Swissnex in Boston and New York has welcomed a new cohort of Swissnex Fellows to our Academic Engagement team. In collaboration with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), Swissnex is hosting four early-career scientists from the Science Diplomacy Exchange and Learning (SciDEAL) Program.
For the next several months, these fellows will pursue their interest in science diplomacy by collaborating virtually with Swissnex on several projects, including a new Swiss-US quantum initiative. The fellows come to Swissnex with advanced training in biotechnology, civil engineering, public health, and environmental earth systems science. Together, their expertise will greatly enhance the capacity of Swissnex to deliver innovative programs to its Swiss and American stakeholders.
The SciDEAL program is designed to establish project collaborations between early-career scientists and science diplomacy institutions in the non-profit and government sectors. The fellows were selected and sponsored by the NSPN, a non-profit that supports science policy, advocacy, and diplomacy across the US. The organization provides a platform for resource sharing, training, and networking that can enable the next generation of scientists and engineers to become pivotal voices in policy making.
Meet the Swissnex Fellows
Alma Castillo HernándezBrandeis University
Alma Castillo Hernández obtained a dual degree in Biomedical Sciences and Behavioral Healthcare Research from the University of South Florida. She began her career at Boston Children's Hospital as a CRA working on therapeutic and environmental intervention studies, then moved to international clinical research coordinating a breast cancer trial. Currently, Alma is obtaining a MS in Biotech at Brandeis University. She has an interest in strategic partnerships to promote innovation and commercialization of therapeutics and equity in access to drugs for underserved communities.
Sharmini PitterNOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems
Dr. Sharmini Pitter is the Assistant Director for the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems, a federal science center encompassing six partner universities. Her work focuses on providing research training opportunities and scholarships to students from historically underrepresented communities. Dr. Pitter earned her doctorate in Environmental Earth System Science with Archaeology at Stanford University. Her transdisciplinary research background includes geochemical studies of the link between changes in the paleoenvironment and cultural technology.
Morgan WestbrookNorth Carolina State University
Morgan Westbrook has developed a professional and research background in fields related to infrastructure. After earning BS and BA degrees in Civil Engineering (Structures) and Spanish Language and Literature from North Carolina State University, she completed an MS in Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado-Boulder, then worked in the private sector of Construction Management at Mortenson. Currently, a PhD student researching the intersection of construction and transportation at North Carolina State, her studies are augmented by a graduate certificate in Policy Analysis.
Ashli WrightFlorida International University
Ashli Wright is pursuing a PhD in Biology at Florida International University. Her research interests include STEM education and identity, epistemic practices in biology, science communication, and policy. Ashli holds a Bachelors in Health Science and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Florida. She has worked on genomics research teams at the Hussman Institute, developed university health education programs, and designed curriculum for research on the Florida Everglades.
About the Swissnex Fellowship
Ever since the onset of the pandemic, Swissnex has been unlocking new innovative ways to bring its communities across the world closer together. To this end, we have launched the global Swissnex Fellowship for researchers and innovators based in Swissnex’s locations – a new way for our local communities to connect with Switzerland’s world-class education, research, and innovation ecosystem. Each Swissnex selects up to 10 Swissnex Fellows across sectors and disciplines. The Fellows will enjoy access to our networks, mentorship, and our coworking community spaces, with dedicated “Fellow Days” and collaborative programs.