana-Ascencio

    Hong Liu, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at FIU. By collaborating with the skillset of her host in sophisticated population models and coding, Liu strengthens her publications and grant proposals. Moreover, by visiting UCF she rebuilds her collaboration and would also be helping her female Postdoctoral students in their research.

    Melissa McCartney, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Florida International University, visiting UCF.
    Host: Dr. Nichole Lighthall

    Melissa McCartney, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at FIU. By visiting UCF she forms collaborative efforts that will impact the cognitive and socio-emotional predicators of science literacy in older populations. In addition, McCarthy believes that these efforts in collaboration and research may lead to new avenues for more effective science communication and translation.

    Mary Nyaema, Postdoctoral Associate, STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, visiting UCF.
    Host: Dr. Jacqueline Chini

    Mary Nyaema is a Postdoctoral Associate currently residing in the STEM Transformation Institute at FIU. The purpose of her visit to UCF is to meet with faculty working in the STEM education field. Nyaema’s visit allows her to explore interactions between the campus’ faculty members to view their different career paths and look for possible research connections.

    Anna Pyayt, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, University of South Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host: Shekhar Bhansali

    Anna Pyayt, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at USF. Her visit to FIU grants her the opportunity to establish collaborations with the female faculty and Postdoctoral fellows. Pyayt aims to encounter new research insights on the instruments that are meant to detect pregnancy complications and hopes that her meetings with her new colleagues will be especially beneficial.

    Monique Ross, School of Computing and Information Sciences, Florida International University, visiting UCF.
    Host: Dr. Gary Leavens

    Monique Ross, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Computing and Information Sciences at FIU. The travel grant provides Ross the chance to travel to UCF and meet the computer science administration and faculty in order to establish a computer science community. She seeks to assess their concerns with regards to computer science education, and share with them some of her current research efforts and preliminary findings in the Computer Science Education field.

    Erin Scanlon, Postdoctoral Associate, Physics, University of Central Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host: Geoff Potvin

    Erin Scanlon is a Postdoctoral Associate of Physics at UCF. Scanlon’s visit to FIU grants her the chance to form collaborations to further her career and solidify her ground within the community. Furthermore, in her visit to FIU’s Physics and STEM Transformation Institute, she will meet with various, students, faculty and staff to acquire critical professional development for herself and her research connections.

    Zixia Song, Associate Professor, Mathematics, University of Central Florida, visiting USF.
    Host: Dr. Brendan Nagle

    Zixia Song is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at UCF. Song’s visit to USF provides for future collaboration on the research problems in her field of study. Moreover, with funding and lectures as a resource, the visit provides the options of additional visits and two year collaboration plans. Song’s visit will also promote diversity through encouraging women and students from underrepresented groups to pursue the field of mathematics with the activities presented.

    Shalini Srinivasan, Postdoctoral Associate, Chemistry, University of South Florida, visiting UCF.
    Host: Dr. Erin Saitta

    Shalini Srinivasan is a Postdoctoral Associate in Chemistry at USF. Her visit to UCF gives her the chance for networking opportunities and collaborations with faculty in Chemistry Education. As a Postdoctoral researcher, one of her goals is to evaluate the factors that dictate the instructional practices of faculty and with her visit she is able to share her past and current work with her UCF peers.

    Hannah Torres, Postdoctoral Associate, Sociology, University of Central Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host: Dr. Tiffany Troxler

    Hannah Torres is a Postdoctoral Associate in Sociology at UCF. Her visit to FIU strengthens her professional networks and supplies the opportunity for interaction and learning from her host Dr. Tiffany Troxler. By visiting her host, Torres will learn more about the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network Project, the process of its development and the communications oriented work the center does.

    Tingting Zhao, Postdoctoral Associate, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host: Priyanka Alluri

    Tingting Zhao is a Postdoctoral Associate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at USF. Her visit to FIU is a wonderful chance to present her recent research results on Critical Infrastructure System Resilience Analysis and Optimization with a concentration in transportation systems. Her work and visit benefits faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students as many interesting research collaborations may be created.

  • 2017
    Priyanka Alluri, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Florida International University, visiting USF.
    Host: Dr. Yu Zhang

    Priyanka Alluri, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at FIU. Alluri has worked on several research projects in areas of transportation safety. Her visit to USF opens avenues towards discussions about ongoing research projects, student recruitment and collaborations that provide an opportunity to address the transportation problems pertaining to traffic congestion and safety.

    Jacquelyn Chini, Assistant Professor, Physics, University of Central Florida, visiting FIU.
    Host: Sonia Underwood

    Jacquelyn Chini, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Physics at UCF. She has led several research projects at UCF that specifically focus on learning of students with disabilities in active learning courses and preparing STEM graduate teaching assistants to lead student-centered instruction. Chini is active in several groups at UCF such as the STEM Education Reading Group and iSTEM Faculty Fellows program. A visit to FIU gives her the opportunity for future collaborations and to learn about changes in the FIU STEM education research groups over the past several years.

    Kelly Kibler, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida, visiting USF.
    Host: Mauricio Arias

    Kelly Kibler, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Water Resources Engineering at UCF. Her research concentrates on biological and physical variables in river and estuarine systems, including development pathways and infrastructures that minimize ecosystem disruption and promote preservation. Kibler’s visit to USF increases her professional visibility within Florida and showcase’s her research. 

    Pamela Wisniewski, Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida, visiting USF.
    Host: Rangachar Kasturi

    Pamela Wisniewski, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at UCF. She conducts research in Human-computer interaction and has done considerable work in the area of adolescent online safety. Wisniewski is currently in the process of designing intervention based solutions to detect risk behaviors and reduce them. Her visit to USF aims to build collaborations with faculty in computer vision, pattern recognition, and artificial intelligence in order to discover technologies that meet the needs of teens and parents.

    Lu Zhang, Assistant Professor, Florida International University, visiting UCF.

    Lu Zhang, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Construction Management at FIU. Her research presently deals with the value assessment of buildings. While at UCF, Dr. Zhang met with Ph.D. students and received helpful information about how to supervise and motivate a Ph.D. research team. She also conducted a seminar for UCF students.