Past Events


See the event recording here!


Join COSAM's Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity as we virtually screen the film Picture A Scientist, a 2020 Tribeca Film Festival selection which documents the experiences of women scientists in various disciplines. In addition to virtually screening the film from March 16 until March 18, Dr. Stephanie Shepherd of the Auburn Geosciences Department will moderate a panel discussion with Dr. Wendy Hood (Biological Sciences), Dr. Vanessa Falcao (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Dr. Sydney Provence (Physics Post-Doctoral Researcher), Jamonica Moore (Inorganic Chemistry PhD Student) and Akilah Alwan (Earth Systems Science PhD Student) to speak on their experiences as women in the sciences.


Simultaneous Virtual Screening with Panel Discussion

March 18, 5:00 p.m. Registered participants wil also recieve a zoom link to watch together from 5:00-6:40 p.m., followed by a Panel Discussion at 6:50-7:50 p.m. with Dr. Wendy Hood (Biological Sciences), Dr. Vanessa Falcao (Chemistry and Biochemistry), moderated by Dr. Stephanie Shepherd (Geosciences). Participants can join for any part of the session on March 18th.

Individual Virtual Screening

March 16, 7:00 p.m. – March 18, 7:00 p.m. Register by March 15 to view the film anytime during the viewing dates. Registered participants will receive a link for viewing anytime during the viewing dates.


Panelist Biographies

wendy_hood.jpgDr. Wendy Hood

Dr. Wendy Hood is an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Auburn.She was born and raised in Northern California and went to the University of California at Santa Cruz as an undergraduate and completing her Ph.D. at Boston University. Her first faculty position was at Coastal Carolina University, and she moved to Auburn University in 2007. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that underlie life-history variation in animals.


vanessa_falcao.jpgDr. Vanessa Falcao

Dr. Vanessa Falcao is a Chemistry andBiochemistry Lecturer at Auburn University. She is from Brazil and got her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Sao Paulo. She was always in love with science and curious about the makeup of matter, how it interacts and what makes life possible. Her love for biology and chemistry led her to pursue a degree in Biochemistry studying the biological clock. Later she worked as a postdoctoral fellow with heavy metal pollution and production of vaccines at Ohio State University. Her work with algae culminated with Biofuels. Her passion for teaching was greater than all, and for the last 8 years she has been a teaching faculty in 3 different institutions


sydney_provence_1.jpgDr. Sydney Provence

Sydney Provence earned her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Iowa in 2016. After working in R&D in the semiconductor industry, she took on a postdoc at Auburn working with machine learning applications to large datasets generated within the Films, Interfaces, Nanostructures, of Oxides (FINO) lab in the Physics Department. She is now a data scientist for Tignis, a startup in Seattle.


jamonica_pic.jpgJamonica Moore

Jamonica Moore, from Brandon, Mississippi, graduated in 2016 from Xavier University of Louisiana with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She is currently in a Ph.D. program at Auburn University studying inorganic chemistry. Her research focuses on the design and synthesis of inorganic mimics of superoxide dismutase. She hopes to become serve as R&D Scientist in industrial sector and begin a S.T.E.M. based outreach program for minority youths.


akila.jpgAkila Alwan

Akilah Alwan (she/they) is a third year PhD student in the Earth System Science program with a minor in Critical Studies in Education. She was born and raised in Marietta, GA and is a graduate of the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina. Akilah is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, UCAR Next Generation Fellow, and SREB Doctoral Scholar. Her academic work focuses on social justice and equity in the geosciences under the frameworks of intersectionality and critical race theory.



About the Film

Picture a Scientist chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries –including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists –who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.




In case you missed it... 

See the event recording here!

Join COSAM's Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity as we engage with key professionals about current issues of inequality in American healthcare. Discussion topics will be based on those presented in Dayna Bowen Matthew's Just Medicine, including social determinants of health, racial disparities, implicit bias, and more. The diverse expertise of our panel will provide attendees with a holistic understanding of these challenges, and even provide insight on what we can be doing now to work towards achieving a just healthcare system. 


Panelist Biographies

fleming_headshot.jpgDr. Mary E. Fleming

A Louisville, KY native, Dr. Mary E. Fleming, completed her undergraduate degree at Xavier University of Louisiana, her medical degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Meharry Medical College. Due to her interests in eradicating health inequities and improving healthcare for the underserved, she matriculated to Harvard Medical School as a Commonwealth Fellow in Minority Health Policy where she also obtained a Master in Public Health from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. She practiced as a generalist in a Norristown, PA community hospital for four years before deciding to transition to a full-time locum tenens physician. In this capacity, she has worked in several states across the country. This practice model also allowed her to travel to Kenya for six months to volunteer with Our Lady of Lourdes Mission Hospital in Mutomo.


As an ardent champion of health equity, Fleming currently serves in clinical Ob/Gyn shortage areas in the northeast region.  She continues to explore avenues to grow her skill set to serve the vulnerable populations of this country and globally.


In addition to her clinical work, she consults as a medical expert reviewer, physician editor and leads a non-profit, Reede Scholars. As President of the Reede Scholars, she develops strategies for collective action among the Scholars to address health equity and social justice. 


young_headshot.jpgKinika Young

Kinika Young is a lawyer and health policy advocate who frequently speaks on issues concerning access to healthcare, focusing on the role of public benefit programs to help people who lack adequate resources to meet their needs. As the Senior Director of Health Policy and Advocacy at the Tennessee Justice Center, she leads efforts to build a movement across the state to protect and strengthen the safety net for children, families, seniors and people with disabilities and move towards the equitable allocation of resources to all Tennesseans. Since joining TJC in 2017, Kinika’s work has helped Tennesseans understand their role in ensuring that every child has a healthy start and that every person has a pathway to reach their full potential. She is a certified Building Strong Brains trainer and a member of the Leadership Team of ACE Nashville and the Healthy Nashville Leadership Council.


Kinika began her legal practice in 2006 with Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC and became a Member of the firm in 2015. Her practice focused on healthcare disputes, in which she represented hospitals and healthcare providers facing managed care payment disputes with third-party payers.


Kinika is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. She graduated from Florida A&M University with a degree in Political Science and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University Law School.


Kinika was a member of the Nashville Emerging Leaders Class of 2010, Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law Class of 2013, Lawyers of Color, Inc. Inaugural Hot List of 2013, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellowship Class of 2016, Nashville Medical News Women to Watch Class of 2018 and Families USA Health Equity Academy in System Transformation Fellow Class of 2019. She was also a member of the American Health Lawyers Association Delegation to Cuba in 2014.


chouheadshot.jpgDr. C. Edward Chou

Dr. C. Edward Chou is Associate Professor at the Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy at Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy. His research focuses on examining and identifying solutions for health disparities in access to care, health care utilization, and health outcomes that medically underserved populations have experienced. He conducts studies using health care administrative claims databases, national health survey databases, and hospital accounting data. He also applies implementation science in community-based participatory research. Dr. Chou’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, New York State Health Foundation & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. His research has been published in some top ranked peer-reviewed journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, Medical Care, Psychiatric Services, Journal of General Internal Medicine, etc.


rodriguez_headshot.jpegDr. Mayra Rodriguez

Dr. Rodriguez is assistant professor and the director of preventive medicine, epidemiology and public health curriculum for OMS I and OMSII at VCOM–Auburn. Her experience involves examining language as a mechanism of health behavior change (i.e., alcohol and substance use) among criminal justice offenders using motivational interviewing, a client-centered behavior change therapy among substance users involved in the criminal justice system. Currently, Dr. Rodriguez is focused in understanding how social determinants contribute to health disparities, specifically, how life stress and discrimination over the life course impact maternal and child health. In 2019, she wrote a book chapter titled, “Cultivating Culturally Competent Future Physicians” where the focus was on highlighting the role social determinants play in healthcare education. She was recently awarded a grant, titled: “Mom StrEss & child health (MEDAL) Study: A mixed-methods approach to the associations between maternal experiences and child toxic stress response in Black families”.  Her goal is to contribute context of the health inequality and provide efficient and effective solutions to post-partum care and infant cognitive development.