About Us

Team Biographies

Heather Metcalf

Heather Metcalf

PhD, is the Principal Investigator and Project Lead for the STEM to Market program.

Dr. Metcalf is Director of Research and Analysis for AWIS where she leads empirical work on gender and the STEM workforce. Her research contributes to the AWIS vision of positive system transformation in STEM. She has undergraduate degrees in applied mathematics and computer science (Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2003) and holds master’s degrees in computer science (The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005) and gender studies (University of Arizona, 2007). She earned her doctorate from the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education (2011), where she studied higher education science and technology policy. She utilizes her unique interdisciplinary background to conduct applied research on diversity and equity issues in STEM fields. Dr. Metcalf holds a patent on unconscious bias training materials for search committees. Throughout her career, she has utilized her work to influence change in academic, industry and public policy spaces and to train researchers and practitioners in building equity into their daily thought and work. Dr. Metcalf has research, policy, and programmatic expertise on myriad topics in STEM, such as bias; educational and workplace cultures; harassment and discrimination; innovation and entrepreneurship; pathways; workforce development; organizational and systemic change; recruitment and retention; equity across fields, sectors, and ranks; mentoring; sense of fit; self-efficacy; federal funding; institutional and federal policy; structural and cultural barriers; and work-life integration. She has appeared on: Public Radio International and The Atlantic to discuss sexism in science; National Public Radio and The Chronicle of Higher Education to provide expertise on harassment in STEM; and Scientific American to share insights on the policy implications of the GAO’s investigations of gender bias in federal research funding.

Joan Herbers

Joan Herbers

PhD, served as AWIS President in 2010-2012 and is Co-PI for the STEM to Market program.

Dr. Herbers is Professor of Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology and of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at the Ohio State University. Trained as an ecologist, she studied the inner workings of ant colonies for most of her academic life. A few years ago, she developed a second career concerned with gender equity in academia. She is Principal Investigator of Ohio State’s ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award titled Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State (CEOS) and is author of the recently-published Part-time on the Tenure track (John Wiley & Sons). Dr. Herbers, a former department chair and Dean,has studied academic STEM women’s participation in entrepreneurship and commercialization. She and her colleagues developed Project REACH, a curriculum that to encourages STEM women faculty to expand the reach of their research by engaging in commercialization activities.

Ann Lee-Karlon

Ann Lee-Karlon

PhD, is AWIS Immediate Past President and Co-PI for the STEM to Market program.

She is a senior vice president at Genentech in the San Francisco Bay Area where she oversees drug development teams and financial planning. She earned her PhD in bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego and also holds an MBA from Stanford University. Lee-Karlon has served on the AWIS Governing Board as a Councilor and then as President-Elect since 2010. Additionally, she also serves on the executive committee for Genentech Women in Science and Engineering (gWISE). In 2011, Ann received the Rising Star Award from the Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association (HBA) and Genentech for her leadership and impact in life sciences and healthcare.

Vasudev Bailey

Vasudev Bailey

PhD, is AWIS Councilor and Co-PI for the STEM to Market program.

Vas Bailey is partner at ARTIS Ventures where he backs market-defining companies to re-shape, re-invent, and re-make industries. Formerly a Principal at Quid and leader of the Global Healthcare practice, Vas continues to provide counsel to the CEO. Previously, Vas co-founded and served as the Global General Manager of the GLG Institute where he built two businesses and added $10M to topline revenue in less than two years. In this role, he recruited over 1,500 Fortune 100 C-suite executives and built a business connecting their expertise to aspiring leaders. In addition, Vas continues to draw on his strategy consulting background at McKinsey & Company as well as his experience from having several acquired technology startups. In addition to his role at Quid, he currently serves as an advisor to four Bay Area startups: Medikly, Diassess, Impraise and TeaDrops. Vas has more than 10 years of strategy and operational expertise. He has four patents and more than 30 publications. He has founded, advised and operated startups that have been successfully acquired. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and guest lecturer at Johns Hopkins, UCSF and University College, London. Vas received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he was recognized as both a Siebel and a Medtronic Scholar. He holds four provisional patents from his research in nanotechnology for the early detection of cancer and has over thirty conference and journal publications. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC Irvine where he was also recognized as both a Regents and a Henry Samueli Scholar.

Cynthia Simpson

Cynthia Simpson

M.Ed, CAE, is the Chief Business Development Officer with AWIS and Co-PI for the STEM to Market program.

Ms. Simpson joined AWIS in 2009 and is responsible for developing and overseeing all business development aspects for the association, with particular emphasis on corporate and institution partnerships. In addition, she oversees all aspects of the successful AWIS National Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship series, designed to establish AWIS as a thought leader in bringing together a network of influential stakeholders in constructing a well-informed roadmap toward inclusion on contemporary issues such as entrepreneurship, advanced manufacturing, and technology transfer as a means to create systemic change. She serves as the project manager for various grants received from the Elsevier Foundation, National Science Foundation, Agilent Technologies and Burroughs Wellcome Corporation. She has developed and presented over 100 workshops on the topics of importance to women in STEM including work-life satisfaction, mentoring, communications skills, and volunteer management at universities, corporations, and professional societies devoted to STEM. She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a B.S. in Business Management and George Mason University with a M.Ed. in Curriculum Instruction and Design. She is a member of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives, the International Mentoring Association, and currently serves as Chair of the CAE Item Writing Committee for the American Society of Association Executives and a member of the Program Planning Committee for the Women in Engineering Proactive Network (WEPAN).

Erin Kelley

Erin Kelley

MA, MBA, is the Applied Entrepreneurship Consultant for the STEM to Market program.

Ms. Kelley has a demonstrated professional passion for gender diversity in business and entrepreneurship ecosystems, as well as instructional design and program development. She earned her undergraduate degree in international relations from Mount Holyoke College (2005) where she focused on the social, economic and political dynamics of ethnic conflict. She then developed two pioneering financial education programs at REACH Community Development in Portland, Oregon. Both programs empowered different populations of affordable housing residents to think differently about their goals in relationship to their income and assets. After launching these programs, she earned a master’s degree in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC (2010). At SAIS, Ms. Kelley studied global entrepreneurship ecosystems and the factors that harm or help business starts and growth. Ms. Kelley then earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (2012), where she studied general management and corporate innovation. During her MBA, she interned at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, Maryland, to assess progress in executive- and management-level gender diversification efforts and recommend methods for continued improvement. Upon graduation, Ms. Kelley joined IBM as a Senior Change and Learning Consultant, focusing on training design and implementation in the healthcare and hospitality industries. At the National Women’s Business Council, she served as the Director of Research and Policy, overseeing a research portfolio to further understanding of how policy can support the success of women entrepreneurs. She now works as an independent consultant, specializing in program development, instructional design, gender diversity, and process improvement.

Aspen Russell

Aspen Russell

BS, is Research Assistant for the STEM to Market program.

Aspen Russell has a BS in Computer Science and a minor in women’s, gender, & sexuality studies from American University. Aspen has worked in both the tech industry in advanced equipment manufacturing software creation and in nonprofit women’s advocacy work with the Association for Women in Science. Aspen co-founded a nonprofit dedicated to researching and engineering solar-powered vehicles and spent two years in solar vehicle racing before changing careers to science policy and advocacy for diversity in science. As a first-generation, genderqueer sociologist focused in women’s studies, Aspen has dedicated his research to exposing gender-based bias in language and media communications. Currently, his interdisciplinary work is focused on understanding text-based harassment in relation to the gender representation of content creators across various social media outlets.

Jenn Clark

Jenn Clark

MBA, is the Senior Advisor of Intentional Investor Outreach for STEM to Market.

Jennifer Clark most recently served as the Obama Administration’s Small Business Advocate for the Pacific Northwest. She championed the Office of Advocacy’s national efforts to increase diversity in entrepreneurship, particularly in STEM sectors. Additionally, Clark launched Advocacy’s Innovation Initiative, a platform to reduce barriers for small businesses to bring innovations to market. Previously, Clark served as the National Deputy COO for the 2008 Obama campaign, where she built and led several departments from the campaign’s inception through the election. She then headed Personal Operations for the Transition Team, overseeing the systems development for all personnel intake to staff the federal government. Prior to politics, Clark co-founded a consulting firm, Veracity Analytics. Earlier in her career, Clark held progressively senior positions at several Dun & Bradstreet divisions, culminating as the inaugural Director of Change Management at ACNielsen. Internationally, Clark worked for Dun & Bradstreet in England, and for Unilever in Sweden. Clark earned her MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, received an AB in English Literature from Bryn Mawr College, and is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy. Her interests include curriculum reform and equal access to education and economic opportunity. Clark’s contributions to turning around a school in Chicago are captured in the book “How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance,” which includes a forward by former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and an afterward by former White House Chief of Staff and current City of Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

Josipa Ilić

Josipa Ilić

MS, is Communications Intern for the STEM to Market program.

Josipa is a Communications Intern for AWIS and STEM to Market, where she manage social media outlets for the organization. She has a strong background in social justice work; her previous experiences include work with International Rescue Committee’s humanitarian mission in Bosnia; promoting democracy-building through development of free press in the Western Balkans region with Voice of America, and volunteer work with immigrant communities. She has an undergraduate degree in government and politics from University of Maryland College Park and holds a master’s degree in management in public relations from University of Maryland University College.

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