GSTEM Speakers- Summer 2013


Daniela Buccella 

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

New York University  

Daniela Buccella received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela. She conducted undergraduate research under the direction of Prof. Roberto Sánchez-Delgado at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research. In 2003 she moved to Columbia University in the city of New York, where she pursued her doctoral degree with Prof. Gerard Parkin, studying transition metal complexes as models for hydrodesulfurization catalysts. In the fall of 2008, she joined the group of Prof. Stephen J. Lippard at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a NIH postdoctoral fellow working on developing new fluorescent probes for the detection and quantification of mobile zinc in biology.

Research in Daniela’s group at NYU will explore the interface of Inorganic Chemistry and Biology, focusing in the design and application of highly tailored systems for the recognition of metal ions and metalloenzymes, combined with careful manipulation of host-guest chemistry and cooperative effects in the assembly of metal complexes and supramolecular constructs for the selective binding of important molecular targets. Emphasis is placed on exploring new avenues for elucidating the role of the investigated species in disease states and developing new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

Christina P. Colon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Science

Kingsborough Community College

Dr. Christina P. Colόn is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Kingsborough Community College. During the summer, she works with students to investigate egg and juvenile density and distribution of the Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) on Plumb Beach within Jamaica Bay. During the winter break she conducts research in Southeast Asia on local carnivores including sun bears (Helarctos malaynus) and binturongs (Arctictis binturong). Her third area of research involves the scholarship of teaching and learning. A passionate educator, she is continually striving to improve the educational outcomes of her students through active learning innovations.


Dr. Diane Esposito

Research Investigator/Research Compliance Officer

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Dr. Diane Esposito is a Research Investigator and Research Compliance Officer at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), having started there in 1993.  Dr. Esposito’s primary research and teaching interests lie in the field of human genetics & genomics, particularly in their application to cancer research and genetic diseases. After receiving her Ph.D. in genetics & cell biology from Fordham University, Dr. Esposito did her Postdoctoral Research in the Department of Somatic Cell Genetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where she studied the effects of aging and radiation on DNA fragility.  Dr. Esposito has been the Chairperson of the Institutional Review Board at CSHL since its inception, reviewing all research using human subject material.  In 2011, she was asked to straddle the research and administrative communities to oversee and ensure adherence to all federal regulatory and ethical guidelines in support of research at CSHL.


In addition to her research, Dr. Esposito is particularly interested in science education and the need to revamp how students are taught and how teachers and physicians are prepared.  She is an advocate for emphasizing “academic medicine” in order to help promising young physicians bridge the gap between science and medicine.  Her position is supported by her first-hand experience of mentoring graduate and post-doctorate students, and by her extensive curriculum development and teaching experience at all levels – from undergraduate to post-graduate education.  She is a current adjunct faculty member of the Biology Department of Adelphi University, teaching at the graduate level. 9ugTtRc/edit

Meghan Groome, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Education and Public Programs

The New York Academy of Sciences


Dr. Meghan Groome is the Executive Director of Education and Public Programs at the New York Academy of Sciences, which includes the STEM Afterschool Mentoring Program, Science Alliance, the NeXXt Scholars Program, Science Teachers Initiative, and a portfolio of special projects. Dr. Groome is also the Director of Science & the City, the public gateway to the New York Academy of Sciences.  Dr. Groome joined the Academy in July of 2010 after spending almost three years as a consultant to the American Museum of Natural History. Previous to her work at AMNH, Dr. Groome was a Senior Policy Analyst with the National Governors Association and co-authored Building a STEM Agenda, a framework for states and large organizations to improve their science education pipelines from birth through graduate school.

Dr. Groome is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry and the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on a $2.95M collaborative grant between the Academy and the State University of New York (DRL 1223303). She completed her PhD at Teachers College Columbia University in Science Education.  Her academic work includes learning in informal environments, professional development for teachers, and specific classroom strategies for increasing equity and access in schools and has authored numerous articles and academic presentation on those topic areas. During graduate school, Dr. Groome co-founded uPublic, an education consulting company focused on local, national, and international education reforms including large-scale policy reforms in developing countries and school design. In addition, Dr. Groome was an Education Policy Fellow for the Institute for Educational Leadership.


Janice Koch Ph.D.

Science Educator and Consultant

Janice Koch, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita of Science Education at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York where she directed IDEAS- the Institute for the Development of Education in the Advanced Sciences. This outreach institute fosters the public understanding of science as well as furthering the professional development of pre-college teachers of science. Dr. Koch is the past President (2007-2009) of the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE). She has taught courses addressing introduction to education, action research, science education, gender issues in the classroom, qualitative research and environmental systems.

Dr. Koch earned her Ph.D. in Education at New York University where her cognate area was environmental science. Her Bachelor of Science degree in biology is from the City College of New York and her Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Hofstra University explored science and social values. Her research examines furthering the science experiences of girls and women and minorities through science teacher education and exploring the dialectic between teaching and learning science. She is the author of TEACH, 2nd ed (2014), an introduction to education textbook and Science Stories: Science Methods for Elementary and Middle School Teacher, 5th ed (2013). Janice consults broadly to innovative science education projects across the country and around the world.


Dr. Jennifer L. Morse

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies 

Dr. Morse is broadly interested in understanding and predicting ecosystem responses to environmental changes, particularly human-mediated disturbances, to test ecological knowledge and to inform environmental decisions. She studies greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient biogeochemistry to determine how ecosystem processes involving these nutrients change along environmental gradients and following disturbances such as land use change. Her work spans the terrestrial-aquatic interface, from northern hardwood forests to tidal freshwater marshes, as well as urban lawns and streams, forested and restored coastal wetlands, and mining impacted streams. As a biogeochemist, she works with collaborators and techniques from many disciplines, including ecosystem ecology, hydrology, statistics, microbiology, molecular biology, soil science, ecosystem modeling, social science, and remote sensing.

She received her Ph.D. from Duke University, where her dissertation research addressed the question of whether re-flooding former agricultural lands for wetland restoration in coastal North Carolina would lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions from these sites. Emissions of nitrous oxide, one of the most potent biogenic greenhouse gases, were expected to increase as a result of higher denitrification in wetter, nitrogen-rich soils. She and her colleagues found that nitrous oxide fluxes from the restored wetland did not exceed fluxes from nearby agricultural fields and forested wetlands, and they measured water quality improvements downstream of the restored wetland. Dr. Morse’s current research focuses on soil denitrification in the northern hardwood forests in Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH. Elevated N deposition across the northeast US has altered N cycling in recent decades; to fully understand the consequences, we must estimate denitrification rates more accurately. Using a new system to measure dinitrogen and nitrous oxide production in intact soil cores, the measurements gathered will provide new data for an updated Northeast US nitrogen budget.




Karen Ong

New York University


Karen Ong is a MD/PhD student beginning her fifth year at New York University School of Medicine, having completed two years of medical school and two years with the computational biology program.  She took the scenic route to graduate school, detouring away (with just one week to go!) from her original plan to matriculate in medical school immediately after graduation and instead spending two years doing research in mathematical biology at the National Institutes of Health.  During that time she fell in love with science, learned a great deal about steroid hormones and the beauty of mathematics, and as a result decided to become a physician-scientist.


Outside of science research, she is interested in global health and preventative medicine and volunteers twice a month in the women’s clinic at NYU/Bellevue Hospital’s Program for Survivors of Torture.  In addition, she cooks, writes, tries not to kill her plants with neglect, and occasionally squeezes in time for art projects.  She ran her first marathon in Philadelphia last fall after Hurricane Sandy, at which time she discovered that training to run 26.2 miles was excellent disaster preparation (or at least useful in climbing stairs when the power went out).  She also enjoys discussing science with young people interested in becoming scientists, at which point she tries not to tell them that in fact scientists mostly spend their time doing stuff that doesn’t work and advertising the small amount that does – but they do have lots of fun along the way.


Fran Peterman, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Education and Human Services

Montclair State University


Dr. Peterman joined the MSU community as Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, having served as Dean of Education and Professor at Queens College for the past three years.  Previously, she was a professor, department chair, and associate dean at Cleveland State University, and a professor at Ball State University.  In her research and professional activities, she has focused on building partnerships to enhance and strengthen urban teacher education programs.  Her leadership has been characterized by partnering to prepare school and community professionals, creating indigenous invention, and enacting distributed leadership.


While at Queen’s College, Dr. Peterman led an initiative, spearheaded by a committee of faculty and staff, to redesign the assessment system used by faculty and students to regularly examine and improve professional practice.  Recently, she was the principal investigator and author of a $2.6 million grant awarded by the New York State Race to the Top Initiative for Clinically Rich Graduate Programs to Prepare Secondary Science Teachers.  The grant, entitled Science Pedagogy, Inquiry and Research Across Settings, supports a collaborative teacher residency program involving Queens College and the New York Hall of Science that preparing science teachers to teach in New York City’s most challenging schools.


Tal Rabin, Cryptographer

IBM Watson Research Lab

Manager and research staff member of the Cryptography Research Group at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center, Tal Rabin’s research focuses on the general area of cryptography and, more specifically, on multiparty computations, threshold and proactive security, which the National Research Council Cybersecurity Report to Congress said “… are now being seen as exactly the right primitives for building distributed systems that are more secure”.
Rabin regularly publishes in leading cryptography and security conferences and journals and has written several book chapters. She has also served as the Program Chair in leading cryptography conferences and is an editor of the Journal of Cryptology.Rabin obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Hebrew University, Israel in 1994, and was an NSF Postdoc Fellow at MIT between 1994-1996. Following her postdoc, she joined IBM in 1996 and started managing the group in 1997.


Claire Randazzo

Electrical Engineering


Claire graduated with a BS in Engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has since secured her EP degree.  She decided to enter the field of engineering when someone told her that she wouldn’t be able to do it successfully. For the past 22 years she has traveled the world, working on the space program, wiring satellites, coding, circuitry testing, and is now involved with building high-end “smart houses.” In addition, she has been involved in major building restoration projects, including the Library of Congress murals.

Claire describes herself as a “Fixer” in the engineering industry, being brought in for crisis management when projects go awry.  She recommends the following traits for success in the field:  trust your judgement, trust your education, trust your instincts, and let go of your mistakes and move on. “Be elegant, but be fearless.”


Dr. Cecily Selby

Scientist and Science Educator

Cecily Cannan Selby received her AB in physics from Radcliffe College and her Ph.D. in physical biology from MIT.  She began her career as a research scientist at the Sloan Kettering Institute and Cornell Medical College, publishing some of the first papers on cancer, skin and muscle cell ultrastructure. Moving to education and administration, she served as Chief Executive of an Independent School, of Girl Scouts USA, and of a Washington DC based non-profit organization. She co-chaired the 1983 National Science Board Commission on Pre-College Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, and several committees for New York State including one that recommended statewide standards for K-12 math, science, and technology education.

From 1984 to 1989, Dr. Selby was Professor of Science Education and Chair of the Math, Science and Statistics Education Department at the New York University School of Education. Dr. Selby serves on the Board of Trustees for the New York Hall of Science, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Girls Incorporated. Former corporate directorships include Avon Products, RCA and NBC, Loehmanns Inc., and the National Education Corp. In 1997, Dr. Selby was elected as a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences.


Dr. Christina Sormani

Professor of Mathematics, CUNY

Visiting Research Professor, UC Berkeley


 Christina was born in NYC and spent her toddler years following her parents to graduate courses with her sisters.   While attending Hunter High School she was an active member of the math team and her favorite course was AP Physics.  She chose mathematics over physics as a college student, when a physics professor pointed out that her questions regarding the approximate nature of certain estimates commonly made in physical calculations were the questions of a mathematician.

Christina completed her doctorate studying Riemannian Geometry and Metric Spaces at NYU with Jeff Cheeger.  She landed a postdoc at Harvard working with Shing-Tung Yau who is well known for applying geometric techniques to general relativity.  With Rick Schoen, Yau proved that a universe without any mass is just Euclidean space.

Christina returned to NYC so that her children would grow up near their grandparents.  She is now a tenured full professor at CUNY where she works with doctoral students.  In joint work with her younger co-authors, Stefan Wenger and Dan Lee, she has devised new ways of estimated distances between metric spaces and approximating how close a universe with small mass is to Euclidean space.