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.

Cheryl Giscombe

Cheryl Giscombe is the Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion, and Wellness within the UNC School of Nursing and a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar. Her research focuses on developing ways to resolve stress and its effects on health behaviors, physiology, and health outcomes.

Savannah Swinea

Rising senior Savannah Swinea is an undergraduate researcher within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences majoring in environmental science, with a minor in marine science. Her research focuses on the effects of streambed clogging on water exchange, which she studies in the UNC fluids lab via a racetrack flume.

Min Zheng

Min Zheng is a research associate in the Department of Ophthalmology within the UNC School of Medicine. Her research focuses on using nanotechnologies in gene and drug delivery for treating ocular disorders.

Rachel Noble

Rachel Noble is the Mary and Watts Hill Jr. Distinguished Professor at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences. She is also a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and director of the Institute for the Environment’s Morehead City field site. Her research focuses on understanding the abundance and ecology of dangerous bacteria and viruses that are found in the ocean and within seafood.

Cleo Samuel

Cleo Samuel is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research focuses on improving the equity and quality of supportive cancer care — such as care that optimizes comfort, function, social support, and overall quality of life — through the use of health informatics tools that address systemic barriers to care.

Kripa Ahuja

Rising junior Kripa Ahuja is an undergraduate researcher in the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science within the UNC School of Medicine. She is also a research assistant at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research focuses on cloning the AAV-CXCL 12 gene — an important cancer biomarker.

Virginie Papadopoulou

Virginie Papadopoulou is a research assistant professor within the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC and NC State. Her research focuses on the circulatory bubble dynamics that lead to decompression sickness in scuba divers and astronauts, and how physiological factors acting on microbubbles affect ultrasound cardiovascular imaging and cancer treatment.

Diamond Holloman

Diamond Holloman is a PhD student in the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on how vulnerable communities recover following major wet-weather disturbances like hurricane flooding.

Teresa Zhou

Teresa Zhou is a PhD student in the Department of Economics within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She is a recent recipient of a 2018 Impact Award from The Graduate School. Her research focuses on the policies that are most effective in attracting and retaining physicians in underserved and rural areas, and how changes in physician supply affect patient welfare in the United States.

Frances Reuland

Graduating senior Frances Reuland is a research assistant at The Water Institute. She is majoring in environmental sciences and Spanish, with a minor in chemistry within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She also plays on the varsity women’s soccer team. Her research focuses on how inadequate energy affects environmental health conditions and facility operations within Malawian healthcare systems.