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On April 1-2, students will have the opportunity to meet, interact with and be inspired by eight women who have made a career and their mark working in STEM-related fields.

Waubonsee Hosts Two-Day Women in STEM Fest

This April, Waubonsee Community College will offer students and the community the chance to meet and draw inspiration from leaders in the fields of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – who also happen to be women.

On April 1-2, Waubonsee will again celebrate Women in STEM Fest. The event will feature presentations and interactive sessions with eight women who are on the cutting edge of their respective fields and specialties.

Experts featured in the two-day event will include:

Rita Yusko, manager of Northern Illinois University’s Technology Transfer Office. Formerly, Yusko worked as a technology commercialization specialist, working alongside researchers from such agencies as NASA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others;

Dr. Crystal Porter, a chemist and hair scientist, who has worked the majority of her career at L’Oreal USA, managing the physics laboratory and consumer insights teams, which, among other tasks, study the biophysical characteristics of hair and pigmented skin within different ethnic groups;

Meka Francis, lead analyst at the Radionuclide Analysis Facility at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia;

Dr. Alicia Siston, an epidemiologist at the Chicago Department of Public Health, a position she took on after stints at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as Assistant Director of the Communicable Diseases Unit of the Cook County Department of Public Health;

Dr. Chetna Patel, Professor of Chemistry at Aurora University, who formerly worked as a Process Development Scientist at Haarman and Reimer Corp. (A Bayer Company) in Elkhart, Ind., securing three patents; and,

Dr. Natalie Blake, who for the last 27 years has worked at Nalco, an Ecolab Company, specializing in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services around the globe. Blake began at the company in research and development, before transitioning into sales of chemicals for use in various economic sectors, including automotive and paper manufacturing, coming to lead the company’s global marketing for manufacturing, light industry, water and wastewater.

The scientists, technicians and executives will discuss a range of topics, including their specialties and career paths, while offering aspiring female scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians inspiration and guidance.

Presentations will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day in Room 106 of the Student Center on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive.

For more information on Waubonsee’s Women in STEM Fest, contact Amy Frankel, Associate Professor of Mathematics, at (630) 466-7900, ext. 2554, or email