Women in Science Wednesdays

While women fill close to half of all jobs in the United States, they hold less than 25 percent of positions within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Even as college-educated women have increased their share in the overall workforce, our country’s science and technology sectors continue to lack a female presence.

To help close this gap, UNC research is sharing their stories — from the depths of the ocean to the crest of a mountain, with projects that impact our state, the nation, and the world. Carolina’s female scientists from all areas of STEM are making waves in the world of research. Join us each week as our scientists share their unique perspectives on the rigors of research, and advice for other women in their fields.

Casey Berger

Casey Berger is a PhD student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy within the UNC College of Arts and Sciences. She is a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellow and a William Neal Reynolds Fellow within The Graduate School’s Royster Society of Fellows. She uses high-performance computing to simulate interactions between particles to understand situations that arose in the early universe — and still occur inside our atoms, stars, and special materials like superconductors.

Morgan Vickers

Rising senior Morgan Vickers is an undergraduate research assistant for the Community Histories Workshop in the Digital Innovations Lab. She is a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow double-majoring in American studies and communications studies, with a minor in creative writing within the UNC College of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on mapping historic cities now underwater, with attention to factors like racial dynamics, changing town infrastructure, and occupations.

Katie Stember

Katie Stember is a PhD student in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine within the UNC School of Medicine. She is also the founder of Scientists of North Carolina, a social media platform striving to bridge the gap between scientists and the community. Her research focuses on the disease-causing role of T cells in ANCA vasculitis, an autoimmune disease that affects blood vessels throughout the body.

Cheng Cao

Cheng Cao is a PhD student studying geological sciences within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on understanding Earth’s evolution over time, as well as the chemical processes that take place on the planet’s surface.

Rachel Willis

Rachel Willis is a professor of American studies, global studies, and economics within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on how sea-level rise, drought, and increased storm severity threaten port communities, influence migration, alter global food sheds, and impact future access to work through complex water connections related to infrastructure for global freight transportation.

Joyce Tan

As chief of research strategy, Joyce Tan is responsible for the development and implementation of research strategy for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. She works with leadership throughout campus to facilitate interdisciplinary research programs and to grow the university’s global reputation, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. She also promotes research partnerships with external public and private organizations.