My Journey in STEM: Struggle, Accomplishment, and the Future

Women Accelerators are proud to present: “My Journey in STEM: Struggle, Accomplishment, and the Future” on March 21, 2017, 6pm, at Broad Institute. If you are currently working in STEM related field or are considering one as a career, please join us for an interactive panel.

Brandy Houser, Ph.D. a co-founder of Women Accelerators and NY/NJ site head for Celdara Medical, LLC will be moderating the panel of talented panelists who will take you through their real life personal journey in STEM and how they leveraged their scientific background to advance their careers. The panelists will discuss tips on how they identified their preferred STEM-related careers as well as, how they navigated difficult obstacles in order to land the career of their choice.

This event is a great opportunity to learn about STEM-related careers, how to roadmap your career, and what defines your own success in STEM. The panel is comprised of professional women who continue to dedicate themselves to science through program management, entrepreneurship, basic research, drug development, and education. This event will also offer a great networking opportunity for you to connect with women in careers that you may be interested in exploring. Please see below for the Moderator and Panelists’ who will be participating in the event.

Moderator: Brandy Houser, Ph.D.
Panelists: Rajia Abdelaziz, Anita Autry, Ph.D.,Tammy Heesakker, MBA, Shila Mekhoubad, Ph.D., and Cherie Ramirez, Ph.D.



  • Brandy Houser, Ph.D. is a co-founder of Women Accelerators (de la Femme). She is also the New York and New Jersey site-head for Celdara Medical, which builds academic and early-stage innovations into high-potential medical companies. Previously, she worked at Brandon Capital Partners as an Investment Associate and Partners HealthCare, where she focused on the development and commercialization of life-science technologies.She enjoys triathlon, skiing, traveling, and drinking excessive amounts of coffee. Brandy received her PhD in Immunology from Harvard University and her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Rutgers University.
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    • Rajia Abdelaziz recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a dual degree in electrical engineering and computer science. She was very involved with the Society of Women Engineers, having served as Vice President and then President during her undergraduate career. She has extensive experience with application development and a passion for business. Rajia interned at several companies including Amazon Robotics. She declined multiple career opportunities in order to start her own company, invisaWear™ Technologies LLC. invisaWear creates smart jewelry, watches, and accessories that allow users to instantly contact friends, family and/or police in the event of an emergency.


    • Anita E. Autry, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the laboratory of Dr. Catherine Dulac. She is studying the neural control of parenting in mice using state of the art molecular techniques. Her research is supported by a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the NICHD and by a Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.Anita received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Her graduate work focused on the genetic basis of depression-related behavior and antidepressant efficacy.She designed an interdisciplinary studies degree in Neuroscience and earned her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from the University of South Carolina Honors College. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her young daughter.


    • Tammy Heesakker, MBA is Principal at Tyche Innovation LLC. In this role, she is working to start a new medical device company while consulting with several clients regarding early-stage technology development and commercialization. In her former role as Senior Business Strategy and Licensing Manager at Partners HealthCare, she was responsible for commercializing technologies from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and the Plastic Surgery Department at Massachusetts General Hospital. She specifically focused on medical device technologies including aesthetic and laser medicine, wound healing and devices for plastic surgery and vascular surgery.Prior to joining Partners HealthCare, Tammy held a technology commercialization role specializing in nanotechnology at Drexel University. Tammy started her career with Merck & Co., Inc., where she rose to a senior process engineering position. Tammy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an International MBA with a concentration in Finance from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and has completed graduate level coursework in Biology at Harvard University.


    • Shila Mekhoubad, Ph.D. is a scientist at the Stem Cell Biology Lab at Biogen. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from UCLA. She completed her Ph.D. at Harvard University, in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Eggan, where she studied the epigenetic stability of human pluripotent stem cells. In particular, she focused on the effects of X-chromosome inactivation on disease modeling of the neurodevelopmental disorder Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome.During her post-doctoral training, also at Harvard University, Dr. Mekhoubad examined the utility of human pluripotent stem cells for the studies of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. At Biogen, she leads the Stem Cell group’s efforts in establishing novel stem cell models for ALS that can contribute to the development and validation of novel therapeutics.


    • Cherie Lynn Ramirez, Ph.D. is a lecturer in Biochemistry at the College of Arts and Sciences of Simmons College, and she also serves as the inaugural Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET) Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) Faculty Fellow. Her love of teaching and science blossomed when she was a Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Classical Studies double major at Rollins College in Central Florida. She earned her Ph.D. in genetics at Harvard studying site-specific nucleases and their applications in genome engineering. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Harvard School of Public Health and has held appointments at the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator at Harvard University, where she led faculty, graduate, and post-doc professional development activities related to global health teaching across Harvard University.


    Corporate Sponsorship opportunities are available.
    Email [email protected] for more information.