Member Spotlight

Dr. Ermelinda Porpiglia

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Stanford University
Supporting Member since 2012

“AWIS has helped me strengthen my career skills, such as verbal and nonverbal communication, networking, interviewing, and practicing compassion in the workplace.”

What do you think is the most important attribute that enables a woman to successfully lead a community that supports
women in STEM?

I think the most important attributes in leading a community that supports women in STEM are commitment, communication, and enthusiasm. Commitment, or dedication to the cause, is inspiring, motivating, and therefore a critical element when building an effective team. Communication is essential for delivering a vision and listening to and integrating the perspective of each member of the team. Finally, enthusiasm is a catalyst of change. Every volunteer sooner or later runs into the challenge of conflicting time schedules, at work, at home, and in their volunteering efforts. If the team is committed and enthusiastic and there is open communication, the members of the team will work together to meet those challenges, so that the volunteering is both successful and energizing.

What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and why?

My career aspirations are to continuously advance the boundaries of scientific knowledge toward the development of therapies, to inspire future generations of scientists through research and teaching, and to strive for gender equality in the workplace.

How has AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?

AWIS has helped me immensely throughout my postdoc career. I first got involved with Palo Alto AWIS through the mentoring program, which helped me define a path to academic success. To strengthen my leadership skills, I joined the Programs Committee, which I cochaired for three years. During this time, I benefited from both developing the programs and coordinating volunteers. During the last year as president-eIect, I worked in close contact with the president, Reem Yunis, to learn the tricks of the trade that helped me transition smoothly to the new position. My AWIS experience has helped me strengthen my career skills, such as verbal and nonverbal communication, networking, interviewing, and practicing compassion in the workplace.

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