Women in STEM Summit 2020

Conference / Symposium,
Free Food,
Student Life
For NYU Community

Women in STEM Summit Graphic

At Tandon, we are committed to building a culture that respects and embraces gender diversity, inclusion, and equity. Join the Office of Student Affairs for the 9th annual Women in STEM Summit at NYU Tandon School of Engineering on Thursday, March 5th, 2020.

This year's Summit will explore the theme "Reflecting on Our Past, and Transforming Our Future." Throughout the day, we will feature women who are at the forefront of their fields: innovative, smart, driven, and changing the STEM landscape. We will also be raffling some great prizes at our signature events!

New York University and the Tandon School of Engineering provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. Requests for accommodations for events and services should be submitted at least (1) week before the date of the accommodation need. Please email for assistance.

Please note, this event is open only for the Tandon student community. If you are a student from another NYU school and are interested in joining, please email us at 

Signature Events

Male Allies Panel Discussion
Tuesday, March 3rd - 5-6 PM (Doors Open at 4:30PM)

This event, in partnership with the Women @ Tandon Committee, will feature faculty, industry professionals, and current students on a panel discussing what male-identified students can do to better advocate for women at Tandon and within the STEM field. Refreshments will be served. We will be raffling off an Amazon Echo to students who arrive on time!

Luncheon Lightning Talks
Thursday, March 5th - 12:30-2:00 PM

Our "lightning talks" are quick presentations from forward-thinking women, each innovators in their own field, and all disrupters in their own way. Our lunch event will also feature Dr. Yasmine Ndassa, Senior Director for National Sales Strategy & Insights at Comcast Cable, who will deliver a keynote address. Lunch will be served. We will be raffling off a DLP Mini Projector to students who arrive on time!

Keynote & Awardee Dinner
Thursday, March 5th - 6:00-8:30 PM

Our closing dinner will feature a welcome address from Dean Jelena Kovačević and will honor three revolutionary women with our Women in STEM Champion Awards for their invaluable contributions to the STEM landscape. Over dinner, students will also have the opportunity to network and engage in conversation with alumni and corporate representatives. Dinner will be served. We will be raffling off an iPad Mini (5th gen) for students who arrive on time!

Luncheon Keynote Address

Headshot of Yasmine Ndassa
Yasmine Ndassa is Senior Director for National Sales Strategy & Insights. Her team focuses on fostering an insights-driven sales culture that maximizes performance and drives a best in class customer and employee experience. In this role, she conducts strategic quantitative analyses aligned with sales channel priorities and provide insights that drive sales performance and measure impact of the National Sales Organization’s investment in people, tools and programs to drive sales excellence. 

In her previous role at Comcast as Senior Director for Business Process Analytics, she led a team responsible for analytics support and insight to the Business Process Management team on their work simplifying how customers do business with Comcast and innovating the back office to enable the digital transformation. Yasmine joined Comcast in 2010 to start HR Analytics for the company. Her work lifted the analytics competency within Comcast HR through quantitative analyses on the workforce to generate insights for business and HR leaders, thus enabling data-driven decision making. Yasmine led the technical upgrade and marketing of the WorkForce Analytics tool, as part of her goal to formalize and strengthen the HR Analytics community at Comcast. She was also responsible for leave of absence (LOA) and workforce diversity reporting and analytics as well as HR metrics standardization. 

Prior to joining Comcast, Yasmine was a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Philadelphia. There, she focused on strategy cases (strategic sourcing, turnaround, portfolio strategy) for clients in the healthcare, retail and consumer goods industries. 
Yasmine holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics from Harvard University and a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She has translated her passion for structured problem solving and data-driven storytelling from biomedical research into business analytics. 

In addition, she served as President of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for Multi- ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) in 2013 and 2014. NAMIC Philly earned multiple awards under her leadership, including 2014 Chapter of the Year Award. Yasmine is a 2011 graduate of the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). 

Originally from Cameroon, Africa, Yasmine has lived in three continents and speaks Spanish and fluent French. In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring, reading, decorating, salsa dancing and learning about the common bond between people and cultures. 

Luncheon Lightning Talks

Headshot of Pat Sapinsley
Pat Sapinsley is the Managing Director of Cleantech Initiatives at Urban Future Lab/ACRE at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. A LEED AP architect, Pat holds a M.Arch from the Harvard GSD. She is past Co-Chair of the Committee on the Environment of the AIANY, a member of the Board of Building Energy Exchange and a frequent lecturer and industry panelist. Prior to joining UFL/ACRE, Pat worked in venture capital at Good Energies and was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard’s Wyss Institute. She was CEO of Watt Not, an LED lighting consultancy, and Build Efficiently, LLC. 

Dean's Welcome

Dean Jelena Headshot
Jelena Kovačević received a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University. She then joined Bell Labs, followed by Carnegie Mellon University in 2003, where she was currently the Hamerschlag University Professor and Head of the Department of ECE, and a Professor of BME. She is currently the William R. Berkley Professor and Dean of the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University. She received the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award, Dowd Fellowship at CMU, Belgrade October Prize, and the E.I. Jury Award at Columbia University. She has co-authored a number of award-winning papers and is a coauthor of the textbooks Wavelets and Subband Coding and Foundations of Signal Processing. Dr. Kovačević is the Fellow of the IEEE and was the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing. She was a keynote speaker at a number of meetings and has been involved in organizing numerous conferences. Her research interests include applying data science to a number of domains such as biology, medicine and smart infrastructure; she is an authority on multiresolution techniques, such as wavelets and frames.

Women in STEM Champion Awardees

Headshot of Tina Louise Brower-Thomas
Tina Louise Brower-Thomas holds a BS in chemistry from Howard University a MS of Science in organic chemistry and PhD in materials chemistry from the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. While in graduate school Tina completed extended research visits at the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz Germany, as well as The University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg Germany. She also completed collaborative research at University of Texas Austin and Wayne State University. After completing a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the Naval Research Lab, Surface and Microanalysis Division, Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, Tina was a consultant and supported missions of The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and The Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Tina joined Howard University in 2007. At Howard, Tina pursues research molecular self-assembly, surface functionalization, and growth, functionalization and characterization of 2D materials. Tina has published in top journals and has received a patent for her contributions. While at Howard Tina has taught courses in Nanotechnology and developed curriculum that incorporates cutting edge research. Tina has passion for working with scholars that are underrepresented in STEM and has mentored numerous such students serving as their research advisor. Many of her mentees have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields. In addition to being research faculty in the graduate school at Howard University, she holds a visiting faculty appointment at Harvard University. Tina is the executive director, education director and co-PI for the NSF Science and Technology Center for Integrated Quantum Materials, a Center between Harvard, Howard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as public outreach through the Museum of Science, Boston.
Headshot of Anna Powers
Dr Anna Powers is an award winning scientist, communicator, and entrepreneur. Dr Anna Powers received her PhD in Chemistry from NYU, working on the applications of computational algorithms in quantum and statistical mechanics. She was selected as the Core Curriculum Teaching Fellow in the Sciences, where she introduced 3-D printing into the classroom and worked as a Postdoctoral researcher, during which time she focused on a project that involved using proprietary machine learning algorithms for crystal structure prediction important in ensuring quality control efficacy of drugs, as well as the design of new classes of pharmaceuticals. During her time at NYU she was awarded numerous honors both in  her research and teaching work. The College of Arts and Science at NYU recognized her talent of communicating science and she was a recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award, which was presented to only 6 instructors across NYU’s 50 departments. During her graduate studies, she was nominated for the Graduate School of Arts and Dissertation Fellowship as the best doctoral thesis from the department. Dr. Powers has been rewarded with numerous research fellowships, which includes two research fellowships and 3 three research travel grants. In addition to that, she presented her research numerous public speaking engagements, which include Cambridge University, Tel-Aviv University, and the American Chemical Society.
Dr. Anna Powers was awarded the Global STEM Leadership Award from the CME where she recognized for her work in bringing chemistry to Latin America by laying the groundwork for the inception of the first Latin American Chapter of the largest chemical society in the world, the American Chemical Society, in the society’s 138 year history. Traveling  to Lima, Peru, and working with key stakeholders, Dr Anna Powers helped recruit members, held presentations and helped established connections between scientists in Latin America to resources of a global chemical society in the hopes of increasing collaboration, access and using the transformational power of chemistry as a means advancement. As someone who has a command of the Spanish language and appreciation for Latin American culture, Dr Anna Powers presented all work in Spanish. The CME group was established in 1954 by an industry steering committee in order to address the challenges of the industry of chemistry in all of its phases. Over time the group focus has expanded from technology and business to investments and policy in order to develop a holistic approach to advancing the transformational power of chemistry, the central science, for the benefit of humanity. Dr Anna Powers was the first woman to be honored at Chemical Marketing and Economics Group (CME) in 50 years along with chemical industry icons, such as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. 
During her studies, Dr Anna Powers fell in love with the inherent beauty of science as well as its potential to transform the world. As one of the only few females in the space, she saw a need for more female participation in the sciences and wanted to open the door for more young women to enter space. In one of her earliest thought leadership pieces published in Forbes she explained that there are tremendous benefits to society of increasing more female participation in STEM because as more women enter these fields we increase the brainpower working on innovation, thereby solving challenging problems and advancing as a society more rapidly. Dr Anna Powers founded Powers Education as venture dedicated to the success of women. She coupled her easy to understand teaching method with pairing young women from high school and middle school with female with role models from college. In this way younger women can see themselves in those role models, and feel that they can become scientists and that science is for them. Dr Anna Powers also used the power of internet to start a social campaign to bring awareness of female contributions in STEM, as well as encourage more female participation in the STEM fields by changing its image. Her venture was profiled in Huffington Post, Forbes, Inc Magazine, Thrive Global, and featured on Arianna Huffington’s official Facebook page, as well as written about by LinkedIn top voice 2016. Dr Anna Powers was featured on the cover of Diversity in Action Magazine as a pioneer for her work.
Dr Anna Powers is a thought leader and a contributor in the Forbes Science section where she is committed to using storytelling to bring to light the contributions of women in STEM, as well as to make advances in innovation accessible and relevant to the general public. She brings to light the sometimes forgotten contributions of women such as story about Josephine Cochrane, a socialite who invented the dishwasher and whose company was acquired by Whirlpool, Emily Roebling who built a well known NYC landmark: the Brooklyn bridge, as well as the first African American woman to get a graduate degree in Physics who worked on the Manhattan Project. Dr Anna Powers also helps audiences stay abreast innovation in STEM as it pertains to industry, be it general audiences or industry professionals, by lucidly bringing to light the science behind the innovation and its applications to industry. Some of her stories include those focusing on the role of creativity in AI, the implications of batteries made from salt to wind and solar energy, as well as how a new energy efficient particle accelerator has implications to virtually all industries based on electronics, such as semi-conductors and medical imaging such as MRI. 
Headshot of Natalia Trayanova
Dr. Natalia Trayanova is the Murray B Sachs Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She directs the Alliance for Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Innovation, a research institute with faculty from Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Radiology, and Applied Math, aimed at applying predictive data-driven approaches, computational modeling, and innovations in cardiac imaging to the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. She is also a member of the Institute for Computational Medicine and leads the Computational Cardiology Laboratory. She is the first female faculty to hold an endowed professorship in the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Prof. Trayanova’s numerous scholarly accomplishments have impacted the field of computational medicine and biomedical engineering in general. She is the primary innovator and trailblazer in the use of modern computation and modeling approaches in cardiac arrhythmia research and in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart rhythm disorders. The focus of her research is on computational cardiac electrophysiology and cardiology, with emphasis on cardiac arrhythmias and pumping dysfunction, and on novel anti-arrhythmia therapeutic methodologies. Her translational research has laid the foundation for novel technological developments, enabling the construction of clinical-imaging -based models of human hearts that realistically represent the functioning of the diseased organ. Using a personalized simulation approach, Prof. Trayanova has developed new methods for predicting risk of cardiac arrest and improving the accuracy of atrial and ventricular catheter ablation therapies. Through her first-of-their-kind personalized virtual hearts, she is pioneering advances in personalized medicine for patients with cardiovascular disease, which promise to profoundly influence clinical decision-making and the delivery of patient care. She is currently conducting FDA-approved clinical trial in simulation-driven treatment for cardiac arrhythmias.

Dr. Trayanova has published over 370 scientific papers, many of them in journals of high impact. She has also given over 280 invited talks, keynotes, and plenary lectures. Her work has received world-wide recognition, and she is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. For her groundbreaking work in computational cardiology, in 2013, she received the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the most prestigious recognition of innovation in NIH research. In 2019, she was inducted in the Women of Technology International Hall of Fame, an extraordinary honor conferred only on 5 women each year from around the world. Also in 2019, she received the Distinguished Scientist Award from Heart Rhythm Society. In 2020, she was inducted Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Trayanova is a Fellow of: American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; Heart Rhythm Society; American Heart Association; Biomedical Engineering Society; and International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering. She is on the editorial board of a number of scientific journals, and is currently an Associate Editor of the Heart Rhythm Journal. Her research and translational work has been funded by NIH, NSF, AHA, DOD, and other entities.

Trayanova is an inventor on forty-three (43) patents and patent applications filed world-wide, which offer new technologies for predicting risk of sudden cardiac death for patients with various cardiac diseases and for guiding treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Trayanova’s innovations draw commercial interest from startups and strategic companies. She is the founder and chief scientific officer of Cardiosolv Ablation Technologies, a startup company that develops computational strategies to improve the treatment of ventricular tachycardia, a life-threatening arrhythmia. She has received support from TEDCO’s MII Innovation Commercialization Program. She recently received an IDE approval from the FDA for two clinical studies testing her inventions.

Trayanova’s work has received widespread media coverage. She has been featured on Reddit AMA r/science, has given a TEDx talk, has been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, the Economist, and has been on the Amazing Things Podcast. Her work has been featured by a number of outlets, such as NBC News, Baltimore Sun, Slate, Huffington Post, and others. Her collaborative work was featured in the New York Times. She has been the subject of a number of YouTube videos and press releases by Johns Hopkins University. In 2017, Trayanova participated in Congressional briefing advocating for the federal funding of scientific research, as the representative of cardiovascular sciences.