Women in STEM Careers

About the Panel

This panel will ask alumni speakers about the particular challenges of developing a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) after completing an advanced degree or postdoc at the Unviersity of Chicago. We're interested in exploring questions that attend to gender diversity in the sciences from multiple career perspectives -- both within and outside of the academy.


Regina Dolgoarshinnykh, PhD (UChicago), Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics, Columbia University: Regina is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University teaching courses in probability theory, statistical inference and data science.  In addition to teaching, she runs a university wide statistical consulting program.  She earned her Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Chicago in 2003. She was an Assistant Professor in the Columbia University prior to switching to a non-tenure track in 2009.  Her main research interests are the probabilistic modeling of infectious disease spread and detecting transmission pathways for networks non-observable at event times.   

Jenny Farver, PhD (MIT), Director of Engineering at Civis Analytics: Jenny Farver designs and implements new product features, focusing on data integration and analytics. Jenny is also an Adjunct Professor of Data Analytics at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Prior to joining Civis, Jenny spent five years at Ab Initio Software, working with customers and building metadata-driven user interfaces for enterprise data processing applications. There she racked up four patent applications and attended a Foo Fighters show, all in service of efficient, high-volume data flow.

Jenny holds a PhD from MIT; her dissertation was in the field of transportation network optimization. Originally from Northern California, she received her BS from UC Berkeley.

Janice Edwards, PhD (UChicago), Site Lead at Monsanto: Janice Edwards leads Monsanto’s Global Biotechnology Collaboration group and is responsible for the management of key research partnerships with companies and universities. She received her Bachelors degree in Biology from Longwood College, Virginia.  She obtained her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Chicago.  Her graduate work on mitochondrial transcription in yeast set the foundation for her postdoctoral work on gene expression in plants at Rockefeller University where she was awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship in plant biology. 

Edwards joined the New Products Division of Monsanto’s Agricultural Group in 1990.  Her first projects at Monsanto involved quality and yield trait improvements in potato, wheat and corn.   In 1997 she became the Director of Biotechnology for the Monsanto Nutrition and Consumer Sector.  During this time she was responsible for several research partnerships and was a key member of the steering team for Monsanto’s collaboration with Cargill on feed and seed quality products that later became the Renessen joint venture.  In 2000 she transferred to Monsanto’s Genomics Program where she managed several functional genomics collaborations and set direction for the genomics pipeline strategy.  Edwards accepted the role of Site Lead at the newly acquired Monsanto RTP Site in 2005.  There she established the Biotechnology Plant Physiology Center and oversaw the strategic design and implementation of Monsanto’s automated greenhouse for crops.  In 2011 Janice returned to the Monsanto St. Louis location to lead the Biotechnology Collaboration group.   In this role, Janice and her teams based in the US and China are focused on developing new biotechnology products through strong partnerships with leading technology companies and universities.

Laura R. McCunn, PhD (UChicago), Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Marshall University: Laura is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where she teaches courses in physical chemistry and introductory chemistry.  Her research laboratory, staffed exclusively by undergraduate students, investigates the thermal decomposition of oxygenated hydrocarbons and similar molecules that are relevant to alternative fuels and combustion.  Her work has attracted funding from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and the ACS Petroleum Research Fund.

Laura earned her Ph. D. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 2005 under the mentorship of Professor Laurie Butler.  Prior to her position at Marshall University, she was a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of chemistry professor Mark Johnson at Yale University.


Jennifer E. "Piper" Below, PhD (UChicago), Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control: Jennifer “Piper” Below, Ph.D. graduated in 2003 with a B.A. in mathematics from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and acquired her doctorate from the Department of Human Genetics in the Biological Science Division at the University of Chicago in 2011. She is now an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in the department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences. She is also a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a program shared between the University of Texas and M.D. Anderson with appointments in Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, as well as Human and Molecular Genetics<https://gsbs.uth.edu/hmg/index.htm>.