Career Eexplorations: Women in STEM

Spring 2022 Match & Shadow Program

Spring 2022 Match & Shadow

WIS students at UNR have the opportunity to explore career pathways and gain confidence by shadowing a Women-in-STEM role model!

All majors are welcome! Whether you’re already studying a STEM field or interested in learning more, we invite you to explore with us. Once you complete the registration form, the committee gets to work to find you a great "match." You and your match will then decide when, where, and, how to spend 4-8 hours shadowing together over the spring semester.

The deadline to register is Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Hosted by

Networking Event

September 28

4:00 PM–5:00 PM

Meet Professional Women-in-STEM! Light refreshments served.

Breakout Sessions

October 15

12:00 PM–1:15 PM

This will be a hybrid (virtual and in-person) event. Circulate and network with Women-in-STEM. We'll have a panel of recent graduates and STEM professionals, followed by STEM-subject breakouts for open Q&A. Meet us in-person at the Joe, or virually via Zoom. We hope to see you there!


November 17

2:00 PM–3:15 PM

This exciting event features speaker, Karen Purcell, a local Woman-in-STEM business owner, with advice on gaining exposure to STEM career fields early, earning the respect of male colleagues, rising through the ranks to become a leader, and balancing a personal life with career pressures.

Hosted by

Jan. 27: Picture a Scientist

With Guest Panelists


PICTURE A SCIENTIST is a feature-length documentary film chronicling researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Follow their experiences- overcoming harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights- all to revolutionize the culture of science.

Join a panel of a local experts from diverse backgrounds to discuss the film, its real-world implications and what we can do to advance women working in STEM fields.

Feb. 24: Impostor Syndrome

With Leilani Kupo


Dr. V. LEILANI KUPO (Kanaka Maoli) has served as a scholar-practitioner in student affairs since 2000. Her research interests include educational access, identity development, intersectionality, gender equity, decolonization, and Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

In this panel, Leilani explores the causes of impostor syndrome and how to overcome it in the workplace.

Mar. 24: What I Wish I Knew

With Ruby B. Sutton


RUBY B. SUTTON is a mining engineer, the editorial director of STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine, the founder of When You Believe Foundation, Inc, and a wife. She was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and moved to the United States at 12 years old. She received her degree in mining engineering and minor in women’s studies leadership at Virginia Tech.

Ruby B. Sutton’s personal motto is “reach for excellence and nothing less.”

Apr. 28: Effective Communication and Conflict Resolution

With Debbie Leonard


DEBBIE LEONARD has worked as a biologist and science teacher before becoming a lawyer. She has bachelor's degrees in zoology with an emphasis in aquatic ecology, a master's in education with a secondary teaching credential in science, and a law degree with a certificate in environmental law.

In 2019, Debbie founded her own law firm. As a lawyer and mediator, she strives to resolve conflicts over natural resources and other types of disputes.

Hosted by

Design World

Apr. 28: Conversations with Women in Engineering

With Leslie langnau

11:00AM PST

LESLIE LANGNAU of Design World speaks with YLLKA MSADA, Founder, President and CEO at Kelmedi Engineering Inc. and SEYEDEH GHIASIAN, Research Assistant at Open Engineering Systems Lab.

Design World is bringing their Women in Engineering (WIE) editorial coverage to life through a chat series! Attend for a panel discussion interviewing these great women expanding the engineering field.

Registration has closed


Career Explorations: Women-in-STEM (CE-WIS) is a group of female professionals from across the state of Nevada who formed a committee to promote growth and mentorship for female students in STEM fields.

We provide opportunities for career exploration in STEM fields by linking students with female professionals in the same arena.


Empower women to learn and succeed in STEM fields by creating a synergy between students, industry leaders, and university professionals through meaningful and impactful experiential opportunities.


Increase representation and retention of women in STEM fields by facilitating career exploration, supporting shadow and mentor opportunities, and connecting students with professionals to broaden awareness of STEM careers.


This group was started after a STEM professional continued to notice the discrepancies in the number of women applying for jobs at her agency to the number of men. When she could not find a local program that supported young women in STEM fields of study, she sought partners to join her in starting one.

The Nevada Career Studio, part of the Student Services Division of the University of Nevada, Reno, responded to her call for collaboration. In 2018, the co-founders formed a committee of women from on- and off-campus and turned this vision into reality.

- 2019 -

  • View flyer

  • The CE-WIS program started small with a speed-networking luncheon and a shadowing component, matching students with female STEM professionals. We made 25 matches, reaching our goal!

- 2020 -

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  • There is always room for improvement, so we set our sights on aiming to make matches with the exact areas of study the STEM students requested. We doubled our capacity, opening the registration to 50 students. We had a wait list of an additional 50 students!

  • Each member of our team reached out to personal contacts and resources to find the best possible match for each student. We planned a culmination event in conjunction with the 2020 Northern Nevada Science & Technology Festival to showcase the matches.

  • Unfortunately, shortly after the matches were made, the pandemic hit and campus closed. Undaunted, we went back to work and organized a virtual program to discuss several key topics affecting women-in-STEM.

  • We invited students and STEM professionals involved in the CE-WIS program to join us virtually. It was a successful program, including breakout room sessions that lead to meaningful discussion and sharing.

- 2021 -

  • View flyer

  • In our third year, as pandemic restrictions continued, our programming remained virtual while our team worked even harder to put together meaningful and effective content that would continue to provide opportunities for students to connect with Women in STEM professionals. We were delighted with our exciting Spring 2021 Virtual Presenter Series lineup.

  • CE:WIS hosted a thought provoking discussion with students and STEM professionals about the film Picture a Scientist, the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection. We explored challenges that women in STEM fields face throughout their careers.

  • We had a great presentation from Dr. Lelani Kupo on Imposter Syndrome, which can manifest itself in a number of different ways. We also explored ways to overcome these feelings and gain confidence in our achievements.

  • Ruby B. Sutton shared her story as a mining engineer, editorial director, and foundation founder in her presentation, “What I Wish I Knew.” She was an energetic speaker who was able to help us understand what it is like for a woman of color to work in mining in rural NV. She was a powerful speaker who touched us in many ways.

  • Debbie Leonard outlined ways to listen attentively, assert oneself, and collaborate productively in times of conflict. This presentation was accompanied by breakout sessions where students and industry professionals could reflect on their own personal experiences with conflict.

- Fall 2021 -

  • We were finally able to return to in-person content in the fall of 2022, and offered concurrent virtual options. The first event of the Fall 2021 Networking & Presenter Series introduced students to our mission and provided them with an opportunity to network with WIS professionals.

  • We followed up with an event featuring a panel of recent graduates and STEM professionals. This opportunity included breakout sessions organized by industry and interests whereby students could talk openly and ask questions. Students found this accessibility to be invaluable by gaining insight, and forging connections for future endeavors.

  • Our featured presenter of the Fall Semester was Karen Purcell, PE, Professional Electrical Engineer and founder/president of PK Electrical. Karen gave advice on gaining exposure to STEM career fields early, earning the respect of male colleagues, and rising through the ranks to become a leader. She was able to give us a look into how she balanced her personal life and raising children along with career pressures. Karen wrote and published a book Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and we provided all students in attendance with their own copy.

- 2022 -

  • Going into the Spring Semester, we are working on creating matches between students and female STEM professionals in chosen fields.

Committee Members

Katia Albright Portrait

Alison Hall

Committee Member

Alison Hall is the Principal Mechanical Engineer for Ainsworth Associates Mechanical Engineers. Alison is a licensed professional engineer and holds both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has been working in the field of engineering for the past 12 years.

Becky Albion

Founding Member

As the Shared Research Facilities Coordinator for the Nevada Center for Applied Research, Rebecca works to support research and development needs by facilitating access to the University’s physical and intellectual assets. She was instrumental in establishing NCAR’s Biosciences Entrepreneurial Laboratory, first in 2016 then with an expansion in 2018 due to its overwhelming success.

Camille Stegman

Committee Member

Camille has worked as an educator for 20 years. Camille holds two masters and a Ph.D. Her appointment to the Nevada STEM Advisory Council allowed her to help with the STEM Strategic Plan and STEM Designated Schools Program. She represents the Nevada State Science Teachers Association on this committee.

Dawn Johnson


Dawn Johnson is a Senior Meteorologist and Aviation Program Manager with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Reno. She strives to support the development of Women-in-STEM, and is a member of the NWS Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Team.

Gina Russo Portrait

Gina Russo


Gina Russo is the Employer Relations Liaison with The Nevada Careers Studio at The University of Nevada, Reno. Gina creates and manages programs that connect employers with UNR students and foster career exploration, development and opportunities.

Kara Harris

Committee Member

Kara is a CEWIS commitee member.

Kelly Colletti

Committee Member

Kelly Colletti obtained her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology as well as her MBA at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2005. Kelly joined Charles River in early 2009 and is currently the Scientific Director of Bioanalytical and Molecular Biology. She has substantial expertise in the area of Bioanalysis of antibody-drug conjugates and bi-specific antibodies as well as gene and cell therapy.

Tracey Howard

Committee Member

Tracey is the STEM Program Manager for the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology. She partners with STEM stakeholders, including formal and informal educators, families, industry and government to strengthen Nevada’s STEM ecosystem. She is passionate about mentorship to support and advance women in STEM.

Gina Russo Portrait

Duana Malone

Emeritus Member

Duana Malone aka “The Tech Queen” is an International Operations and Technology Consultant, Computer Programmer, Website Designer and App Developer with more than 30 years experience in the industry. In 2018, Duana was awarded “Technology Woman of the Year” by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NWCIT) and The Vegas Community Tech Fund.

Katia Albright Portrait

Katia Albright

Emeritus Member

Katia Albright serves as the Nevada Career Studio's Assistant Director, where she leads a team of 20 professional and student staff. She is an engaging professional with a 15+ year track record of success in leadership, advocacy, and collaboration supporting career development.