Panel 1: Press For Progress 

A discussion with audience  participation about the measures that can be adopted to achieve gender parity and be more inclusive.


  • Crysten Blabym Principal Investigator, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Jonelle Bradshaw de Hernandez, Senior Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Stony Brook University
  • Lea Kenigsberg, Math Graduate Student at Columbia University.
  • Aleida Perez, Science educator, BNL
  • Troy Rasbury, Associate Professor of Geosciences, Stony Brook University

Bios of the panelists

Dr. Blaby-Haas received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Microbiology and Cell Science under the mentorship of Prof. Valérie de Crécy-Lagard. As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Sabeeha Merchant at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Blaby-Haas received the prestigious NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship and the 2015 Boyer-Peter Award for her research on the diverse and fascinatingly complex world of metal usage by plants and algae. In 2015, Dr. Blaby-Haas moved to BNL to co-found the Quantitative Plant Science Initiative (QPSI), a team-oriented, multi-disciplinary consortium of researchers focused on using high-performance computing, HTP structural and genetic tools, and functional genomics to resolve the knowledge gap that exists in plant protein function.

Jonelle Bradshaw de Hernandez was appointed to serve as Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Stony Brook University and the SBU Medical Enterprise. In this capacity, Mrs. Bradshaw de Hernandez works closely with the academic leadership and advancement to prioritize and execute fundraising programs and initiatives that will attract significant corporate and foundation philanthropic support. Mrs. Bradshaw de Hernandez couples her professional career with a vibrant academic life. She is completing her doctoral studies in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Technology, Policy and Innovation area at Stony Brook University. Her academic work focuses on the intersection of science, technology innovation and engineering education with corporate, foundation, workforce development and demonstrates how these areas work together to maximize human capacity and fiscal and societal economies. She is currently exploring the theoretical frameworks of job security and risk aversion in vulnerable populations who desire to enter the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. She has recently presented her work at the Eastern Economic Association Annual Conference in New York City, Women in STEM: Past, Present and Future at Stony Brook University, the Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities Summer Institute at Roosevelt University in Chicago and the Science and Engineering for Social Good Conference at Georgia Institute of Technology . Mrs. Bradshaw de Hernandez strong belief in the power of private public partnerships fuels her academic and professional work to shed light on how the increase of technological innovations and scientific discovery in basic and translational sciences can service our global society and provide an active learning framework for higher education offerings. Mrs. Bradshaw de Hernandez previously served as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and adjunct faculty member at St. John's University for 12 years. She was promoted to work in the St. John’s University President’s Office where her Corporate and Foundation Relations portfolio expanded to include government, community and media relations collaborations. Mrs. Bradshaw de Hernandez graduated from Cornell University College of Human Ecology with a Bachelor of Science in Policy Analysis and Management concentrating in Social Policy and Community Development. She received her Masters in Arts in Social Organizational Psychology from Columbia University Teachers College and her Advanced Certificate in Instructional Leadership at St. John’s University. Mrs. Bradshaw de Hernandez began her career in the private sector where she was recruited to work with the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies as a Property and Casualty Underwriter where she managed a multi-million dollar book of business underwriting for many Fortune 500 Companies. Her role included several high profile clients and her duties included physical risk analysis of properties, factories, manufacturing plants and office buildings. Her attention to detail in her engineering reports led to special commendation by the Chubb leaders. Mrs. Bradshaw de Hernandez is an active member of her alma mater in the Cornell University community and is a strong advocate for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Lea Kenigsberg is a math PhD student at Columbia University. She is interested in Symplectic Topology and Mathematical Physics.

Aleida Perez is a member of the Office of Educational Programs at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She oversees the High School Research Program and STEM Prep Summer Institute in addition to teaching secondary lessons at BNL. Together with scientists at National Synchrotron Light Source II, Dr. Perez mentors students and teachers how to conduct research. She earned a B.S. from the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining BNL, she worked as virologist in industry and taught college-level microbiology and anatomy.

Troy Rasbury received a BS from Midwestern State University in Texas in 1983, a MS from Tulane University in 1990, and a PhD in Geology from Stony Brook University in 1998. She did a short post doc at Stony Brook before taking a faculty position at Queens College from 1998-1999. She was hired as an assistant professor at Stony Brook in 1999, and shortly afterwards became a member of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences. She was promoted to tenure in 2008. In addition to running the Facility for Isotope Research and Student Training (FIRST) at Stony Brook, she is part of the Partner User Group at the Tender Energy Beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLSII). Her research focuses on using the geochemical record from carbonate rocks to learn about Earth’s past