LifeOmic November, 2020

500 Women Scientists Who Inspire Us!

Women in STEAM who inspire! 500 Women Scientists’ Edition

In this card deck, 500 Women Scientists and Lifeology are highlighting women in Science, Tech, Engineering, Art, Music and Medicine who are also members of the gage search platform platform.

32 Cards


Ashley Paynter is a PhD Candidate at University of Washington. She studies age-related diseases like cancer, and evolutionary genetics. She studies canines as a model for human cancer.

Fun facts about Ashley
  • Ashley works to bridge the gap between activism and science by educating the public on topics such as environmental racism, health disparities and health inequity.
  • Ashley hosts a podcast called Decolonizing Science about racism in medical and research fields.
  • She has a dog named Honey! And in her free time, she loves to cook.
How Ashley inspires us
  • "Ashley is a constant inspiration and reminder that we all need to take initiative to support black women and advocate for health equity." - Jessica
  • Find Ashley on gage!


Shaila Kotadia is the Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Stanford School of Medicine. She works to eliminate bias in systems like recruitment, retention and more.

Fun facts about Shaila
  • Shaila is working towards culture change, by strategizing with others to change the way the Stanford School of Medicine operates.
  • Her background is in genetics and cell biology, looking at cell division and abnormal numbers of chromosomes.
  • In her free time, Shaila dances ballet and modern – and has co-founded STEM Dance-ology, an organization set up to make science and dance accessible!
How Shaila inspires us
  • “The favorite part of my job is knowing that I am transforming culture in the sciences, in higher ed, and in academic medical centers to create space to be authentic and increase a sense of belonging.” - Shaila
  • Find Shaila on gage!


Harshini Mukundan is a bioscientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. She works on developing diagnostics for infectious diseases, cancer and traumatic brain injury.

Fun facts about Harshini
  • Harshini’s work involves lots of other people. She works alongside scientists in microbiology, medicine, engineering, chemistry, optics, physics, computational biology and bioscience.
  • She is passionate about STEM outreach and advocacy!
  • When Harshini was young, she wanted to be an actress – and loves dancing and drama to this day!
How Harshini inspires us
  • “(I hope) I have exemplified perseverance and never giving up. Mistakes are the biggest learning opportunities in life. Do not feel compelled to conform to societal norms - norms have to be rewritten for us to advance and progress as a society.” - Harshini
  • Find Harshini on gage!


Susan Cheng is a researcher in the fields of ecology and science education. She is passionate about changing the way we learn about science, to make it more equitable and inclusive.

Fun facts about Susan:
  • Susan studies things that affect forest growth, from clouds to nitrogen pollution. Sometimes this involves driving a cherry picker to measure plant photosynthesis in the forest canopy!
  • She bakes science-themed cakes – like glow-in-the-dark cakes representing the bioluminescence of a coral reef ecosystem!
How Susan inspires us
  • “Susan taught me how to identify and leverage networks and actions needed to make a great idea into reality!” – Lauren at 500 Women Scientists
  • Find Susan on gage!


Lauren Edwards is a Neuroscientist trained in neurorehabilitation, which helps people recover from nervous system injuries. She’s also Director of Fellowship for the Future for 500 Women Scientists.

Fun facts about Lauren:
  • In her neuroscience, Lauren specializes in motor recovery and learning after stroke.
  • She leads the Reproductive Justice Initiatives – helping and transforming society one project at a time! She is also passionate about STEM outreach.
  • Lauren loves celebrating languages – she has tattoos in Arabic, Sanskrit, French, Kanji and English!
How Lauren inspires us
  • “Lauren taught me that our job doesn’t end once we find a seat at the table, we must speak up and use our voice in representation of those who were not there.” – Gabriela
  • Find Lauren on gage!


Jasmine Drake is a forensic chemist and Assistant Professor at Texas Southern.
She’s committed to ensuring forensic science is equitable and free of bias toward communities of color.

Fun facts about Jasmine:
  • She is a Governor-appointed commissioner on the Texas Forensic Science Commission!
  • She researches how drug policy affects people of color and fragile communities at unequal rates.
  • She is passionate about hands-on STEM education. She trains educators and law enforcement officers.
How Jasmine inspires us
  • “She has taught us really cool real-world, justice-focused applications for chemistry, which is a hard science that is usually seen as inaccessible and unattainable.” – Lauren
  • Find Jasmine on gage!


Seanna Leath is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia.
She studies community psychology with a focus on building resilience and wellness among Black girls and women.

Fun facts about Seanna:
  • Seanna explores factors related to the healthy identity development of Black girls and women in family, educational, and community settings.
  • Seanna has talked about Black motherhood on the podcast Ebony’s Bones!
  • She is the first in her family to attend college, and she identifies as LGBTQIA.
How Seanna inspires us
  • “Dr. Leath’s work centers the wellness of Black girls, and that is absolutely revolutionary.” - Lauren
  • Find Seanna on gage!


Rose Bear Don’t Walk grew up on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
She’s a Tribal foods consultant and a Salish Ethnobotanist. She studies how her tribe can use native plants as food to fight chronic disease.

Fun facts about Rose:
  • Rose is helping her community identify and rekindle their connection with traditional Salish food plants like Camas and Bitterroot.
  • She teaches through hand-on activities like foraging, recipe creation and food sharing!
  • She has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu!
How Rose inspires us
  • “Rose taught me the importance of plant life to sustaining health and wellbeing” – Gabriela
  • Find Rose on gage!

Kelly Montgomery is a chemical biologist and artist!
She is helping us better understand why tau proteins fold the wrong way and clump together in the brains of people with Alzheimer's Disease.

Fun facts about Kelly:
  • Kelly loves to tell stories through art and photography. She taught herself how to use Illustrator and Photoshop!
  • She co-founded JKX comics to help more people understand science and want to become scientists themselves.
  • She was born and raised in Detroit, MI but has always dreamed of living in sunny California.
How Kelly inspires us
  • “Kelly inspires me with how she is using her self-taught creative talents to amplify diverse women in STEM in the form of free science comics.” - Lauren
  • Find Kelly on gage!

Ahna Skop is Professor of Genetics. She is a developmental cell biologist, a science communicator and a scientific artist!

Fun facts about Ahna:
  • Ahna studies a once considered “garbage can” of the cell called the midbody. This newly defined RNA-containing organelle is involved in cell-cell communication after mitosis.
  • She recently published “Genetic Reflections: A coloring book” with two of her undergraduate students.
  • She enjoys cooking and baking science-inspired cakes! She has a food blog.
How Ahna inspires us
  • “I am a scientist by day but avid foodie, baker and cook by night. Cooking is really home chemistry.  Being a scientist is like baking but with DNA, RNA, proteins and chemicals. If you can follow a recipe and be creative, you can be a scientist.” - Ahna
  • Find Ahna on gage!



500 Women Scientists is a grassroots, nonprofit organization with the mission to serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible.
Are you a scientist? Sign up for the Request a Woman in STEMM platform and join a local 500 Women Scientists pod to get involved in your area.
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